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Tag: UX

The UX of Android Auto

I recently got a new car lease. (Kia Sportage 2017) I liked the Nissan Rogue but the Kia has Android Auto and I wanted to give that a try. Otherwise, the cars were very similar in price and features. Here is my run down: The Good “OK Google” works well for a specific set of cases. Call person, directions to, etc. If you stay in bounds, it is nice. It’s better than nothing. The Bad and the Ugly It takes too long to boot up. I turn the car on and it’s about 20 seconds until the phone can play…

The Department of Redundancy Department

This elevator control brought to you by the department of redundancy department. Why do we call the first floor L in this scenario? Why not just say 1? L for lobby just seems unhelpful. Plus, the door-close button doesn’t do a thing. It’s totally useless. Pressing it has no effect at all. It’s the little things in life that make all the difference, yes?

New LinkedIn UI is Slow

I don’t know how many people have the new UI in LinkedIn. I can’t seem to get out of it. (Yes, I tried) It’s slow af. Come on guys. You have buko resources. You should focus on speed, speed, speed. This is unacceptable. It’s ugly af. Look at the picture above. Seriously, is this an improvement? Looks lame to me. I hate the icons at the top. It’s confusing af. I don’t know where shit is anymore. I get used to stuff being in a particular spot. Stop moving it. Congratulations LinkedIn! You hit the UX trifecta. Slow, ugly and confusing. Pat…

Mac Designers Need to Test on Windows

An open letter to designers who only see the world through Apple products. I’ll just jump right to the point. The rest of the world doesn’t see your work the way you intended. Take a look at this screenshot from my Windows 10 machine running Chrome. The site is a designers portfolio. I can’t read the text. It looks terrible.  I can see that it is embedded Lato from Google fonts. So why does it look blurry? The answer is “Font-weight: 200”. When I turn that off, the font looks slightly better. (I am not a fan of Lato when…

UX = Value minus Friction

It’s a simple formula. UX = V – F UX = User Experience V = Value F = Friction If the friction or effort of doing something is higher than the individual perceived value then the majority of people will not want to do it. Some examples where the effort outweighs the perceived benefit and therefore have the majority avoid it, despite its obvious value. Working out Doing your homework or studying for a test Voting Practicing piano or a new way to serve in tennis Logging phone calls in Salesforce Entering in JIRA estimates Writing tests for your code Usability…

Hiring UX Designer 2016

I am starting my search for a UX Designer to join our team at Engagio. I actually prefer people in the earlier stages of their career. (Directors need not apply) Designer Characteristics: Creative. Can come up with new solutions to problems. OCD. Does it bother you that their is a mistake in this question? Productive. We have a lot to do. Lots of context switching and multi-tasking. Concise. Confident. This position will have interactions with lots of people, including executives. Positive. It’s not personal; it’s always about the work. Special. A parent or loved one must vouch for you. Smart. Knows…

Happy is not my preferred state of being

My mom asks me all the time, “Are you happy?” I find the question to be annoying. (Sorry mom) The reason is that I don’t actually want to be “happy”. Happy to me implies blissful cow-like behavior. It implies sitting and staring at the sunset and thinking, “Gee, this is swell.” To me, it’s boring to want to be happy. I want to be focused. I want to be filled with purpose and drive. I want to be a man on a mission. Of course, there have been moments in my past when that purpose and drive led to a moment…

The Gooey Emotional Center

Marketo Retrospective Part 9 As part of a series, I am doing retrospective lessons from my 9 years at Marketo. This might be the last one. It’s the part that very few people understand, but I think it is the reason Marketo did well. Some people call it Product Market Fit, but to me that doesn’t do the concept justice. I call it the The Gooey Emotional Center of a product. There is a particular thing Marketo power users say to me. They say, “Thank you for my career.” This is a big deal to me. We didn’t just build software that…

UX and Technical Debt

Marketo Retrospective Part 6 As part of a series, I am doing retrospective lessons from my 9 years at Marketo. Today, I focus on product development. Specifically about a philosophy I have around maintaining products after initial innovation. When you have a startup, the first innovation is complete free from existing customer complaints. It is pure in that sense. It is only after you deliver that first product and customers are using it that you start to accumulate UX and technical debt. Technical debt is a concept in programming that reflects the extra development work that arises when code that is…

The Power of a Single Word

I am a firm believer in retrospectives. How can you expect to improve without looking back at what you did? I am going to do a series of lessons learned from my 9 years at Marketo. Doing one giant post will be too long, so I’m breaking it up. This is Lesson 1. The Power of a Single Word Early research (2007) led me to understand how Salesforce.com labels different core entities. The one that was most important was the word “lead”. In speaking with SMB companies, the word lead meant “a person”. When they went to a conference, they collected…

My Design Process

I’ll try my best to be concise. Step 1. Receive commandment from God Or your CEO or your PM or boss, whatever. They will say something like, “We need _____” Fill in the blank with any two word feature. (Example: Dynamic Content, Enhanced Security, Cool Dashboards. Step 2. Talk to users Is this obvious? I say users instead of stakeholders because I actually want to understand the lives of the people who will actually use the system. Who are they? What do they do for a living? Look for painful parts of their job. Step 3. Design a mid-fidelity storyboard Nothing that…

Paying Attention

Before they can pay money, they have to pay attention. Make no mistake, it’s a real currency. Every waking moment is accounted for. Whether it is social media or a smartphone game or even staring at the wall, you are paying out your daily allowance of attention. Most companies want to earn your attention dollars. They are a key performance indicator of marketing departments the world over. Companies shell out billions to get little slices of your attention. Billboards, commercials, ads, product placement. It’s a huge industry. However, measuring attention has been dicey at best. Usually, it is some form…

Engagio closed $22M Series B

Original Haiku Post I am currently Head of Magic (PM/UX) at Engagio. The experience so far has been excellent. The culture is authentic and vibrant. The product vision is very strong and the market dynamics couldn’t be better. Engagio has a strong analytics product already in the market, which is doing very well. Additionally, we have built a new product called PlayMaker and Scout that I believe could revolutionize how companies organize and coordinate their account activities. It is what keeps me awake at night. Today, we just announced a 22 million dollar investment by Norwest Partners. We plan on using the…

The Decline of Facts

I’m not looking forward to the presidential debates. The reason is that facts will not be part of the discussion. Imagine this fictitious argument: Fact Person: “The world is spherical.” Feelings Person: “I feel that it is flat.” Fact Person: “There are pictures, science, facts. It’s provable!” Feelings Person: “All of that is faked. Photoshopped. It’s all paid for by Big Round, the round earth lobby. Fact Person: “How can I prove to you that this is a fact.” Feelings Person: “You can’t. How can I prove to you the world is flat?” Fact Person: “What?? You can’t. It’s spherical!…

Taking advantage of the herd mentality

It is a sad truth, people go in herds. There are obviously some early adopters, but the majority of people do not want to be the first one to do something, even if it is clearly a good thing to do. Case in point: The NFL Draft. It has been studied and proven that the 2nd and 3rd rounds are nearly as effective as the first round when it comes to getting NFL starters and potential great players. However, the 1st rounders get paid 5x as much. A smart team will always trade their first round picks to the highest bidder…

The Uncanny Valley

The Uncanny Valley used in reference to the phenomenon whereby a computer-generated figure or humanoid robot bearing a near-identical resemblance to a human being arouses a sense of unease or revulsion in the person viewing it. In other words, the uncanny valley is when something looks close to the real thing but our brain freaks out and keeps saying, “Something is wrong.” If you have ever been to a Wax Museum, you get that feeling alot. I have been a fan of this new technology called a Bond letter. It’s kind of awesome. It is a machine that writes in…

There are two kinds of people…

Of course there aren’t, but it is a great way to simplify decisions. Break down the problem to two kinds of people and decide which one you want to optimize for. Some examples: There are two kinds of people… Those that wants their inbox to be empty except new things and those that let’s their inbox pile up until kingdom come. Those that browses by clicking and those that searches. Those that likes their UI to be dense with every choice available and those that likes progressive disclosure. Those that loves analytics and those that don’t. The reality is always a…

Managing via Dials

Often, I will have feedback for a product manager, marketer or designer when they are writing text. I find that people have a hard time taking the feedback in a very specific way. If you say it’s too serious, they assume you want to take it to the extreme. As if there are only 2 settings. People naturally think in binary terms; it’s either fun or not, verbose or completely word free. The reality is that text exists in a spectrum where you can change things slightly and have a big impact. I find the best way to give feedback…

Even Slack can have bad UX

Even a tool that is awesome like Slack can have bad UX sometimes. Here is a perfect example. Try to make a new channel and you get this dialog Notice the error in yellow and the text underneath. After typing in my channel name, I pressed submit and nothing happened. I didn’t notice the italic/bold yellow verbose text or the tiny note in gray underneath. I don’t think the right answer is to let the user type in spaces or capital letters. There are reasons this would cause problems later in the app. However, a better option is to not let the user type…

Analytics Design vs. Interaction Design

Interaction Design is easy for me. I can see the big picture and architect the system with all of the right patterns. When it comes to Analytics Design, I find my inner muse drags its feet. I am not talking about designing a BI tool like Tableau or Good Data. These have some interesting interactions. I am talking about the Analytics section of a workflow application. In my mind, there are two types of people. Dashboard people and analytical people. Dashboard People This is the majority of people. They don’t want to slice and dice and explore. They want to…

Obfuscated Rebate Programs

So this weekend, I went to the Verizon store. I have never gone into that store and left in less than 2 hours. It’s ridiculous how long it takes to get stuff done in there. The reason I was there was to get my youngest his first phone, plus to upgrade my father-in-law. He had an old original Motorola Droid. The sales guy said they had a Father’s Day special: Buy an iPhone and get one free. We qualified for the promotion, so I said yes. I got them both iPhone 6S phones. Here is what I wanted the experience…

Design Principle #13: Give Feedback

This should go without saying, yet apparently it doesn’t. Design Rule #13: When a user gestures or fills out a form or clicks a button or speaks their audio input or whatever…give them appropriate feedback. Of course, the word appropriate is subjective. How do you know how much feedback to give? Let’s look at the extremes: Very little or no feedback. The user would say, “Did it work?”. Confusion is the normal result. I find that engineers often think that it’s obvious and minimal feedback is fine. This is incorrect and will lead to technical support calls. Too much feedback.…

Collecting Design Principles

UX design principles 1-10 Over the years, I’ve picked up certain rules that I use as design proverbs. At Engagio, I put them on the wall to remind me and to decorate my area. I just added my 11th and 12th design principle. 11. Vertical Space is Expensive. This refers to the fact that most interfaces are shaped like a rectangle and not a square. This means that you have room to put controls on the left and right, but not as much on the top and bottom.  If you use a MacBook Air your resolution is 1,440 x 900. 900…

Silicon Valley Product Marketing

I am not officially trained in anything in particular. I’ve learned from practice for the past 22 years. Over the years, I have headed UX, Product Management, Training, Documentation and Product Marketing. Each area has a different set of mental models and techniques to do a good job. I have seen people who were masters of each area, but on average I find the quality level to be lacking. Maybe I have my bar set too high. For product marketing in particular, there are a few areas that I think should be done much better than what I see. For the…

Application Performance Model

The following is a model to determine the optimal response rate of an application. It is optimal and therefore difficult with today’s technology. However, the answer of “instantaneous” is not correct in most circumstances. I + T + D = P Input + Thinking + Delight = Optimal Performance I = Input. This ranges on a scale of -1 to 5. The best case scenario of input is when the system knows what the user wants BEFORE the user asks for it. This would be given a -1 beat of time. An example of this is Google Now. It monitors my…

Bad UX: Signing into Google Analytics

Something has gone horribly awry at Google Analytics. You click on the Sign In button and get this menu: WTF? I can’t find the damn thing I want. What is all this shit? Here are the flaws: Skimming text doesn’t work. Every single item has the word Google in it. Is that needed? I came to the fucking Google Analytics site. Do I really need reminding it’s Google? No.  Looking at the other words I see the word “Analytics” in THREE different choices. WTF! What’s the difference between Google Analytics and Google Analytics Premium? What the heck is a 360…

MVP Deconstructed

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. I have had a long distaste for this acronym, but I think it is worth a deep-dive. I found an image on this website that sums up some of the problems. I’m going to deconstruct it to explain better. Strategy #1: Build too much before launch In this scenario, you build steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 before you release anything. The problem with this strategy is that it takes too long to build and you go too long without market validation. It raises risk very high. It also means you go to market much…

Color Inspiration

When designing a new product or brand, you need to get inspiration from somewhere. We are about to launch some new stuff and I realized where my inspiration came from…it was the view out of our window. During the day, it’s especially bright and the reds in the wood glow. The combination of the reds, blues and cream are beautiful. In my mind, this was combined with an underwater landscape filled with coral reefs, bright blue and reds. Your inspiration may be closer than you think.

Product Camp 2016

Product Camp is a free, user-driven, collaborative “unconference” for Product Managers and Marketers. It’s in a few cities now. This weekend was the 2016 Silicon Valley edition. I usually go every other year. This year seemed to have diminished in attendance from previous ones. Accordingly, the number of sessions was also diminished. One of the problems is that the conference is free. “Free” possibly boosts attendance, but it also has some negative side-effects. One piece of wisdom from my boss said is “People don’t value free things.” I have seen it in many forms. Free trials don’t get as much attention within…

UX Hall of Shame: Venmo Email

I just got this email. It has several major UX issues. Problems: Alignment. It is harder to read centered text than left-justified. Contrast. Gray on white is hard to read. Size. Text is too small and hard to read. Serif. Serif is harder to read than sans-serif, especially when small. Disconnect. The words reference things that aren’t nearby. (Follow the link above). Also, links don’t look like links. Overall, this is a difficult to read and unhelpful email.  Here is my redo: Account: Glen Lipka (email@email.com) Your transaction history for January – March 2016 is now available. If you have…