What we can learn from the intelligence community.<br />The difference between puzzles & mysteries<br />
The answer exists, you just have to find it<br />PUZZLES<br />Mission Impossible © 1996. Paramount Home Entertainment. All...
MYSTERIES<br />Don't have clear answers even though all the information may be available<br />The Hurt Locker © 2008. LION...
TASK COMPLETION<br />With user testing it is quantifiable, measurable and predictable<br />Lord of the Rings: The Fellowsh...
EXPERIENCES<br />TRON – Legacy © 2010. Walt Disney Studios Entertainment. All rights reserved<br />Interrelated elements w...
MY FRUSTRATION<br />I was trying looking for a definitive, predictable answer over and over again<br />Groundhog Day © 199...
DEATH BY DATA<br />Hard to understand what’s going on<br />The Matrix © 1999. Warner Home Entertainment. All rights reserv...
SOME ADVICE<br />Identify the puzzles within a mystery and solve themseparately<br />Sherlock Holmes© 2009. Warner Home En...
DON’T PLAY WHACK A MOLE<br />Recognise when solving one problem or being better at one thing won’t help<br />Happy Gilmore...
EXPERIMENT<br />Use radical A/B testing to learn before committing <br />Weird Science © 1985. UCA. All rights reserved<br />
THERE ARE SOLUTIONS<br />Use segmentation,statistical theory, data visualisations and analytical models to clarify meaning...
REFERENCES<br />Risks & riddles. By Gregory F. Treverton, Smithsonian magazine, June 2007 http://www.smithsonianmag.com/pe...
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What UX can learn from the intelligence community

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Presentation given at Lightning UX looking at the differences between puzzles and mysteries and how that approach can help solve many UX issues

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  • Post Sept 11: Puzzles &amp; MysteriesGregory Treverton, former Vice Chair of the US National Intelligence Council made the distinctionI encountered the concept via Malcolm Galdwell’s“What the Dog Saw” in the chapter “Open Secrets”
  • Puzzles are binary: Cold war – specific information / activities about the soviet union Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts.Individuals discover key pieces of information and persistence will get there in the end
  • Mysteries don’t have clear cut answers and evolve:What happens when you invade a country or support regime change? How do you detect terrorist cells and their activities.Vast amounts of information are available (SMS, email, credit cards, travel arrangements, accommodation, etc). Deciphering it and detecting what’s important is difficult. Often the level of noise in data obscures what’s interesting.
  • Are puzzles. It’s where a lot of qualitative research techniques and the user experience industry has evolved from. Research tends to produces reliable results that we can use to solve problems and the extent to which the problem is fixed is reasonably predictable.
  • Are mysteries: Often when you think you’ve solved one problem it just resurfaces elsewhere.We now have vast number of data and tools to interpret results but it’s hard to find actionable insight.
  • Ground hog day – struggling to find clear answers in data.The opposite of the virtuous circle, the wicked whirlpool of tools: The business wants more definitive answers and more predictable out comesIf the answers aren’t apparent use more sophisticated tools and get more dataIf no more insight is achieved repeat the previous step.More time is spent implementing, learning the tools and analysing and less time solving problems by actually designing, building, experimenting and improving.
  • It’s often difficult to find answers because:Tools usually don’t measure what we actually want to know so we have to do complex inferences It’s easy to start chasing answers and continually looking at more segments to find some explanationCan easilyloose focus on what you’re actually trying to do
  • Pick out the small pieces that are clear areas to focus on (we usually do this already and call them ‘quick wins’)Characteristics of these are usually: Clear / obvious metrics for successEasily predictable solutions Little contention about approachSo get these out of the way as quickly as you can
  • Recognise when it’s part of a bigger journey and you could just be moving the weakest point to another part of the system. Change approach or at least recognise that that will happen in advance.
  • Think about designing for experiments instead of designing just one solution and then test radically different solutionsFor a bit more effort upfront you can often get a framework which allows for multiple solutions and if you’re going to be iterating then it’ll save you a lot in the long run. Work with your developers on how you can maximise your flexibility.
  • Learn different analysis techniques. Too often we assume by just looking at things we will be able to see the meaning in it. Yet most of us have limited analytical skills, especially numeric ones.Understand: Standard deviation and statistical significanceThe pitfalls of averagesCorrelationsControl charts and control limits (but you’ll need to know about different types of distribution as well for this)Apply:Kano modelling NPSKeep up with the new data visualisation tools that can really help understanding.
  • Thank you
  • What UX can learn from the intelligence community

    1. What we can learn from the intelligence community.<br />The difference between puzzles & mysteries<br />
    2. The answer exists, you just have to find it<br />PUZZLES<br />Mission Impossible © 1996. Paramount Home Entertainment. All rights reserved<br />
    3. MYSTERIES<br />Don't have clear answers even though all the information may be available<br />The Hurt Locker © 2008. LIONSGATE Home Entertainment. All rights reserved<br />
    4. TASK COMPLETION<br />With user testing it is quantifiable, measurable and predictable<br />Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring © 2002. Entertainment in Video. All rights reserved<br />
    5. EXPERIENCES<br />TRON – Legacy © 2010. Walt Disney Studios Entertainment. All rights reserved<br />Interrelated elements where changes can be unpredictable<br />
    6. MY FRUSTRATION<br />I was trying looking for a definitive, predictable answer over and over again<br />Groundhog Day © 1993. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. All rights reserved<br />
    7. DEATH BY DATA<br />Hard to understand what’s going on<br />The Matrix © 1999. Warner Home Entertainment. All rights reserved<br />
    8. SOME ADVICE<br />Identify the puzzles within a mystery and solve themseparately<br />Sherlock Holmes© 2009. Warner Home Entertainment. All rights reserved<br />
    9. DON’T PLAY WHACK A MOLE<br />Recognise when solving one problem or being better at one thing won’t help<br />Happy Gilmore © 1996. UCA. All rights reserved<br />
    10. EXPERIMENT<br />Use radical A/B testing to learn before committing <br />Weird Science © 1985. UCA. All rights reserved<br />
    11. THERE ARE SOLUTIONS<br />Use segmentation,statistical theory, data visualisations and analytical models to clarify meaning<br />Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps © 2010. 20th Century Fox. All rights reserved<br />
    12. REFERENCES<br />Risks & riddles. By Gregory F. Treverton, Smithsonian magazine, June 2007 http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/presence_puzzle.html#ixzz1CPqCGaa7<br />Open secrets. Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker, January 2007 http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/01/08/070108fa_fact<br />About Me<br />Lucy Spence<br />LOVEFiLM, Head of Product (Acquisition & Retention)<br />Twitter: @lucyjspence<br />

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