By Annika Naschitzki
As you are probably aware, we test a lot of web sites. Quite often we see test subjects overlooking key content or functionality, causing our customers to wonder what’s wrong with their designs – or even the test subjects – ‘It’s there can’t you see it?’ We hear the term ‘banner blindness’ referred to quite frequently, and we’ve often wondered how much this behaviour is specifically related to advertising banners, or how much it applies to homepage sliders, carousels or large homepage content banners -you know, the bit at the top of the homepage swaps between several banners and that promotes the latest this or that.
So, with the arrival of our shiny new eye-tracker (“I see what you see”), we decided to run a little experiment to see when, if ever, users overlook banner-like homepage elements on websites and to find out if there might be any way of designing to avoid this behaviour. Read more »
By Lauren Tan
Since the beginning of the 21st century, many consultancies, programmes of work, online communities, conferences, exhibitions and projects have explored how design can be used to address and respond to society’s most complex social challenges.
The UK has been a leader in the use of design for social good. For example, the UK Design Council, who are tasked with promoting the value of design in the UK, have established and run a number of initiatives to explore design for social good. Public sector organisations, such as the UK’s National Health Service, also began employing design to help improve the patient experience in hospitals across the country. And several social design agencies have flourished in the UK, using design to address complex and critical issues in areas such as health and education. Read more »
Thursday August 9, 2012 – Thursday August 9, 2012
Odlins Square, Taranaki St Wharf
Map and Directions | Register
In this briefing, Lauren Tan will present her PhD research findings on the seven roles of the designer as Co-creator, Researcher, Facilitator, Capability Builder, Social Entrepreneur, Provocateur and Strategist.
In 2007, the UK Design Council established a series of social design projects as part of a design innovation program called Dott 07 (Designs of the Time). Its vision was to use design to tackle some of modern society’s most challenging issues. For example in the areas of health, education, energy, mobility and food. In these projects designers used design in new and different ways, and in new contexts. They defined new and different roles of the designer.
Lauren will discuss a select number of roles and their corresponding Dott projects. She will show how investigating designer roles leads to a better understanding of what designers do, and better articulation of the designer’s value when they participate in multi-stakeholder environments to address and respond to our society’s most complex social challenges.
This free session will be held in Wellington on Thursday the 9th August at 7:30am at the Wharewaka – and breakfast is on us! If you are in Auckland, don’t worry, it’s your turn two days earlier on Tuesday the 7th of August 2012 at 7:30am at the Sub Rosa Café.
Date: Thursday 9th August
Time: 7.30 – 9.00am
Venue: Te Raukura, Odlins Square, Taranaki St Wharf, Wellington Waterfront.
Cost: FREE. Breakfast will be provided
Speaker: Lauren Tan
People are creatures of habit and this can introduce challenges should you want them to adopt a new behaviour. We all start forming and evolving our behaviours from the time we are born, and each of us will respond to different stimuli in our own unique way. Some of us can’t start their day without our morning coffee whereas others will reach for a cigarette as a first port of call. Some can’t fall asleep without a book in their hands and others like to leave their T.V. switched on. These behavioural differences are a big part of what makes us human.
Read more »
In the mid-80s, a new radiation therapy machine called the Therac-25 was introduced to treat people with cancer. During treatment the machine would often show cryptic error messages like “malfunction 47″ and “vtilt”. These messages would occur up to 40 times a day, and they rarely involved patient safety.
Read more »
Recently I was driving in France, and got a bit…lost. At the next village I pulled into the petrol station, walked up to the matronly woman at the counter, and asked to buy a road map. She stared at me blankly. I checked my phrasebook and tried again. “Non”, she said this time, waving her arm to encompass the whole shop, “pas de cartes ici”.
I left there shaking my head. No maps at a petrol station? The next petrol station was the same – “pas de cartes”. Clearly, my idea of what a petrol station should sell was different from the French model.
So what does this have to do with usability? Read more »
I’ve just got back from a holiday in Bali, and had time to read a couple of books about applied psychology while I was poolside. So for the last newsletter of the year, I thought I’d share with you some of the fun facts I’ve learnt.
Have a great Christmas!
Trent Read more »
[This article also appeared in the April 2007 edition of the New Zealand Marketing Magazine].
In Holland, a recent study found that half of the ‘faulty’ new electronic products returned to retailers, actually work perfectly well. The buyers simply could not figure out how to use their new mobile phone or entertainment system, and assumed it was broken.
Worse still, American research suggests that consumers damage or even destroy almost 10% of high tech gadgets out of frustration. A restaurant manager in one particular study threw his laptop in the deep fryer, ruining both the computer and the deep fryer!
It isn’t just high-tech products that cause this rage. The BBC reports that 90 percent of people feel angry and frustrated after dealing with a call centre. I felt this last year when I was moving house and getting my phone switched to the new address took nine phone calls over two days, totalling 167 minutes on the phone.
What astounds me is that organisations spend so much on advertising a product or service, and so little on ensuring that it is easy to use. In the end, if a consumer has had a bad experience with a product, no amount of advertising will tempt them to buy that brand again.
Understanding expectations is about knowing what customers want to do, and how they would like to be treated. These expectations can be entirely different, depending on the nature of the visit. A customer ringing for support may have very different needs to one looking at the website, wanting to buy the product. Customer expectations can be driven by word-of-mouth, advertising and their own previous experiences. To make this even more difficult, organisations now offer many ways for customers to interact with them. Email, websites, call centres and local branches all need to give consistent information, appropriate to the constraints of that medium. Different technologies persuade people in different ways, and some channels are more suited for some interactions than others.
If an organisation can get its consumer experience right, the benefits are obvious. Increased customer satisfaction leads to more sales. Product/service differentiation creates a valuable competitive advantage and improved brand perception leads to an increased market share. A bad experience, on the other hand, leads to angry customers, an eroded brand and ultimately, lost revenue.
One way to create a good consumer experience is through the discipline of usability testing.
Usability has been defined as the “measure of quality when interacting with something”. This can cover anything from ATMs to websites, mobile phones to retail branches. Usability means people interacting with an organisation can do so quickly and easily. It must be a simple, engaging and enjoyable experience.
The most popular usability method is user testing, which is the process of learning about ordinary customers by watching them interact with a touch point. This involves observing a number of representative users, in one-on-one sessions as they perform set tasks. The facilitator watches what they do, listens while participants think aloud and looks for patterns of behaviour across participants.
User testing is very different to running a focus group. Where a focus group is about learning what people have to say, user testing will focus on what people actually do when using a product. Traditional market research is great for understanding how people think, but creating a good consumer experience actually requires more than that. We need to know how they will behave when dealing with a real situation. This is where user testing really shines.
There is a strong attraction to think that there is some “magic formula” to creating a good consumer experience, but this is not the case. Many industries can fall into this trap. In 2003 the LA Times reported that a British academic had determined the requirements of creating a hit movie. Apparently, a box office smash must include: 30% action, 17% comedy, 13% good versus evil, 12% sex/romance, 10% special effects, 10% plot and 8% music.
As attractive as the numbers sound, they don’t work in real life. This world is messy, complicated and full of real people wanting to get things done in the shortest possible time. We must use a mix of research methods to understand their needs. Simply understanding consumer opinion through market research is not enough. We need to understand their behaviours as well. Usability research ensures that customers’ interactions are efficient, useful and satisfying. You cannot have a world-class consumer experience without it.