Managing Complexity
UX vs the business model
Rick Monro Fathom
@monro @Fathom_UX
!
UX Scotland 2014
What we’ll cover
• Sources of complexity
• How complexity adversely affected a recent project
If we begin to discuss scope as
complexity, instead of flexibility, it
changes the conversation…
Complexity is scope.
Jon ...
It’s all Don’s fault (probably).
Acknowledged classic
Lesser known classic
! STEVE JOBS KLAXON !
He’s a minimalist and constantly
reducing things to their simplest level.
Steve is a systems designer.
He simplifies compl...
UX vs the complexity dragon
For Steve!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/why_spyder/12019319314
Simplicity is not the goal. We do not
wish to give up the power and
flexibility of our technologies.
The design challenge ...
Complexity is a raw material
Two types of complexity
Intrinsic Complexity
adjective
belonging naturally; essential
1
This is a complex process
The glass cockpit - flat design arrives
This takes people into space
Imposed Complexity
verb
[ with obj. ] force (an unwelcome decision or ruling)
2
Booking a flight
https://www.flickr.com/photos/autumn_bliss/467766536/
Specifics required for flight booking
Flying to:
1 0
Flying from:
Departure date
Return date
0
Search
Other inputs required for flight booking
✓ Flight times?
✓ Existing account?
✓ Insurance?
✓ Extra luggage?
✓ Choose seat?
...
Other inputs required for flight booking
✓ Flight times?
✓ Existing account?
✓ Insurance?
✓ Extra luggage?
✓ Choose seat?
...
! CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY KLAXON !
https://www.flickr.com/photos/grebo_guru/19389579/
Web search is managed complexity
https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1brett/3892759647/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rrrrred/3735399887
The big opportunity arrives…
Existing site search: inputs required
Choose county
Search all towns
3 2
27 Jul 2013
2 2
Currency
Search
Adults Children
A...
Search time: 9 seconds.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cdresz/2953377031/
Standard hotel rooms
Single Twin Double Family
Standard guesthouse rooms
Single Double Whatever
“It depends” is the answer.
!
Now.. what’s the question?
Complexity in action
Choose county
Search all towns
3 2
27 Jul 2013
2 2
Currency
Search
Adults Children
Arrival date
Night...
“
”A marauding, innovating disruptor
AirBnB brought back the human
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alternative_illustrations/5839784828
#facepalm
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cesarastudillo/3981364314/
#AirBnB UI, not AirBnB UX?
It became a different project after that.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stumayhew/5442893743
Revisiting the scene of the crime
Choose county
Search all towns
3 2
27 Jul 2013
2 2
Currency
Search
Adults Children
Arriv...
Improved inputs - better outputs
3 22
Location
Arrival date
Search
Nights Adults Children
If we begin to discuss scope as
complexity, instead of flexibility, it
changes the conversation…
Complexity is scope.
Jon ...
Every application has an inherent
amount of irreducible complexity. The
only question is who will have to deal
with it, th...
1. Establish early in projects what type of complexity
you are dealing with - inherent or imposed
2. Is the complexity cre...
Thank you
Rick Monro Fathom
@monro @Fathom_UX
!
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Managing Complexity: UX vs the business model

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Designers are routinely required to manhandle disparate resources and inputs into a coherent end product. UX design, however, must work harder in order to truly deliver on the promise of a user-centred design process.

A user-focused assessment of any business model will ask tough questions, often leaving the UX designer as the most unpopular person in the room.

This talk, originally delivered at UX Scotland 2014, addressed how user experience designers must be able to not only manage complex interfaces, but challenge the business logic that leads to them.

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Managing Complexity: UX vs the business model

  1. 1. Managing Complexity UX vs the business model Rick Monro Fathom @monro @Fathom_UX ! UX Scotland 2014
  2. 2. What we’ll cover • Sources of complexity • How complexity adversely affected a recent project
  3. 3. If we begin to discuss scope as complexity, instead of flexibility, it changes the conversation… Complexity is scope. Jon Bolt, BoxesandArrows.com “Complexity and User Experience”, Nov 2011 “ ”
  4. 4. It’s all Don’s fault (probably).
  5. 5. Acknowledged classic
  6. 6. Lesser known classic
  7. 7. ! STEVE JOBS KLAXON !
  8. 8. He’s a minimalist and constantly reducing things to their simplest level. Steve is a systems designer. He simplifies complexity. John Sculley, CEO of Apple 1983-1993 on Steve Jobs “ ”
  9. 9. UX vs the complexity dragon For Steve! https://www.flickr.com/photos/why_spyder/12019319314
  10. 10. Simplicity is not the goal. We do not wish to give up the power and flexibility of our technologies. The design challenge is to manage complexity so that it isn’t complicated Don Norman, ‘Living With Complexity’ “ ”
  11. 11. Complexity is a raw material
  12. 12. Two types of complexity
  13. 13. Intrinsic Complexity adjective belonging naturally; essential 1
  14. 14. This is a complex process
  15. 15. The glass cockpit - flat design arrives
  16. 16. This takes people into space
  17. 17. Imposed Complexity verb [ with obj. ] force (an unwelcome decision or ruling) 2
  18. 18. Booking a flight https://www.flickr.com/photos/autumn_bliss/467766536/
  19. 19. Specifics required for flight booking Flying to: 1 0 Flying from: Departure date Return date 0 Search
  20. 20. Other inputs required for flight booking ✓ Flight times? ✓ Existing account? ✓ Insurance? ✓ Extra luggage? ✓ Choose seat? ✓ Want to hire a car? ✓ Want car parking? ✓ ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THE SEAT THING? ✓ TELL US WHAT YOU ARE DOING. ✓ You agree we everything we have just told you. No? THEN GET ONE. ARE YOU SURE??
  21. 21. Other inputs required for flight booking ✓ Flight times? ✓ Existing account? ✓ Insurance? ✓ Extra luggage? ✓ Choose seat? ✓ Want to hire a car? ✓ Want car parking? ✓ ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THE SEAT THING? ✓ TELL US WHAT YOU ARE DOING. ✓ You agree we everything we have just told you. £ £ £ £ £ £ No? THEN GET ONE. ARE YOU SURE??
  22. 22. ! CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY KLAXON ! https://www.flickr.com/photos/grebo_guru/19389579/
  23. 23. Web search is managed complexity https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1brett/3892759647/
  24. 24. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rrrrred/3735399887 The big opportunity arrives…
  25. 25. Existing site search: inputs required Choose county Search all towns 3 2 27 Jul 2013 2 2 Currency Search Adults Children Arrival date Nights Rooms
  26. 26. Search time: 9 seconds. https://www.flickr.com/photos/cdresz/2953377031/
  27. 27. Standard hotel rooms Single Twin Double Family
  28. 28. Standard guesthouse rooms Single Double Whatever
  29. 29. “It depends” is the answer. ! Now.. what’s the question?
  30. 30. Complexity in action Choose county Search all towns 3 2 27 Jul 2013 2 2 Currency Search Adults Children Arrival date Nights Rooms the problem
  31. 31. “ ”A marauding, innovating disruptor
  32. 32. AirBnB brought back the human https://www.flickr.com/photos/alternative_illustrations/5839784828
  33. 33. #facepalm https://www.flickr.com/photos/cesarastudillo/3981364314/ #AirBnB UI, not AirBnB UX?
  34. 34. It became a different project after that. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stumayhew/5442893743
  35. 35. Revisiting the scene of the crime Choose county Search all towns 3 2 27 Jul 2013 2 2 Currency Search Adults Children Arrival date Nights Rooms let’s get rid of the problem
  36. 36. Improved inputs - better outputs 3 22 Location Arrival date Search Nights Adults Children
  37. 37. If we begin to discuss scope as complexity, instead of flexibility, it changes the conversation… Complexity is scope. Jon Bolt, BoxesandArrows.com “Complexity and User Experience”, Nov 2011 “ ”
  38. 38. Every application has an inherent amount of irreducible complexity. The only question is who will have to deal with it, the user or the developer. Don Norman, ‘Living With Complexity’ “ ”
  39. 39. 1. Establish early in projects what type of complexity you are dealing with - inherent or imposed 2. Is the complexity created by technology that can - and should - be replaced by human interaction 3. Plan your scope, client engagement and research around this information Recommendations
  40. 40. Thank you Rick Monro Fathom @monro @Fathom_UX !

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