Online NW Keynote Speaker: Brandon Schauer

Brandon Schauer, the Keynote speaker for Online NW 2010 (see his blog), talked about four key “hacks” that enable one to look at things from the user’s perspective.  These are my notes from his talk.  According tho Brandon, user experiences have four main values on the internet: utility, usability, profitability, strategy

As a society, we have begun to move away from how to do/make things better, and to now focus on how to decide what gets worked on (to focus on strategy).  You can’t make everything perfect; everyone has a different opinion and you can’t meet everyone’s expectations.

1. Get empathy into your organization. Define the experience that users will have.  Have lots of ideas, and make sure that those ideas are in the right places. Many would be innovators have spent a lot of time and energy and resources developing a killer application or product, but it was not quite in the right place or time.  They did not focus on what needed to be innovated or what was truly needed and wanted.  And return to the user’s context.  Often!

For example, Brandon used an old Scientific American article for how to use one of the first photos (the photo machine — aka cameras — came with miles of directions, were poorly labeled, and ultimately frustrated users; they were poor directions).  Along came someone who simplified the directions which helped sell the first Kodak camera.  The new motto was, “You press the button, we do the rest,”  He turned a long scientific process into three simple steps to help new photographers become less technical and more focused on the fun of the experience.

2. Expected value: Risk Real world launch or failure.

Realworld development costs vs. realworld failure.  In other words, stupid things that are produced that shouldn’t be.  There are four ways to develop realworld development costs (focus on): 1. Get empathy into organization.  Start with data, logic, interface, and experience (experience is the end product). How do you start with data?

  • Spend time with target user.  Learn about their behaviors and motivations, connect insights to your organizational objectives.  (recruit friend Craigs List do screen sharing. “Tell me the last time you were doing that thing I want you to do.  Recent experience, step by step to pick up how people behave for critical insights.)
  • Learn about behaviors and motivations (unmet needs, critical insights, user requirements)
  • Empathize (exercise with objectives)

3. Define the user experience. What makes a good experience? Is it fun, the brand name, the mission of the organization.  For example, Brand: styleguides (How do you look and feel, how do you talk as an organization?); Experience principles (e.g. tivo: it is reliable, puts me in control, simple, more boxes on a screen, enjoyable because you live with it); is it memorable, inspirational, differentiating (fit need that isn’t met & different from competitors.  What makes your product different)?

***The peak-end rule: (People tend to remember experiences that are the highest and lowest experiences and how it ended).  Try to not have negative end (e.g. customer that leave on a bad note), but keep in mind that it isn’t practical to be perfect all the time — you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin. It pays to have one really, really good experience mixed in with mediocre experiences and to have a really strong end.  The high points and good end note tend to wash over the mediocre experiences, and the high points/end are what they remember.

4. Have lots of ideas in the right places. The myths of innovation is a book with more info, if you want to look it up.  People have a habit of having just one idea (one point in space) and running with it.  But there are lots of points to consider, and we NEED to think past the first idea!  If people took the time to think of 10 ideas, they would find that on average the 3-5 ideas tend to be the best.  This is partially because we don’t think things through very much or bother to look outside of the box we first envision.  Brandon gave us a “Facebook for the Intranet” exercise (6 ideas in five minutes).  We focused on how to find experience.  He demonstrated how the three-fourth ideas tend to be the most interesting and most promising ideas on average within a thought cycle.  Ultimately, we look at first at what we know and avoid what we don’t know.  If you can turn this cycle on its head and go after middle (don’t be a doughnut), you’ll do much better.  In short, go right to the problem you don’t know how to solve, such as selling a car online which had never been done before and is done all the time now.

5. Return to the user’s context.  Often! How do you know if your product is going to succeed?  Do a dry run first with low-cost and little to lose. You should do this when you lose the fresh perspective of a user–if you can get a fresh perspective from a user, test it.  Everett Rogers was given as an example for the Diffusion of Innovations Theory: relative advantages, compatibility, complexity, useability. Bring everything together.

As a review:

  1. Get empathy into your organization.
  2. Define the experience users will have.
  3. Have lots of ideas. In the right places.
  4. Return to the user’s context.  Often!

About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on February 5, 2010, in Libraries, Online NW, Web Design and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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