Jared Spool on Gourmet Experiences on a Fast Food Budget

Jared Spool
Gourmet Experiences on a Fast Food Budget
Key Insights:
1. Mastery of tricks and techniques across your team are key to great designs. Having a big toolbox and mastery of the tools is the most important factor for great design.
2. Methodology and dogma are unimportant to great design. In fact, focus on these takes valuable attention away from what maters.
3. Rewarding people for failure encourages learning. Throw a big party with champagne and caviar. Spend three minutes making fun of the failure and twenty minutes explaining the lessons learned from the failure.
Notes
  • A hamburger and a hotdog cost the same whether you do it on a fast food budget or design it to be a gourmet burger.
  • This begs that question, what’s makes something gourmet?
  • And how can we apply it to web design?
  • You take them apart, and see what gets you there
  • Meticulous Preparation
  • How Do The Best Teams Create Great Designs?
    • The teams with bad design didn’t have different goals than the teams with great stuff. They all have the objective to make great stuff.
    • There is a spectrum… in the middle of this spectrum there is a Process
      • Tricks
      • Techniques
      • Process
      • Methodology
      • Dogma
    • Process: Some teams say “we don’t have a process”, but that’s not true. Any team that eventually produces something has some sort of process. They just aren’t paying attention to the process. (Like a cook who says she doesn’t have a recipe for making something. There is a recipe, it’s just not explicit/conscious.)
      • This is fine when things are going well, but not good when things are not going well.
    • Process: To the right on this spectrum there is Methodology.
    • Dogma: And beyond Methodology is Dogma (unquestioned faiuther independent of any supporting evidence.) Lots of things we do become dogma: “It has to be Web 2.0”, “it has to have social media”.
      • They had a theory, that those organizations with great experiences had some sort of dogma that they adhered to.
    • But on the other side of Process there is Techniques.
      • Many great recipes have a roux. (flour and oil over low heat.) By itself, it tastes terrible, but it makes many recipes great. The roux is useful in many instances. If you can do it well, then you can make the recipe well. It’s a technique. You have to be good at it, and to get good you have practice and maybe a little coaching.
    • All the way at the left end is Tricks. Tricks aren’t always “right”, but they are effective. It’s easier to use the wrong tool to get the job done, than it is to go get the right tool.
    • The Best Teams
      • Don’t have a methodology or dogma
        • The struggling teams often tried following a methodology without success
      • Focus on increasing the techniques and tricks for each team member
        • They were constantly exploring new tricks and techniques for their toolbox
        • Struggling teams have limited techniques and tricks.
    • University websites…
      • Every department maintains it’s own websites. Each college, admissions, etc. So there is a different look and feel for each part. How do you resolve that?
      • The standard answer is to use templates.
        • But there is no evidence that templates result in quality design.
        • It is an attempt at a methodology, and in some cases becomes dogma.
        • Each page has it’s own purpose. The business school is different than the admissions which is different from the school of nursing.
        • There only people who care if the pages look the same are the people who have responsibility for the university website.
          • Students don’t care if a page looks different.
      • Instead, focus on tricks and techniques.
    • The Three Core UX Attributes For Great Experience Design
      • Started with 150 different variables, studied hundrends of teams, only three attributes really matter.
        • Vision
        • Feedback
        • Culture
      • The Three Questions
        • Vision: Can everyone on the team describe the experience of using your design five years from now?
          • Vision turns out to be absolute key to success. It’s a stake on the horizon with a flag. If we can clearly see the flag, then we can instantly look and see if any baby step we take will take us closer or further from the flag. And everyone can see it.
          • A really good vision is stuck in the sand, but we can move it. Then we just move towards the new location.
        • Feedback: “In the last six weeks, have you spent more than two hours watching someone use either your design or a competitor’s design?
          • The organizations where people spend significant time watching people use the design create significantly better designs.
          • It needs to be everyone on the team.
          • No longer do you have opinion wars, because now you actual experiences.
        • Culture: “In the last six weeks, have you rewarded a team member for a creating a major design failure?”
          • When we have a design failure, we learn something.
          • All the really important lessons in life come from failures.
          • Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment calls.
          • At Intuit they reward people. They throw a big party with champagne and caviar. The CEO makes a speech. They spend 3 minutes making fun of the people, and 20 minutes talking about the lessons learned.
          • Organizations that are risk averse make crap.
      • Five Second Page Tests
        • A simple technique
        • Can be done in less than 10 minutes
        • Can use page mock-ups or real site
        • Example: Buying a Notebook Computer
          • You’re ready to buy a new notebook computer
          • You consider a computer a big purchase
          • How much technical support will you get if you experience problems?
          • CDW: Technical support
            • New Customers
            • Existing Customers
            • Create Login
            • Rated: 2
          • CDW: Customer Support
            • Chat Support
            • E-account
            • Rated: 3
          • Crutchfield: Technical Support
            • Free technical support
            • 30 day return policy
            • Rated: 5
        • Designers often intend pages to have a single purpose
        • We use this technique when users complain that pages are too cluttered or confusing
        • Identifies if pages quickly communicate their purpose
      • Paper Prototype Testing
        • Design is in flux
          • Team needs to try ideas to get feedback quickly
        • Team can participate in study
          • They are at a point where they can make changes
        • Good resource: Paper Prototyping (book)
    • Quality Ingredients
      • In and Out: Sells burgers, shakes, and fries.
        • There is a secret menu. But they are all burgers, shakes, and fries.
        • They have a machine that slices the potatoes into fries just seconds before cutting them.
        • They have a butcher on site. The meat is freshly prepared.
      • Inuit Inuksuk: Arrangements of rocks to show that someone had been this way before. Lets the solitary hunter traveling alone for weeks or months to know that they are not alone.
        • The Amazon Product Review is like an inuksuk: it lets someone know whether people have been this way before. Not all Amazon reviews are technical in nature, many of them at an inuksuk: just to let you know that other people bought and liked this camera.
        • This is also what having testimonials about.
        • Colleges are now experimenting with having students blog about their college experiences.
          • Colleges even have content for the parents: an inuksuk for the parent.
    • Creative Approach
      • At MIT, students submit CSS designs. They choose 365 a year, and the MIT homepage changes every day. The content is the same, it just moves around.
    • Cooking Up Gourmet Experiences
      • It’s not about the money you spend, or dogma or methodology.
      • You need to focus on developing great tricks and techniques across your team.
        • Don’t let methodologies and dogma boy you down.
      • Look for opportunities for creative approaches.
    • Website: http://www.uie.com
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    • Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks
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