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UXPA2019 - Unconference: Do We Still Speak for Trees? Usability's Changing Role in a UX-owned World

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UXPA2019 - Unconference: Do We Still Speak for Trees? Usability's Changing Role in a UX-owned World

  1. 1. Steve Krug UxPA 2019 Unconference Usability’s changing role in a UX-owned world Do we still speak for the trees?
  2. 2. © 2001 Steve Krug
  3. 3. I hadn’t planned on doing this  It was keynote I did last week  Hated to see it go to waste  Squeezed all the air out  145 slides > 65  My motto for the next ten minutes: “Talk fast and break things” © 2001 Steve Krug
  4. 4. First, a confession  I love usability  It’s what I’ve done for 30 years  It’s a great job  It’s easier much easier than what most people do  We usually don’t have to create anything  We make things better  We’re associated with “ease of use” and “user friendly”  We’re…the good guys  (or at least we were) © 2001 Steve Krug
  5. 5. So I’m a big fan of usability  But I know it’s a UX world now  “Usability is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of User Experience”  …and I don’t have a problem with that  Well, OK, I have a little problem  UPA (Usability Professionals) became UXPA (User Experience Professionals) in 2012  I always spell it “UxPA” Passive-aggressive foot dragging  I sometimes refer to the name change as a “land grab” © 2001 Steve Krug
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  7. 7. But they were right to do it  It was a sensible preemptive move  If they didn’t do it, someone else would have © 2001 Steve Krug
  8. 8. So, why the title? © 2001 Steve Krug
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  10. 10. Plot summary  The hero (The Lorax) attempts to protect a forest endangered by corporate greed © 2001 Steve Krug
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  13. 13. Hence the title  I’ve always liked to think of us as being like the Lorax  Except that we speak for the users  We’ve always been advocates for the best interests of the users  Sometimes the only advocates they have © 2001 Steve Krug
  14. 14. I love my professional community  My epiphany years ago  Banquet night at a UPA conference  I looked around, and I thought… © 2001 Steve Krug
  15. 15. © 2001 Steve Krug These are really nice people!
  16. 16. And then a light bulb went off over my head © 2001 Steve Krug
  17. 17. © 2001 Steve Krug Of course they are! Empathy is a job requirement.
  18. 18. Which is why it particularly bothers me  …that I’ve had a bad feeling for years now  …that usability practitioners were being gradually wooed over to the dark side © 2001 Steve Krug
  19. 19. There’s a meme for that © 2001 Steve Krug
  20. 20. Why I asked you all here today  I’m going to talk about some questions I’ve been pondering for a long time © 2001 Steve Krug
  21. 21. Questions like…  Are we still the same user advocates we used to be?  Or have forces been gradually reshaping our work and our mission  …perhaps without us even noticing (like the frog in the pot of water gradually brought to a boil)  In other words, are we still the good guys? © 2001 Steve Krug
  22. 22. Questions like…  Thanks to the rise of UX, we’re more likely to get a seat at the decision making table now  But do we actually have more impact?  And have we traded our souls for a seat at the table? © 2001 Steve Krug
  23. 23. Questions like…  And finally, are we in danger of losing our way?  And what can we do about it (without losing your job)? © 2001 Steve Krug
  24. 24. DARK PATTERNS AND BEYOND
  25. 25. People are doing bad things out there © 2001 Steve Krug
  26. 26. Don’t get me wrong  People are also doing wonderful things © 2001 Steve Krug
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  36. 36. There’s a spectrum from good to bad  Really good (positive, life changing)  Good  Neutral  Sort of bad  Bad  Profoundly bad (destructive of individuals or society) © 2001 Steve Krug
  37. 37. Harry Brignull coined the term © 2001 Steve Krug https://www.darkpatterns.org/
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  39. 39. Show of hands  How many of you have been asked to help implement something that seemed like a dark pattern?  Did you question it?  Did you do it? (This is a judgement-free zone) © 2001 Steve Krug
  40. 40. And then there are, well, bad people  Warning: The word “disruptors” inevitably puts me in rant mode  Four words: Travis Kalarnick, Mark Zuckerberg  Favorite disruptor sayings:  ”Move fast and break things.”  “We’re just trying to improve people’s lives.”  “I didn’t realize any of that would happen.” © 2001 Steve Krug
  41. 41. Some are fictional © 2001 Steve Krug
  42. 42. Some self-deluding © 2001 Steve Krug
  43. 43. Some apparently just really, really bad people © 2001 Steve Krug
  44. 44. Unintended consequences?  “What’s that? ever heard of it.”  Uber: New York City traffic congestion, impoverished work force  Airbnb: Impact on housing market  Facebook: You name it. Take your choice.  Craigslist: Demise of local newspapers © 2001 Steve Krug
  45. 45. WE’RE BEING ASKED TO DO NEW THINGS
  46. 46. Usability testing is a great tool  But we’re increasingly being asked to use it to help determine how to manipulate users  Or to determine whether manipulation is working  We’re asked to report on  Satisfaction  Delight  These are not things we’re historically used to determining © 2001 Steve Krug
  47. 47. A usability test is good for…  Improving things  Not:  Determining whether people “like” things  Determining whether they will buy/use them  Determining what will make them use them more © 2001 Steve Krug
  48. 48. Delight is overrated anyway  Think of the sites and apps you use regularly  How many are delightful?  Do you use them because they’re delightful?  You may like them more because of it  But I’ll bet you use them because they do the job better or more conveniently © 2001 Steve Krug
  49. 49. A SEAT AT THE TABLE
  50. 50. A seat at the table!  We never had much clout  I always had it wrong  “Usability will never be an important line item in budgets, like marketing”  “We’ll probably always be the first department laid off in slow times”  But Steve and Jony did the ROI case study  “You can make more money by designing products that meet users’ needs and are easy to use”  Now we’re considered crucial © 2001 Steve Krug
  51. 51. But do we really have more clout?  Do we take part in discussions about tradeoffs between business interests vs. user interests?  Or are we often just being asked to  Help implement the business-centered interests more effectively  Find users weaknesses that can be exploited © 2001 Steve Krug
  52. 52. WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
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  54. 54. Don’t quit your job on my account  I’m no shining example  Phillip Morris and my Dad  It’s hard to turn work down when you really need it  “Paychecks are useful for paying rent and buying stuff.” © 2001 Steve Krug
  55. 55. © 2001 Steve Krug Experienced practitioner: “Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against capitalism and making money… Me: Me either. One of my ambitions was always to sell out. EP: Exactly. I’m happy to sell out. But I have a soul, and I don’t want to sell my soul to sell out.”
  56. 56. Two strategies  Raise the question  “Do we really need to do this?”  “Are you (and your boss) aware that we’re doing this?”  “Have we thought about how our users/customers will react when they figure it out?”  Educate people about what your job/skillset is, and why it’s valuable © 2001 Steve Krug
  57. 57. There are books for that  Here are a few I found interesting © 2001 Steve Krug
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  61. 61. To sum up  Don’t be bullied into using your chisel as a screwdriver  Educate, educate, educate!  Ask the difficult question, when possible  Try to do the right thing, as far as you can © 2001 Steve Krug
  62. 62. The elusive Vonnegut quote © 2001 Steve Krug
  63. 63. © 2001 Steve Krug “There’s really no reason to do the right thing. It just works out better that way.”
  64. 64. © 2001 Steve Krug Thanks for all the fish  Send any questions, feedback, gripes to skrug@sensible.com @skrug on the twitter or visit www.sensible.com
  65. 65. © 2019 Steve Krug

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