#UX #ROI, every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 dollars in return

Every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 dollars in return.

This is gained by spending on UX not making things look pretty, it’s not graphics its making the product, service or information system meet the business KPI’s and the customers expectations, desires and needs.

Forrester Research finds that “implementing a focus on customers’ experience increases their willingness to pay by 14.4 %, reduces their reluctance to switch brands by 15.8 %, and boosts their likelihood to recommend your product by 16.6 %”.

Making things for Users/Customers makes the business relationship are real one rather than just some marketing hype.

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Getting #UX done the UX #engagement #process

UX is a highly complex set of research tools and outputs, the use of which is dependant upon time, cost and the clients willingness to accept them.

Question 1, why are you there?

If the client were to think in best practice terms which for them would deliver exactly what they require then everyone would have a great experience of the process. Unfortunately it is pretty much a given that clients want to prove themselves knowledgable about well everything, in control and this is one of the main problems. I often hear clients say “I understand our users” or “I built this company so I know what users want” maybe they did or used to, but the fact they have called in an agency or consultancy means they don’t anymore. What clients mostly mean is I have my agenda and I want you to listen to it and agree with me. That way is the road to mediocrity.

What does the client really want?

It’s worth at this point asking the client what they want out of the process. If they only want a pat on the head and to be told they are great, best to give them that, do the job get paid and don’t put it on your CV.

If the client (really) wants their products or services to have higher impact, increased transactions, market share and gain advantage, then explain what your doing, how they gain and that great ux will fundamentally change how they work.

Question 2, what does your client understand about what your doing there?

UX is not UI, the experience is not only the interface, it’s what you can do with the interface, what tasks can be completed, what data can be inputted, transformed or called into the UI.

The real pitch for real UX.

The pitch to a new client is not we can make your product or service like your competitors it’s “we can make your offering stand out from the crowd”. Great ux is about shouting over the noise and changing the rules, “don’t catch up – great ux creates the opportunity to jump ahead”.

Question 3, how will your client know they have succeeded?

This is not a KPI hunt, clients are not really interested in you proving success, they already have their own success metrics, strategic plans and objectives they need to report up the chain. They may not be able to directly tell you as these things are highly confidential the important thing from an engagement perspective is can you work them out? Then can you articulate these back to the client in ux terms.

The real job of ux, find out about the users.

The real job of ux is to align the business with the users, from the user perspective. Users ask “what’s in it for me”, “what do I personally gain”. This means that user research is required by the clients customers, in order to work out what they want for from the business in order to take up their services or buy their products, how they will want to interact and what they will give the business for a relationship.

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#UX #Requirements gathering #structure #determines #success

Requirements gathering structure determines success

The Requirement Starting Point is Critical

It is an understood factor in travel that if the journey starts even half a degree wrong then the final destination will be considerably different from where the person intended to be, this is for many why there is a make do culture when working with technology requirements.

Requirement Types

Unfortunately bad requirements gathering can seriously derail a project before it really begins.

There are several types of requirements gathering research that are carried out as separate work streams.

1. Market requirements

Includes competitor analysis and proof of concept.

2. Business requirements

Includes business stakeholder perceptions and business KPI’s.

3. Technology requirements

often described as non functional requirements, including existing capabilities (hardware, software and skill base) and comparable technologies.

4. User Experience requirements

behaviour research, KPI’s, perception research and interpretation for the specific project domain.

Requirement Gathering

One of the key things to understand is that the structure and implementation of requirements gathering in each type is different even if some methods may appear the same, their interpretation and output are not. Additionally in HCD (human centered design) the method of interpretation and output are user centric rather than business centric, I find user stories a very helpful output method as it maintains user goals in a structured format that can be reused in the development process.

Case study 1

In a recent project the client requested assistance in setting up the requirements gathering process, they were intending on having groups of people from the same department together. One of the key things to understand in structuring research is the possible points at which the data can be skewed and therefore become less valid. It is human nature in a group for people to temper what is said if senior staff is present.

Instead of running the requirements gathering along department lines it was defined by UCD stakeholder roles;

  • Senior managers (strategic high level thinkers)
  • Managers (project capability thinkers)
  • Production (detailed problem solving thinkers)
  • External users (frustrated users with wide subject based experience)
  • External consultants (cutting edge thinkers with wide subject based experience) as a design panel

There was also screening documents for participant selection for each role in order to assist in defining effectual research methods. Participants were sent an overview prior to sessions so that they would understand what was going to happen at very general level. In parallel an external agency was commissioned to research market requirements in the same domain and in a comparable domain. A technology audit was also carried out to support the technology requirements component.

Case study 2

In another project where the client was intending the project to effect change in multiple countries and markets requirements gathering research was conducted in several countries. The United Kingdom was used as a baseline country with adaptations defined through in person and remote research for Eastern Europe, Western Europe, USA, South America and South East Asia.

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#Converting #browsers to #buyers, exploring what drives #consumer #choice in internet e-commerce 2005

The following is a paper I wrote in 2005. From WWW/Internet 2005 Proceedings

Converting browsers to buyers: exploring what drives consumer choice in internet e-commerce

Why do internet users behave as they do, are their activities solely determined by website design? Or do they create their own pathways as a response to designated systems. For many, internet design is about the imposition of schemas, predetermined flows and consumer motifs, allowing the shepherding of an understood and mapped user towards buying products and services. However if this were true then every browser would also be a buyer. The underlying concepts of current website design rely on a number of pretexts which, when reviewed in relation to human activity and interaction, become questionable in their veracity.

1.       INTRODUCTION

There is recognition [16] that there is limited information in the understanding of the reciprocity of attitudes and behaviour constituting the relationship between internet shoppers and e-commerce websites. This is in contrast to commercially driven usability and web metrics companies who assert their findings based upon activity patterns often using statistically small samples [15]. Developing an understanding of the relationship between users and websites is key to determining patterns of interaction. Patterns of interaction are currently under investigation in two distinct ways, by using reflective and diagnostic methodologies. Reflection upon measurable activity, clicks, information foraging [5] and sales provide compelling insights for business metrics, can be limited by their subjective constituents. In turn diagnosis based on reviewers or heuristic interpretations with little user involvement [15] produce contentious results. This study will attempt to combine both forms of investigation with a large participant group study producing empirical data to be reviewed using both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

1.1         Research aims

The aims and objectives of the research can be summarised as follows:

  • Why do internet users behave as they do, are their activities solely determined by website design? Or do they create their own pathways as a response to designated systems.
  • List common behaviours and attributes to discern if there is a pattern that can be mapped and predicted.

These present some added details in comparison to the original project aims and objectives, described in the project proposal (appendix 6). Differences and the reasons for them are discussed in the final conclusions (chapter 6).

1.2      Conceptual investigation

  • Technological Determinism
  • How it came about
  • Engineering to computing rather than social science to computing
  • Boudieur absolutes – linking social theory with technology
  • Statistical absolutes taken by industry
  • Conclusion
  • Dialectic Computing
  • Social Computing
  • Tavistock Institute
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Cultural Cognition
  • Embodied Interaction
  • Organic Systems
  • Commodities
  • Biography
  • Conclusion
  • Shopping
  • Consumption
  • Dialectic Interaction
  • Tensions
  • Dynamic
  • Conventions
  • Mediation
  • Trust
  • Conclusion
  • Investigation Methodologies
  • Reflective methodologies
  • Information Scent
  • Internet Statistics
  • Diagnostic methodologies
  • Observational
  • Active Narrative
  • Goals
  • Adaptations
  • Conventions
  • Conclusion
  • Lexical Distribution of Activity
  • Activity as a language
  • Conclusion

2.       E-COMMERCE THEORETICAL UNDERPINNING

The main area of this research is to gain an understanding of how people use technology as an extension of their world [10], specifically in the mode of consumer e-commerce. This world view is augmented by a representation of social constructs by an evolutionary process of active agents of transformation [4] in technology and specifically the creation of an electronic media habitus. This constituency maintains its own cultural capital and produces a parallel distinctive counterpoint to popular and consumer cultures. The nature of human computer interactivity, it’s cultural, educational and gender attributes has a key influence on the unification of money, knowledge and technological aspiration. These factors are also represented in technological deprivation and the personalised safety of internalised ignorance.

To relate instances of electronic media habitus a combination of activity biography [1], [12] and negotiated conventions [7] enable the development of an activity definition index. The cultural disposition of technology, interactions and resultant pathways remain difficult to interpret without recourse to such a framework.

3.       REFLECTIVE METHODOLOGY

Existing methodologies produce results that use complex mathematics to create algorithms [6], create subjective rules of design [15] or usability inspection tools [3]. Which are normally only used with existing websites, only reflecting upon current interactions.

2.1 Information Scent

The cognitive walkthrough of the web has evolved based upon the notion that users decide on their course of action based upon cues, which derive behavioural patterns of interaction then form guide routes of information scent [3]. Information scent has also been developed using aspects of information foraging both structured and unstructured [6]. The Bloodhound project seeks to establish a clear method showing consistent, measurable elements that provide benefit in the design of websites. However there is contention in the effectiveness of this methodology [14] by commercially driven consultants.

2.2 Internet Statistics

There remains a problem with accessing “actionable statistics” [8] for businesses, and while their credibility and measurability remains opaque there will be a question regarding their veracity [18].

4.       DIAGNOSTIC METHODOLOGY

The general interpretation of an open and untamed [2] source of information like the World Wide Web (WWW) requires a systematic review of actions. Actions and user activity [11] in relation to an observable world require a common representation to determine navigation and related target acquisition. Ethnographic studies related by an in-series testing system can reduce the anomalous results associated with subjective reflective data. Ultimately a lexical definition of activity is needed; in the interim the term narrative enables an interpolative review of data which will provide a clearer definition of activity.

3.1 Narrative

The understanding of human interaction can be viewed as participation in the creation of personal historical elements, which allow dispersion in potential trajectories [10] evolving of a self imposed narrative. This narrative can be observed in linguistic and engendered functions which require definition and contextualisation. However to effectively map these functions a lexicon approach [9] as associated with endangered languages, would allow the use of rational linguistic dimensions including orthography, morphology, syntax and semantics. The creation of a lexical basis [17] makes individual actions communicable aspects of communities of actions with related compound, processed and adaptive meanings.

Several hypothetical goals, adaptations and conventions can be derived from this research which will further refine and delineate additional aspects of narrative behavior to produce foundational lexical and activity indices.

3.1.1 Goals

Goals can be a descriptor of predetermined final destinations which can subsequently be reduced to a form of knowledge morpheme. These inter-related sub-rationale units while distinct and finite offer an activity based response to catalytic impositions by addition and adaptation.

3.1.2 Adaptations

Adaptation allows the extension of narratives [13] creating alternative perspectives on the same object or situation. Further modifications can be made in a process of engagement, by determining the user’s perceptions or discernment of active adversity which produces redirection.

3.1.3 Conventions

Conventions allow the use of avatars [7] to create nodes within lexical frameworks, providing index points in a narrative activity. Agreement of conventions in social, emotional and commercial arenas for completion, enable a measurable resolution to tasks.

5.       PROPOSED RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Data for this paper is being gathered through a three tiered research process. The target group for this research is consumers who purchase online, non-experienced WWW users based in the United Kingdom.

An initial pilot survey link has been introduced onto a number of United Kingdom based online shopping directories. Control questions have been used to define the target group and acquire basic demographic information. The survey consists of open ended questions with text areas to allow user to express their opinions on their online purchase experiences.

The main survey will be derived from the pilot by asking detailed questions related to the pilot results. This survey will use menu and dropdown tools with text areas to create both quantitative and qualitative primary data.

The final counterpoint survey will involve twelve participants (six consumers and six heuristic users) working on a series of scenario based activities derived from the main survey results. This ethnographic study will allow interactive testing and appraisal of user preferences, requirements and actual activity.

6.       CONCLUSION

While this paper seeks to review and define the boundaries of an ongoing associated data gathering exercise it has also produced a number of testable hypotheses to be reviewed after data acquisition.

The linking of action cues with ethnographics has the potential to define activity components, constituents, usage and compound derivatives which will allow measurable patterns of formation and defendable narrative component interpretation.

The use of lexical representations will provide a framework for the indexing of interconnected activity components which currently operate under diverse notations.

The ability to interpret interaction will form the basis of other studies to better understand and design e-commerce sites based on human interpretive activity.

REFERENCES

[1]   Appadurai, A. (1988) The social life of things. Commodities in cultural perspective, pp. 64–91. Cambridge:   Cambridge University Press.

[2]   Benyon, D., Turner, P., Turner, S. (2005). Designing Interactive Systems.

[3]   Blackmon, M., H., Polson, P., G., Kitajima, M., Lewis, C. (April 2002) Cognitive walkthrough of the Web. Conference on Human factors in Computing Systems: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in computing systems: Changing our World, changing ourselves. ACM Press: Minnesota, USA.

[4]   Bourdieu, P. (1990). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Harvard University Press.

[5]   Chi, H., Pirollie, P., Pitkow, J. (2000) The Scent of a Site: A System for Analyzing and Predicting Information Scent, Usage and Usability of a Web Site. Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre.

[6]   Chi, H., Rosien, A., Supattanasiri, G., Williams, A., Royer, C., Chow, C., Robles, E., Dalal, B., Chen, J., Cousins, S.  (April 2003). Web usability: The bloodhound project: Automating discovery of web usability issues using the InfoScent™ simulator. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. Pages: 505 – 512. ACM Press: New York, NY, USA.

[7]  Clanton, C., Marks, H., Murray, J., Flanagan, M., Arble, F. (1998). Interactive narrative: stepping into our own stories. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI 98 conference summary on Human factors in computing systems. Pages: 88 – 89.  ACM Press: New York, NY, USA

[8]   Foley, P. (2001) Internet and e-commerce statistics. European Business Review. Vol 13, No. 2. Published: Emerald Fulltext.

[9]   Gulrajani, G. (August 2003) SHAWEL: Sharable and interactive Web-Lexicons. Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics. Max-Planck-Institute: Nijmegen

[10]   Jennings, P. (2005). Constructed Narratives a Tangible Social Interface. Creativity and Cognition: Proceedings of   the 5th conference on Creativity & cognition. Pages: 263 – 266. ACM Press: New York, NY, USA.

[11]   Jul, S., and Furnas, G., W. (1997) Navigation in Electronic Worlds: A CHI 97 Workshop. SIGCHI Bulletin Vol 29, No 4 October.

[12]   Kopytoff, I. (1988) The cultural biography of things: commoditization as process. In: Appadurai, A. (ed.) The social life of things. Commodities in cultural perspective, pp. 64–91. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[13]   Nakhimovsky, A. (June 1988) Special issue on tense and aspect: Aspect, aspectual class, and the temporal structure of narrative. Computational Linguistics, Volume 14 Issue 2 Pages: 29 – 43. MIT Press:   Cambridge, MA, USA

[14]   Nielsen, J. (August 2, 2004). Deceivingly Strong Information Scent Costs Sales. Alertbox from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040802.html

[15]   Nielsen, J. (March 19, 2000). Why You Only Need to Test With 5 Users. Alertbox from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000319.html

[16]   Perea y Monsuwe, T., Dellaert, B., G., C., Ruyter, K. (2004). What drives consumers to shop online? A literature review. International Journal of Service Industry Management. Vol 12, No 1, Pages 102-121. Emerald Fulltext.

[17]   Pustejovsky, J. (December 1991). The Generative Lexicon. Computational Linguistics. Volume 17 Issue 4 Pages: 409 – 441. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA.

[18]   Rosenfield, J. R., (November 2001). Lies damned lies, and internet statistics. Direct Marketing. Published: Garden City. Vol 64, Iss 7 pg 61 – 64.

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