Designing for the Right Audience (with notes)


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Talk from Renaissance IO 2014 on how to make sure you’re designing your apps for the right audience. Covers Baxley’s “Universal Model of the User Interface” and designer temperaments.

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Designing for the Right Audience (with notes)

  1. 1. Designing for the Right Audience Danielle Arvanitis
  2. 2. Worked in UX for almost 15 years / Started with a Macintosh SE / Made me so productive & inspired me to help others get the most out of their computing experiences / Recently, Tim B tweeted this…
  3. 3. Plaid is the new flat —Tim Burks …when Apple decided to hire the CEO of Burberry to run its retail operations. It cracked me up, but it also reminded me of some other quotes I’ve been hearing lately, from people like…
  4. 4. John Maeda, KPCB “Indeed, the tech industry sometimes seems about to merge with the fashion industry.” / Julie Zhuo of Facebook about flat vs. solving real problems / Wanted to tell a story about the extent to which this is becoming an issue…
  5. 5. Sunnyvale Two years ago I went to work for a company in Sunnyvale. It was ramping up the UX team after it had been slashed during an acquisition…
  6. 6. They do B2C secure mobile enterprise data (examples) / Allows people to be productive while mobile, geared primarily to salespeople and executives…
  7. 7. The app had 1.5 stars in iTunes, but we had lots of data about user complaints to go on… / Great, we’ve got a new VP and a new team, let’s roll up our sleeves…
  8. 8. Of course there were the usual challenges…vague customer requests, disagreements among & within teams, but we started churning stuff out quickly…
  9. 9. After first release, we waited a couple of days, thought about all the work we’d done, and said: let’s take a look at the user reviews!
  10. 10. Not only did we still have 1.5 stars, the tone of the comments was something like this…
  11. 11. “This is lipstick on a pig. / We’ve been waiting two years for Notes sync! / Why can’t we forward meeting invitations yet? / Notifications are still broken!”
  12. 12. A schism had already begun within the team between people who wanted to focus on usability and user complaints and those who wanted to work on “sexy stuff”…
  13. 13. By the time I left, we’d had two huge redesigns focusing on visual. We were spending far more on how the app looked than on what it did, wasting millions & leaving users unhappy. This was really demotivating.
  14. 14. Designing for the wrong audience It became clear that some of us in UX & PM were designing for the wrong audience. But what does that mean, exactly? There are lots of ways you can do it…
  15. 15. Designing for ourselves …also called “self-referential design”
  16. 16. “I’m young, I work in SV, I always have the latest devices, I copy insider apps my users aren’t familiar with, I use tiny fonts” (Average iPhone 5S buyer is 34, 5c buyer is 38) / Pull-to-refresh story
  17. 17. Designing for design peers I’ll design the most beautiful animations and unique transitions so I’ll get lots of attention, without thinking about whether our devs can code them or our databases can support them. I’ll eliminate cues because they clutter my design… / Navigation story
  18. 18. Designing for the marketing department The technology can do X, so let’s show it off…
  19. 19. 7 11 4 avg high low I tried 10 times to change my alarm by 30 minutes. When did it become acceptable to require 10 attempts to correctly set an alarm clock? For those who loved the Mac for making us effective, this is the height of arrogance.
  20. 20. Designing for patents Hey, management wants to fill the patent portfolio… designing things no one would ever put into a product because they didn’t make any sense. No one else had ever done X because it was a bad idea.
  21. 21. Designing for gatekeepers & the media
  22. 22. Samsung’s Gear watch: trying to get attention in the wearables market. Widely panned: David Pogue called it “a human-interface train wreck.”
  23. 23. First iOS 7 beta. Ex-Apple designer Sebastiaan de With: “This is iOS as re-imagined by a graphic designer. Non-obvious, undiscoverable interactions; extremely poor iconography; over-Helveticated.” And let’s not forget the misleading cue that had veteran iPhone users trying to swipe up to unlock.
  24. 24. “Real” people like these, who live and work outside of SV, didn’t ask for all their familiar icons, buttons, and UI “chrome” to be taken away. Apple did this to respond to Android and WP. Intuitive gestures are great, but thinking users will learn a different set of “guesstures” for each app is, again, arrogant.
  25. 25. Vision has been hominids’ primary sensory modality for tens of millions of years. That isn’t going to change because some designers decided for a while that visibile controls were clutter.
  26. 26. The promise you make… …when you put out a product, unless it’s for entertainment purposes, is, “Here’s something you can use to get things done and make your life better.” Putting out something like the Samsung Gear is immoral. Mike Monteiro (muledesign) and Mark Hurst (Creative Good) have done great talks about design responsibility lately.
  27. 27. So…how can I be sure to design for the right audience? Normally, I’d talk about user research. I’ve spent more than half my career as researcher. But as I discovered at this job, all the research in the world won’t help if you have the wrong designers.
  28. 28. Skills First, hire for skills. There’s a great quote…
  29. 29. One designer can illustrate with ease, while another can barely manage a stick figure. Both are competent UX designers. —Braden Kowitz, Google Ventures …and a lot of people who work in design don’t understand this. “But how can this be? We all know designers make things pretty. Every job description asks for Photoshop experts.” / There’s a diagram I want to talk about…
  30. 30. Style Layout Manipulation Viewing & Navigation Task Flow Conceptual Model STRUCTURE Organizational Model BEHAVIOR User Assistance   PRESENTATION Text This is by Bob Baxley in Making the Web Work. Developers talk about the “UI layer,” but there are at least three categories and nine layers in UI…
  31. 31. Style Layout Manipulation Viewing & Navigation Task Flow Conceptual Model STRUCTURE Organizational Model BEHAVIOR User Assistance   PRESENTATION Text Presentation is things like color, typefaces, layout… they’re first things people see, and many people don’t see past them. Lots of us have demo’d a complex end-to-end transaction, only to have the client completely miss that entirely and critique the colors or button labels…
  32. 32. Style Layout Manipulation Viewing & Navigation Task Flow Conceptual Model STRUCTURE Organizational Model BEHAVIOR User Assistance   PRESENTATION Text Behavior is buttons, text entry, gestures…how people navigate and interact with the app…
  33. 33. Style Layout Manipulation Viewing & Navigation Task Flow Conceptual Model STRUCTURE Organizational Model BEHAVIOR User Assistance   PRESENTATION Text Structure is the real fundamentals of the UI—but few except the dev team are aware of them. What is this thing, and what does it do? What other things is it like? What tasks does it support? What order can you do them in?
  34. 34. Style Layout Manipulation Viewing & Navigation Task Flow Conceptual Model STRUCTURE Organizational Model BEHAVIOR User Assistance   PRESENTATION Text The problem is…upper-right is most visible, but if you don’t nail the bottom left, you might have a beautiful app but you won’t have a usable app. And people good at one of these typically aren’t great at another…though you will often have overlap between adjacent categories.
  35. 35. Text VISUAL DESIGNER Style Layout BEHAVIOR User Assistance Manipulation INTERACTION DESIGNER Viewing & Navigation Task Flow ARCHITECT Conceptual Model STRUCTURE Organizational Model These categories map to different job roles. Right now we find job descriptions for the top two, but because the focus of interaction design in mobile has shifted from the interaction between a user and a system to the interaction between a finger and a screen, we might need to separate out the role of UX Architect.
  36. 36. Temperament In addition to skills, I focus on temperament. This was the basis of the split in our team that I mentioned earlier.
  37. 37. Ego-driven Hate to use this term, but didn’t find a better one…these person wants to create beautiful things, loves anything new, wants to set trends or at least follow them very closely, be seen as hip and cutting-edge.
  38. 38. Service-driven Motivated primarily to solve problems and make people’s lives better. / This distinction exists across UI categories. For example, you can have an architect who wants to insist on the latest frameworks even if they aren’t the best for the project.
  39. 39. But how do I tell them apart? You’ll notice I used the same photo for both—you can’t just tell them apart by looking at them.
  40. 40. A simple question “Say you’re in your 60s. You’ve had a great career, and you’re about to retire. What sorts of projects would you look back on and be proudest of?”
  41. 41. Listen for keywords Ego-driven: “Cool, innovative, cutting-edge” Service-driven: “People, problems, goals, motivations, tasks” / Researcher example
  42. 42. You need both! …but not in the same proportion. If you don’t have any ego-driven, you might fall behind competitors. But if you have mostly ego-driven, you’ll wind up with the situation I described earlier.
  43. 43. Last thoughts
  44. 44. This is a great time for design.
  45. 45. This is a great time for design. ERS I think the jury is out right now about whether this is a great time for users.
  46. 46. Just be aware that as mobile matures, “real” people will get better at being able to tell whether you made a labor of love for them…
  47. 47. …or something for yourself. And let’s make sure we aren’t turning “computing for the rest of us” into “computing for the best of us.”
  48. 48. Design is a service industry
  49. 49. Thanks! Danielle Arvanitis @dannyoyello