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Avoiding the Heuristic Solution: Creating Inspiring Mobile Design with UX Principles
 

Avoiding the Heuristic Solution: Creating Inspiring Mobile Design with UX Principles

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* This is the version with my notes below the text. Only use it if you want to see descriptions. Else, another is under a similar name, as projected * ...

* This is the version with my notes below the text. Only use it if you want to see descriptions. Else, another is under a similar name, as projected *

Steven’s forthcoming book Mobile Design Patterns (with Eric Berkman) will serve as a point of departure for a conversation on the topic of using the techniques of collaboration, team and workshop activities, and iterative design to develop inspired, delightful designs that can differentiate your product in the market, while still meeting proven design principles.

Presented 10 June 2011 at Float Mobile Learning Symposium, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois.

Speaker notes were carefully crafted, but generally bear little relationship to what I said. While they communicate the basic point, they are in no way a transcript of my comments in person.

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    Avoiding the Heuristic Solution: Creating Inspiring Mobile Design with UX Principles Avoiding the Heuristic Solution: Creating Inspiring Mobile Design with UX Principles Document Transcript

    • Steven Hoober designing Float Mobile Learning Symposium 11 June 2011 mobile interfaces mobile designgobile
    • Designing Mobile Interfaces www.4ourth.com/wiki Steven Hoober & Eric Berkman 2 I am here basically because I have been spending the last 9 months working a second full time job collecting around 60 patterns for mobiles.g When it comes out, it’ll be great. Buy one. Look for the book with the colorful parrot on the cover. It’ll be hard to miss. Actually, it’s a lovebird. No, I don’t know why. And it’s beenobile years since authors got to choose their animal. Also, every bit of the patterns, and some other helpful informa- tion including over 70 links to platform-specific UI standards, templates and stencils are out there. Add to it if you want. I want to define, briefly, what a pattern means to me.
    • Patterns are universal 3 These are just some of the devices I actually own. Here’s many of them if you want to rifle through. A common question, right after “why a lovebird,” is what phone Ig carry. Doesn’t matter. Right now, a Droid 2 Global. But in the last 3 yearsobile I have carried -- full time, porting my number and everything -- 7 dif- ferent devices with 4 different OSs. Part-time, a lot more than that. I have TEN browsers on my handset now. I have a contract to do some browser design. You need to keep your hand in the market, and not just stick to your favorite device. Because design is not about one device, or brows- er, and even if /your design/ is, you are missing out on other good ideas.
    • Patterns are generalized Vi Vi deo deo se se N r r et vic N et vic fli es fl e H ul x ... H ix s... u ul Pl u Am u Am Plu a s a s Yo zon Yo zon uT uT u u Sl be Sl be ac ac ke ke rM rM ed ed ia ia 4 Patterns are very non-specifc. Even talking about specific examples sometimes bothers me; just like when showing off your design everyone gets hung up in details.g I use illustrations. The top is the complete set of illlustrations to describe the Scroll pattern. The bottom is the same for Remote Gestures.obile Only when needed did I make an illustration including a real web page. And even that is drawn, to only focus on the dis- ussion points at hand. On the bottom, notice nothing is assumed; arrows indicate (generally) axes of movement, etc.
    • Patterns are organized Directional Entry Input Method Indicator OK 3G 3:52PM Sign on to continue To prevent unauthorized access to your account, access has been locked. Password 123 TF43 Continue Exit 3G 3:52PM abc 3G 3:52PM 123 Going to be a little late picking you up. Go get Sign on to continue some coffee and I’ll text To prevent unauthorized access to your account, when getting clo access has been locked. Password TF43 3G 3:52PM Just passed through Asheville, Continue you still on? Exit Start selection Stuck in meetings, where are you Paste stopping tonight? Copy all abc Going to be a little late Focus & Cursors Cut all picking you up. Go get some coffee and I’ll text when getting clo Clear Entry 5 Part of the analysis of the patterns is grouping, and not just by immediate relations, but by higher level categories, and related tasks in other categories.g Building a taxonomy of patterns helps understand them (it certainly helped me) and is designed to help you find them and use them correctly.obile They also cross-link a lot.
    • Patterns are explained 6 I’ve seen a number of new “pattern libraries” that simply take screenshots and post them by category. These are fine, as galleries of design. But they are not pat-g tern libraries. You need to know what the pattern is, and why it is, so you can do the right thing, explore the edges, and avoid theobile wrong things. There are nice simple pictures, bullets to follow, but also a LOT of other words. All of which matter.
    • Patterns are best practices Not necessarily common practice. Contacts 21-25 of 125 Noce necessarily Jane Adams 816 210 0123 (M) Jamie Adamly popular, trendy. 913 111 0234 (H) Paula Adamowlsky 785 985 0345 (M) Mike Adamson 314 987 0456 (O) Mike Adler 210 618 0567 7 Patterns are not just collections of popular themes in the world of design, or what I have taken to calling “common practice.”g Fashion and interior design work differently, but UX is ev- idence-based. Just because it’s popular doesn’t make it right, and if there is clear evidence (from research, gener- ally) that this is wrong, I say so.obile Many patterns are improperly implemented in the majory of devices. Now, I didn’t buck the trend completely; this exam- ple is simply that you need to hide pointlessly repeating ava- tar stand-ins. But that’s an easy fix.
    • Patterns are misunderstood • Reactionary • Single view • First solutions • Rote solutions • Too high level Obviously, this is not a key attribute of patterns that we want to have. But it’s true. Patterns are misunderstood, and therefore mis-used. • Design solutions are Reactionary and solve for point problems, instead of considering the entire system. 8 • Even when larger solutions are found, they are Single view or only for one screen, one device or one platform. • The first satisfactory solution is accepted, and rapidly be- comes entrenched. There should always be incentives to find the best possible solution. • There is likewise no incentive to find unique, interesting or dif- ferentiable solutions. The Rote solution, or the published pat-g tern, is used without modification (another reason I don’t like to give examples). • Patterns that do consider solutions generally sometimes lead to excessively High-level design, with no reasoning (or an incom- prehensible one). VizDs and developers won’t understand whatobile part is important so will modify it and miss the point. I tend to call all of this the “heuristic solution.” It’s not /bad/ per se, in fact it checks all the boxes, but it’s not inspired, and is nev- er truly satisfactory. It might even pass CSAT measures, and show improvement. But it levels off and you never get up to that really top-tier, no matter what you do.
    • Steven Hoober avoiding Float Mobile Learning Symposium 11 June 2011 the heuristic solution mobile design Speaking of CSAT, this is not your fault. It’s very, very institu- tionalized. Just a few weeks ago I was in a presentation by [a topg CSAT vendor]. The company had bought the extended anal- ysis, and had 120 pages of suggestions on how to fix the site. Which addressed each failure point as an individual problem, with an individual solution, and a best case fromobile one industry leader or another. Then an executive got up and said that this gives us direc- tion and (and I wrote this down) “now there’s no need to think, explore and do user research to figure out which of these options is right.“ And since it’s exective direction, that’s what’s happening.
    • Steven Hoober avoiding Float Mobile Learning Symposium 11 June 2011 the heuristic solution mobile design I originally had 20 slides of this stuff. but I realized I was go- ing too negative. If anyone disagrees with the premise, raise your hand, but I am otherwise just going to move on, to the solutions.gobile
    • Be a conscious designer Know why you draw • Define • Codify • Compare • Choose • Combine • Expand 11 The key, to me, is that yoy be aware of why you are design- ing. Patterns and heuristics (as well as formal uses of theseg methods, like heuristic evaluations) have value not just in the immediate use of them (e.g. does it pass the heuristic or not?) but in making the designer aware of the components, and the reasons they exist.obile Patterns are communicated in a consistent manner, allowing you to understand them, pick the right one form several op- tions, combine related ones, and add your own. This is also important later. When you need to revise, or when you are building the product.
    • Design methodologies to success • Understand the problem • Leverage your team • No idea is worthy • Your competitors are not wizards • Embrace your constraints • Collaborate • Seek outside input 12 Design is not art. I have an art degree, so I know this.g Design has goals, that pay the bills when they succeed. You need to work with others to find these. Design is not just drawing the right line, or box, or button,obile but building an ecosystem to support that design, so you know what the right line, or box or button is. I wrote a whole book-length treatise on some of my favorite design practices. Dozens of people use it now. And over the years I have changed my mind enough, it’s out of date. These are the key objectives I work to now.
    • Understand the problem Put the markers down. First time, every time, ask the customer, their workers, the users. Create objectives, and stick to them. 13 Before even starting to design anything, ask questions. Perform user interviews, ask the business what they want, and gather any other information about current and expected usage you can.g Develop measurable objectives, stick to them during design, and be sure to measure after it launches. Without feedback, you cannot learn. Try not to draw. This is hard to do, for me at least, but sketching con-obile cepts early will tend to lock you into that thinking. You might be on the wrong track. Keep away from this, and seek to understand the prob- lem space first. If you are wondering, this is a project I did for Hallmark, where one of the first things we did was have them to the office for two full days of interviews and data gathering, kicked off with a visit to a store, to really understand their current processes.
    • Leverage your team Studio methods to foster competition, creation of new ideas. Manage them, to add challenge to each step. 14 Studio Methods The best ideas come from individuals, or small teams, work- ing independently. To get the most good, unique ideas, taskg those individuals or small teams to develop quick, indepen- dent designs and regularly share and regroup, iterating to a final solution.obile
    • No idea is worthy Don’t do a little dance for your great idea. I promise it has flaws. Consider components individually, and look for flaws. 15 ...So, everyone comes back with ideas and you review them. Then you evaluate not complete designs, but each compo-g nent. How does it fit into the overall concept... etc. Assign components that are similar to other designs, so they are combined in interesting ways, and people get outsideobile their comfort zones. When working with design concepts, whether evaluating competitor sites, or with the design teams above -- remem- ber to approach the design from a modular point of view, and evaluate the suitability of each element to the overall goals, and process. Do not just accept (or reject) whole de- signs.
    • No idea is worthy 16 Even with one idea, whether just trying to determine if the idea is good yourself, doing an eval or whatever, do not fall in love with the idea so much that you: 1) Look at it as a wholeg 2) Miss the flaws. Deconstruct it, to understand what it is, what it is made of (patterns, components!) and then how it might NOT work.obile This is a challenge again, but who said it would be easy.
    • There are no design wizards Inspiration is fine. Copying is pointless. Follow your process to find the right answer for your business, and the current world. 17 Your competitors and forefathers do not have the magic formula. Some just have better cultures of design. / Some just lucked into it. When required to look at the competition, or the great previous-g generation ideas, recognize that business models, customers, and goals are not the same over here, or these days.obile Inspiration is fine, but use good process to find the right answer. How many of you carry a Walkman phone? Of course, none. But for /years/ after the iPod came out, every pundit was sure Sony would come and crush the market. Didn’t happen, because Sony (apparently) builds good products, not good ecosystems. It seems no one turned their tape player era devices into digital era music.
    • Embrace your constraints Brainstorming doesn’t work. Working within your constraints adds focus to any design session and fosters ideas. 18 Brainstorming is for suckers: Doesn’t work. Boosters will say it does, and the counter studies aren’t doing it right. To which I say: no one does it right, such that I never want to call it “brainstorming.”g • There are bad ideas • There are ideas that you shouldn’t even consider, as they are out of scope.obile Instead, I like to set preconditions and say Embrace your Constraints. Whether in concepting exercises, workshops or as individu- al designers, only work within the domain, set preconditions and remind everyone that the goals and objectives define the desired end state.
    • Embrace your constraints 19 ... A common complaint about patterns is that they are too con- straining, and stifle creativity.g I never see this happen, except by those same designers who voice those complaints, when they take some greatobile idea they see, and implement it without changes. I am all for borrowing good ideas, and being inspired. But using another pattern without knowledge is dumb. Embrace your constraints
    • Collaborate Don’t just work together, collaborate. Use everyone’s skill, and knowledge, to find the best solution. 20 Collaborate I have a 10,000 character essay on this, which you can find on my blog. So this is necessarily a summary. If collaboration eludes you, or like I was, you get blamed for being not collaborative, check it out.g Design teams will, ideally, have a variety of individual skillsets, or at least multiple individuals, each with their own background and opinions. Use the individual skills of the team members to find solutions and exploreobile concepts. Some other key attributes of good collaboration have been outlined above. Be a conscious designer, so you can discuss your ideas, or de- fend them. And not because you like it; defend only what you know to be true from experience. Collaboration can be very informal. When you get into it, you will start asking advice for even simple behaviors and problems. This sort of activ- ity is why some people like open plan offices. Just turn around and ask the team.
    • Seek outside input Systems, process and business-intelligence knowledge is held by specialists you won’t see. Unless you go looking. 21 Beyond collaboration, get input from people outside the de- sign team. This is expecially good in big places that have been around for decades, or centuries.g Not everyone has all knowledge of the arbitrarily complex sys- tems we work on all too much, so cross-functional collabora- tion can have great value in confirming concepts, getting input on the viability of concepts, and discovering tangential solu-obile tions already considered or in progress somewhere else. This is not just useful for the gathering of information, which you should do up front, but to confirm your design works. Often, those same people can add more value after they see what you mean. “Oh, you are using that information. Have you talked to these guys about their project in the stores?” etc.
    • And now your design is perfect Bitstream ThunderHawk 3.0 Detailed Design Document Novemb A Home > ii URL Entry What could possibly A2c URL entry (widget) A2f URL overs entry (widg go wrong? goog| google.com/news google.com/docs Input google.com/search?q=Xpe... The URL field has google.com/ig/setp?m_3_u... focus, and can be 7 Search for “goo” freely typed within. Autocomplete If this mode is Any free-entry field achieved by editing an (not just on this frame) Summary existing URL, the field will offer autocomplete The site name, TLD will be pre-populated values in a modified and feed icon whe with the existing select list below the needed, are display values. input field. again to clarify whi URL is being show Only a few items should be shown, to Default avoid scrolling. This screen (with no information populated) The last item should is the default entry always offer the ability point for any user 11:14P Cancel to perform an internet typing a new URL, any search (with the last time one has not been service used on the Modal visited yet. home page) for the This widget is mod value currently No other part of th entered. The 7 page can be Well, execution. accesskey can be accessed while thi used to perform this, item is opened. Select 11:14P Cancel without scrolling to the item. When scrolled down to an autocomplete function, the “Select” option/softkey will both Go 11:14P Cancel select the item and move to the next field of the URL. ©2008 Little Springs Design » Proprietary & Confidential 22 So, now you have a great design settled on, and bought into, and not just by the business owner, but by everyone in the whole place, hopefully.g And now the gulf of execution. No, not Don Norman’s gap between stimulus and understanding, but the difference be- tween what you give design and what comes out of the de- velopment team.obile And if I haven’t said it already, apologies to anyone who de- velops their own code, already has a terrific relationship with their developers, or believes your process solves all. I’ve been there and say: Some day it won’t.
    • And now your design is perfect Bitstream ThunderHawk 3.0 Detailed Design Document Novemb A Home > ii URL Entry A2c URL entry A2f URL (widget) overs entry goog| (widg google.com/news google.com/docs Input google.com/search?q=Xpe... The URL field has google.com/ig/setp?m_3_u... focus, and can be 7 Search for “goo” freely typed within. Autocomplete If this mode is Any free-entry field achieved by editing an (not just on this frame) Summary existing URL, the field will offer autocomplete The site name, TLD will be pre-populated values in a modified and feed icon whe with the existing select list below the needed, are display values. input field. again to clarify whi URL is being show Only a few items should be shown, to Default avoid scrolling. This screen (with no information populated) The last item should is the default entry always offer the ability point for any user 11:14P Cancel to perform an internet typing a new URL, any search (with the last time one has not been service used on the Modal visited yet. home page) for the This widget is mod value currently No other part of th entered. The 7 page can be accesskey can be accessed while thi used to perform this, item is opened. Select 11:14P Cancel without scrolling to the item. When scrolled down to an autocomplete function, the “Select” option/softkey will both Go 11:14P Cancel select the item and move to the next field of the URL. ©2008 Little Springs Design » Proprietary & Confidential 23 In this example, I had a perfectly good relationship with the implementation team (and still work with them years later) and the first release simply didn’t follow specification. Like this, where the history is a dropdown, but as implemented itg went full-screen.obile
    • user centered execution What we need to solve this are principles of what we can call “user-centric execution.” This is not yet a process, or series of fixed procedures, or ag manifesto or anythinf. It is possible it may never be. But like the principles, heuristics and patterns of design, the idea should be followed and there are best practices.obile First, to principles:
    • Your design isn’t done UX teams can help: • Don’t walk away. • Set goals for everyone. • Make object-oriented designs. • Practice polymorphism. 25gobile
    • Don’t walk away It’s your project, so stick with it. • Answer questions. • Check on progress. • Solve problems. You are part of the implementation team. 26 Never walk away Always stick with the project through development, at least making yourself available for questions, rework, changes and testing. Ideally, become integrated into the team, and attend daily meetings,g test planning, and so on. Plan on this from the start so your schedule and budget accounts for it.obile You may not /actually/ be part of the implementation team, but try to become one. Or at least act like it. Go to meetings, etc. At the very least, put your name a contact information on the spec. It’ll work. You’ll get calls from random developers in Bangalore at 2 am, and be able to give them good information to make sure the project keeps going. After you get more sleep, you’ll be happy this happened.
    • Set goals for everyone Turn priciples into metrics. Then measure them. Push for these to be the project level measure of success. 27 Assure goals are for everyone The business and user goals you should have developed at the beginning of the project must be translated into actual,g measurable metrics. Make sure that the whole organization has these goals as their top drivers, instead of cost savings, efficiency of devel-obile opers, or other internal measures. While “we’re building for the end user” may not resonate, remind everyone they work for the larger company, not just their department. You may also have to push to include the analytical tools to make sure they get built, not forgotten.
    • DMC eReader User Experience Sitemap – Modular Reuse of Comp This is a map of the total expected pages, states or key functions. Process is not depicted. Many subsid- iary states are not depicted. See the legend for ele- ments within each page. Make object-oriented designs This is a map of the total expected pages, states or key functions. Process is not depicted. Many subsid- iary states are not depicted. See the legend for ele- ments within each page. K1 Groups J2 Friends • My Groups • Multi-select version • My Friends • • Friend’s Groups for use when chang- • • My Friend’s Friends • • Patterns are objects. • • • Friend List Groups ing context mode • • • Same • • • Related Groups • • • • (m620 request) • • • Different • • • • • Group Members K1 Groups J2 Friends • My Groups • Multi-select version • My Friends • • Friend’s Groups for use when chang- • • My Friend’s Friends • • • Friend List Groups • • • ing context mode • • Same • • • • • • K2 Group Details • Related Groups (m620 request) • • • • • • J3 Friend Detai • Different • Group Members See A1 See A1 Objects are re-usable K2 Group Details See A1 J3 Friend Detai See A1 components, whether in design or code. Legend of Modular Widgets m101 Notification Listing • • m220 Group Preview Pod • • • • m201 Group Listing • • • • m102 Notification List Long Legend of Modular Widgets • • m320 Friend Preview Pod m103 Read Notification m101 Notification Listing • m220 Group Preview Pod • • m301 Friend Listing • • • • • • • m201 Group Listing • • m 105 Create Annotation • • m102 Notification List Long m410 Profile Details • • m110 Notification Strip m320 Friend Preview Pod m103 Read Notification m501 Content Listing • • m301 Friend Listing • • • • m120 Annotations Bar • • • • • • • • • • • m 105 Create Annotation • m502 Content Large • m610 Search, Filter, Sort m410 Profile Details m520 Content Preview Pod m110 Notification Strip m620 Context Mode m120 Annotations Bar • • • • • • m501 Content Listing m590 Reader 28 • • • • • • • m660 Tags & Keywords • • m502 Content Large • m610 Search, Filter, Sort m901 Masthead/Nav Custom items m620 Context Mode m520 Content Preview Pod m902 Minimized Nav • • • • m590 Reader m660 Tags & Keywords Use object-oriented principles when discussing and delivering m901 Masthead/Nav m902 Minimized Nav Custom items -- DMC_Sitem DMC_Sitem The efficiencies and enforcement of consistency that compo-g nentized, object-oriented practice emphasizes in design are just as valuable to software developers and development pro- cess.obile Sometimes this is just called “modular re-use,” or other things, as “object oriented” is a larger set of principles (it all originated in development) and might confuse development. But I like the sound of it. The core concept is the same: Instead of designing every de- tail for every state, and building by state or building hundreds of items to bolt together, a few dozen modules are built and re- used over and over in common templates.
    • Practice polymorphism Vocel Pill Phone v.2 Detailed Interaction Design Document May 13, 2008 Version 0501308B Receiving & Viewing Alerts > vii Completion & RefillsB14 Done taking medications for now Variations of objectsProgress indicatorWhether multi-step or not,a completion message is B14a As loaded Select for refill Preselected if indicated. Suppressed if unavailable. B14b Med ordering details Zolotran E are still the sameshown here. Done! Dr. Revels All medications taken Med information 816-766-9801 {Call Number}Refill status The doctor and pharmacyChange to “Refill -------------------------------- name and number are 1 refill leftneeded!” if pharmacy displayed. CVS Pharmacy Johns... Next medication alert: object.pushes notice, or user 913-661-0500 {Call Number}has selected any inprevious screens. 12:00pm Details B15 Ordering informtion $10.00 (copay) qty. 60 -------------------------------- Refills remaining, the price Medication details E2 and the quantity of a refillPre-check... Order refills (if known) are displayed....any items noted by theuser on previous screens. Zolotran EPharmacy alerts Details B14b B14c Details – Order ready or pending Tell everyone, soIf they think user is out, a -----------------------------------------graphic appears. Amotab ZE Softkey (Options menu): Amotab ZE Home A1 “No,” not “zero” Dr. RevelsPending or ready Details B14c My Medications C4/C1 If the number of refills is zero, print it as “no” 816-766-9801 {Call Number}If already ordered, do not My Pharmacies A18/A19 variations are built asallow selection, replace Options Exit My Pill Boxes C9/C7 no refills leftwith info icon. Pill Book E1 Settings D1 Status {Change state} ----------------------------------------- Exit {Exit} If not available, reads Order ready Picked up {close frame}Non-orderable items CVS Pharmacy Johns...Items without a pharmacy • Frizilap “Order processing” and you designed them.relationship are displayed, the “picked up” button is 913-661-0500 {Call Number}but do not have a Details B14b Audio: suppressed. $10.00 (copay) qty. 60checkbox to order online. Onload: Medication details E2 SuccessButton conditional Place ordersThe order button is “All medications“grayed out” and cannot have beenbe selected until at least taken.” Opening Closingone item is checked. Scroll up so all info in the opened Scrolling out of the area will close If indicated: layer is on the screen. If overflow the drawer. The just-closed item “See screen to is required, fit the top of the title should stay in place, and all order your opened info the top of the screen. other items move up to collapse. refills.” ©2008 Little Springs Design » Proprietary & Confidential 18 29 Learn big words. Even if you don’t annoy others with them, there are some great concepts out there.g This is a subset of the previous one, but is harder for some organizations and designers to grasp, so has been broken out.obile If there are several variations of an on-screen module you design, make sure you express them as variations of each other so these are clear. This is a polymorphic item. Of course, if there is only one variant (omnimorphism) then that should be explicitly stated as well. Always keep in mind efficiency and re-use.
    • Design principles are project principles • Develop good objectives • Design holistically • Get everyone to buy into it • Own your design 30 What makes this work for me is that it’s all the same thing. I’ll admit I came to them from different approaches, but I’ve come to be aware that good principles of design are the same as the principles behind communicating design to im-g plementation teams. • Develop good design objectives for the project or product; no one elese’s will do.obile • Design holistically; systems, not pages, not widgets, not buttons. • Stick to the principles and get everyone to buy into it. • Own your design, all the way through, so you want to im- prove it when the next release comes out.
    • Steven Hoober shoobe01@gmail.com 816 210 0455 @shoobe01 shoobe01 on: www.donttouchme.com www.4ourth.com mobile design Some of this, a bunch of design tools, and all the patterns are upon this website at “fourth mobile” (with a number 4). That does include the full content of the book, so you don’tg have to wait to start getting all that information. It’s a wiki, so please add your own comments. It’s locked down, due to evil commie spam bots, but ask me and I’ll getobile you credentials for it. I can take questions on other stuff. Like, if you are wonder- ing about a pattern, I can pop open the website, and we can talk about any of them.