User Experience is a dialogue

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Source: Flickr

What is UX all about? According to Nielsen Norman Group you can define it as follows:

“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

So it is a dialogue. And what makes a good conversationalist? First of all it’s being a good listener.

A dialogue

When you are talking to somebody they are almost never interested in what you say. They want to express their opinions and their feelings. Let them… and do it actively. Then when you gather enough data (of course some questions would be advised) involve more in the conversation to put it in the rails that are right for you.

And when you are trying to get control of the conversation but at the same time you would like to keep the person talking, how do you achieve it? Firstly, you’re nice, secondly you ask helping questions from time to time and lastly your body language is positive. Before your interlocutor notices the subject has been completely changed and you are having a lot of information on them.

Is this UX related?

UX is a pure dialogue with different layers like: the research, the design and the evaluation.

A UX Research dialogue

How this analogy can be even remotely UX related? Let me divide the presented example into 3 phases:

1. The talking
In our case it is a pure user research. Listening to your interlocutor is analyzing Google Analytics, observing user’s behavior with remote tools like UX Cam.

2. The interaction
How do you start talking to your users? You make your first assumptions and confront them with users by having a user testing. It doesn’t matter if they are simple corridor tests or scheduled lab sessions. You are learning.

3. The body language
How about now? Body language? While asking users you show them initial wireframes and graphic designs. This is your UX body language. You see if your “gestures” encourage them to make positive feedback.

A UX Design Dialogue

So you launched a website and you persuaded users into the conversation with ads, social media and other channels that directed them to you. What happens next?

1. The talking
They browse for a thing they are interested in. They don’t care about you and your needs, they want their needs to be satisfied. If you are interrupting they will end the conversation and find somebody to talk to. Let me give you the good real example of a good designed listener.

Do you know Duolingo? It is an app that allows you to learn foreign languages with your smartphone. Right after you install it, they don’t ask you a tons of questions. If I remember correctly they only want to know what language you want to learn and how much time do you want to spend during the day to do so. So it’s like greeting, nothing less nothing more. Then they let you do your first lessons. You are here for learning, you don’t care for anything else and they let you do it. Isn’t it great? No obstacles, no interruptions!

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Source: Appstore

2. The interaction
So after a while the app wants to gather some info on you. It may come in many forms but the most common one is asking about creating the account. The big drawback in Duolingo here is no Social Media Login but still there are only 3 fields (name, email, password) they want. Pretty seamless!

The key thing in this part is the moderation. Let the users do the normal task in the app and interrupt it only but only if it is needed. You do it often they get angry. Simple as that.

3. The body language
The design is crucial. Firstly, it needs to be consistent. Imagine a person who is dressed like an ordinary business-office-9-to-5 guy but acts like a stand-up comedian or a philosopher. Did you see that coming? You might be misguided by the boring look and amazed by the talk. Let the people see at the first glance what they might get.  So the language, the graphic design and the interactions should follow the same pattern: funny or business-like etc. We are talking about stereotypes now. Sorry but stereotypical thinking is natural and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Actually it might help you a lot in your life as it saves a lot of time while making simple decisions.

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We are likely to rely on shortcuts when we don’t have the inclination, time, energy, or cognitive resources to undertake a complete analysis of the situation. Instead, we must very often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb to classify things according to a few key features and then to respond mindlessly when one or another of these trigger features is present.

Robert B. Cialdini – Influence. The Psychology of Persuasion

You are running a financial institution website and have kittens on your main visuals – bad idea

You have an app for teenagers allowing chatting, sending images and short vides and u use quotes like “Enlarge your networking opportunities” – bad idea

The UX evaluation

What do I mean by that? If you don’t know we are in trouble. It is crucial for the product to succeed. Once you put in on the market you need to analyze it performance in terms of different metrics. The metrics I am talking about are obvious: the UX metrics. If you want to read more about them, please get familiar with this one fine article: 8 effective ways of measuring UX. Ok so let’s start:

1. The talking
It’s the same as the user research phase. You look at the data and see what users do in terms of the defined metrics. Let’s have two simplest one for the sake of the discussion: time on task (which is quite self-explanatory) and task success rate (you define a task like: “a users finishes the registration process successfully”; and you measure the ratio of users who completed the task vs all of the users who entered the process of registration).

2. The interaction
How can you interact here? Well, you see where your metrics are not satisfactory and modify your process. Then you analyze again if your amendments were successful. Do the users spend less time on registration form? Is it because they leave the form or they succeed faster?

3. The body language
Same as above but you not only change the process behavior but the process visualizations. If I enlarge the submit button by 10% how will this affect the success rate? What results will I get if I decrease it by 10%?

Summary

Nothing really new I am going to say. Be a great conversationalist if you want to be great UX designer. Listen actively, ask the right questions and be positive :)

if-you-listen-learn-something-new-dalai-lama-quotes-sayings-picturesSource: The Daily Quotes