When she taught writing, Jen Dary would start with a quote from Steven King describing writing as telepathy: “I never opened my mouth and you never opened yours. We’re not even in the same year together, let alone the same room… except we are together. We’re close. We’re having a meeting of the minds.”
“You forget that someone is on the other end reading,” Jen, a Web 2.0 Expo New York speaker and designer, said. “It’s communication… You’re communicating something through your words.” Continue Reading »
Maybe you’ve been burned before by CSS3. Maybe you held back because you thought it wasn’t ready. Au contraire.
As Web 2.0 Expo New York speaker Denise Jacobs says, CSS3 is set to display your sites in multiple devices right now. Her session, CSS3: Ripe and Ready to Respond, covers the gamut of CSS3 properties from colors, web fonts, and visual effects, to transitions, animations and media queries.
“CSS3 is the best thing since sliced bread for web design and development,” Jacobs, a designer and much more, said. “If you’re not doing it now it doesn’t take that much to get up to speed.” Continue Reading »
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been hoodwinked by manipulative UX design on a website. Maybe they used a bait and switch tactic or disguised ads as navigation options. You likely never returned and are perhaps bitter at the experience – but have you considered that your own website might do the same thing?
If you run a searchable website, you’re likely sitting on a potential gold mine: user search logs.
“The data is semantically rich,” said Lou Rosenfeld, information architecture consultant and founder of Rosenfeld Media. “Users are telling you want they want in their own words.”
Search analytics – an often under-utilized and free resource – allow you to “carry on a conversation with your customers” by listening to their needs and measuring how well your site meets those desires. You can also analyze search queries and results to improve UX design, site navigation, search performance, content strategy, and – as many online retailers have done with search analytics – product offerings. “If you just take the top 50 most frequent queries… and then throw that data into a spreadsheet and play with it, you’re going to get an unbelievable amount of insight in an hour,” he said. Continue Reading »
The inkling of a great idea can come from one mind, but it often takes a team to flush it out. And improve it. And work on it. And put it into practice. And improve it again.
Despite this, many of our office cultures encourage us to work alone or with other like-minded folks (other developers, marketers, designers, or however you identify). The result? Without a variety of perspectives, solutions we offer are limited and sometimes miss the root of the issue.
In her session next week, Web 2.0 Expo speaker Maria Giudice will discuss how we can develop collaborative cultures in our offices and avoid the issues of Groupthink. The talk, Don’t Go It Alone: Using Collaboration to Solve Creative Design Problems, will also cover how we can generate and iterate on ideas much more quickly through collaboration than we can on our own. Additionally, audience members will learn specific participatory design techniques, including group brainstorms, sketching exercises, card sorting, and Maria’s “paper doll” method of creating a web page.
Maria recently spoke with us about her upcoming session and how we can improve collaboration in our own companies. Check out the full audio interview now.
Kaitlin Pike is the Web 2.0 Expo community manager. She can be reached @w2e or @kcpike. Register for Web 2.0 Expo SF now with discount code websf11bl20 to save 20%.
While many developers have an intuitive sense of what looks right, they sometimes lack the vocabulary needed to express their hunches to designers and the rest of the team.
To help fix this common problem, EffectiveUI Senior Developer RJ Owen and Lead Experience Architect Michael Salamon are hosting a session at Web 2.0 Expo SF on Design Essentials for Developers, during which they’ll cover basic design techniques and principles; design vocabulary, heuristics and analysis techniques; how to do quick and dirty user testing and prototyping; and the difference between information architecture and interaction design.
RJ and Michael recently spoke to us about their upcoming session. You can read the full interview below.
Interview with RJ Own and Michael Salamon on Design Essentials for Developers
Kaitlin: Why did you decide to host this session? What particular problems were you seeing at your own company or others’ that made you think this training is necessary?
RJ: As a developer, I find myself frequently involved in making design decisions and really passionate about the way users interact with the applications I’m building.I think we-as-developers are in a unique position to be the first real deep testers of the software we’re making.It’s up to us to help identify design problems early, and this requires a set of tools and a vocabulary that most developers don’t learn in school or along the way.
At EffectiveUI we always hire developers who have strong opinions about design – even if they don’t have the background.We’ve found that people with opinions care, and people who care will take the time required to get the little things done properly.
Michael: It’s naive for designers to think that developers aren’t designing, and it’s in their best interest to arm their design implementers with all the knowledge they can. Unless you are supplying user interface specifications for every possible use case and error, then your development team is doing as much design as your design team is. Continue Reading »
If your startup doesn’t know how to talk to users (and get the most out of those discussions), you could miss out on exactly what your customers want you to know.
Web 2.0 Expo speaker Laura Klein (Users Know) regularly consults with lean startups and other small companies on usability research, and shows them how they can use this valuable information to improve their business.
In her upcoming session Who Do I Talk To Now? User Research for Every Phase of Your Product, Laura will discuss the most common types of usability research, what types of conversations to have with different sets of customers, how this changes as your product matures, and tips on how to avoid some of the common mistakes startups stumble on. We recently talked with Laura about her session and user research.
Read on for the full interview:
Kaitlin: The basic problem your session goes after is how can a startup (which by nature has very limited resources) better “talk” to their customers, specifically with usability research. Without letting the cat out of the bag too much, can you list a few of the types of usability research your session covers and why they’re important?
Laura: Over the past couple of years, dozens of new products have been released that claim to help make user research faster and easier. The problem is that most people don’t know which ones to use or how to get the most out of them.
A large part of what I cover in my session is how to use things like remote usability, unmoderated testing, and micro usability tests to make gathering qualitative feedback much faster. I’ll also talk about which methods give you the best results for the different stages of your product. Continue Reading »
Seven out ten pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned.* But rather than a dearth of information causing these unexpected pregnancies, two Web 2.0 Expo speakers think the real culprit is this: Poorly designed and timed birth control education efforts.
Lawrence Swiader (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy) and Jennifer Maer (IDEO) will take the stage this March to defend this viewpoint and to present their case study Changing Sexual Behavior with Design & Social Media. Along with fascinating information about continuing sex education trends in our culture, their session will address a common problem all businesses face: How to listen to your audience and respond to what they want – and related – how to abandon ideas in the design process that don’t fit.
Over two years ago, the National Campaign and IDEO teamed up to create an online, mobile and social network platform as well as a one-stop educational resource for information about birth control. The main problem: How could they look beyond cost and access issues to address unplanned pregnancy within the age group 18 to 29?
Swiader and Maer said they were surprised by what their research for the site uncovered: Women didn’t want more information on birth control, they wanted the right information – and better sex.
The result of their findings and work – Bedsider.org – has been in beta for 8 months now, and will be part of a national campaign set to launch this fall.
Swiader and Maer spoke with us recently about the research and planning of Bedsider as well as what attendees to their session will take away.
Also included in their session (and discussed in our interview below):
The power of prototyping and human-centered design in behavior change
How technology and human tone of voice can be married well to create something that’s incredibly powerful.
Influencing behavior change by making the reasons relevant to your audience
Why they threw out the original focus on unplanned pregnancy in favor of a focus on better sex
The failure of our current sex education systems to properly teach birth control issues
Speaking the language of your audience vs. what’s technically “proper” (e.g. they use the term “birth control” rather than “contraception”)
Marketing Bedsider.org and future plans
*Data from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Kaitlin Pike is the Web 2.0 Expo community manager. She can be reached @w2e or @kcpike. To see Swiader and Maer speak, register for Web 2.0 Expo SF now with discount code websf11bl20 to save 20%.
Jeremy Britton of ZURB design consultancy thinks your product strategy may have too many features. And if you listen to his theory (which he’ll present at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco this year), you’ll learn how you can chop your plans for one product into bits – and into multiple successful and clean products.
Jeremy’s talk (Add a Feature? No. Make a New Product.) features his own company’s experience as the center case study. Instead of reworking ZURB’s flagship product Notable to update a core screenshot annotation feature, the team created a new product – Bounce - from the idea, and have been overwhelmed with the positive results.
We recently spoke with Jeremy and ZURB’s Marketing Lead Dmitry Dragilev about their product/feature strategy and what to expect from his presentation. Check out the audio interview here:
Included in this interview are the team’s thoughts on
Gradual Engagement: Bringing a customer in slowly but effectively
Determining when to make a feature its own product, and when not to
Why starting fresh makes it easier on your developers
How marketing fits in to this strategy
Keeping the customer’s needs in mind through it all
Kaitlin Pike is the Web 2.0 Expo community manager. She can be reached @w2e or @kcpike. To see Jeremy speak, register for Web 2.0 Expo SF now with discount code websf11bl20 to save 20%.