Restroom Layouts: UX Pro Nightmare Material

IMG_0587.JPG

My mind is continually blown by the absolutely horrible designs I witness when I walk in to restrooms in local businesses.

One restaurant has 3 sinks and one hand dryer. The hand dryer is perfectly placed on the wall in a location that requires you to stand in front of 2 of the 3 sinks to dry your hands.

Another has stall doors that swing out, so you basically have to shout a warning before you open the door so you don’t accidentally kill someone.

Another one has stall doors that swing in, but only until they smash into the toilet bowl.

I think the UX pros of the world need to unite and do pro bono work for the folks designing business restroom layouts. Seriously, it’s just pitiful.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Women Outnumber Men In Our Product Design Team

“So wait… you have more women than men in your product design team?”

“Yep. Why do you ask?”

“Well, that’s just really unique!”

Before I attended my first conference, I legit didn’t realize that it was considered “unique” to have more women than men on a product design team. And honestly, for the longest time I didn’t even notice it.

We have 2 female mobile & web engineers/architects (one of whom is a manager & a product design genius, the other is an API addict), and 3 female product designers.

We have 3 men on our team, 2 engineers/architects & a fab VP.

Why am I mentioning this? I’m not going to go off on a weird rant about lack of opportunity for women in this industry, because I legitimately haven’t experienced it here. Our ratio of women to men is 5:3. It’s just a true statement about the gender make up of our team. Skill wise we’re nailing 100% awesome.

What I AM going to say is if you are a woman who has worked in an environment where the ratio of men to women was vastly off balance and made you uncomfortable, know that there are design teams out there that are more equally balanced, or in our case tipped the other way.  Don’t just toss out a “oh well, it’s this way everywhere,” because it’s really not at all.

Both the women and the men I work with are crazy talented and are just generally awesome human beings. More men than women or more women than men isn’t a thing here. It’s a – get the most talented group of people possible on this team to make amazing products – thing… as it should be everywhere.

Tagged , ,

Sharpie Addiction: The Struggle Is Real

Sharpies

I was just sitting in my office and picked up my purse and wondered why it was getting so heavy. I reached inside and pulled out a rainbow assortment of 11 (Yes, 11!) Sharpies.

It was like a clown car situation, they just kept coming and coming.

You know you’re a designer when…

#SharpieAddiction #TheStruggleIsReal

Tagged , ,

Epic Usability Fail

IMG_0473.JPG

So this is an actual thing that exists.

Not only did they put push bars on a door you have to pull, they also put a pull sign on the door that doesn’t open, with a sign that says open in all caps, but actually tells you to open the OTHER door.

Haha It’s so severely bad that I almost hope they did it on purpose to mess with people.

You’re killing me Rite-Aid.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Poor UX: Creator of Pain & Instant Rage

430420_10102398334769784_1023980776_n

Insert thumb and lift to open? It’s a dirty lie!

You know what happens when I need to open one of these bad boys? I poke it with my thumb and the cardboard collapses into an infuriating tent.

Then I poke it with a few other fingers, thinking one of them must be the “right” finger, until ultimately I jam one & curse (poor UX can be literally painful).

By this point I’m legitimately angry, so I grab the nearest knife and stab the box an unhealthy number of times.

Afterward I feel some remorse for taking out my unbridled rage on a box of noodles & chemically enhanced cheese sauce, but by then the damage is already done.

A detail as small as poor packaging can legit destroy an otherwise positive user experience. Every time I see a box of mac and cheese in the store, I feel annoyed. Negative user experiences leak into the subconscious and color the way people view entire brands.

Don’t let your product become the mac and cheese box of user experience, keep an eye on the little big details!

Tagged , , , ,

Poorly Executed Mobile Web Apps: Destroyers Of UX

IMG_0333.JPG You know what fills me with instant rage and just about gives me a nervous twitch? When I’m Googling the daylights out of something, and then, like a ray of light shining down from heaven, a link to exactly what I need from a reliable source appears on the screen.

I do an internal happy dance, click the link and am redirected to some mega lame, poorly executed mobile web app that hardly contains ANY content, let alone the content that I really need! And then, in tiny letters at the bottom of the garbage mobile web app screen, there is a link to the desktop site.

“No! I do not want to go to your freaking desktop site to re-search for something that I already found! And now I hate you and your brand!”

This phenomenon is especially frustrating when I’m trying to buy something online. The result? I go back to the search results page and click the next link. I do NOT click through to the desktop site and search again.

One person not buying due to garbage mobile UX? No big deal. For a major retailer, thousands of online shoppers getting frustrated and going to a competitor site with a better mobile experience? It’s a huge deal, and the lost revenue dollar signs escalate exceptionally quickly.

If your company moves to a mobile web app experience, keep a CLOSE eye on your conversion rates. I’m far from alone in my intense hatred for search redirects to lame mobile web experiences.

Can we all just agree that it’s absolutely horrible UX and that it really needs to stop? Right now? Today? /end rant

Tagged , ,

UX Pros: Offending New Car Buyers Everywhere

IMG_0171.JPG

So this definitely happened last week. A good friend bought a brand new car.

I went for a ride in it for the first time: smooth ride, sexy interior, and the entire time I was analyzing ways they could have improved the layout of the digital controls, the cup holders and the seat adjustment apparatus.

Does anyone else ever occasionally wish that there was an off switch for the UX pro portion of your brain? But at the end of the day, that part makes us great at our jobs. Some days I just feel like it’s just a blessing/curse!

Tagged ,

How to Build An Amazing In-House Product Design Team

 Schoolwires Product Design Team

While conversing with some of my UX pro peers recently, I discovered that in-house design teams at software companies are extremely varied in make up. Some places have great team dynamics and others really don’t. At my company Schoolwires, we have a completely awesome Design & Innovation team with members that work incredibly well together, not only from a personality stance, but from a combined powerhouse of skills stance. So today, I’m going to focus on answering  the question:

What does it take to create a killer in-house Design and Innovation team?

1.      An Incredibly Innovative Vice President

At my company we have a VP of Product Design and Innovation who is one of the most contagiously creative, innovative people I have ever met. You go into what should be a mundane meeting with him, and come out feeling inspired every single time. He also has a vision of the future of technology that reaches out decades. He’s always thinking about the next next, with his finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest apps and software and technology trends.

2.      A UX Manager Who Thinks in Wireframes and Dreams Code

Our Manager of User Experience literally thinks in wireframes and dreams code. She hears a concept and immediately starts brainstorming the wireframes in her mind. She is incredibly talented, and has a background in code, so she not only pictures design in her mind, she knows how to MAKE the things she envisions. She’s also a mobile developing/designing genius. Cap that off with being a phenomenal, supportive manager and you’ve got Sara.

3.     Three Creative UX Architects Who Love to Design

We have three fantastic architects on our team who really enjoy designing. Our architects do the data layer/api/business layer work for all of our projects, but they also lead designs and create wireframes at times.They are able to tell us at a glance if what we hope can happen is actually feasible. If we had to wait until our designs were passed off to development to find that information out, we’d end up with hours and hours of additional rework time. Don, Heather and Craig are the key to keeping us agile.

4.     Two Extremely Talented UX Designers 

Our UX designers are fantastic.

Danelle makes our CMS interface and our mobile apps look like works of art, and can kick out gorgeous high res mockups on a dime! She is constantly looking for the latest and greatest design tricks and tips, and brings fresh ideas and concepts to our products on a regular basis to ensure positive user experiences.

Kelly is an epic interaction designer. She comes up with new innovative ways to make our products even more interesting and user friendly! She focuses on a user centered design approach to ensure that our latest features and product enhancements will positively impact the lives of our clients.

5.      A Content Strategist With A Background in Psychology

Our Content Strategist & UX Editor Jennifer loves conducting user research & usability testing regularly, writing user friendly microcopy to ensure consistent voice and tone,  reviewing and collaborating on designs to ensure usability, analyzing product statistics to identify trends, and discovering all the ways we can make our clients lives easier through design.

The 8 of us work together exceptionally well because we work in an environment that supports open sharing of ideas. We all have the utmost respect for one another, and our leadership team has made it clear that every member of the team is valued, as are their opinions.

It’s also accepted team wide that no one is perfect, nor are they expected to be. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re wrong but the safe environment for sharing both good and bad ideas leads to incredible collaboration and ultimately stronger, more innovative, user friendly products.

You don’t have to go freelance to love your job! Our department is living proof that in-house design team utopia does exist.

Tagged , , , ,

Google Analytics Free: Your Data Is Fake (But It’s OK)

Cartoon

I recently discovered that users of Google Analytics Free don’t always fully understand what they’re seeing when they log into their dashboards. They think they’re looking at their actual, honest to goodness data. So let’s clear some things up:

1. Your data is fake.
“What are you talking about! It’s not fake, there are graphs!” Your data is sampled. In some situations it’s still statistically significant. In fact, in most cases it is, so don’t panic yet.

2. Want access to your real unsampled data? Fork over $150,000.
For major corporations it’s pocket change. For the average person with a small site, your sampled data is still statistically significant, so it’s no big deal. If you’re a start up company who is still poor but is experiencing rapid growth, you’re out of luck. Break out your wallet.

3. If your company is expecting/experiencing rapid growth & has set up a bunch of custom events, of the four leading analytics companies, Google Analytics Premium is by FAR the cheapest.
If you hit 5 billion events per month, Google Analytics Premium bumps up to a flat rate of $220k. Adobe Analytics jumps up around $7.4 MILLION dollars per year. That is not a typo, it’s a legit quote. If you’re scaling crazy fast and need quality data, Google Analytics Premium is your friend from a financial perspective.

4. Unsampled, pure data is freaking expensive.
It just is. If you really need it, surrounded by a UI that isn’t terrible, be prepared to shell out some serious cash.

5. I previously mentioned that sampled data is statistically significant for most companies, so who cares about whether data is sampled or not?
CMS companies in particular need to care. Let’s say a company has global analytics tracking. They may have 4 huge clients (3 million events, 2.5, 2, and 1 million events per month) a handful of 100k – 250k events-per-month clients and so on into tiny client land.

Google samples the daylights out of your data. The higher the number of monthly events, the worse your sampling rate becomes.

From a global tracking perspective looking at high level metrics, sampling is no big deal. However, if a 100k events-per-month client calls and requests a report about mobile device traffic to their primary domain, you’re statistically SOL. You can pull the report, but the drill down data will be garbage due to the crazy sampling rate.

The worst sampling rate I’ve come across in Google Analytics Free was .02%, but you get what you pay for.

The moral of this story:
For small sites and small businesses Google Analytics Free is a viable option. Your data is “fake”, but still statistically significant.

If you’re a rapidly growing business with a pile of domains being tracked under one account, eat the cost and upgrade to Google Analytics Premium. From a scalability perspective it’s the cheapest option, and you can pull unsampled reports to obtain accurate data all day long if you want to.

Tagged , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 89 other followers

%d bloggers like this: