Category Archives: User Experience

UX Research participants. Harder to pick than a broken nose?

Recruiting the right participants is a numbers game, so I was unsure sure what to expect returning to New Zealand from London.

All the insights, opportunities and reality-check moments which emerge from customer research or usability studies can be thrown down the pan if you’re not talking to the right people.

If your target sample is iPhone users who’ve downloaded from the appstore, that’s a pretty clear ‘consumer’ type brief. You probably won’t struggle to find a few of these and can’t go too far wrong.

…But what about when your client’s product is business to business and still at concept stage? You know the demographic, market segment, and perhaps the industry the potential customer base work in, but you need to know they are ‘warm’ to your product.

This is when a good recruiter is worth gold to the credibility of your User Experience project.
The ‘face to face’ research component is sometimes only a slice of a User Experience or User Centred Design project but the insights gained and direction provided can have a powerful effect on the end product. Being certain that these insights come from the right place and are based on truths is essential.

Finding a sample truly representative of your potential audience, achieving a realistic spread of demographic and many other factors across a small sample of people is a professional art form. Rather than asking yes/no screener questions, they’ll use subtle but revealing attitudinal questions to weed out the less useful participants.

I’ve recently worked with a company in Christchurch who had this level of attention to detail and came up with the goods on a tight brief.

If you are looking to find a solid and accurate sample, I can recommend you get in touch with Karen at Opinions

Do you know of any good recruiters for User research or Usability in New Zealand? or viewing facilities around the country ?   … or perhaps you know of some to avoid…
I’d be interested to hear.

Best laid plans. Blueprint for a charity home page

To help the client team moving forward I’ve produced a home page blueprint for the website built during Full Code Press.

With web projects requiring information architecture and overall user experience input it’s often as useful to justify the strategy and principles behind recommended approaches as it is to implement them.

Rainbow Youth helped us to understand their audience, now they need to pick up the website and run with it. It’s important they understand the strategy behind the home page and the function each element performs in relation audience motivations and expectations.

Since the Full Code Press event the Codeblacks team are providing tweaks and ongoing direction for our client, Rainbow Youth before the new site goes live.

To Share the goodness and our findings, …I have made a copy of the web page IA-UX blueprint available for those who work with the design of charity websites.

Full Code Press. 24 hrs to build a great web experience

Next week I’ll be part of an NZ team competing in Sydney against the Aussies to build a website for a charity at CeBIT’09

We’ll have just 24 hours from initial briefing to completion so we’ll cover the full journey from paper through to pixels, against the clock.

My role as User Experience guy is to play the user advocate. Making sure the Information Architecture maps well with the goals and needs of both the audience and the charity.

I’m thinking along the lines of ‘Le Mans’ UX design race;

  • standing start
  • all nighter
  • …but only one set of tyres
  • and no change of driver

Formal User Research and Usability methods are out, number eight wire is in …It’s time to improvise.

The event is called Full Code Press and our team are the Code Blacks.

Australia vs New Zealand, live at the CeBIT 09 conference in Sydney, 12-13 May.

The price of cookies when booking your flight

Air New Zealand’s current advertising cheekily claims their fares have nothing to hide…

have you ever checked flight availability and prices then returned later to make the booking only to find the price has risen?

This happened to me using Air New Zealand recently, only when I went to make the booking using a different browser I was offered the original, lower price.

When the website cookie policy states;
‘will track website usage patterns’ and ‘display content more relevant to you, based on information we collect when you visit our websites’

…does this really mean;
‘We’ll offer fresh sales prospects our best price, then bump it up depending on how interested you appear to be?”

What’s going on here?

Raising the price creates a sense of urgency, encouraging us to ‘buy now before the fare goes up, or worse, sells out’ …a cheeky tactic. …but discovering you could have paid less, and have potentially been duped out of your dollars certainly doesn’t encourage customer loyalty.

The message in the advert initially sounds promising.
Upfront and transparent pricing through the browsing and booking process is something that keeps people coming back.

So, How appealing is it to use the features of myairnz if you’ve got the feeling you might be better off masquerading as a new customer?

Kiwis love a good deal offline, but do we need to delete cookies, or switch browser to ensure that we’re being presented with the best prices online?

Is User Experience ‘The New Black’ in NZ ?

I’m visiting the main cities in NZ to find out ‘who’s doing what?’ in the area of User Experience and User Centred Design …I’ve met couple of dozen people so far…

So, what lies below the surface of the words User Experience? And is it more than just a buzzword?

  • Agencies practising User Centred Design methodologies have been evangelistic, raising its profile in NZ
  • NZ design agencies have a strong belief in the philosophy behind User Centred Design and research
  • User Experience as a brand differentiator is gaining traction amongst clients
  • Larger organisations as well as product and service providers are starting to build internal UX teams or hire dedicated UX staff
  • Usability Testing methodologies are merging with User Centred Design to shape the overall experience of online in particular
  • Insights gained from UCD methodologies are informing and shaping products and services prior to as well as during development

These are all positive things, but almost everyone I spoke to felt they still had to ‘fight their corner’ within their team, and in particular with their clients.

Keep fighting …your clients will thank you, and ‘the new black’ will endure.