The UIE Podcast
Summary: The Next Generation of Podcasts from UIE. Stay tuned for new stories and take-aways you can use in your day to day design work.
Art versus Science is the quintessential Left Brain/Right Brain cage match. But in reality, math factors into great works of art as much as developing a treatment plan for a patient could be considered the doctor's design. Andrew Shipe is a developer at MEDITECH, a company that makes Health Records software. Through his research he found that medicine can sometimes be as much art as science, a fact that was getting lost in the cold, analytical research data. He discovered that telling stories helped to span that divide in understanding. Kim Goodwin, Author of Designing for the Digital Age, joins us on this podcast to share her thoughts on Andrew's approach of using stories and how that is the first step down the road of scenario based research. Kim will also be teaching one of the full day workshops at UI22 this November 13-15 in Boston. For more information visit uiconf.com.
You can draw a direct line in the UX family tree from User Experience Design back to Human Computer Interaction. What if we could make the “computer” aspect of that interaction, feel less like a machine, and more like a human? Robert Sens, the Lead Product Designer of the restaurant reservation app, Reserve, sought to create a conversational user interface to help users get seated at restaurants. They settled on implementing a chatbot to simulate the interaction of speaking to a reservationist. Steph Hay, VP of Design for AI Experiences at Capital One joins us on this podcast to share her experiences in crafting conversational UIs and her insights into Reserve’s approach. Steph will also be teaching a full day workshop at UI22, November 13-15 in Boston on designing conversational UIs.
According to Heraclitus, the only thing that remains constant is change. The internet itself has evolved exponentially over a relatively short amount of time. Few relics from the early days of the web remain, and those that have, have been forced to change. Adam McClean is the SVP of Product at Dotdash. Dotdash was once About.com. The very same About.com that has been around for 21 years. Adam and his team were increasingly aware that the landscape around them was changing, and that they needed to evolve. They made the switch to a new brand, Dotdash, and a new process, to keep up with technological and market changes. Dan Mall, who runs SuperFriendly out of Philadelphia, joins the podcast to share his views on the evolution of dotDash’s process in support of their new brand. Dan will also be teaching one of the daylong workshops at UI22 this November 13-15 in Boston, MA. He’ll show how to develop workflows for the multi-device world we live in.
Design systems can organize and clarify a team’s design practice. Made of patterns and component libraries, they add a level of cohesion across designs. This, of course, can only occur once you have a design system in place. So how do you build one in the first place? Nick Stamas, the Creative Lead on the Business Products Team at WeWork, set out to do just that. He surveyed WeWork’s existing designs, noting inconsistencies, and pitched the idea of a design system to help streamline the work being done. His challenge was building this all out while WeWork continued to grow. Nathan Curtis, author of Modular Web Design, has identified stages that occur when implementing a design system. He shares his insights into Nick’s story and how you go from building the system to working as a systems team. He will be joining us in Boston, November 13-15 to teach one of the daylong workshops at the UI22 conference. For more information, visit uiconf.com.
Storytelling is an essential form of human communication. You likely have a favorite story, and it’s probably something really memorable. The more that story is told and retold, the further it travels and the more influence it gains. A good story can be infectious. Stories can also come from unexpected places. LaiYee Ho is the Head of Research at Wink and joins us for this episode. Early in Wink’s research practice one story in particular resonated with the team that was uncovered during an in-home visit, the story of Dominic and Donna. That story spread throughout the organization and fundamentally changed the way Wink approached their products. Also on the podcast is Whitney Quesenbery, the author of Storytelling for User Experience. She shares her insights about Wink’s discovery and how storytelling can be one of the most powerful research tools. Whitney is also teaching one of the daylong workshops at UI22, November 13-15 in Boston.
Empathy. It’s an unavoidable word in the world of user experience design. Too often it is applied to designs in too narrow a fashion. Your empathy should come from the problem your design is solving, not measured in the level of frustration or delight experienced with your design. Ariel Kennan is the Director of Design and Product at the New York City Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity. She has been working on the HOME-STAT initiative which is an effort of the City of New York to properly provide services to the city’s homeless population. In this episode, Ariel shares her story and is joined by Marc Stickdorn who offers his insights on how service design can be done on such a massive scale. Marc is the CEO and co-founder of More Than Metrics and author of the book Service Design Thinking. He will also be teaching a daylong workshop at the UI22 conference in Boston this November 13-15. To find out more about his workshop, visit uiconf.com.
We often talk in terms of silos in organizations, where information isn’t readily shared and communication leaves something to be desired. Another way to think of a team who is heads-down working on the overall journey is to imagine swim lanes. Each department is so focused on their own part of the experience that they might not be fully aware of each step a user has to go through to complete the journey. In this episode, Conor Ward, Head of UX and Design at Centrica & British Gas, tells a story of how mapping out the journey to acquiring a quote for boiler insurance revealed some unexpected insights. Jim Kalbach, author of Mapping Experiences, also joins the podcast to share his expertise on the subject of journey mapping.
Sometimes, the world of user experience design requires creative solutions. There are numerous methodologies and an even greater number of myths about where and when they are supposed to be used. Lean UX is one such process that is associated mostly with startups and very early stage projects. But what if you were to apply Lean UX to an existing site? And what if that site was a multinational industry-leader with millions of users? In this episode of the UIE Podcast, Austin Knight, Senior UX Designer at Hubspot, discusses how the Hubspot team employed Lean UX to tackle their website’s redesign. Jeff Gothelf, the co-authour of Lean UX and Sense & Respond, joins us to offer his insights on Austin’s efforts.
Much like superstition, something that is believed to be an important metric may not apply to the reality of your product or service’s experience. Understanding the behavior of your users, introducing some science, is what leads to greater context and insight. In this episode of the UIE Podcast, Chris Callaghan of McCann UK talks about his experience of joining a team and seeing the superstition first hand: A roomful of folks attempting to derive meaning from numbers, but having the same conversations over and over. Straying from superstition and introducing science started with the simple question: “do we know if anyone outside of this room can use this?” Kate Rutter joins us to help dispel some of the myths surrounding analytics and offers insight on how to come to true meaning.
If we keep adding functionality, we start to clutter our enterprise application’s design. That clutter can create a substantial burden on the user while obscuring the functionality we want them to use. In this episode of the UIE Podcast, Amanda Linden talks about her challenge of fighting back clutter in Asana’s design. Hagan Rivers talks about her techniques for helping enterprise app teams deal with the issue of clutter.
Corporate life expects us to be experts, to know the answer to every question. We make “requirements”, which turn out to really be assumptions, but because we never call them assumptions, we never go about testing them. This is as much a social political issue as anything. The higher you are in the organization, the more you’re expected to just know the answer. In this episode, Jared and Richard Banfield explore the role of design sprints in cultivating an environment where it is ok to say “I don’t know”. Allowing yourself to admit this, and allowing your teammates to as well, leads to greater collaboration as you explore the answers together.
Storytelling is a powerful way to measure our understanding of our users and their experiences. But unfortunately, we don't always get the story right. User experience rests more on listening to what the users want to tell us rather than the stories research teams and designers tell themselves within the confines of their organizations. Perhaps it’s time to first try story listening before recanting the tales. In this episode, we hear a story from Mike Monteiro about design going wrong. Jared Spool then talks to Marc Rettig about how the team could employ a technique, the Collective Story Harvest, to take apart the problem and come to new insights. All by listening to a story.
When your user gets value from your design, they’ll likely make using it into a habit. They’ll keep coming back, forming more habits as they continue to get results. When we add new features, we often force them to break the habits they’ve carefully formed. That’s what makes our users upset when we change the design unexpectedly. Their old habits no longer deliver the value they once did, and now they have to form new ones. In this episode, Jared learns from Amy Jo Kim how game designers approach the problem of introducing new levels, weapons, and other features. Amy Jo shows how the way game designers think can be easily applied to your designs.
There’s a saying that you can’t know where you are going unless you know where you come from. Designing navigation for enterprise applications is a journey unto itself. One that UX Immersion speaker, Hagan Rivers is quite familiar with. In this podcast, listen as Jared Spool discusses the importance of clear navigation systems in enterprise applications with special guest Hagan Rivers. They explore techniques for tackling complex navigation, how screen codes are perfect for those with in-depth experience, and how a balance with ease-of-learning is critical. When you’re sitting face to face with the wilderness that is an enterprise application, a map and compass would serve you well. Unless you’re a tracker, know which side moss grows on a tree, or can follow the stars, you’re likely not going to be able to navigate through on your own, much less find shortcuts and become proficient.
Enterprise applications are massive, often unwieldy pieces of software. You get a sense they were never truly improved or updated, they just had a continuous string of features tacked on until it got to the point where they are almost impossible to use. And they’re old. This focus on features let design fall to the wayside, making it less important than the application’s perceived capabilities. Now, you’re forced to stare at a screen straight out of 1995. You’ve become a time traveler, whether you were aware of it or not. We’ve come across other time travelers in our journey. You aren’t alone. One such person is Hagan Rivers, who has worked tirelessly to bring these enterprise applications into modern time, if not the future. In this podcast, listen to Jared Spool weave a tale of time travel with special guests Hagan Rivers and Dana Chisnell.