User Experience: You’re Solving the Wrong Problem

Let’s cut to the main point: Never solve the problem you’re asked to solve – it’s usually the symptom, not the real problem.

We used to just make websites, but now we’re creating ‘experiences.’ User experience means different things to different people and when questioning any issues, you must ask yourself if this is the real problem, or if this is a symptom.

When attempting to improve the interface for our Members’ site we discovered the issues with the site were the symptoms of a larger problem. It wasn’t the colors or the design it was the overall experience we were offering; The disconnect between what the user expected and what we offered. We have a vision for, but that vision wasn’t being represented or experienced. Read More

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The Importance of Usability Testing

You can ask the right questions, and get the right answers, but often what a website user says and what they actually do are two different things. The only way to get the real answers is to see them for yourself. Usability testing is becoming more common when launching new websites, redesigns, or mobile apps, and getting those answers early in the process can be critical to the success and performance of your website or application. Read More

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Our Path to Supporting Mobile

In June of 2012, I attended An Event Apart – Boston for the first time. Sitting through the sessions – I felt like I had struck gold! I was soaking up all the do’s and don’ts that others in the industry had figured out, through their own trial and error as they moved to responsive and mobile platforms for their websites.

With their tips and tricks, I had a jumpstart to understanding the pitfalls and successes that others have seen while transitioning websites to support a whole new world of interactions with users.

Coming back to the office – I was eager to jump into the process of figuring out our own do’s and don’ts for improving the user experience for the 40% (and growing) of visitors to our websites. Here are some of the big learnings we’ve had, as we’ve tested and optimized our check out funnels for mobile: Read More

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HTML5 Web standards. Up yours.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines “Web standard” as an Open Web Platform to promote consensus, fairness, public accountability, and quality of web technology. These standards allow developers and designers to create “One Web” that is available on any device even when each devices’ platform continues to evolve. Lead contributors of the consortium also state that HTML5 will be the cornerstone for the new web standard.

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Say “No” to Experience Rot

While on a quick 36 hour trip to Boston for UXPA, I found myself sitting in the sub-zero Conference Center violently nodding in agreement as Jared M. Spool enlightened me on “Experience Rot.” I’ve known the problem, but never the term; Experience Rot are all those unnecessary features, tools, and added complexity on a website killing the experience for your users.

As we build and optimize websites I think we start with good intentions; trying to innovate, creatively design, and engage our users in a noteworthy experience, but as more features and content appear, the higher chance a user is to become frustrated and void of the experience they’re actually searching for.

As a general example: You release version 1 of a website, tool, or feature; it’s clean, simple, and contains only the necessities. Then you go back – adding features, pages, content, and [sometimes] junk with each new release. Before you know it, 50 new features have been added but only 3 of them add value to the user experience, the rest are damaging it.

Building a Winning UX: Jared Spool. UXPA Boston 2013

Jared Spool’s advice to avoid Experience Rot: Read More

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Learn from the Bricks (& Mortar)

I spend a lot of time thinking about websites. I focus on what works, what doesn’t’, and why. I look at numbers, ask people about their feelings, and at the end of it all…make decisions. A couple weeks ago, I was asked to go speak to a group of students at Salt Lake Community College, and explain some of those thoughts. It made me organize a few thoughts, and I thought I would share them with the interwebs, as well.

When I first started thinking about usability, I was kind of at a loss. My only opinions were those of “like” and “don’t like.” I was thinking more about how things looked, not how they worked. I realized that, to actually make a site better, I needed to change my thinking. I started with something that I had more experience with: brick and mortar stores. I looked at them to find some inspiration. It helped.

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Don’t Be That Guy.

jar•gon (noun) \ˈjärgən\

Language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning.

How many times have you sat in a meeting and been frustrated by “that” guy? You know the one. The person that tells the group “let’s take this offline,” and we’ll “circle back later” and that he’s going to come around and “pepper” us with questions. Don’t be that guy. No one likes that guy. We all know he doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about. He just likes talking.

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Let Them Be Lazy

“Design that does not serve people, does not serve business” – Jeffery Zeldman

I walked away from the “An Event Apart” conference in Boston with a bigger picture of website design and content. There is of course a long way for me to go – but I caught on to a big theme which can be summed up in two words: “Content First.”

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Usability of a Site

“It is far better to adapt the technology to the user than to force the user to adapt to the technology.” Larry Marine

Customer Service

I am a huge advocate for good customer service. The usability of a website can go hand in hand with customer service and I have realized how important it has become to me as I have been planning a vacation the last few weeks. I will admit that I am not the most technical person but if I can’t navigate through a website, then I am not likely to stay on that page and I know I am not the only one out there doing the same thing. If you do not relate and adapt to your users, you will have this problem and it can directly relate to your sales and exposure out there online.

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Do you ever talk to yourself? No, really, do you?

I do.

All the time.

Maybe too much.

Maybe I am while I am writing this sentence… maybe I just talk too much in general. But that’s beyond the point. Let’s move on, shall we?


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