“Designing for Personalities” by Sarah Parmenter—An Event Apart video

“Designing for Personalities” by Sarah Parmenter—An Event Apart video


Good morning, everyone. So when you get to
speak at these things, the speakers are known to
have what’s called, like, speaker rituals. Everyone maybe has their own
way of building up to their talk and just hiding themselves
away and concentrating on what they’re doing for the morning. Mine is normally that I have to
just close off and keep myself away from everything and
really, really concentrate. So our worst nightmare
at these things is slides needing to change
last minute because there’s been some sort of
algorithm change or changes that can skew an entire
talk or speaker’s getting to punchlines
and aha moments before you, which means
that you have to then, say, oh, congratulations, this
person came up with this first. Great staff, blah, blah, blah. So I get into the habit
of actually putting my phone into airplane mode. But this morning,
I learned that, not only are our
phones listening to us, but they’re also looking at us. This, as a woman, is
my worst nightmare. Apparently this is what’s on
The New York Times this morning, the very dress that I’m
wearing for this conference. So Apple News decided to enrich
my morning with this article just 20 minutes before
getting up on stage today. So if I hadn’t come
across the Atlantic with only hand luggage and
no other appropriate speaker attire, I would have
definitely changed. So I’m covering this all
off now because, we’re all pretty well read in here. And The New York
Times is pretty big. So no, I didn’t know. Yes, I feel like an idiot. And the Instagram
handle account that actually is dedicated
to everyone bashing this dress made sure that I
feel like the world’s biggest idiot I could possibly feel. So moving on– thank
you, thank you, ladies. So I am really lucky to be
part of a group at Adobe, which are called the Adobe
Insiders Group. And last summer, it was really
humbling and inspiring to be part of so many creatives
from across the globe. And we all got talking about
our ancestry and our personality types across continent. And someone mentioned
that there was a way to trace your
ancestry back via DNA. So this is one of the 3D cameras
that we were using there. I learned I could jump
very high without the aid of a trampoline. And I always used to say to
people when they, say, oh, where do you come from? I would say oh, I think I have
French or Norwegian roots. I knew where the
French part came from. Apparently, Parmenter
comes from potato. So I’m affectionately known
to my friends back home as Sarah Potato. The Norwegian part, I think
evolved over many years. I was willing myself to
perhaps be a natural blonde. I think that’s where
that came from. So the ancestry
results came back. Not only does it tell you
random people on the internet that you’re related to. It tells you exactly
where you come from and which counties and countries
your ancestors have lived in and descended from. Now, for someone who
thought that they had French-Norwegian roots,
you can understand my surprise when this was my result. It was
practically an 80-mile radius from my current home. My ancestors never
really traveled. They never really
went anywhere other than the southeast of England. So I had to wave goodbye to
my slightly European history and just be OK with saying
I am 100% English, which is far less exotic when you
actually come from England. So shoehorning this back
into web design for a second, it was scary how
easy it is to believe my own rhetoric for years
about something that simply isn’t true. And I think that we’ve been
doing this for a while. We’ve started to believe this
with UX patterns recently. We started to believe
our own silly rhetoric that, because they’re
common, they are OK. I’m going to let
this run for a second because it just gets better
and better and better. Everyone loves that. So many of our websites and
digital processes are broken. And it’s down to us to fix it. Every single person
in this room is responsible for bringing
intelligent conversations to the surface about what
can be really difficult use cases to design for. But by not designing
for these people, we’re missing an opportunity
to gain higher customer conversions and acquisitions,
build better trust, and lower customer
acquisition costs. So let’s take a look at
what’s been typically done to scratch the surface of
the who behind our customers. Traditionally, we’ve
used personas, right? How many people,
by show of hands, have ever had to go down the
route of actually presenting or using personas in their work? Tons of you, fantastic. So what we’ve
traditionally done is we’ve listed broad attributes
like age, gender, job roles, financial status, maybe. And what that has meant
is that we have had an awful lot of assumptions. We’ve had to make an awful lot
of assumptions about our users. And they’re normally
high-level assumptions like economic groups,
ages, et cetera. If you wanted to see how easy
it is for computers to make sweeping assumptions about
your likes and preferences, take a look at the above URL. Now, this is not me
Facebook bashing. This is simply a really
easy way to show you how easy it is for these
various things on the internet to put you into
the wrong bucket. And the best example is found
lurking amongst your Facebook ad preferences. And it only occurred to me
at the start of this year that I should tweak
my ad preferences so that I didn’t see irrelevant
ads for the rest of the year. So this is what it looks like. This is what your ad
preferences looks like. It’s mailing lists that
you’ve signed up to, and then these get
uploaded to Facebook, there are websites
that you visited that have a pixel installed. Its places you’ve checked in. Its ads that you’ve clicked
on via Facebook and purchased, which then puts you into
a highly coveted category of highly engaged shoppers and
also single-sign-on services that we use where
you’re actually using a single logon via Facebook. So most of the things
that were actually in mind were completely wrong. I’d also managed to
get myself in a segment for every Chevrolet dealership
across the US for some reason. I’m not entirely sure
how that happened. So these are inherently
an amalgamation of average attributes
that we imagine our average customer has. And what we need to learn is
that there’s no such thing as an average customer. We also realized the
problem with personas is it doesn’t actually tell
us very much about anything. It certainly doesn’t
give us context. And they’re normally
missing vital contexts that give them value. Sometimes things that
can affect a persona can be seconds of
difference, for example, how you might interact with
a website in an emergency situation versus
casual browsing. And this isn’t
excellent article medium that I hope everyone
will go and check out. It’s by the Microsoft
design team, and it’s entitled
Kill Your Personas. In short, there
are a ton of things that can affect
how people interact with your businesses or
your websites or apps at any given time. And mostly, it renders
traditional personas useless if they’re so high
level that they force you to speak in generalities. So what the Microsoft
design team say is, we’re asking hard
questions about the intent and limitations
of our personas so that we can design for real
people in real situations. We use these spectrums
to ideate and iterate in the design process
alongside a series of physical, social, economic,
temporal, cultural contexts. But designing for
personas only takes care of a fraction of the
work that we need to do, and it only gets us so far. And some may argue
that it doesn’t get us far at all in the
grand scheme of design. When we add another
layer of life on top, and we sprinkle in
some situations that can be time critical, coupled
with how someone is feeling at the time, adding in
another baseline of how a certain personality type
shapes how people interact with things, we have ourselves
a whole medley of UX issues that are just ripe for picking. The Microsoft design
team say, as we move toward building
intelligent, responsive systems, we need new
tools that further embrace diversity and
respect multiple contexts and capabilities. So I think we actually
have three problems to solve right now. Personality traits
aren’t static. Most people say they can be
drilled down to just four. But as we’ve seen with
the work that Microsoft is doing, with personas,
personality traits aren’t static either. They too evolve with context. Personas are contextual. And both of these things
create moving targets for us as designers. So this leads us to have a need
for creating the most desirable experience for the user. But how do we do this when
there are so many variables? We’ve got used to this notion,
somewhat, of fixed design. And I don’t mean in
the sense of fixed what it might have meant
back in 1999, 2000, when we all used to design
those wonderful 960 websites. 960 was exactly what we
were doing back then. We’ve got used to
the notion of fixed design in the sense of
what we have tended to do with A/B testing recently. Now, this might sound
similar to a lot of people. We A/B test. We go with the majority
of what some people want. Now, when it’s not linked to
actually a conversion amount, we’re actually going with the
majority for design changes. What we don’t
necessarily think about, especially, when the
A/B testing is close, were pot B, for
example, actually wrong? Or was it a preference
situation, and we’ve just changed our design to work
for a very specific segment? We don’t really know
who those people are. But we’ve just
disregarded section B because they’ve said
that they’re not in the majority pot. But are they
actually wrong if you start building in the
context of how they may be approaching your design? What tends to
happen and what I’ve seen with A/B testing a lot of
the time, when it comes down to design preferences of
certain things, your company– they might change
something because of the overwhelming
responses that segment A want this design. They change it. They leave that for a few weeks. The conversion rate goes
back to exactly where it was, and you’re back in
square one again. That’s what tends to
happen a lot with A/B testing at the moment. And some people actually,
when it comes to design work, say that it doesn’t actually
have much of a place If it’s not actually linked
to a dollar amount conversion. So as Jeffrey said just this
morning, just a couple of hours ago, quite eloquently,
everything we design is never finished. Sadly, that is our
jobs, isn’t it? We know nothing, and
we can ship stuff, and then we’re reiterating
it just the week after. So what I think we’ve
actually been missing is almost the preference panel
that goes over our websites. And we can only do this
by asking the users what their actual preferences are. Previously, we have been tasked
with making the decisions for our users. It’s now time for us to think
about putting some of the power into their hands and shifting
the web into a gear that can be truly personalized
for each need. Now, I know by the faces
that are looking back at me, everyone’s,
like, Sarah, we’ve just mastered responsive design. How can we possibly
give everyone their own preference panel? Bear with me. I feel like we’ve done the hard
work in building these sites. And now we just need
to think about how we can add in these little
touches that make the web truly personalized for each user,
which sounds really scary; I agree. So the first thing I
would do, personally, is wave a magic
Harry Potter wand to allow reduced motion to be
pushed through on all browsers. Now, not being able to switch
parallax scrolling off for me is a real problem. And for the record, this
is a wonderful website. Its interactions have been
meticulously designed. However, for me, personally,
it’s my worst nightmare. I have really bad
motion sickness, which is very ironic
for a frequent traveler. And these types of
websites actually make me feel, as dramatic
because it sounds, they make me feel
physically sick. Now, when we were going
through these wonderful phases of parallax everything, the
web was a horror film for me because I would sit
there and be, like, whoa, OK, I’m going to have to just
wait for that thing to finish, and then I might actually get
to read the thing that I want. But along the same notion,
animated gifs, “jiffs”– which one is it? I’m never sure– do exactly
the same thing for me. Repeat imagery does
exactly the same thing. So not being able to turn this
off is my worst nightmare. And of course, Instagram
and everything at the moment is full of these things. So this is the
first thing I would love to see is something
that would, for me, allow a preference panel
to reduce motion. And we already have this. And the browser support is good. It’s getting there. But from speaking
to the fantastic Jen Simmons and Rachel who will
be speaking after lunch, this, we’ve now shifted the
web into a gear where it’s slightly more
complex than what we’d been dealing with before. Because for things
like reduced motion, apparently, everyone is
having mini discussions amongst themselves. What is actually down
to the browser to set? What is down to your System
Preferences in your computer? What’s set there? What level is all of these
different preferences set up? So the people who are
far smarter than I am are discussing
this at the moment on all of the working groups,
and you can read about it. But this, obviously, is
a really complex problem that we now have because
these things don’t just extend to what we’re
seeing on the web. We’re also seeing more animation
in our operating systems on our computers. And if they can tick a box
and have it do everything, then, obviously, that’s better. But that’s where we’re
at with everything. It’s hard to believe
that we’ve not actually been doing this already. It’s a bit like when
responsive design came in or when any of
these other elements have had to be
bolted onto our jobs over the years have come in. It’s almost like we’ve had
those aha moments of, wait, that seems so simple,
that we should have been thinking about that already. Yes, we should. And it’s also easy that we’ve
thought that this thing is something that’s coming. We’ve often thought
of parts of our jobs as these things that are
rumbling in the distance. And at some point, we
may have to get to them. The reality is,
this is here now. And it’s been here and a
problem for many, many years. And sadly, it’s us. It’s only us that are going
to get to fix these things. So we need to start having
more intelligent conversations about what can be really, really
tricky things to design for? So just by a show of hands,
how many people in this room would identify themselves
as an introvert? Yes, you are my people. You are definitely my people. A third of people are
said to be introverts. And the reason I’m solely
picking on introverts with just this
segment of the talk is because other high-level
personality groups don’t actually tend to
have specific needs or UI changes that would help them. But the introvert group
does, or at least it does, which fits neatly into
a one-hour presentation. Now, I am an introvert. I am going to refer to myself
as a paradoxical introvert. Because a lot of people
think, what it an introvert? How can you stand up on stage? How does how does that work? You can’t be an introvert. You must be an extrovert
because you’re on stage and able to present. And I’ve sussed this myself. I’m OK in these
situations if I feel like I can pass on knowledge. I don’t claim to be the
world’s best at anything, but I feel like I
have something to say. And I’m OK with that. Anything else, put me in a
social situation with people who maybe aren’t
from the web or I can’t have a nerdy
conversation with, I really don’t know
how to talk to them. So I classify myself as
a paradoxical introvert. Or for those who
follow Myers-Briggs, an INFJ, which some
people think is baloney, but that’s another discussion. So [INAUDIBLE] says, the rise
of introversion is no accident. It’s happening at
the same time as we have this massive shift
in technology that promotes exhibitionism. Apparently, we are
a growing breed, which I am very happy about. Now, I’ve learned some
really interesting things over the years. I worked for a big media
company in New York where we had to specifically
look at introverts and designing for them as
a thing, which I absolutely loved. And what I’ve learned is that
introverts will patiently seek out complex UX
patterns when they align with their levels of comfort. And that is one of the most
interesting nuggets of UX that I’ve ever had the
joy of looking into. And what that means is that
introverts will purposely seek out buried dark
patterns in things. I found this late last. And I thought, this actually
describes introverts perfectly. Because one of the most
common personality traits I’ve seen in introverts is
they hate using the telephone. And I don’t mean just
red-buttoning people. They will do anything to avoid
making or receiving calls. I was doing a bit of
research into this. One of the best
things I ever learned was the introvert
who told me, did you know that if you actually
sit on the Virgin Atlantic home page for a whole nine
minutes, eventually, the chat box pops up, which
means that you don’t actually need to speak to a human, which,
I thought you are definitely my person. I nodded along and thought,
I would definitely do that rather than pick up the phone. And the introvert who posted
the exact UX path on Twitter to get to the live chat
assistant on Amazon, which I also thought
that was brilliant. Because obviously,
Amazon bury these things. They don’t want you to actually
get to a human quickly. They want you to try and
solve the problem yourself. One introvert, god love
them, posted the exact way to get to the Amazon chat box. So when I worked in Los Angeles,
we were really, really lucky. I was the head of design
for a company called Follow, which is sadly no more. It rebranded to Backstage, and
now it’s sadly gone [? bank. ?] But what was really,
really interesting time because I was able to look
after some of the biggest social accounts in the world. These are people who have
50-plus million followers. And the data that we were
handling was extraordinary. And part of the UX research
that we looked into was actually about
introverts because it was an online platform for
superfans of these celebrities. We had direct access
to the celebrities because of who’s
behind the apps. So we were really lucky in that,
when we were testing things, it would immediately
have immediate uptake, and we would see
immediate results because of the kind of followings
that these guys had. So what we noticed
was we actually got a group, which who all
identified as introverts, and their UX needs
were very, very different from the rest of the
people who were using the app. And what they actually needed
and how they operated was, what we grew to love and know
as what we called safe silos. And even on the popular
social channels, they would operate in this way. They would almost have
their own safe places and safe handles where
they would all accumulate. And they would discuss
things amongst themselves because they would feel
safer in smaller groups than they would necessarily
in mass-market followings. And the wonderful thing
was, they would strangely self-police as well. So what you’re seeing
here is, essentially, the two silos that we had for
two of the biggest celebrities that we had on the books at
the time, which was Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Those fans rarely
crossed each other. And they would operate in
these very strange groups where they would almost
self-police themselves. If someone then came
into that group, because it was seen as a
smaller, more intimate group of followers, they would almost
self-police and throw out people who weren’t’
their way of thinking or who were massive fans
of a rival pop star, if that happens. And they were a really
interesting group to look after and look
into because they really did feel like they needed
their own smaller safe space. We then looked
into what we could do to essentially elongate what
we called session lengths so that we could keep them
coming back into the app, keep the daily
active users high, but also keep them in
the up for a long time. And we learned that
they would actually read more than they would
participate themselves. And this was, essentially,
one of the prototype features that I
created and pitched for a while where we would ask
the celebrities to essentially take their behind-the-scenes
messaging public and allow our users
to read in real time because we had so
many people who would identify as introverts. And that introvert
group would read more than they would
participate in commenting. And so this was the
modern equivalent. We came up with, essentially,
the modern equivalent of reading someone’s newspaper
over their shoulder or texts, if you’re brave
enough to do that. I love doing that on the tube. You can always read
some wonderful things. The chats happened in
real time and ticked a lot of boxes for how we
knew our less vocal users liked to interact
with the content. The chats were never stored. You were either there,
or you missed out. And we played with ways
of blacking out the screen instantaneously if the
screenshot feature was used to stop amounts of it being
shared on other platforms dulling the exclusivity
and diminishing the usefulness of
their platform. It had a lot of plus points. A lot of our artists were
sponsored in some way. And it was naturally quite
easy to pull sponsorship into that conversation
in a very organic way. If someone was just
viewing things, and we were able
to have them say, oh, I just went by Starbucks
and picked up this new thing. It looked kind of casual and
very organic, so it worked. But to actually engineer this
was more time than we had at the time, so it got shelved. So yeah, designing
for introverts is a really fascinating
group to look into. If you have more
time or if anyone wants to talk about it over
the next couple of days, I am more than happy to nerd
out on it because you could create a whole one-hour
presentation on designing for introverts. But we will go back to
designing for the modern web. So going back to what we
were talking about before, users will begin to value those
applications and services that bother them the least and
respect their privacy. I think we can take
that a step further. Users will begin to value those
applications or services that bother them the least,
respect their privacy, and allow for a level of
personal user experience adjustment. Coming into this segment,
we’re going to get serious for about 15 minutes. And I think that setting
a level of personal user experience and
preferences will become more and more important
in the work that we do. Now I’m afraid that what
I’m about to speak about isn’t going to be the most
cheery of subject matter. However, by not normalizing
some of these conversations in our workplaces,
it’s kind of what’s caused us to be in the
pickle that we are in today. So let’s have a think. In time-critical or
personal situations, what we’re asking the average
user– now, we all know. We’re very tech
savvy in this room. We are not what would be
considered an average user in any situation. But we are asking our average
users, our non-tech-savvy users to have the foresight to
turn on incognito mode when many of them don’t even
understand what a cookie is. So let’s think about
that for a second. Something’s gone wrong. Something’s happening
in your life. It might be very personal. And we’re asking you
to have the foresight to step into incognito
mode or something in your browser that stops so
much information being relayed all around the internet. Switch that on, and
continue your browsing. That doesn’t happen. And as tech is
starting to become more accessible than ever
with the price of smart home systems coming
down, the problem is going to just compound
with our robots. I never thought I
would ever say that. I listened to a
fascinating podcast actually the other day
about how audio branding is going to start to become
increasingly popular because of all of these smart
robots that we’ve got at home and stuff. There’s a really, really
interesting podcast, I believe it’s called Household
Name, where they talk all about audio branding– highly
recommend it as an aside. But what I love
nowadays is that, no matter who you
speak to, everyone has a horror story about a
bad cookie following them around the internet or a theory
that Siri or WhatsApp are listening to all of
our conversations, which isn’t strictly untrue. But that’s a whole
other wormhole that we won’t get around today. So cookies can seem like
a smart marketing solution until context and empathy let
them down also, the ability to remove them easily. Whereas, it may seem
simple to us in this room, imagine the
frustration of someone with the following story. So a friend of
mine fell pregnant. And she excitedly went
around the internet looking at different
things, as women do, as we all do when various
elements of our life come in, and we’re clicking
around the internet, reading about different things. So she has excitedly
clicked around a bunch of various different
articles, gone on Facebook and read a bunch of things,
downloaded a bunch of apps. And then she couldn’t
untrace her steps. So what we now need
to think about is, as our technology
gets smarter, we have to ensure that the
experience is around data usage don’t breach any
ethical, moral, or personally intrusive code. Now, the reason for this
is that, sadly, my friend, she lost the baby
very, very early. And she then couldn’t
untrace the steps that she had taken excitedly
at the beginning of her journey and didn’t know how to start
removing herself from things. So naturally, she
phoned me and said, I cannot deal with every
time I go on to Facebook, I am getting ads in my
right-hand bar where I’m getting ads in my
newsfeed that, right now, I personally cannot cope with. What do I do? How do I stop
everything following me around the internet
at this very crucial time when I could do with a little
bit of peace and quiet? So I said, OK, first
thing, let’s download a cookie cleaner. And I’ll never forget her face. She looked at me and
went, cookie cleaner? Is that thing? I say, yes, yes, it is,
which is easy for us. The fact that we
were all laughing, obviously, we all know we’ve
got friends who would not know what cookie is at all. And we’re also
asking people to know what various different
elements of what I think are actually power user
features in lots of apps. We’re asking people to
know what these things do in critical and
personal situations. So just to sanity-check
myself this morning, I put onto my group of
friends on WhatsApp. And they’re all
fairly tech savvy. I said, do you know
A, what a cookie is, and would you know on
Facebook how to remove things? And obviously, the
memes that came back with normal non-techie people
was mm, cookies, om, nom, nom, nom. So the fact that we see so
much of this on Facebook tells me that people do not know
what those three dots are used for on Facebook, the fact
that people constantly write following, following,
following, following because they want to follow
post and receive notifications on those posts means
that they don’t they haven’t clicked into
those three buttons. They don’t know that you
can just press follow post, and they don’t need to
write following on it. So asking someone to know how
to untrace their steps using those three dots, which
are a power feature, is way above an average
user’s comprehension. So what do we have to thank
for all this Facebook Pixel– fantastic bit of technology,
but, in this instance, massively lets us down. So in this instance, someone has
to actually to use those three dots, go into the
why am I seeing this ad that will
tell them, oh, you’re seeing this ad
because you’ve clicked on something on a website,
or with that website, had a Facebook Pixel installed. So we’ve now put you firmly
in the pregnant segment. And to get yourself out of
it is really, really hard. It’s back into that
segment I showed you right at the beginning. Now, this person now
couldn’t get themselves out of the segment of
pregnant without going through all these
different steps, which is just ludicrous nowadays. So she had some very,
very valid questions. If it’s smart enough to pick
up on me being pregnant, why could it not
detect when I’m not. Because equally,
when you’re not, you search some very specific
words that I would argue is easier to pick
up on that something has gone very wrong than
when someone has just fallen pregnant. The really specific phrases
that people would be googling would or should be
setting off alarm bells around the web saying there’s
something going wrong here. We think that maybe
we should start removing this person from
various segments or, at least, give them an option really fast
as to how to do it themselves. That’s simply not the case. Add in that people download
an awful lot of apps as well. This isn’t just a
problem that is– it might seem like I’m
picking on Facebook. Facebook actually is very
forward-thinking in some ways in how to remove
these types of things. But when people then go and
download a bunch of free apps, we all know the age-old
thing, if the app is free, if the service is free, you
are the product of that app. But lots of people don’t. This app, in
particular– again, I’m not just picking on this
for any particular reason. But when you download this
very, very popular free app, they sell your data to companies
such as Huggies, Pottery Barn Kids, Disney Baby,
Pampers, to name a few. And that data goes
out into the world. And as far as they’re
concerned, you’ve ticked their privacy policy. You’ve ticked
everything that there is to do with their legal
side of things, which means that they have no
obligation as to how to work out how you backtrack
once they’ve sold the data to someone else. They basically say,
if you don’t want to provide your personal
information to advertisers, don’t register for
our site or services. You’ve already
done that the point when you’ve downloaded the
app, and they’ve already sold your data. This is a real problem. Yes, they have a
report a loss feature. But if you just delete the
app because you don’t like it or you want to try and
find something else, you are in that segment forever. And this became a problem
when someone actually then received this exact
thing happened to them. They were pregnant, and
then they lost the baby, and then they received a gift
hamper from a milk formula company a week before
what would have been their due date because
this app sold their data wrong. And they started
to ask questions. I couldn’t, even
if I wanted to, I couldn’t have got myself
out of that data segment. Now, what becomes
really scary is when these apps start to
knit their data together. Now Natural Cycles is a
menstrual cycle and fertility app. And it’s safe to
say that they have some of the most personal
data about their users. As a user of this app myself,
it’s extremely worrying the kinds of things
that you have to put in and the kinds of things that
they don’t do with your data. So it does various different
things, which I won’t bore you with, but it has the most
personal data on women probably on the planet. Now, there’s certain things that
happen around losing a baby. And their data algorithm
picks up on that quite well. But your only choice is to mark
yourself as pregnant or not pregnant, which, I guess,
in black and white, is exactly what it is. When you’re dealing
with 1’s and 0’s, we all know that’s kind of
exactly what it is. I think we can do
better than that. So once you’ve marked yourself
as not pregnant anymore, what happens? What would be the most
empathetic thing that they could do at this time? Now, bearing in
mind, at some point, has gone through people like us. It has gone through
content strategist. It’s gone through designers. It’s gone through developers. And not one person has put
their hand in the air and said, hang on a minute. Wait. What happens if it goes wrong? Not one person
throughout that process has done it, which
is kind of why I want to bring
it to the surface and start making us think
about those filters. So what’s the most
empathetic thing they could have
done at this point? They did this. Sorry that happened. Paragraph of false platitudes. Can you do something for us? We basically want
to know how you became pregnant
whilst this app was in prevent-a-pregnancy mode? And the reason for that
is because they’ve just been cleared by the FDA. And they’re also
regulated by ISO, which is a worldwide medical standard. So at the time when they
should have been thinking about their user and what
they could do for their user at that time, they were too
busy collecting statistics to ensure it didn’t skew their
data about the reliability of the app. Something like
this would not have been beyond the
realms of possibility. We’ve given you two free
months because we realize that this app is now
rendered useless to you over the next couple of months
while things get back on track. Contact us where
you might actually get a response from a real
human because we understand that you’re going to have some
questions around this time. And here’s when your
next billing date is. That obviously didn’t happen. Someone on their
web team did not think about what
would happen when things go very, very wrong. So the entire user experience
of our apps and websites is going to rely on
how empathetic we are, we, as a collective
group in this industry. We are the people that
this stuff filters through. And we are the people
that need to start thinking about different use
cases as difficult as they are. And these experiences
don’t exist because they’ve not been
designed by people like us. So before we go building
yet another framework, or to use a phrase
I hate, we need to circle back on
ourselves and check the our beautifully
responsive mobile-first websites and native
apps are actually empathetic or able to
handle stress cases, such as what we’ve
just spoken about. These aren’t really
even anomaly users. This happens to a
quarter of all women. And there are lots of different
use cases out there, not just to deal with this
subject matter. There are lots and lots
of different things in this world
where, actually, it becomes a real problem for a
significant number of your user base. But we’re not
designing for them, because they’re
not majority cases, a bit like what we were
talking about with A/B testing. They’re the anomaly people. But it can make a massive
difference to the way that we handle the
web, what we’re doing, and the experiences
that we design. So another thing
that I just want to touch on, if
you, as a company, are storing or doing anything
with photos, our UI and UX on photography needs
an awful lot of work. Because our photo albums
can store together the most personal
knitted together account of our day-to-day lives. And when we think
of slip-ups that can happen with
photo albums, we tend to think of stuff that
involves nudity, weirdly. But actually, in reality,
we’re way past that. Most people are far more
savvy with that than before. It’s far less about that. But what we don’t really
always think about is we don’t always
save to reminisce. We save to give us the
option to remember. And inappropriate is contextual. At the moment, we
only have the ability to flag stuff as inappropriate. That’s contextual and
should be user-selected. So if your company
stores, collates, or manages any kind of
photos, please consider the following use cases– doctors, they commonly
ask and encourage you to take photos of
what you might see, in relation to what’s actually
going on with your body, so that they can take a
look and advise accordingly. At least, where
I’m from in the UK, they are very
talkative about photos. And they give you
the whole, don’t worry, I’ve seen it all
before, as all good doctors do. These can sometimes be
gross and unsuitable to sit amongst selfies of your
cats, dogs, and children, but still have a
place in your life. So there’s currently
only a hidden folder to store the on iOS. And there’s no way to
even categorize them then. So photographs aren’t
just for nice memories. There are some real
uses behind photography. And what I would love
to see is if we actually thought about something to do
with a memory vault for example or a vault or some
language around us actually having personal vaults. We understand what that is
because of the connotation with, actually, jewelry
vaults and banking and all kinds of things. But what we don’t have
is our own personal space that’s locked down
away from prying eyes. It’s not hidden. It’s not inappropriate content. It just needs to not
sit amongst everything that we’re doing day to day. So again, this is another thing
that we need to think about. If your company
handles photos, I think we could be
doing that better. So here’s a positive story
about how it is literally us that can make a difference
in this world around really small things. So there is a company in
the UK called Bloom & Wild. And they do letterbox flowers. It’s a really
interesting concept of– they send beautiful
flowers through the post, and it fits through the
average, very tiny UK letterbox. And last year, on
March 5, 2018, I sent them an email
because it was around Mother’s Day in the UK. And I got fed up that there’s no
way to filter out Mother’s Day. I lost my mom in 2012,
and it’s every year when Mother’s Day comes
up, obviously, the first couple of
years– for anyone who’s lost someone in the room. It hurts, doesn’t it? It’s like a paper cut. And then it gradually
gets a little bit easier. But I just, that day, I
must’ve had a really bad day, and I just lost it. And I sent a fairly polite email
to the CEO of Bloom & Wild. And I said look,
basically, Mother’s Day isn’t a happy day for everyone. Could you not, in this day and
age, please give some of us the ability to just opt out
of just that communication. The same for people who have
lost dads, Father’s Day, for example. You are so linked to the ebb
and flow of calendar dates that the fact that your
company can actually give me an opt out for very
specific dates seems crazy. It’s 2018. We should have been thinking
about this years ago. He sends me back a very gracious
email about 15 minutes later and says, OK, you won’t
receive any more emails from us around Mother’s Day. I’ve managed to
do something that removes you from that segment. And we’ll have a think
about what we can do to change this in the future. And it made me inherently
dubious as a consumer that they could save the
birthdays of my friends and remind me about those,
but not let me filter out things like this. And we all know, in this
room, it’s not hard. We’re not talking about
hard technology here. It’s a link. It’s a basic HTML hyperlink at
the bottom of an email campaign that says, unsubscribe me from
this particular type of emails please. I even mocked it up for
them, I was like, hey, Aaron, so it could look like this. I mean I’m not trying to
put anything or anything, but it could look like this. It’s really easy. It’s probably like 15 minutes’
work for your company. Or even better, how
about you actually include a discount code,
which would make people think, oh, OK, they
messed up, but I’m going to get some money off
of my flowers next time. It’s all good. So this year, thankfully,
they finally listened. And they actually
listened around 12 hours before the first presentation
of the year at AEA. So whilst I was
happy to get on stage and bash them for
not doing anything, 12 hours later, they’d actually
created the thing I sent them. And they put out an opt
out just for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And the internet went crazy. It was like we’d handed
them gold bars or something. It was very strange. But it was wonderful. The UK press started
writing about it. And it was a really
good reminder for me that this was just a link. This is just a really
plain and boring link. There’s no hard technology
behind what we’re doing here. It just required a little bit
of thought about some users. So I’d watched the
Twitters in the background and what was happening. And it was incredible how many
people– it actually made me a little bit teary. Because I was, like,
how many people have actually just been putting
up with this for so many years because we haven’t thought
about them as a use case? And now a company
has, they are being hailed as doing something
incredibly technologically advanced when we all know,
secretly, that it probably took about 15 minutes in total. But it’s been a
really good nod to, when we think we can make
a difference in this world with these small changes,
sometimes all we need to do is point out to these companies
that they can actually do better. You can do better. Here’s how I suggest
you do better. Here’s a little tiny
screenshot that’s taken me less than 10 minutes
to mock up to show you how you can do better. We can all do that
with various things. If we all keep chipping away at
these various things we stumble upon for UI and UX that aren’t
quite perfect, sometimes, just sometimes, they listen. So they actually sent
me a really lovely email and said we appreciate your
thoughtful and kind feedback last year. We’re happy to hear
that the team has found a way to address this. So far the incentive has
received amazing responses, and we can’t thank you enough
for your part in it, which is really nice of them. But ultimately, I’m just
happy that they listened and that people couldn’t stop
getting hurt by these things. So to round off this segment,
it would be ungracious of me to do a talk like this and
not reference this book, as a lot of these ideas have
been seeded for many years amongst Event Apart
speakers and writers. And it’s been so beautifully put
by Eric and Sara in this book. So few are interested in reading
more about that type of design, I highly suggest that you
read Design for Real Life. So in short,
businesses and services should be more accountable. We need to have more
accountability for users having control over end-to-end
processes with the tone of voice of our businesses
coming along for the ride, but us trying to learn how we
can actually put the power back with our users. And we should be given
them end-to-end control of how they interact with us. So just to round up, I’d like
to talk you through a case study where I did just
that with a company that I currently work for. UX, for me, is not
only the design of the experience
of the product, but the whole ecosystem
we construct around it, including offline interactions,
notifications, newsletters, and customer service. So back in the
UK, one of my jobs is that I head up
design and marketing for a well-known
multinational interiors brand. This is a real life case
study of seven months of ongoing work. Some of the things
that you need to know is that it is a custom
product that we manufacture, and it sits on the side
of a considered purchase. So it’s got high dollar value. So we dip sampled hundreds
of existing customers. And I wasn’t really looking
for anything in particular. But as with all good
research, the data starts to collate itself,
and patterns emerge. And I’m a self-confessed
data nerd. I love using it as a
backup for design choices, as it’s really hard for
people to argue with. So the timeline
of our sales cycle emerged, which was interesting,
as we’d told ourselves internally a very different
story to what it actually looked like. And in that, the gaps
really interested me. So recapping on what we’ve
spoken about earlier, users begin to value
applications or services that bother them the least,
respect privacy, and allow a level
of UX adjustment. And our respect
of privacy extends to all forms of unnecessary
alerts, communication, and notifications. So part of my team
are marketing juniors. This is two of them on
the left, Zach and Abby. They had a real hard time with
this because part of research is that you have
to start digging into data that some people
really don’t want you to dig into because they
think that you are trying to unearth shortcomings
in their own personal jobs. So they might hide
things from you. Or they might not
want to tell you the full truth about something
that you’re trying to find. So what I had to actually
do was make a joke out of it almost and say to them,
look, when you’re in marketing, let me tell you, the design,
marketing and web developer section of most companies,
we turn ourselves into like the most hated. Because normally, we’re trying
to push forward ideas and get people to do things that are
beyond their comfort zone. So we start digging around,
and we look at data, and we unearth things that
people don’t necessarily want us to always
find, because it brings hard questions to the surface. So I said, look,
here’s these glasses. Whenever you feel like you
need to go and dig around in data you’re not
comfortable with, put them on, and just
make out that you’re having to do some spy work
or something so that it makes it feel more
comfortable for you. Everyone will laugh. That’s OK. But ultimately, we should be
able to extrapolate from people exactly what we’re
looking to find. So it just turned into a bit
of an in-joke in our company that, whenever my two marketing
juniors were walking around like this, everyone was
like, oh god, marketing are on the warpath again. They’re looking for data. So we were looking at everyone
that sat within that segment there. And we were looking
at, what were they doing in this period of time? Where were they going? And how many times are
we contacting them, how were we contacting
them, and how could we reduce the time
spent in that segment? So we went into a
remarketing mode. But what we found was that the
normal process in the company was that we would
call three times. And if there was
no answer, it would get marked as a
dead lead, and that would be the end of the
customer interaction. Instead of repeating the same
behavior with dismal results, we decided to
change up elements. We remarked to a pool of
people who had already had the service that
cost the company the most amount of money. And we dipped our toe into
remarketing to these people in a non-gross way. It was simply a– there was no special offer. There was no incentive. It was simply an
email nudge from us to remind them
that we were there and remind them of what they
had originally been looking at. And they’d already invested
quite a number of hours into at this point. By just doing a non-gross
email marketing campaign, we managed to unearth,
pretty immediately, $62,500 worth of
business, which was kind of, like, OK, these
people are not dead leads. It means that we’re remarketing
or marketing to them in the incorrect way for them. And this brought in
quite a bit of business with immediate effect. So it meant that we were
able to actually go and have a conversation around our
original process being broken. This created an
argument for us actually asking the user their
preference on how they would like to be contacted. And this was difficult because
the company didn’t actually believe that they had
done anything wrong up until this
point, so to speak. There was nothing
wrong with the process. They just thought,
well, if we’ve tried to phone them three times,
and they’ve not picked up, then they can’t be
interested in our product. And this is quite scary
because a lot of companies believe that they
are controlling the pipeline in their process. And that’s been honed
over many years. Many companies have
these processes. They’re locked down. And you can’t do
anything with it. You can’t deviate
from the process. And actually saying we’re
going to not do that anymore, and we’re going to put a little
bit more power in the user’s hands and see what
happens, is really scary for most companies. Because they feel
like you’re going to unearth something that
they’re not fully equipped to deal with. So luckily, our boss is very
forward-thinking with stuff. And what we did was
on the front end, we said, you tell us your
preference amount speaking to us. Tick whether you prefer to
speak to someone over the phone or you prefer to do this via
texts and emails, no calls. We quickly had to change
that to minimal calls because we realized that in
time-sensitive situations where something might be going
wrong, even for introverts, they prefer a call
in that situation. It’s in a very
specific case, but we needed to actually just
put in minimal calls because there might be
the odd chance that we do need to do it once or twice. So we then put people into
two different segments. We had the people who
preferred what we were then classing as a digital
journey versus a more traditional journey,
which was essentially picking up the phone and doing
traditional sales marketing to them. When we gave people the
option, 76% of people actually wanted a
digital journey, which told us that our
process was completely wrong. We asked more questions
of these people who wanted the digital journey, and
they said various things from, I don’t like receiving calls. Texts and emails
fit into my day. It’s hard for me to
take calls at work. I dislike speaking to
people on the phone. I prefer to control
the process myself. And my favorite,
I’m an introvert. I hate calls, sorry. And we did that in exchange
for a $30 gift card because I think it’s
really important. I’m a giant fan of, if you
are asking, as a company, for people’s time to get
back valuable and feedback from them, you need to have a
fair exchange for that time. So $30, we gave
them a gift card, we got some really
valuable information back. What that actually meant was
our entire sales process, our entire funnel,
our entire pipeline, whatever you want to call
it, was entirely broken. So they were actually
shouting at us that our sales process,
for them, was broken. It was going to cost
us thousands to fix, thousands of man hours to put
right, thousands of man hours in training to actually
retrain into people how to use this different process. But the right thing
was to fix it. So being agile was
absolutely crucial. So the next part
that we had to tackle was the average time
between us sending out a mailer and an
appointment being booked. And this essentially
meant that we needed to have an
online booking platform. Our calls to action
were practically dead on most social accounts. We weren’t able to
capture customers when emotion was highest
without relying on them to pick up the phone
and actually call in and book the thing on their own. So a booking system for a
particular needs doesn’t exist. But we also needed to prove
that there was a need for it before asking for
budget to build it. So we had to use an
off-the-shelf booking platform. This proved
interesting because we had to set a radius around
a point for each of our 27 craftsmen up and down the UK. And this had a very
real knock-on effect. Setting a set radius for
people because that’s what the code allowed
for has a knock-on effect when you are assigned
London, and you’re being asked to cover a
40-mile radius around London within the same time
frame as someone who lives in a much sparser area
like down in Cornwall and Devon in the far left of the country. It has a massive
knock-on effect. And our craftsmen
we’re going, I can’t get to all the appointments. This is crazy. So we were then able to
code just some custom code. We were able to push that
through really quickly. And it was essentially
really quick and dirty JavaScript, which
meant that we were able to narrow
those radiuses down for each of the craftspeople
who were looking after people up and down the UK. Thankfully, we were
trusted and agile enough to jump in and fight fires in
real time without much need for approval to
set things right. And I’m aware that that’s
a bit the unicorn project with everything that we do. That led to us then being able
to roll out a fully automated online booking system. We booked more online
appointments in 10 days than we booked for the entirety
of the previous month, which told us that we were
doing something right. 87% of our appointments are
now booked online as to, previously, it was
100%, obviously, because we didn’t have a booking
system, booked over the phone. We had an uplift of 60% on
booking appointments overall. A big mistake we made, however,
was not setting KPIs early on. Now, that’s an easy
mistake to make. We were too busy redesigning
a website, trying to put out an online booking
system, set radiuses. There were too many various
paths to the project going on. Setting KPIs, crucially, just
wasn’t really on our radar. This became important when
we launched live chat. And we learned a hard
lesson with this. The digitally minded
section of the business recognized how time
sensitive live chat is. We all know live chat. The expectation is that
it’s instant back and forth. The rest of the company
treated it almost like it was a Facebook
Messenger-type inbox. They’ll get to it at
some point when they’re amongst their other job. It was because we hadn’t
actually said, as a KPI, you need to answer live chat
within 15 seconds of that coming in, otherwise that
person is going to go. It seems simple to us. The rest of the company
did not get that at all. We also had to think about
long-tail conversion. So that is how to
complete a sales cycle when the price
of the product is high. You sometimes have
to think about UI/UX around having a base almost
where people can come back to or choose elements
of an expensive product that they can then,
in their own time, save up for or know
that information is stored in a safe place. So we had to think about
all these different elements all at once to make the rollout
of this actually worthwhile. So what we actually
did was we were able to drop out the
mailer being sent. This went into a PDF
that was immediately sent to anyone who
requested it, which brought the appointment
booking right back. That then dropped out
the average of 12 weeks. We were able to go to this
deposit received and cycle completion in an exceptionally
short amount of time. We went from 14 weeks as a
whole sales cycle to seven days. And that was simply from
asking our users, what are we doing wrong? How can we allow you a
more personal UX journey throughout this? So that’s what you need to ask
your users of your products, businesses, services? What is stopping your user
completing your cycle? And sometimes you might
have to do horrible things to validate a concept. One of the main reasons
I’m not showing you any work from this
in real time is because I don’t want you
going and googling the site because someone is going to look
under the hood of that code, and it ain’t pretty right now. But we validated the concept. And we didn’t let
perfectionism get in the way of actually
being able to just say, that’s working, that’s working,
code that, do that, do that. That’s horrible. We’re using a plugin for
that, but that’s OK right now. We’re just going to
keep going, keep going, just keep swimming, just keep
swimming, just keep swimming. And we’ll go back
to it, and we’ll create a beautiful version
of it a little bit later. So to recap, respect privacy. build in a personal level of
UX adjustment to each project. Outlier data can
create super fans of your projects and products. And just because stress cases
or certain user preferences might only apply to a
minority of your users, don’t be afraid to
design for them. It can elevate global
brand perception in ways that money alone
can’t reach, often, producing
superfan-like behavior, lowering customer
acquisition costs, and creating more
loyal customer bases. Build the most empathetic
experience that you can. As we make huge waves in this
world, the differences that get written about, you can
make a considerable impact to the way people use
and consume the web. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

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