If we are not collecting the information we intend to from research participants our findings will be incomplete or worse, irrelevant and misguided. To ensure validity, keep the interviews on track and satisfy stated objectives it is imperative to know when to realign interviews by applying subtle methods and when brute force; since both have their place.

Granted that best interviews find their own flow and that over-scripting discussion guides will severely limit the wiggle room needed to reach the golden “a-ha!” moments, determining and establishing research expectations from which value to further project development will be derived is a must. Continue Reading

Surveying your target audience by conducting a top task analysis in order to determine the minimal viability of your solution is an excellent way to account for user needs throughout the estimation process and define the scope.

Doing so enables you to clearly prioritize features and engagement opportunities, distinguishing between “nice to have” and that which is essential. Results are to be leveraged in justifying dropping (or at least postponing) implementation of functionality which users indicate as having little to no value.

The process is direct, engaging, requires little effort but produces powerful results. And it may easily be segmented and replicated to find out if and why there are different interpretations of value derived from the tasks you intend to facilitate. Continue Reading

Measuring the performance of various solution aspects is used to determine the quality of the experience users interacting with that solution have. Those aspects may range from load times, acquisition source viability, building affinity through increasing loyalty etc. and there are plenty of articles out there identifying what are the most valuable data points and how to best segment and interpret what I refer to as big-picture indicators. Where I find a significant gap in measuring experiences however, is in attention given to micro interactions users have with our solutions.

Smallest units of interaction between the user and the solution often lead to largest impact on the experience, sometimes even to abandonment. Think how an entire journey may be degraded in quality by user’s frustration caused by one simple (yet very annoying) password character requirements dialog or perhaps misalignment in expectations that an image should be clickable (to zoom) but it’s not.

Typical performance reports tend to focus on larger impact indicators such as overall conversion rate, but the composite individual interactions leading to that conversion are often overlooked, leaving a lot of room for speculation on what may be the cause. Following is an overview of considerations for tracking, measuring and optimizing different types of individual interactions as well as how to quantify their impact on the user experience and therefore the solution’s performance.

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Hypotheses formed when conceptualizing a solution to a problem are guided by its’ constraints, interpretation of research conducted against assigned metrics and ultimately by embracing uncertainties. Regardless of the confidence we may have in that the solution we are envisioning is valid, our processes still consist of first evaluating multiple design solutions to the problem in early stages of the project.

Then, at one point or another, a decision is made, particular approach selected and implemented; leaving those less fortunate ideas in the discovery stage, never to be seen again. How sad – I believe they deserve better.

I will examine that particular moment when likelihood of one variation to succeed is determined as higher than that of another; identify why and how that decision is made and justify that sometimes not selecting any one particular concept, but proceeding with two or more candidates is the most viable option.

Once we establish that having multiple design solutions, is a good thing, and only then, I will examine how we, the solution providers, may capitalize and how the users, therefore stakeholders will benefit.

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Designing Interface Patterns

Our creative processes are aligning with agility required to address demand for experiencing designs in various contexts. For instance, after crossing the responsive design Rubicon we realized it’s not viable to create throwaway deliverable artifacts (wireframes, mockups etc.) for each viewport break-point. Instead we started prototyping and evolving our concepts to final solution by designing in browser.

To make the process of designing interfaces more effective and sustainable a lot of us have also adopted pattern library frameworks such as Bootstrap or Foundation as go-to resources for quickly rendering common interface elements and layout sets. By defining individual elements of interfaces or interactions as well as by incorporating adaptation to contexts in which said elements will be featured we constitute pattern libraries.

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