Finding the Story in the Data

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Presentation at the NYC Web Analytics Meetup, December 8, 2010

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Finding the Story in the Data

  1. 1. Finding the story in the data<br />NYC Web Analytics Meet-up<br />December 8, 2010 at HUGE<br />Whitney QuesenberyWQusability.com<br />
  2. 2. Why are we talking about stories?<br />Stories make UX personal. They remind us that everything we make is made for a real person. <br />@ianeverdell<br />
  3. 3. Even with good presentation, analytics reports areusually focused on data<br />
  4. 4. Good visualization helps, but the real power is thestory behind the numbers<br /> What makes this video exciting is how the presenter tells the story. It’s not just numbers, but trends in history and human development, seen through the data visualization.<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo<br />
  5. 5. Stories are embedded in the UX cycle in obvious and not-so-obvious ways<br />User research: hearing what other people have to say<br />Understand<br />Analysis: finding patterns in shared stories<br />Success?<br />Specify<br />Evaluate<br />Evaluation:testing designs to see if they tell the story well<br />Design: creating ideas that embody key stories<br />Design<br />
  6. 6. Stories are important for UX becausestandard “biz talk” doesn’t work<br /> Most of the time we try to construct a logical argument, as though just putting the facts in front of someone is the way to convince them. <br />From Stephen Denning’s work on storytelling and leadership: www.stevedenning.com<br />
  7. 7. Claude Shannon was wrong*<br /> Stories do not work like a broadcast transmission.<br /> They work because they create a vision that everyone can share<br />At least about stories.<br />
  8. 8. A story is shared by everyone who hears it<br />First the storyteller shapes the story<br />As they listen, the audience members form an image of the story in their own minds.<br />
  9. 9. A story is shared by everyone who hears it<br />The storyteller and the audience each affects the other and shapes the story they create.<br />The most important relationship is between the audience and the story.<br />The audience is a part of the story each time it is told.<br />
  10. 10. The relationships around a story are called the Story Triangle<br />
  11. 11. A story is shared by everyone who hears it…but heard by each person in their own way<br /> The storyteller and the audience all shape the story<br />In the end, each person in the audience has their own version of the story<br /> Part of the storyteller’s job is to help everyone hear the same story<br />
  12. 12. The Open UniversitySeeing the story behind the search data<br />Stories help us empathize and experience another person’s condition. Stories appeal to our emotions and drive us to action.<br />@balchenn<br />
  13. 13. We* wanted to understand the impact of search onthe student and enquirer experience<br />About the OU<br />First distance university<br />200,000+ students<br />10,000+ academic staff<br />A large web presence<br />50 million pages viewed per month <br />2000+ websites<br />Three intranets Staff intranet TutorHome StudentHome<br />* “We” is the Online Services group at the OU, led by Ian Roddis<br />
  14. 14. We are able to draw on rich user profiles – personas – based on both qualitative and quantitative dat<br />George<br />Margaret<br />Martin<br />Jason<br />Rachel<br />Abila<br />
  15. 15. We* used search and traffic analysis to understandwhat visitors to the site looked for.<br />The top searches are persistent (and have continued over time<br />With some seasonal variations<br />* “We” in this case, is Caroline Jarrett, who did the hard work of this analysis<br />
  16. 16. The search logs shows a classic “long tail”<br />Even small groups of terms show this pattern for example: searches with “classics”<br />
  17. 17. We used search analytics to show how a new home page design could improve navigation failures<br />Over two revisions, we completely eliminated searches to the core entry pages for the student virtual learning environment.<br />
  18. 18. Changes in the home page accounted for the change in searches<br />2004<br />2005<br /> We simplified the page and made the sign-in visible. But it took the actual sign-in box on the home page to make the difference. <br />2006<br />
  19. 19. We also learned about touchpoints into the OU<br />Why are there words from the kitchen down in the long tail of search terms entering a university web site?<br />Not a lot, not consistent, but always there<br />eggsonionscabbagevinegarpotatosalmon<br />
  20. 20. The web site for the BBC shows doesn’t connect strongly to the course catalog on related subjects<br /> It’s not that the general links aren’t there. <br /> (They are in the upper left)<br /> But the links are only at the institutional level – not connecting related content. <br />
  21. 21. Stories fill gaps<br />Storytelling is how we make sense of the world: re-imagining our everyday lives as an experience to be shared with others. <br /> @otrops <br />
  22. 22. Personas grow from data to profile details to a richstory that shows the people behind the data<br />Aged 30-45Well educated45% married with children50% use the web 3-5 times a week65% use search engines<br />Elizabeth, 32 years old<br />Married to Joe, has a 5-year old son, Justin<br />Attended State College, and manages her class alumni site<br />Uses Google as her home page, and reads CNN online<br />Used the web to find the name of a local official<br />
  23. 23. Stories explain unexpected user data<br />Use data to setup the storyMerge demographicand other statisticswith a humansitutation<br /> We were ready to be disappointed. Nurses were more interested in people than technology.<br /> They used the Web, of course, but didn’t see social media as work. Only a few of them had phones that did more than make phone calls. Some didn’t even have Web access except at home. <br /> So we were taken by surprise when one nurse after another got enthusiastic about some concept sketches for mobile health sites. <br />
  24. 24. Stories explore situations and ideas<br />Character The persona creates the perspective andrelationship<br />Imagery Suggests theemotionalconnections<br />Context Set up the problem<br /> Gina gave us the first clue. She was a nurse manager for the county health system. “I’m on the move all day and I have a huge case load. Patients are always throwing new questions at me. Yesterday, I really struggled to sort out a problem one patient was having with side effects. <br />I speak a little Spanish, but just couldn’t remember the correct medical term to explain a new adjuvant the doctor wanted to try. It was so frustrating.” <br /> She pointed at the sketch. “I don’t have a phone that will do all that - yet, but if it’s really that simple…” <br />
  25. 25. The Open UniversitySeeing Jason’s story in the data<br />Every interaction is a story, with the user as the "star."  This appeals to our human need to be at the center of every experience. <br />@dgelman<br />
  26. 26. We* have now started to use the personas as alens into the data<br />* by “we” I mean Viki Stirling and Sarah Allen who actually did this work<br />
  27. 27. We tracked 174 visitors through their first 20 visits to the site<br />These network digrams show their visits becoming more focused, as they delve into both their subject area and changing information needs around becoming a student.<br />
  28. 28. National Cancer InstituteUnderstanding the journey<br />Storytelling is a two-way mirror. You see yourself reflected in the experience of others. <br />@nathangibbs<br />
  29. 29. We had a lot of fragmentary evidence of issues with navigating through related sections of the site<br />When we connected traffic data to behavior we observed in usability sessions, we could understand the story better.<br />
  30. 30. Stories close a gap<br />When you retell a story … <br /> Or share the story in the analytics … <br /> you make a connection between your colleagues and the actual users<br />
  31. 31. A story is successful when it gets repeated<br />Think carefully about what stories you want retold.<br />Look for stories that are<br />Based on real data<br />The stories you want told<br />Generate insights and empathy<br />& that you want to act on!<br />
  32. 32. Want more details?<br />About search research at the OUwww.wqusability.com/publications.html#search<br />About creating healthcare personaswww.wqusability.com/publications.html#healthcare<br />Presentations about storytelling and UCXwww.slideshare.net/StorytellingUX<br />Book site:www.rosenfeldmedia.com/books/storytelling/<br />
  33. 33. Storytelling for User Experience:Crafting stories for better design<br />Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brookswhitneyq@wqusability.combrooks@media.mit.edu<br />Blog and book sitewww.rosenfeldmedia.com/books/storytelling/<br />Ilustrations by Calvin C. Chan available at www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/<br />
  34. 34. Whitney Quesenbery<br />www.WQusability.comwhitneyq@WQusability.comTwitter @whitneyq<br /> Whitney is user researcher, user experience and usability expert with a passion for clear communication. She enjoys learning about people around the world and using those insights to design products where people matter. <br /> She works with the National Cancer Institute, IEEE, The Open University and other companies to improve the user experience on their websites. <br />Whitney is past-president of Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) and is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC).<br /> She has served on two Federal Advisory committees: TEITAC, recommending updates to Section 508, and as chair for Human Factors and Privacy for voting system guidelines. <br />

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