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Managing Complexity: UX vs the business model

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Designers are routinely required to manhandle disparate resources and inputs into a coherent end product. UX design, however, must work harder in order to truly deliver on the promise of a …

Designers are routinely required to manhandle disparate resources and inputs into a coherent end product. UX design, however, must work harder in order to truly deliver on the promise of a user-centred design process.

A user-focused assessment of any business model will ask tough questions, often leaving the UX designer as the most unpopular person in the room.

This talk, originally delivered at UX Scotland 2014, addressed how user experience designers must be able to not only manage complex interfaces, but challenge the business logic that leads to them.

Published in: Design, Technology

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  • 1. Managing Complexity UX vs the business model Rick Monro Fathom @monro @Fathom_UX ! UX Scotland 2014
  • 2. What we’ll cover • Sources of complexity • How complexity adversely affected a recent project
  • 3. If we begin to discuss scope as complexity, instead of flexibility, it changes the conversation… Complexity is scope. Jon Bolt, BoxesandArrows.com “Complexity and User Experience”, Nov 2011 “ ”
  • 4. It’s all Don’s fault (probably).
  • 5. Acknowledged classic
  • 6. Lesser known classic
  • 7. ! STEVE JOBS KLAXON !
  • 8. He’s a minimalist and constantly reducing things to their simplest level. Steve is a systems designer. He simplifies complexity. John Sculley, CEO of Apple 1983-1993 on Steve Jobs “ ”
  • 9. UX vs the complexity dragon For Steve! https://www.flickr.com/photos/why_spyder/12019319314
  • 10. Simplicity is not the goal. We do not wish to give up the power and flexibility of our technologies. The design challenge is to manage complexity so that it isn’t complicated Don Norman, ‘Living With Complexity’ “ ”
  • 11. Complexity is a raw material
  • 12. Two types of complexity
  • 13. Intrinsic Complexity adjective belonging naturally; essential 1
  • 14. This is a complex process
  • 15. The glass cockpit - flat design arrives
  • 16. This takes people into space
  • 17. Imposed Complexity verb [ with obj. ] force (an unwelcome decision or ruling) 2
  • 18. Booking a flight https://www.flickr.com/photos/autumn_bliss/467766536/
  • 19. Specifics required for flight booking Flying to: 1 0 Flying from: Departure date Return date 0 Search
  • 20. Other inputs required for flight booking ✓ Flight times? ✓ Existing account? ✓ Insurance? ✓ Extra luggage? ✓ Choose seat? ✓ Want to hire a car? ✓ Want car parking? ✓ ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THE SEAT THING? ✓ TELL US WHAT YOU ARE DOING. ✓ You agree we everything we have just told you. No? THEN GET ONE. ARE YOU SURE??
  • 21. Other inputs required for flight booking ✓ Flight times? ✓ Existing account? ✓ Insurance? ✓ Extra luggage? ✓ Choose seat? ✓ Want to hire a car? ✓ Want car parking? ✓ ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THE SEAT THING? ✓ TELL US WHAT YOU ARE DOING. ✓ You agree we everything we have just told you. £ £ £ £ £ £ No? THEN GET ONE. ARE YOU SURE??
  • 22. ! CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY KLAXON ! https://www.flickr.com/photos/grebo_guru/19389579/
  • 23. Web search is managed complexity https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1brett/3892759647/
  • 24. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rrrrred/3735399887 The big opportunity arrives…
  • 25. Existing site search: inputs required Choose county Search all towns 3 2 27 Jul 2013 2 2 Currency Search Adults Children Arrival date Nights Rooms
  • 26. Search time: 9 seconds. https://www.flickr.com/photos/cdresz/2953377031/
  • 27. Standard hotel rooms Single Twin Double Family
  • 28. Standard guesthouse rooms Single Double Whatever
  • 29. “It depends” is the answer. ! Now.. what’s the question?
  • 30. Complexity in action Choose county Search all towns 3 2 27 Jul 2013 2 2 Currency Search Adults Children Arrival date Nights Rooms the problem
  • 31. “ ”A marauding, innovating disruptor
  • 32. AirBnB brought back the human https://www.flickr.com/photos/alternative_illustrations/5839784828
  • 33. #facepalm https://www.flickr.com/photos/cesarastudillo/3981364314/ #AirBnB UI, not AirBnB UX?
  • 34. It became a different project after that. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stumayhew/5442893743
  • 35. Revisiting the scene of the crime Choose county Search all towns 3 2 27 Jul 2013 2 2 Currency Search Adults Children Arrival date Nights Rooms let’s get rid of the problem
  • 36. Improved inputs - better outputs 3 22 Location Arrival date Search Nights Adults Children
  • 37. If we begin to discuss scope as complexity, instead of flexibility, it changes the conversation… Complexity is scope. Jon Bolt, BoxesandArrows.com “Complexity and User Experience”, Nov 2011 “ ”
  • 38. Every application has an inherent amount of irreducible complexity. The only question is who will have to deal with it, the user or the developer. Don Norman, ‘Living With Complexity’ “ ”
  • 39. 1. Establish early in projects what type of complexity you are dealing with - inherent or imposed 2. Is the complexity created by technology that can - and should - be replaced by human interaction 3. Plan your scope, client engagement and research around this information Recommendations
  • 40. Thank you Rick Monro Fathom @monro @Fathom_UX !