Do you use quantitative research methods like surveys? Quantitative research is necessary within the world of UX. This type of research is focused on numbers of responses to provide statistical significance, and consists of popular methods like surveys and analytics within UX.
Quantitative vs qualitative research in UX
Quantitative research results provides hard data in large numbers – it gives you the what. What are users doing? What are the problems with your website?
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is focussed on revealing insights on the why. Why are users behaving in a certain way? Why they are motivated to complete their goal? Qualitative research takes the form of interviews conducted by a professional UX researcher that provides rich data. This data often needs the analysis and interpretation of a UX specialist to uncover the psychological and behaviour insights that are key to making effective changes to your UX designs.
Quantitative research confirms you have a specific problem.
Qualitative research tells you why you have the problem.
The UX expert tells you what you need to change within your design(s) to resolve the problem.
Problems UXers have with surveys
A survey conducted with 429 UX professionals by the NNGroup found that many UXers aren’t conducting as many surveys as they’d like. They gave the following reasons:
Quantitative research is too expensive
Quantitative research is too time-consuming
Difficulty recruiting enough participants for large sample sizes
Lack of knowledge on the team about how to conduct or analyze quantitative research
Lack of knowledge on the team about what quantitative research is, when to use it, or what the methodologies are
Lack of understanding of the value of quantitative research
Lack of understanding of the value of research in general — not just quantitative research
Difficulty interpreting or reporting quantitative research findings
If any of the above resonate with you and your team, then firstly, you’re not alone, and secondly, we would highly recommend getting in touch with us.
We will advise and help wherever you need it. We can also provide a reasonably priced full end to end survey service to take the whole process off your hands.
To recruit users to take part in surveys, you need access to what’s called a panel. Did you know that our sister company, I Need Users, has a huge panel that you can access?
Completions from a huge UK wide panel, including Ireland.
Quick turnaround. Get hundreds of completions within a matter of days.
Niche participants available.
Very reasonable pricing.
FREE replacements of dropouts.
Help linking your survey to our panel (don’t worry, it’s easy!).
I Need Users was created by the founders of Keep It Usable, to provide a higher quality, more reliable participant recruitment service to UX professionals. All of our businesses are focussed on giving you the best possible service.
How many decisions do you make about food in a day?
3? 10? 50? You may be surprised to know it’s 226.
So, if you make 226 decision about food in day, how many decisions do you think you make about everything, in a typical day?
35,000! It’s a lot isn’t it?
You’re probably a bit skeptical about that figure. After all, wouldn’t you know if you were making that many decisions? Well, thankfully, most of these thought processes are carried out by what we call the system 1 part of the brain. It’s the part that we’re not consciously aware of, so these decisions are instinctive, intuitive and automatic.
In contrast, system 2 decisions are those that we are consciously aware of. When we talk about why we’ve made a decision, this is the system we’ll access. System 2 thinking is more rational, logical, takes more effort and it’s much slower.
Which system makes us happier in decision making?
Well to some extent this depends on the decision being made. When choosing a bank account, you’re more likely to use system 2 and to be happy with the decision. When making simple choices (such as buying towels), people are satisfied when they consider the decision (system 2).
However, when it comes to more pleasure seeking choices you may be better utilising system 1.
The evidence for this comes from a study conducted by Dijksterhuis who analysed people’s happiness when shopping for furniture in Ikea. Dijksterhuis found that the longer people spent analysing their options, the less satisfied they were with their decision. Furniture shoppers were more satisfied with their purchase when they didn’t think at all and just listened to their emotional brains.
Choice is more difficult when there’s lots of it
People love choice! Ask anyone if they’d prefer a smaller number of options or lots and everyone will say the more the better. This is very ingrained in our culture, and that’s because we believe that choice equals freedom, and therefore the more choices we have, the more freedom we have.
There’s a big problem with this. Numerous studies (Iyengar, Schwartz) have proven that the more choice people are given, the less capable they are of making a choice. This is called The Paradox of Choice (there’s a great book by Barry Schwartz of this name if you want to know more). When there is so much choice that we find it impossible to decide, this is called decision paralysis.
What’s your decision making style? Maximisers vs Satisficers
Sparks et al (2012) discovered that how you go about making decisions depends on your decision making style. They categorised decision making styles into two types; Maximisers and Satisficers. Maximisers spend lots of time analysing all the different options and are highly concerned with making the best choice. They’re therefore more likely to experience buyers remorse. Satisficers, on the other hand, are easier to satisfy. They have a set of criteria that their purchase needs to meet and as soon as they find something that matches that criteria, they’re satisfied. It doesn’t matter if it’s not the best.
These styles of decision making are not rigid – you may find that you are mostly a satisfier, but when making larger purchases or a specific type of purchase, your style may change to a maximiser. Satisficers are more likely to maximise when a decision involves the happiness of others (holiday, care home), or a large financial purchase. Choice then becomes much more difficult. Important decisions take more time and effort and you therefore want that effort to be rewarded with a satisfying result.
Our decisions can be influenced very easily
When you’re consciously making decisions using system 2, you may think you’re being logical and that you can’t be influenced by how information is presented to you. However, our behaviour is very easily influenced by sometimes quite minor changes.
We spend up to 100% more when paying by card vs cash
Over the years there’s been a steady increase in spending and debt. This correlates with the increased adoption of card payments. To investigate this, a study was conducted by Prelec and Simester. They found that when people paid by card, as opposed to using cash, they would spend up to 100% more. Why is this? Well it’s because when you buy with cash, the purchase involves a physical loss that you can physically see and tangibly feel in your lighter wallet. Paying by card hides this sense of loss. You don’t feel the loss, so you spend more money. Our brains overvalue immediate gains (that new pair of shoes) at the cost of future expenses (high interest rates, less cash, increased debt). The system 1 emotional brain doesn’t understand things like interest rates or debt repayments – we’ll figure out how to pay for it later.
Our choices are influenced by how information is framed
There have been several interesting studies conducted that evidence the extent of how much we’re influenced simply by presenting the same information differently.
Which would you choose?
In an experiment on meat messaging (Irwin & Gaeth, Gary, 1998) 75% lean was valued significantly more than 25% fat. Interestingly, this persisted when the meat was eaten too, so the presentation of this information also affected the subjective experience of eating the meat.
Did you know that twice as many patients opt for surgery when told there’s an 80% chance of their surviving, versus a 20% chance of dying? It is the framing of the choice that affects our perception of it, and in turn affects what we choose.
Adding a slightly worse option can help people to decide
Imagine the following… You have two options. A trip to Rome or a trip to Paris. Can your decision be influenced by being offered another choice that isn’t as good? Yes of course!
In a study by Tversky, people were offered to choose either a trip to Paris (option A) or a trip to Rome (option B). They had a hard time choosing. They were then offered 3 choices instead of 2: a trip to Paris with free breakfast (option A), a trip to Paris without breakfast (option A-), or a trip to Rome with free breakfast (option B). Now the overwhelming majority chose option A, the trip to Paris with free breakfast.
Why? The rationale is that it is easier to compare the two options for Paris (because they’re more similar) than it is to compare Paris and Rome (they’re more different). So if you add a slightly worse option that is similar to A (called A-), then it’s easy to see that A is better than A-, hence why people choose that option.
We want choice, but when we get it, we may not like it
If you’re ill in the future, would you want to be able to choose your treatment? Most people do. However, when people are ill and have that choice, most people don’t want to choose. Have you ever had this experience with a healthcare professional?
65% who didn’t have cancer, said if they got it, they’d prefer to choose their treatment. Of people who have cancer, 88% prefer not to choose. This is a huge lesson for anyone working in the field of human behaviour: We need to focus on actual behaviour, not always on what people say they will do. Our predictions of how we’ll feel and behave in the future are often wrong.
Why does the wrong choice make us feel so bad?
When you have lots of options you are responsible for what happens to you. Bad choices make people regretful only if they bear responsibility. Although adding options makes it easier to choose something we’ll really like, it also makes it easier for us to regret choices that don’t live up to our expectations. Greater choices equal greater opportunity for buyers remorse, and we are prone to regret aversion. We do our best to avoid it because it feels bad.
What if choices were made for us?
Well, there is evidence to show that default choices can be a very good thing. Look at the below image showing the opt-in rates for organ donations in different countries.
Why do some people give a lot and some give a lot less? Sweden and Denmark are very culturally similar so why are they so different?
Here is the donor opt-in form which the countries on the left received.
The countries on the right were given this slight variation:
It turns out the change in opt-ins is simply due to the addition of one simple word which changes the default option of the form.
In both conditions people simply didn’t check the box. Why? Because it’s a complex decision. So we stick with what was chosen for us.
“Much of our decisions are not decided by us, they reside with the person who designed the form. We don’t know our preferences that well, and because of this, we’re susceptible to influences from external forces.”
The influence that you have as a designer cannot be underestimated. Your design skills have the power to literally change people’s lives.
Get out there and make a difference!
Watch Lisa Ortega speaking about UX Psychology at the Behaviour and Design Conference 2019
This question of whether Accessibility is really that important is no doubt one you’ve either had yourself or heard someone else say. It may be the kind of question that drives you crazy as you’ve been battling to get your stakeholders to care about accessibility and the importance of considering the needs of those users.
It’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day today and for organisations who are still battling to get UX, and particularly User Research, into their process, starting another battle for Accessibility can feel like something that needs to be sidelined. Often, Accessibility practices get cut from projects due to either product teams not understanding the issues or budget concerns. However, you may be surprised at just how much Accessibility and good UX/Usability have in common and the amount of people who have Accessibility needs.
19% of adults are disabled
You can reasonably assume that around 20% of your users have Accessibility needs (the exact UK figure is 19% source). How old are your users? If they’re children this lowers to 8% but if they are older (pension age), this figure rises to 45%. So, how much Accessibility affects your users will somewhat depend on who those users are, but I’m sure you’ve been surprised by how large that percentage is. Most people think the figure is less than 5%.
You are also impaired (some of the time)
About one third of the population are temporarily impaired due to illness, injury or circumstance. On any day, that could include you, your family, friends, colleagues…
“When UX doesn’t consider ALL users, shouldn’t it be known as “SOME User Experience” or… SUX?” Billy Gregory, Senior Accessibility Engineer
Don Norman “What I see today horrifies me”
Did you know that the grandfather of UX, legend Don Norman, is now 83? With decreased eyesight and physical capabilities, he’s now experiencing the world as a user with Accessibility needs.
“The number of active, healthy oldsters is large and increasing. We are not a niche market. And businesses should take note: We are good customers often with more free time and discretionary income than younger people.
Despite our increasing numbers the world seems to be designed against the elderly. Everyday household goods require knives and pliers to open. Containers with screw tops require more strength than my wife or I can muster. Companies insist on printing critical instructions in tiny fonts with very low contrast. Labels cannot be read without flashlights and magnifying lenses. And when companies do design things specifically for the elderly, they tend to be ugly devices that shout out to the world “I’m old and can’t function!” We can do better.”
Accessible users can be very profitable…
7 out of 10 websites are not Accessible. Some figures indicate that it’s even more than this. This means there is a huge opportunity for you to capture this audience within your market. They also make for a very loyal customer. Check out this user quote:
“If I find a site I can use then I use it as much as possible; often even if I know I might be able to get things cheaper elsewhere. For example, I find it easier to have my supermarket shopping delivered and the best site I found to use is Ocado, so I use it. I know some things would be cheaper elsewhere but, well, the accessibility of the site and the app make it so easy why would I bother to look elsewhere when my experience tells me I’m likely to find problems.”
Top 5 things that exclude users
David Benyon author of Designing Interactive Systems, gives 5 reasons products often exclude users:
Physical – it requires too much effort or physical strength to use.
Conceptual – it is difficult to understand how to use it.
Economic – it is too expensive.
Cultural – users can’t understand metaphors regarding product interaction.
Social – on joining a group, users don’t understand the group’s social conventions.
You’re biased because you’re young
Most people working in digital, design and UX are young. There aren’t many of us who are pension age. And this creates a further problem in that we naturally assume that everyone experiences the world as we do.
In psychology, this is called the false-consensus effect or false-consensus bias. It’s a type of cognitive bias whereby people tend to overestimate the extent to which their opinions, beliefs, preferences, values, and habits are normal and typical of those of others.
Sound familiar? How many of us have been in meetings and heard ‘I would do this’ ‘I think…’ And there’s an assumption that because that person thinks or feels that way, that your users will too. After all we’re all humans right? We must all think and use things the same way. Nope! I’m afraid it’s not that simple or there wouldn’t be a need for UX specialists in the world.
Use user research to make a difference
You need to ingrain an understanding of and empathy towards users and their behaviour within your organisation to get around this bias.
Often the quickest and easiest way to do this is to commission user research from an external agency. This is because, unfortunately, outside agencies are often taken more seriously (and viewed as experts) than internal employees (we know – we used to be internal employees). They also have all the tools and methods to turn things around quickly and easily.
If you are in the fortunate position to work for a company whereby you’re fully supported in conducting user research, then you’ll need to think about how you go about research with people who have Accessibility needs. The ideal way to go about this is ethnographic (at-home) research. You’ll be able to see the setup they use, both hardware and software and the settings they have in-place. You can also use a lab but you may not be able to accurately reflect the real world setup so the lab may be more suited for mobile and tablet testing, where the user can bring in their own device.
You’re breaking the law if you ignore Accessibility
According to the Equality Act (2010), Section 29(1):
“A person … concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public (for payment or not) must not discriminate against a person requiring the service by not providing the person with the service.”
Therefore not providing a service to a disabled person that is normally provided to other people is unlawful discrimination. This applies as much online as it does offline, whether you’re a business or a government site, so having an inaccessible site is actually breaking the law.
Inclusive design helps everyone
A great way to think about Accessibility is to view it as Inclusive design. Design that helps everyone.
Kat Holmes points out in her book Mismatch, that all of us have Accessibility needs. We all experience situational and temporary problems. “When outside in the sun, the text message that just arrived is unreadable: wouldn’t it be nice if the display, whether cellphone, watch, or tablet, could switch to large, higher contrast lettering? Are elderly people handicapped? Maybe, but so is a young, athletic parent while carrying a baby on one arm and a bag of groceries in the other (and perhaps trying to open their car door). Almost anything that will help the elderly population will end up helping everyone.”
As part of World Accessibility Awareness Day, the team have a number of challenges for you to try so that you can feel what it’s like to use things from the perspective of someone with Accessibility needs.
There are lots of guidelines on the internet for how to begin improving Accessibility through design. There are some good tips on interaction-design.org and BBC GEL. You will also find some top tips from experts at our recent Accessibility and Design event:
One day you will have Accessibility needs. Whether they are physical, cognitive or both. There is no denying the ageing process! Design with empathy for those who experience these issues every day right now and design for your future self.
The sheer amount of choice of UX prototyping tools can be pretty overwhelming, so here’s an overview of the top 24 tools, together with a FREE downloadable pdf table so that you can easily compare them.
Create simple click-through diagrams or highly functional, rich prototypes with conditional logic, dynamic content, animations, math functions, and data-driven interactions without writing a single line of code.
Powerful tool that allowing detailed interaction to be prototyped for websites and apps. A fairly steep learning curve.
Installable app for Mac and Win
Lo to hi
Feedback tool available on live prototypes via the web
Flinto lets designers quickly make interactive prototypes of their mobile, desktop, or web apps.
Comprehensive app, allowing you to create anything from simple tap-through prototypes to comprehensive prototypes with impress interactions. Sketch images can be imported and transitions and user behaviours can be easily added.
Mac app and web app (Flinto Lite)
Lo to hi
Feedback available in the tool and shared projects
Design the impossible with Framer. Start with simple code to bring your design to life. Test it on any device, iterate as you go and share easily for feedback. Pioneer new interaction patterns or create groundbreaking animation. No limits, no constraints.
A great tool for prototyping complex interaction designs and animations for mobile
The world’s leading prototyping, collaboration & workflow platform. Upload your design files and add animations, gestures, and transitions to transform your static screens into clickable, interactive prototypes.
Low learning curve and it is well supported int he community
Explore, iterate, and test your ideas. A new tool for designing modern interfaces. Copy anything from Sketch and paste native layers into Origami Studio. Then quickly adjust, add behavior and animate any layer property without going back.
Perfect for creating sophisticated mobile prototypes with realistic animations and interactions
Principle makes it easy to design animated and interactive user interfaces. Whether you’re designing the flow of a multi-screen app, or new interactions and animations, Principle lets you create designs that look and feel amazing.
Build dynamic, responsive websites without writing code. Launch with a click, and enjoy the fastest, most reliable hosting on the web. Or export clean, semantic code to hand off to your devs.
Shared projects (Team version only), no feedback through tool
Xcode 8 includes everything you need to create amazing apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
Perfect for cutting down on redundant work and misunderstandings when designing and developing mobile apps. Software engineers can immediately iterate the work of a designer. A pretty steep learning curve.
Our in house team of UX Design and Research Experts have unrivalled experienced with mobile prototyping design and research – our experience goes right back to the first ever smartphone don’t you know 😉
Conducting user research is now something that most successful brands do to improve their user experience and ultimately their bottom line. However, there is still a lot more potential to increase revenue and profitability as many brands still don’t do enough user research. They are reactive and responsive to the demand for research as opposed to ingraining it within their process as an active continuous activity. In fact, recent research has shown that 58% of companies only conduct research on a quarterly or less frequent basis which is far from adequate if you want to be a leader in your market.
User research is not just about waiting until you have something to test. It should be a pro-active activity that provides regular insights into customer behaviour, psychology, process, interaction, expectations and keeps up with the fast changing pace of the digital world at the moment. The way customers shop is constantly adapting and you need to adapt too.
So why should i continuously carry out user research?
1 Understand your customers
Customer behaviour, attitudes and expectations adapt over time and with changes in technology. Conducting regular research enables you to keep informed of how customers perceive your brand and how they’re interacting and transacting with your business. Rather than waiting for changes to happen then reacting to them, you can identify early turning points and be the first to innovate to changes in your sector. This continuous learning enables you to keep all your user documentation such as user journeys and personas up to date so your team are not making decisions based on potentially out of date and no longer relevant insights.
2 Test hunches and hypotheses
Your team should always be coming up with hypotheses to explain data, current and future user behaviour. Some of these you’ll be testing through your split testing but for concept ideas you’ll need other ways to test these and gain user feedback. Assumptions should always be treated carefully – don’t base major decisions on hunches, make sure you have the evidence to back them up through user research. The type of user research you’ll need to conduct depends on what you want to find out – what’s your hypothesis? See 5 user tests every product manager should commission.
3 Benchmark KPIs against yourself and competitors
What do you use as your KPIs? For your online digital experiences you might be using metrics that include those found in the definition of usability ISO 9241-11.
These are: Efficiency: How long does it take to complete the task? If you’re an online retailer who sells dresses online, how long does it take a representative customer to find and select a red dress for an evening out?
Effectiveness: How do they accomplish the task? Do they complete it using the most optimal path or do they go around the houses, getting a little lost along the way? This is your effectiveness rating and it’s an important indicator of how easy and intuitive your tasks are to complete.
Satisfaction: How satisfied does the user feel after completing (or maybe they didn’t complete) the task? This is a self rated measure.
You’ll find correlation amongst the above three measures. If one scores low it’s likely the other metrics will score low too and all the above correlates with NPS scores. If you regularly run research to benchmark your user experience against yourself (to check the changes you’re hopefully constantly implementing to improve your conversion) and against competitors you’ll always know how you compare and where your strongest opportunities are.
4 Avoid costly rework
Or maybe the idea works but the implementation of it isn’t quite right, it’s not testing well and now there’s not enough time to fix it before launch. If only you’d run some user research on an early prototype! The earlier you can catch problems the better as that’s when it’s much cheaper and quicker to fix them. Some people think user research will add time and cost to their project but it really doesn’t, it slots in easily and quickly, and will save you a heck of a lot of rework later on.
5 Be more successful
By continuously conducting user research in your process, the team are constantly seeing their work from the user’s perspective. They’ll begin to think more like your customers and imagine them as they’re working on their UX designs, when they’re in meetings and when they’re coming up with new ideas. Rather than speaking of their own opinions and experience, they’ll begin to talk about what Alice said last week and this gives them a much more solid basis for coming up with innovative ideas and solutions that are born from user insights. These ideas have a much greater chance of being successful for your business.
What to do next
Commit to a regular schedule of user research and see the changes it makes to:
Your team morale
The understanding of your customers
The quality of new ideas generated
The cost savings you’ll make through less rework
The improvement in all your customer experiences
…and the business will benefit hugely from the increase in revenue.
Personas are amazing! If you don’t have them or if you have them but don’t use them (what a waste!) then you’re missing out on a whole host of business benefits. Let’s have a quick look at these before we dive more into what personas are and how they fit into the design process…
Benefits of Personas
Company wide understanding of who your users are
Deep understanding of customer behaviour and needs
Stop everyone in your company from talking about themselves, their friends and family as the user(s)
More effective, focussed conversations and business meetings
Clearer and better decision making – focussed on user needs and goals
Greater empathy with the customer
Enables your design team and project managers to create much better products and services
Where did it all begin?
Personas were introduced in 1998 by Alan Cooper.
At the time he was working on the design of new software and he interviewed some colleagues (possible future users of the software), to collect some ideas to implement in his project. That day, without even realising it, Cooper started to engage himself in a dialogue, play-acting as a project manager, inspired by one of the colleagues he interviewed that day.
Cooper found this play-acting technique was tremendously effective for solving design questions around functionality and interaction, allowing him to understand what was necessary or unnecessary from a user-centred point of view.
Since then, he used this technique to design all of his products, bearing in mind the benefits of thinking from the users point of view. Hypothetical user archetypes allowed him and his clients to better understand the end user in their projects.
What is the personas method?
Using Cooper’s own words:
“You tend to canvas the user community, collect their requests for functions, and then provide them a product containing all of those functions. I call this the sum of all desired features.”
Personas are narrations, stories about imagined characters; they are imagined and described in interaction with the product that is going to be developed (website, device, app, software etc.). Personas are defined in the early stages of the design process and they guide the project team throughout the product development process.
Defining personas is also essential for any consumer research involving the product. To canvas the profile of future users helps in the recruitment of a representative sample of the population for an effective and realistic UX testing session.
Why are personas so important to the design process?
The most important goal of personas is to create understanding and empathy with the end user(s).
If you want to design a successful product for people, first of all you need to understand them. Designing for everyone results in an unfocused goal that will dehumanise the profile of future users. The personas method allows you to draw not just a profile about gender and age, but to dig into the psychology of the imagined character in their interaction with the product.
The power of the narration that typified this method, allows us to create a story that introduces the product in the everyday life of the imagined character. The narration sets goals, creates visibility of problems and potential issues in the user-product relationship.
Personas are a crucial passage in the user-centred design process because they define expectations, concerns and motivations, helping design teams to understand how to design a product that will satisfy users needs and therefore be a success.
People are no longer passive users of a product or a service, but they are actively interacting with it; they are engaged in a ‘conversation’ in which both sides, user and product, are actively asking and responding. Defining personas during the design process helps your team to imagine that conversation.
When designing personas, the story needs to cover the following:
Demographic presentation of the character (age, gender etc.)
General traits (occupation, interests, hobbies etc.)
The scenario is very important for the effectiveness of personas.
Scenarios are imagined situations in which the character interacts with the product. Personas without scenarios have no value, so defining good scenarios is crucial.
The narration of an imagined scenario follows this structure:
Setting a problem, a situation
Describe the character’s reaction to the problem
Define the role of the product in this scenario (e.g. how does the character interact with the product in that situation? Why does the character use the product? With which aims? What are the character expectations of the product?)
Resolution of the situation
Remember, if you want your product to be successful, you have to design it bearing in mind who will use it.
1. Collection of data. In the first step, you collect as much information and knowledge about your users as possible. Data can come from many different sources, even from pre-existing knowledge in the organisation. A good starting point is user research to gather insight into your users.
2. Hypothesis. Based on the data collected in the first step, you create a general draft of the various kind of users, including in which ways users differ from one another.
3. Description of scenarios. You create scenarios that describe solutions; possible situations that could trigger the use of the product are described. Scenarios will be used to better imagine user interaction with the product. The story about how the character will use the product is the personas’ ultimate objective.
4. Description of personas. Preparation of a brief description of the typical user, paying attention to user needs, motivations, aspirations and values. It is very important that you add to the narration one of the scenarios created in the previous step. The ultimate aim at this stage is to generate a narration that creates an empathic bond between the imagined person and the reader.
5. Selection of 3-6 personas. The ideal number of personas is limited (too many and you’ll start to lose track of who’s who). At this stage, choose 3-6 descriptions that are the most representative of your typical users. Selecting a limited number of personas allows you to be more focused during the design of the product.
6. Dissemination of personas. It is important that personas defined during the process are shared with the whole project team to provide a shared understanding of your users / customers.
It’s Black Friday, you wake up, grab your mobile by your bed and have a quick look at your favourite sites to see if there are any bargains to be had before christmas. Going round the shops is for losers, you’re going to be the first one to get the bargains and all in the comfort of your own bed before you’ve even started work. Win!
One of your favourite stores is Karen Millen and you’re excited to see they’ve joined in with Black Friday. It’s promoted on the Home page, however, you nearly missed it because it doesn’t have the usual Black Friday branding and looks just like a normal ad. But you spotted it and that’s what counts.
You eagerly click on the ‘Shop now’ text (you do this carefully because it’s very small on your mobile) and land on a page full of items. The large ‘25% off’ text on each item immediately grabs your attention. Fantastic! 25% off!
At first you’re confused. It appears there are are only two jumpers in the Black Friday sale so you go to press the back button but you happen to catch the screen with your finger and the page scrolls slightly. You notice there are actually more items hiding further down the page!
You see a jumper you like so you look at the price and it says £75.00. You look back at the 25% off text and wonder if that means the price is already discounted or not…. There’s no other price on the item (you’re used to seeing a before and after price) and the price isn’t in a different colour so it looks like it might still be the full price. Is it really in the sale?
Hmm… you decide to click on it to have a closer look at the jumper and to see if there’s any sign of a sale price on the next screen. Maybe they just missed it off the previous page. But now it looks worse… the 25% off text has now gone completely and there’s just the one price of £75.00. It doesn’t look like it’s in the sale at all.
You’re confused. You like the jumper but don’t know if it’s reduced or not. Is is reduced? Is the £75.00 the reduced price or the full price? You don’t want to risk it so you leave and go to River Island instead.
Aha! That’s more like it! River Island screams the magic words 50% OFF as soon as you land on their home page. It doesn’t actually say if it’s a Black Friday sale but who cares, it’s a whopping 50% off and that’s good enough for you!
You eagerly press to see the items in the sale and land on a page full of cool stuff to wear. It’s really clear to you that these are all sale items because you can see the original prices which are crossed out and replaced with new prices that are also red so you know they’re in the sale. Whoop! Let’s get sales shopping!
In the era of Web 2.0, privacy is not only one of the liveliest issues in the debate about consumers behaviour and individual rights, but also one of the most difficult one to solve. Companies want more customer data, customers say they dislike this, yet they freely provide personal data.
Nowadays, the border between private and public is becoming more and more blurred; people are used to sharing their pictures, videos, preferences, personal information, and everyday a huge amount of online data is collected, however, they still appear to be seriously concerned about their privacy and claim it to be an important factor in their online decision-making process. To make things even more complicated, concern about privacy doesn’t in fact match actual online behaviour.
The Privacy Paradox
The privacy paradox is the discrepancy between an individuals’ intentions to protect their privacy and how they actually behave in the online marketplace, it’s the relationship between individuals’ intentions to disclose personal information and their actual personal information disclosure behaviours, which are often very different.
According to several privacy-related studies, the online audience can be divided into three big categories:
1. Privacy fundamentalists: very privacy-oriented and concerned
2. Privacy unconcerned: not at all privacy-oriented
3. Privacy pragmatists: in-between the other two categories
In general, consumers appear to be much more sensitive about the use of their medical, financial, and family information than they are about their product, brand consumption or their media usage behaviour. Why is this? Because things like their medical, financial and family information, when disclosed, can cause potential embarrassment and security problems. People also fear loss of control of this type of information.
Conceptual Model of Disclosure
The conceptual model of disclosure is a theory that states the consumer’s behaviour is influenced by both their perceived risk of disclosing their information and the trust they have with the company.
Privacy Paradox Model
In reality, the consumer’s actual behaviour is more highly influenced by trust. This is why people disclose information even when they say they’re really concerned about their privacy.
Figure 1 Norberg P., Horne D., and Horne D. 2007 The Privacy Paradox: Personal Information Disclosure Intentions versus Behaviors.
One of the problems is that people have a tendency to over-report their understanding of privacy issues and their willingness to act in order to protect them. There’s a disjoint between users attitudes and opinions and their actual behaviours and experiences online.
This was tested in an “e-commerce experiment” to understand how privacy indicators affect the users decision-making process.
Above: Screenshot from e-commerce experiment (Jensen C., Potts C., Jensen C. 2005 Privacy practices of Internet users: Self-report versus observed behavior).
They observed that consumers tend to disclose personal information more easily than they claim to do. What the research highlights is that users self-reported experiences don’t match with their actual online behaviour. What clearly emerged is the importance of “trust-marks” in the interaction between users and digital interfaces.
Trust-marks → factors which may not say anything about the site’s privacy practices, but which are interpreted as such by users.
Users appear to live a “double bind” relationship in dealing with privacy issues on digital interfaces, and this is affecting their decision-making process in purchasing online. The Double Bind theory (Bateson G. 1950) in psychology is defined as a conflicting communication dilemma in which the message doesn’t match with the observed behavior; that causes an emotionally distorted and frustrated reaction in the individual.
Tips to improve trust, acquire more data and lessen abandonment
Here follows some tips that could help interfaces designers in dealing with the paradox, avoiding frustration and consequent abandon in purchasing online.
It has a major effect on purchasing behavior, even though, according to the study, only a quarter of the policies were consulted. In most cases, users had more confidence in a site simply because it had a policy (the impact a policy has is of course more powerful when it is read, but it is not negligible when it is not). Policies are important, not just because of what they say, but because they are there.
• Credit card icons
Even if it does not in fact imply any promise of fraud prevention or privacy protection, consumers find these icons reassuring.
• Show a contact phone number
Preference for phone information over mailing or email information. Consumers feel reassured to see a phone number to contact the company if any problems occur during the transaction.
• Development of policy simplifications and standardised indicators
Implement standardized, simple visual indicators for the risks users are exposed to.
It is interesting to note the strong effect policies have despite the fact that users rarely read them. Just having a link to a policy makes a difference. This indicates that in many cases it is the presence of a policy that has a positive effect on users, not its content. Users are looking for “trustworthiness”, not based only on fact but rather on appearance and first impression.
Designed in collaboration with Keep It Usable, ClinTouch was recently the subject of a meeting hosted by David Cameron’s senior health policy advisor at 10 Downing Street, to consider the impact that digital technology could have in improving the nation’s health. ClinTouch is an easy to use app that provides an innovative new way of supporting people with psychosis, enabling early intervention and significant cost reductions for the NHS. This revolutionary digital intervention, developed by Manchester University empowers self-management for people with psychosis and reduces serious episodes occurring, improving the lives of individual patients and reducing NHS service costs, such as unplanned admissions and A&E presentations.
Significant cost savings for the NHS
Cost savings for the NHS are significant: Earlier intervention services in psychosis have the potential to save the NHS £119m over three years (Schizophrenia Commission Report). The ClinTouch mobile app is an end-to-end digital solution that improves communication and closes the information gap between patient and practitioner. This empowers service users to be more active in their care and recovery. This prevention is aided by utilising real-time data and alerting professionals of significant changes in their patient’s symptoms.
Rich data and analytics
Through the app, users are prompted to record their symptoms and feelings. A unique and bespoke branch of questions then follows ensuring that each question asked is relevant with a graphical bank of user-friendly analytics immediately available for the patient to consider and review. This digital data-log can then be used to help identify any lifestyle or environmental triggers that prompt the onset of symptoms. ClinTouch has been built into an end-to-end system in two NHS mental health Trusts, with summary data accessible at clinical team desktops and streamed into e-healthcare records. If early warning signs for relapse occur, healthcare professionals can act to enable early intervention.
When designing an interface, one of the main goals of the designer, is to ensure that the end user is able to clearly understand what they should do next and where each click will lead them. Call to action buttons are essential to this dynamic, as these buttons are what guide the user through the interface.
The very name of the button, call to action, states there is a necessity for the person engaging with the interface to be stimulated to perform a task. In this case, the designer wants the user to press a button: to make it more enticing so that more visitors will convert. Therefore, your call-to-action buttons should be usable, but they also need to be actively persuasive to encourage more clicks and higher conversion.
Do they really make a difference?
Call to action buttons are the biggest A/B tests run by businesses (they make up around 30% of all tests). The difference between a poor and a great CTA can be anything from a few percent to a few hundred percent and more!
The internet is full of examples of how successful a good CTA can be. Take a look at Which Test Won for some great examples that you can interact with and test your own predictions of which CTA converted better.
So, let’s take a quick look at how we can make these buttons more enticing.
Psychology tips to increase conversion
1 Colour psychology
Colour plays a very important role in determining the pull of your button. The colour you choose can determine who clicks, how many times they click, and how quickly they click.
– Females tend to prefer the colours purple, green and blue, while men tend to prefer blue green and black
– Blue is a colour considered to build trust while yellow tends to signify a warning.
These signifiers and others should be taken into account when designing CTA buttons to ensure the right audience is drawn to ‘click’. Not only is it important to choose the right colour, but to ensure that the entire page or interface is aesthetically pleasing. Consider the background colour of your template to ensure colours don’t clash and your button isn’t lost in the background.
2 Placement psychology
You want your call to action button to stand out on the page, otherwise it will get lost amongst other elements and suffer from less clicks. If your button has an important message, ensure that it is positioned where it will stand out.
You also want your users to understand what happens when they click on your button. It can be a good idea to introduce your button with accompanying short text to support why the user should click it, what are the benefits for them?
3 Visual psychology
The shape and overall design of the button is where one can get creative, but it is good to keep in mind particular ideas that could add to the ‘clickability’ of the button.
Take into consideration the following:
– People like curves. It has been found that rounded corners draw attention to the inside of the button, whereas square edges draw attention away from the centre. Neuro-aesthetics researchers have found that people prefer rounded shapes and these shapes actually cause more activity in the visual cortex (Bar, M., & Neta, M. (2006). Humans prefer curved visual objects. Psychological Science, 17(8), 645-648).
– Size = Importance. The size of the button should be determined by how important that particular action is to be carried out.
4 Wording psychology
The importance of the message plays a huge part in determining the design of the button. In an increasingly fast paced society, the concept of reading long text becomes less and less appealing. As a result, one wants to ensure that the call to action button is as specific as possible, and gets the message across in the shortest amount of time.
How do we do that?
– Be specific. Consider what you want the user to do and use a command to describe the button. For example, buy, watch, download etc. However, take note that some of the bigger conversions come from using less generic and more specific phrases, such as the one below.
– Keep it simple. Professionalism doesn’t necessarily mean big words and difficult commands. Simple commands make it easy for the user to know what to do and what comes next and allows for a smooth transition through the interface.
– Clarity. If necessary, include a simple message on the button to clarify any ambiguity that may be there from the command. Through simplicity is important, clarity is essential.
– Speak the users language. The larger increases in conversion come from analyzing what your customers really need. In user research we recommend listening to the language they themselves use to explore their mental model and what resonates with them.
– Free is one of the biggest persuaders to motivate action so if your service is free or has a free trial, make it obvious for the user to see.
5 Emotional psychology
It is important to keep in mind the emotions you want your end user to feel while scrolling through your interface. Whether it be a sense of urgency, pity or excitement, you want to give them a reason to click on your button. Think about what calls you to action and why. Why did you buy those shoes on the internet? Was it because they were on a one day sale, or because they were only available online? Our minds are triggered into action by emotions as well as a perceived sense of need to perform an action. With your button, you have the opportunity to develop a sense of need or create a sense of urgency or desire to take your users to the next step.
As humans, we’re pre-programmed to respond to images. They draw us in emotionally. The images you use alongside your CTA can play a huge role in creating the right emotion to engage users and increase uplifts.
Basecamp use several techniques to increase the psychological pull of their CTA.
– Concise explanation with benefits, written in the user’s language (note the informality which makes for a friendly tone of voice), ‘Basecamp helps you wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities and objectives toward a common goal: Finishing a project together’.
– Social Proof to further persuade visitors to sign up. Social proof is evidence of other people using the service, in this case, the ‘4,869 companies signed up to use Basecamp just last week’.
– Free. Yes they utilise the power of the word ‘free’ within their CTA.
– Specific wording. Note how they could have just used generic ‘Sign up’ wording but they chose to go with a much more personal feel ‘Use Basecamp free for 2 months – it’s on us’. Did you spot the reciprocity there too? The way they bring out the ‘it’s on us’ makes it feel like they’re doing you a favour, psychologically when someone does something for you, you’re much more likely to reciprocate.
The exciting part!
Now that we’ve taken you through a number of techniques and examples to show how you can increase your conversion using effective CTAs, there’s just one thing left for you to do, and that’s to try a few of these on your own designs.
We’d love to hear how you get on and if you need any advice or have any questions, we’re always happy to help.
Need help or advice?
If you’re curious about any of the above and how ux can help you to create a more successful product, contact our experts for free, friendly, no-ties advice.
2015 is looking to be a really exciting year for innovation. We get excited by new technology and the challenges that brings, especially with regards to designing for challenging smaller screens – how you can engage users and showcase information without sacrificing the experience? Here are some technologies and trends we’d recommend keeping your eye on in 2015.
Wearables are becoming big business and the growing trend will continue to thrive in 2015, particularly in fitness, fashion and health. More affordable wearables are likely to hit the market and will bring wearables to the masses.
2. Apple watch
A handful of companies such as Google, Samsung and Sony have launched wearables in the form of watches. This year, will see the Apple watch hit the market which will disrupt and put smart watches on the map. This will have huge implications for how we communicate, interact and consume information. The potential is vast, particularly for connectivity and health.
3. Digital health
2015 will be the year that healthcare finally wakes up to digital! Wearables that can monitor everything from measuring steps in fitness to improving your hearing. Rings, hearing aids, headphones and much more will hit the market. Could we even see the first digital implant…?! There is already a digital pill.
4. Internet of things
From controlling lighting and heating, TVs, appliances and even connecting your body. We will use technology to increasingly monitor and intelligently improve our lives. The promise of major connectivity and intelligence is exciting and we expect to see this technology grow rapidly in 2015.
5. Major growth in mobile e-commerce
Mobile will be huge in 2015 and will continue to disrupt e-commerce. 8 in 10 smartphone users use their phones at some point during the purchase process and with mobile screens increasing in size, their popularity is projected to grow enormously in 2015, meaning users will consume even more data on mobile. Mobile growth is larger than tablet with 186% average growth in sales via mobile compared to 131% in tablet e-commerce. Read our e-commerce insights for 2015 >
6. Mobile wallets
2015 will be the year that contactless payment methods like NFC (near-field communications) really start to take off. Larger banks are likely to offer NFC payments via smartphone by the end of 2015 with 5% of NFC enabled mobiles being used to make contactless payments.
7. Omni-channel retail experience
The future of retail will be a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels, i.e. mobile devices, computers, physical stores, television, radio, mail, etc. Omni-channel retail represents an experiential change for the connected consumer as all touchpoints with a brand become one. Example: Customer browses products online then when they enter a physical store they get these products retargeted to them as ads or offers in-store. Read about how digital tools will change the in-store shopping experience >
With the rapidly changing technological landscape and continuing explosion of digital into more and more products, it has never been so important to focus on user needs, psychology and behaviour. Great usability will no longer be a nice-to-have, it will be mandatory in order to create a successful product. There’s never been a more important time to Keep It Usable.
The next up and coming wave of consumers are called generation Z. Born between the mid 1990s and 2010, these young people have been brought up with the internet and social networks. They are ‘Digital Natives’ and as a marketer or product owner you will need to approach this generation of consumer very differently. So, let’s learn more about them…
Who are Generation Z?
Right now they are aged between 4 and 19 years old.
They currently make up more than a quarter of the US population and this is still growing.
They spend nearly every waking hour online. 46% are connected 10+ hours per day!
They influence household purchases. You can’t just advertise to parents – Gen Z are major influencers of their parents decision making.
Tech savvy and heavy users of mobile. They’ve grown up in a digital world.
Always connected, especially to social networking channels.
High online spenders.
Prefer to shop online
Gen Z have been brought up with the internet and they prefer to buy just about everything online as opposed to offline. 20% of girls aged 12 and under regularly visit online shopping sites. The ability to easily make purchases online and delivering the right product information at the right time will be key.
Despite having very low incomes (think pocket money) Gen Z spend much more of their share of income online compared to previous generations. When this germination grows older and their income increases, they will drive major e-commerce growth.
Born to share
Gen Z have the ability to impact your brand via social like no generation before. They’ve been born and raised in a world of social websites. If they don’t like your website or product, they won’t call you, they’ll put it online so their connected web of contacts can see. They’re more likely to communicate with brands via social media and will be more demanding, they’ll tell you exactly how they feel. 77% will vent frustration of poor service over social media and expect an immediate response and resolution.
Listening and fast response will be key to managing this generation online. And to encourage this generation of sharers to share your content, you’ll need to ensure the content you create will be something Gen Z will enjoy – a fun brand voice, engaging content and incentives for sharing.
Traditional advertising won’t be as effective
A Forbes study claims that 57% of Zs saying they would rather save money than spend it immediately: “After seeing their parents lose jobs and their older siblings move back home, this generation will avoid debt. They’ll find the best deals and will expect to test out products physically or virtually before they buy.”
Gen Z will research everything themselves, turning to online reviews, bloggers and product experts to learn about products. Do you have a brand advocacy strategy? You will need to. By harnessing people who love your brand, and encouraging or incentivizing them to share their opinions online, you’ll provide a source of authentic information that Gen Z is likelier to trust.
Multi-screening and multi-tasking are the norm
They multi-task across at least 5 screens daily. “They suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) more than millenials, so being culturally connected is critical” researchers from Sparks and Honey wrote.
Mobile internet preferred
According to a survey by Ericsson, 58% of Gen Z prefer surfing the web on their mobile as opposed to watching TV.
High tech – Even the youngest age group (9-11 years) shows advanced technology adoption and mobile internet usage similar to their older brothers and sisters. 31% of US children aged 6-12 wanted an iPad over any other electronic device for christmas in 2010 (followed by a computer 29%, and iPod touch 29%) – gone are the days of wanting lego!
Respond more greatly to visual stimuli
A Wikia study shows that 54% visit YouTube multiple times a day. Visual sharing sites like Instagram and Snapchat are also huge avenues of communication for teens.
Marketers will need to start communicating visually to a diverse audience, across multiple screens.
Prefer simple, short, interactive content
Gen Z have the lowest attention span and they prefer media that is simple to use and interactive as opposed to passive TV. Getting and keeping their attention will be challenging though as they like to communicate in bite sizes. Easy to use and simpler platforms appeal to this generation.
Addicted to social networking
Many children now feel that social networking is more important than other aspects of their life, including their family. According to a study by the University of Maryland, 79% of children showed symptoms of distress when they were kept away from social networking devices.
Goodbye Facebook, hello Instagram
Every year, the amount of Gen Z leaving Facebook grows. 25% of 13-17 year olds left Facebook in 2014. They prefer visual platforms; the numbers joining Instagram grew from just 12% in 2012 to 23% in 2013. They also prefer incognito media platforms such as Snapchat, Secret and Whisper.
They want to change the world
60% of Gen Z want to have an impact on the world (compare this to 39% of Gen Y). 1 in 4 of those aged 16 or over currently volunteer. Globally, teens and their families, are changing their purchasing behaviour towards choosing environmentally responsible products and companies.
Not brand loyal
The products themselves and their quality are more important to Generation Z than brand names. Expect these consumers to switch to competitors much more quickly.
By 2027 most of the grown up Gen Zers will be obese (77.9% of males and 61.8% of females). 66% of kids aged 6-11 say online gaming is their main source of entertainment, so obesity comes as little surprise.
Some of the above slides are courtesy of Sparks and Honey. If you would like to read more about Generation Z we would recommend reading their full report: Sparks and Honey on Slideshare.
Today is world mental health day and it is a crucial day to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues that can effect anyone at anytime.
We’ve been heavily involved in mental health for the last few years. It’s an area where having a good, simple user experience designed by specialist ux psychology designers is absolutely crucial. When someone is distressed, frustrated, stressed, angry, confused, the last thing they need is an interface that worsens their current mental state.
Qwell is a software application that we designed for Xenzone. The engaging user centred has ease of use at the forefront.
Aimed at adults, Qwell provides a safe, reassuring online therapy environment run by fully trained counsellors.
Following a successful launch of Qwell, we were invited to redesign the hugely successful Kooth. Kooth is an award winning online counselling platform for young people. It is commissioned throughout the UK and has helped tens of thousands of young people.
At the start of the project, we held workshops and focus groups with young people in schools and it was clear that the design of Kooth wasn’t engaging with the target audience. They knew what they liked, what they needed, what was cool and so with their input we designed a much more youthful, fun, simple, engaging platform that met with both their requirements and the clients.
Excitedly, our redesign of Kooth will be launched later this month. We can’t wait to show it to you and tell you all about it, so be sure to check back soon!
This months Keep It Usable guest interview is with our friend Fritz Von Runte.
Fritz is the Head of design for our client On The Beach and we had the great pleasure of working with the team on a recent project.
“I would go to the lab with Keep It Usable in the morning, and in the afternoon I’d be writing tickets to change things – in the best Agile practice.”
Could you tell our readers a bit about your background and your role at On The Beach?
I started my career in Art Direction almost 20 years ago, working for the advertising industry. I was always interested in “New Media” and eventually I decided to shift my career, to focus on web. Then, 7 years ago I made my masters in User Interface Design and specialised in UX.
At On The Beach I wear a couple of hats. I’m the head of a design team of four professionals. We try to maintain a certain design language throughout the company, with consistence and on brand. It’s a tough job because it’s a big company, with many colleagues, many requests, and many design problems, all in need of our solutions. Plus, it’s one of the most successful online travel agencies in the UK market. It’s a massive responsibility. I am also responsible for designing the experiences our users will have, not only in the web but also offline, via our flight and hotel vouchers, and customer documentation, for example.
What does your typical day involve?
I have a very busy schedule, but there’s a certain framework that I try my best to fit it. We’re Agile, so every morning we have the Design stand-up where we communicate what every member of the team is doing at the moment and discuss the flow of tickets. We also have Agile stand-ups for all other projects, most of these involving the Design Shop (as we call our team), so one of us must be there to update the other teams. I try to schedule all my meetings in the morning so I can use the afternoon for research and design.
How important is UX at On The Beach and why is it valued?
On The Beach has been around for almost 8 years and it grew very rapidly. A couple of years ago they began to understand the need to pay more attention to the experiences and the usability. I was brought on board as the first designer focusing on the UX, we had a good six months changing the culture to accept and understand a bit more about this need. But, to be honest, this change was painless and smooth, as the directors were (and are) open to new solutions that could improve the website and our client’s experience. We have a lot of room to develop, to research, and to propose new ideas. It’s a wonderful place to work and it’s a thrill to be doing UX design at this moment in time at a company like On The Beach.
You work to an agile development process. Why and how does UX fit into this process?
I guess that is the biggest challenge. Agile is awesome but historically it tends to treat design and the experience as something frivolous or secondary. One of my goals is to raise awareness of how better it is to deal with usage challenges from the start instead of doing it rapidly and then having to re-do it. On the otherhand, when we are testing and prototyping, we use Agile principles and it works really well to prove (or disprove) assumptions from a very early stage, without having to spend much time in development for example.
What tools do you work with?
Primarily with paper and pencil – it’s how everything starts!. Then I move to a PC. I find it easier to talk to the network and to other technologies with a PC. But, we have all sorts of platforms in our team; Windows, iOS, Ubuntu, Android…
When it comes to software I use many different ones. The whole Adobe suite of course – and I mean the whole suite! I’ve used Visio in the distant past, then I moved to Axure and Balsamiq, but because of the dynamics here at On The Beach I now mainly use Illustrator for my low-fi wireframes as I’ve accumulated an extensive library of symbols and actions… 🙂 Plus a lot of on-the-fly coding on the console and notepad, and also other online tools like UXPin, Litmus, JSFiddle, etc.
Mobile app vs responsive web design vs mobile web – what are your thoughts at On The Beach?
Responsive is a terminology that I don’t really subscribe to. There are two ways to see this issue. Firstly, like we all used to test our websites, years ago on different browsers and systems, and get charts of usage of monitor sizes and resolutions, we now should make sure this product performs well in all possible environments – the mobile, the tablet, the internet tv, the laptop, etc, in all browsers and all systems. Nothing has changed – the game is just a bit harder now.
Secondly, different products have different needs and different platforms have different needs. The very first version of Tetris I’ve ever played was called Nyet. Tetris is a classic game that existed in any possible platform, even portable ones like Gameboy. Have you tried to play Tetris on the mobile? It changed the whole dynamic and usability of the game. So having a webapp whose functionality is the same on different platforms, but with some adjustments to the grid depending on the screen size, is not something I take for granted.
I always challenge the concept of mobile apps, for different reasons. I don’t think it’s always the best way to serve your product to a client. I have a parallel career as a DJ and record producer, and the music market is flooded with Mobile Apps. I don’t see it as a great tool to serve content. I see it mainly as a badge on your mobile screen, saying to the world and yourself that you’re are a big fan of artist or band xyz. I think mobile apps – the ones you download, and that updates itself when you’re connected to the wifi – are more interesting when your product is a tool and that you think the user will use it enough times to justify its download and space on screen and internal memory.
With On The Beach there are two main factors that made us not to choose this route. Firstly we are so dynamic when it comes to software development, making at least two deploys per week, that an app from us would be constantly updating, and that wouldn’t be the best experience for the user – think Acrobat Reader, when was the last time it didn’t tell you it needs updating? 🙂 The second reason is accessibility. Although we have a significant number of customers choosing us as their online travel agent more than once a year, plus all the people that come back from their holidays and come to us to book their next ones – and that would justify an On The Beach app as a tool – we wanted to use our efforts and energy on something that would serve everybody. For example, users coming from Google or Bing, a link on Facebook, a suggestion of a friend or a specialist site like Trip Advisor (that sends us hundreds of users every day). Instead, we made an entirely new website, just for the mobile, that you don’t need to download or upkeep. It’s there for anyone with a connection and it works really well.
Describe an example of the work involved from design through to implementation?
I think the design process is the same on every branch of design. From designing a chair to a party flyer, from a shopping cart experience to a car. We have an idea, then some high level analysis, then research, concept, testing and finally wireframing. Then back to the research.
How important is research to OTB? How did the Keep It Usable research feed into the agile development process and how did the feedback help to shape the software?
Research is fundamental to my work and to the company. We are constantly analysing data and testing the best way to do everything. When it comes to our mobile website we did extensive research, and Keep It Usable was a major part of it. We had instant feedback on certain features that are paramount to the mobile experience. I would go to the lab with Keep It Usable in the morning, and in the afternoon I’d be writing tickets to change things – in the best Agile practice.
What are your favourite UX-related resources?
I have way too many bookmarks, rss and twitter feeds, but I think the benefits from other people or companies experiences come from knowing the whole case. This is why I love to go to meetings and talks, I’m very active at #NUX, and I try to go to all UX conventions I can. It’s a good way to get to know people in the industry, but mainly I do it to hear the cases straight from the horses mouth. A button being small or big, positioned left or right, its colours… it doesn’t mean anything without data, without knowing the purposes and goals that were briefed.
Would you like to work with us?
Keep It Usable help many different kinds of companies to understand their users. We conduct research with real people and design interfaces using an evidence-based approach; every element has reasoning.
If you’re not investing in UX, your competitor will be!
Whenever colour choice is discussed with consumers, we have always seen a positive reaction
Apple have finally done it with the iPhone 5C! They’ve launched coloured handsets in keeping with their other famously colourful products. Will consumers like coloured phones? Will they appeal to the mainstream user?
For those of you who follow @usabilitygal on Twitter or have spoken to Lisa in the past, you’ll know that for years she’s been championing colour choice in mobile handsets and it’s been a bug bear that there is so little choice for consumers other than boring, dull colours such as black, dark grey, navy and white. Most people disagreed, their explanation being that a wide variety of colourful cases was all that consumers needed. Sell mobiles in monochrome colours and let people pimp them up if they so desired.
Unfortunately, this limited viewpoint relies on the consumer at the point of purchase having the imagination to envisage each mobile in a colourful case that they haven’t yet even begun to think about. Therefore, one of the major purchase factors is in fact colour.
We’ve conducted hundreds of research interviews and usability tests with mobile users which is why we’ve always been champions of colour choice and personalisation. That’s not to say that you should let people have free reign, people need boundaries and limits otherwise we’ll just see a repeat of MySpace in the 90s all over again!
Whenever colour choice is discussed with consumers, we have always seen a positive reaction, particularly with the female market. We feel that the female consumer has been hugely overlooked in the tech world and unless more women take board positions within tech companies, the only way companies will be able to adapt to the female consumers needs is to listen to them. Simply, conduct research.
So, why is having the choice to personalise a design through the use of colour so appealing to people?
Extension of the self
When people buy products that will be shown and used in public, there is an added social acceptance dimension in the purchase decision – what will other people think? This is where it becomes more difficult to predict human behaviour. People have a multitude of reasons for why they buy something, and if that product is both a high purchase price and something that a wide variety of people in both their current and future social circles will see, the decision becomes more complex, weighty and important.
The mobile becomes a reflection of you, your status in life, your personality, your desires… Knowing this, people will often choose a product that is not a reflection of who they are currently, but who they want to be in the future. It becomes a status symbol of their future self.
Colour helps this expression of themselves as we know through the many articles that have been written on colour psychology – is your personality a bold, confident red or a friendly, reserved blue? Are you a blue but want others to see you as a red so you purchase a red product? Whatever the reasons, people like a choice of colour and are often conscious of what that choice indicates to others about them.
Increased emotional attachment
Admit it, you have an emotional attachment to your mobile don’t you? Most people admit to feeling like a piece of them is missing when they are without their mobile. Increased personalisation increases the amount of human-device attachment that a person experiences. It becomes an expression and extension of themselves which brings with it an increased emotional bond.
Quite simply, having a colourful phone is more fun! Who wants to look at boring black all day long? Bring on bold, bright colours that make you feel alive, energetic, playful and happy 🙂
Choice and increased control
Who doesn’t love choice! In studies it’s been shown that people love choice, well, they say they love choice ‘the more options the better!’ however in practise this isn’t the case at all. Famous studies that demonstrate the paradox of choice, such as, the jam experiment by Iyengar, prove that when given too much choice people actually don’t make a choice at all. Why? The crux of the issue is that people fear making the wrong choice. Lots of choices puts a lot of demand on the person to weigh up each choice, it’s pros, it’s cons, the implications of making the wrong choice, how they’ll feel if their choice is the wrong one, etc. Given a few choices, people are more likely to make a purchase, will feel more confident about their decision and happier afterwards.
Choice equals more control and a greater feeling of power. Providing more colours for the iPhone 5C is giving more control back to the consumer.
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