UX Agency and Axure Training

It’s experiment time! Roll up yer sleeves. Here I am again trying to make sense of Facebook.

Over on our glorious Ptype Facebook page, we post a few things now and then we hope will be of interest to UX practitioners. But we notice that Facebook rarely shows them to you.

As I’m writing this, our page has 219 fans aka Likes, but most of our posts are seen by 5 people. How can we get more of our posts seen?

Here is the experiment

I posted text only with a URL link about our upcoming Axure workshops. That post looked like this:

5 people saw it over the last 5 days since it was posted. Sad trombone.

Then I posted this one a couple of days later. Nearly identical text. No URL link. And a photo of Eve, my dearly departed cat. Sweetest funniest cat ever. My thinking? People love cat pictures!

But more importantly, will Facebook show this to more people because it has a photo?

YES. 64 people were shown this over the course of the 24 hours it’s been online.

That’s quite a difference. Thank you, Eve.

Yeah. 2.2% of my audience shown the post without the picture. 29.2% of my audience shown the same info with a picture.

Lesson learned: every post I hope people will see gets a picture.

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A LinkedIn connection shared a link to a site she thought was interesting. OK, I’ll bite. I head over to the site.

I can’t see any page without signing up or logging in. There is a popup blocking my every move. No matter how many times I reload the page or what page I click on in the half a second before it comes up, I get the overlay.

And it’s not your traditional lightbox… where clicking outside of it makes it go away. I was hoping for that because it has NO CLOSE BUTTON.

I am at a dead end. The message here is:

Sign Up Or Leave

Let’s take a look at that home page (click to enlarge).

I still see this from time to time. A marketing person (never a UX person) says, “If we give them no choice but to sign up, they’ll sign up!”

I just got here. I don’t know what your company does. You won’t let me find out. I can’t click any links. I can’t even get to “How It Works” because your overlay won’t go away. Does that mean the “How It Works” page is only for people who’ve already signed up? Do you imagine that people will go through those steps, agree to unread terms, and I bet end up on at least one email list without knowing what your company DOES?

Some might. I guess I could go get a temporary, burner email address and give you fake sign-ups.

I closed the browser window.

That doesn’t help marketing either.

Marketing doesn’t want fake sign-ups. They want real people they can market to.

Marketing also usually wants people who are interested. If you put 10,000 mostly-disinterested, forced-to-register people on the mailing list and 20 open the emails, you will appear to be failing. If you make 10,000 people sign up to your site and you sell 20 things, it will look like you are failing.

If 100 truly interested people sign up and join the mailing list and 20 of them open emails or buy something, now this looks like it could have legs. That’s 20%… because you marketed to truly interested people.

Bad data on home page bounces

This company might see a lot of home page bounces when they check their analytics. People come to the home page and then they leave right away without seeing other pages.

Will the people reading those analytics understand that it’s probably because we visitors had an obstacle? We COULDN’T get anywhere else without signing up and we decided not to make that level of commitment yet.

Will the people reading those analytics think that the home page just isn’t grabbing people enough? And send UX and UI people to keep redesigning it? I hope not. I honestly have no opinion on the home page yet because I couldn’t experience it. A popup blocked me the whole time.

Drop the fantasies of the big database

The big database of uninterested people won’t get your company very far, especially in a world where people want to hear about “adoption” and “conversion.”

If people don’t look at your individual offerings, if they don’t buy them, you’re going to know. People will wonder why you’re not converting, especially with all those people hitting your home page or signing up. They signed up… why aren’t they buying? Oh, we MADE them sign up.

Improve the UX

Give me a way to close that popup. Let me explore your site. If your offering is compelling, I will WANT to sign up. You won’t have to force me to do it. You won’t have to make it an obstacle. I’ll be looking in the header for a “SIGN UP” call to action button.

Make me want to sign up because you’re so great. Don’t make me sign up before I even know what you do.

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As a Disney Vacation Club (time share) member, I go to Walt Disney World in Florida at least once every other year. You may laugh but it’s my happy place.

Even when I am there, I am still wearing my UX hat. Today I want to look at a UX flaw in trying to make some online reservations ahead of your vacation.

When can I do this?

Let’s say there is a restaurant where you want to eat or a special tour you want to take while on vacation. Many of these book up far in advance. It can sometimes be hard (if not impossible) to get the restaurant you want on a certain day and time.

Additionally, not all events and tours are available every day. Some tours are only given on certain days.

This means that when you are planning your vacation, once you have “what do I want to do/where do I want to eat” decided, the next question is, “when can I do that?”

Disney booking interface

That’s the current interface

The above screen shot is how it currently looks if you wanted to try to book a restaurant. The interface for booking an event is similar except it doesn’t ask how many. You just select the ONE date you’re hoping to go and it says available times or not available.

What’s missing here is the idea that most of us aren’t on a WDW vacation for one day. We’re there a bunch of days. Many people are there a week. Some people are there even longer, taking an extended vacation in a place the size of San Francisco.

How should this look or work?

Disney booking interface

This is about 100 pixels taller than the original but the width is the same.

This interface could offer more flexibility knowing the actual behaviors of vacationers.

1. Let me choose a range of dates. When I pick the first date, make the second date the same as the one I just picked in case I only want that date. Or I can choose a second date and have a range. And let’s say we let people search an entire week.

2. For events, we’re now done. Show me every time this event, tour, or special thing happens during my whole trip. I can then easily plan which one I want.

3. For dining, you now need some more information. How many in the party? I guess we can keep the droplist format for that. Defaulting to 2 only makes sense if Disney knows that most dining reservations are for two. If the average dining reservation is for 4, they should change the default.

4. We can include one more optional parameter for dining reservations. Which meal do you plan to eat at this location? How about checkboxes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with all selected by default. There are some places in WDW I’m happy to get ANY reservation at… won’t be picky! Some I only want a certain meal.

5. Since I started on the individual page for a certain restaurant, I can now see every open time for up to a week. How about we see this in an overlay since we’re now hopefully in the middle of a process (committing to one of these times and making a reservation)?

Disney booking interface

Better than one day, one time block at a time.

Perhaps for space’s sake, only one accordion opens at a time. But this would easily show when I can eat at this place over my whole trip.

And that’s a real life use case. On my last trip, I wanted to eat at Be Our Guest. I would rather eat there at dinner. I was on a 5-day trip and had to keep checking each day, one by one, time block by time block, to see if any spots were open.

It turned out one spot was open. Lunch at 10:45am on a Saturday. An interface like this would have saved me a lot of time, searching, and a little vacation stressing over getting a booking here.

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I’m a paying customer of a meditation app. How does it work? You have a long screen where you pick the topic. Then you pick which one, then you play it. Easy process, right?

They also have a few special series on one topic. So it might be the 7 Days of Something. You can download one meditation for each day. The process? Pick that off the long list on the main screen, pick the day, and play it.

Until a recent app update.

And I sure hope they change this back. Now let’s take a look at the NEW process to listen to a meditation track.

Step 1

Let’s listen to something from the 21 Days of Calm series.

Step 2

Oh, this is a little about the series. Well, the problem is that I’m shown this every time I go in. Want to listen to the next day? I have to see this first as if I have no idea what this series is. I see this no matter what my intention is: start the series, listen to the next day, re-listen to a previous day. 🙁

There might be a reason to explain a series more deeply, but it probably shouldn’t be a forced step every time I want to listen to one of these.

But pressing “start” will get us started, right?

Step 3

Am I ready to commit? Is that important? Is a meditation app judging me???

Do you care how often I listen to this? Who cares how long I take to do this or if I stop and never come back?

But you have added another step and click to what could have been and used to be a short process.

On a side note, the app should know that I have a paid for a year in advance. It shouldn’t act like it has separation anxiety or co-dependency issues just yet.

If I say I’m not ready, I don’t get to listen to the track. So let’s say we’re ready because this app might be a little needy. 🙂

Step 4a

I can re-listen to a previous day, or…

Step 4b

I can download a new Day of Calm meditation I haven’t heard yet.

What happens after you listen to a track?

Very often, I don’t listen to just one track. I like to listen to 2 or 3, sometimes in the same series, sometimes in different series.

By the way, you can’t back up during a track or restart it. You’d have to end it and go through that process again to restart it. 🙁 🙁 🙁

Here is what it looks like when the track is done.

Step 5

I’m congratulated on having listened to a track. Can’t do anything other than click here. Don’t need the congrats, but thanks, it was easy.

Step 6

Without choice, I’m shown a record of how many days this month I’ve listened to at least one track. Not important.

Not part of this process. I’m in listening mode. Don’t care about how many I’ve listened to recently.

Never important or relevant. I’m not in some sort of meditation competition against anybody.

6 steps to listen to a meditation track?!

It should be 2. Pick the series or topic. Pick the track you want inside that series or topic.

When done, leave me on the track screen with a replay option. Or take me back to the main screen to pick another series or topic.

Two steps. This could be really efficient. I don’t understand the reason to add all the extra steps here.

We’re not dating so stop asking me to commit. There is no penalty for NOT listening more often or coming back to a program, so why stop me every single time I want to hear a track and put two screens in my way?

Do you need to give me a series explanation every time I want to hear a track? Even if I JUST heard a track from that series? Do I need to commit every time? How about if I already listened to all 21 Days of Calm and want to re-listen… still need me to agree to commit? I’ve already done it!

Good UX is often about streamlining processes. Keep the user’s needs in mind and see how efficient you can make things.

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Design Your Own Custom Backpack

Posted By on May 27, 2016

I Googled “design custom backpack” because I want something specific and can’t seem to find it.

One search result was this page from the Vans site. I can tell from the bread crumbs that this is a page for designing a BACKPACK.

But I can only tell that from the bread crumbs.

ScreenHunter_265 May. 17 16.10

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Clicking around nothing in particular recently, I found a list of something like 11 things Baristas want you to know. Here was number 7:

ScreenHunter_232 Apr. 22 11.46

It says, “If you asked for decaf, I gave you decaf. You don’t need to ask me repeatedly. I am not out to get you.”

And I’m not out to piss you off when I ask you repeatedly.

I have a caffeine allergy. It’s one of those allergies where I can have a little of something, but if I go above a certain threshold, that allergy is 100% ON. I can have about as much caffeine as you’d find in a can of Coke, about 40mg, in a day. Or I can have a little dark chocolate. Or some decaf coffee or espresso.

One thing I definitely can’t have would be regular coffee. Certainly not regular espresso. That will be very bad. That would be like 4x what I can handle and I won’t even see it coming.

If I go over my threshold, I get a basilar migraine for about 12 hours. Nothing cures it or makes it go away other than time. I have to wait it out. So it’s best to stay under that threshold. And since I was diagnosed in 1984, I’ve gotten very good at knowing where that line is.

I love decaf coffee. Love the taste of it. Don’t want to give it up because baristas have made me sick three times in 15 years.

You’re not out to get me, but you’re human. You might make a mistake.

I evidently DO need to ask repeatedly because in the last 15 years, Starbucks baristas have:

  • Given me caffeine 3 times no matter how many times I checked if it was decaf and told them I have an allergy. They deserve a special rung of hell.
  • Remade my drink (various baristas in various locations) because when I double-checked, they suddenly weren’t sure if they had pulled a decaf shot or not. Grateful to them!

I’m going to ask repeatedly. Please learn to not take that personally.

I once asked a barista in an airport if she were sure she was giving me decaf. She snidely said, “I CAN read.” OK, I bet you can read. But anybody can make a mistake.

Please work WITH me. Please be understanding. If I ask that much, it must be important to me. I know you’re not out to get me. But I also know that it’s human to grab the wrong thing. We’re all capable of it.

Thank you.

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Are you headed to UXPA 2016 in Seattle? Make sure to drop by and talk to us about our UX strategy and design offerings, Axure training, and Axure prototyping.

On Tuesday 31 May, we’re giving a half day workshop in the evening. It’s called, “Add Axure Prototyping Skills To Your UX Process.”

We’ll start by covering in general why prototyping is a great addition to your UX process as well as why Axure is the best choice as a tool.

We will then teach some of our lessons from our famous Axure training workshops. We only have a half day, so we can’t fit in our full 2-day Core Skills class. But we can definitely give you real techniques and skills you can start using immediately.

And we’re in booth #3!

UXPA also has sponsor booths and we bought one right by registration. We’re hoping you can’t miss us. Come learn why our Axure training is so awesome… and why we like to say, “The agency you hired hired us.”

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I can’t believe this is still a thing. Based on the request to renew the license of my FTP software, it still is a thing.

ScreenHunter_214 Apr. 18 11.43

This email is coming from an unmonitored account or so says the copy. Yet when I hit reply, the email went to sales@.

That’s the right thing to do… though they do need to update their form email to say you can hit reply if you need help.

Every email you send should allow replies.

The reply doesn’t have to go to the same person, department, or mailing list that sent the email to the recipient. But if people naturally hit reply, let that email go SOMEWHERE where it gets attention.

Perhaps that reply generates a support ticket. Perhaps it goes to a real person or team. But it shouldn’t go nowhere.

And we shouldn’t even message people anything that sounds like they won’t be able to easily get service or support. Need help? Hit reply. Make it easy for them.

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