Their theme: Make it a priority to plan ahead AND be culturally sensitive/aware.
Infinite perspectives are available around the globe, spanning multiple languages, habits, patterns, cultural priorities, etiquette and more. The requirement to meet the needs of a diverse audience is clear, and with that comes diversity of your recruited panel. In a recent study that spanned four continents, Key Lime’s Eugenio Santiago, VP of User Research, noticed that the stakeholders in the research weren’t aware of the relevant needs of each country when they outlined their vision of a successful project. “That’s my job.” Eugenio stated. “I have to make sure that all of the nuances that organically associate with a culture are considered from the early stages of research design. I need to rely on strong in-country partnerships to bring the surface any minute detail that I may have overlooked.”
Key Lime leverages their UX Fellows global partnership for this. With a mission to make “international user experience and usability testing as easy and professional as domestic studies,” there are checklists in place to ensure success. Simple things ranging from proper power requirements, to considering the time of day you’re asking users to test, to understanding pace punctuality; customary greetings are all to be part of a successful testing experience.
Other panelists stressed the importance of building in time for debriefs and dialogue with all parties involved solidifies strong findings and reporting. The in-country perspective is invaluable when reporting user satisfaction.
When speaking with the audience, it was clear that international work was on the rise. Much of the feedback was that folks were already testing in a global setting, or in the process of preparing themselves for this leap. They happily walked away with what was the start of their own actionable checklist of considerations to be successful testing around the world. A few points to get you started as you build your own list:
Consider Cultural Elements:
This goes beyond language. Customary greetings, pace, punctuality, and etiquette should be considered. For example: One panelist reported that during their first global foray they planned to field a study that investigated the way users interacted with a product in their homes in India. They created a study plan that included six thirty-minute home visits in a day, and presented it to their Indian Research Partner. He took one look and said “Oh no. Not possible.” Why? Because traffic wasn’t being considered. It was assumed that 50% of the day would be spent getting around, so three in a day was pushing it. Adjustments were made in advance vs. sweating it out; rearranging on the fly and failing to meet the schedule.
Consider Technological Capabilities and Be Prepared:
“You may run this exact study 355 days a year in NYC, but when you endeavor to replicate in a different country outside of the US on that one day, you can’t take the ‘little things’ for granted”, says Santiago. Wifi, power, keyboard setup, and a host of other things need to be considered. To overcome unforeseen challenges, the panelists advise to stay on the side of caution. “Backup web connectivity options if the facility can’t provide what you need.” Of course, there are times when that connectivity needs to be considered as PART of the test, but we need to do our best as researchers to isolate the technological variable to best influence design.”
Have a Contingency Plan:
Eugene opened with a funny story about an awkward time when he experienced an in-country moderator and a client bang heads mid study. “My observation, even as a non-native speaker, was that these two had opposing viewpoints of the way this research was to go down, and they were making it known. By the end of the day I had to make significant changes to satisfy the client.” He had done his homework and let two other facilities and two other moderators know that Key Lime was in town testing, and that he may need their help if he runs into a pickle. That simple notification gave him an option to make a moderator change for the remainder of the study.
“Aha moment tips for global studies. Don’t forget your international power converters.”
“Schedule downtime to research when fielding for long 2-week periods.”
“Eugenio shares the importance of multi-tasking and using our partnership with @UX Fellows for global reach.”
“@Google is experimenting with a new approach to shorten the study time since stakeholders want answers now.”
“@eBay speaking about importance of translation and the challenge of emotional measures.”
More from the panel:
Anosha Shokrpour Groupon @anoshas
With 5+ years of experience in the field at eBay Inc. for most of her tenure and now at Groupon, Anosha has a deep understanding of the international e-commerce landscape that spans across developed and emerging markets.
Donna Tedesco is a Senior User Experience Researcher at eBay Inc. She has experience using moderated and unmoderated studies for global research while working for in-house research teams over the last 13 years.
Chelsey Glasson Google
Chelsey is a user experience researcher whose skills have impacted a wide variety of enterprise and consumer technologies at diverse companies including Google, Salesforce, Udacity and T-mobile. Motivated to help others avoid her early UX career mistakes, she often writes and gives talks on the topic of UX Careers.
Sin Lee Loh
Sin Lee Loh is a user experience researcher at eBay, currently focused on buyer experiences but previously focused on conducting research in Latin America and Russia. Sin most recently conducted ethnographic research in Brazil.
Eugenio Santiago Key Lime Interactive
Eugenio Santiago is a ninja in user experience research helping the world’s most admired brands optimize their digital and product experiences. As Vice President of User Research, he manages the team of both qualitative and quantitative researchers. Eugenio has been recognized by clients for his ability to quickly spot patterns and provide actionable recommendations. Most recently, Eugenio’s focus has been in the areas of Mobile, Finance, and Retail while still maintaining a passion for sports and gaming.
by Rick Damaso
Let’s face it. We have become a “Google it” society. We can answer almost any question in .00012 seconds (according to Google’s search results page) and get a pretty accurate response. So, before attending the LeanUX15 conference in Brooklyn, NY, I wondered what would Google’s response be for UX’s impact on modern day Systems Development Life Cycles (SDLCs)? Was it even possible to wrap terms like DevOps, Kanban, Lean or Agile into a neat package with a UX bow on top?
More importantly though, does this matter? Or were these terms just the buzzwords from the “The Valley” that larger companies all around were simply talking about emulating? Do new philosophies really only announce themselves when blue chip companies start adapting them?
To say it depends is a boring answer. But, of course, it depends. As a researcher, however, I wanted a straight and narrow answer.
I thought it would be prudent to first set the stage. Here are some quick snippets of what a quick Google Search will give you relating to these new SDLCs and UX. Agile- Developers focus on sustainable development. Sustainability is about good estimation, effective branching strategies for managing code, automated testing to protect quality, and continuous deployment to get fast feedback from users. DevOps- DevOps is a software development method that emphasizes communication, collaboration (information sharing and web service usage), integration, automation, and measurement of cooperation between software developers and other IT professionals. Kanban- Technique for managing a software development process in a highly efficient way. Producing software is a creative activity and therefore different to mass-production (Kanbans’s roots are in auto manufacturing) allowing us to apply the underlying mechanism for managing “production lines”. Lean UX- Lean UX is a set of principles that may be used to guide you to better, more desirable solutions for users. It’s not a process in which each tool is rigidly applied. Instead a group of ideals and principles to guide you in the design process.
So, that makes sense. If I was a designer sitting in a room with other designers, communication and putting this philosophy in practice shouldn’t be that difficult in theory. But, when you take these practices out of Silicon Valley and introduce it to the landscape of companies like Microsoft or Spotify with teams of designers on separate continents, it can make your head spin. How could you package what looks and feels like a startup mentality and scale it up effectively?
LeanUX15 took this challenge head on during a four day event in Brooklyn, NY. This conference was not all that different from any other, unless you consider flamingo colored windbreakers and Paul Bunion beards different. But, all “hipster” jokes aside, the usual laid-back vibes you find in the heart of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood was noticeably different. Product managers, Lead Designers, Software Engineers and representatives from some of the world’s most iconic brands were buzzing with excitement on bringing these results driven practices to companies everywhere.
As UX researchers, we encounter organizations along all stages of the UX maturity cycle and work on projects from formative to summative stages, so I was pleased to hear that UX research is taking a prominent role in these SDLCs. As opposed to traditional validation testing, we were now seeing rapid production of software married with UX researchers, architects and designers alike.
So what does this force us to do? To borrow from one of the themes of the conference, it means we are now in the age of Designing for Service, Not Just Software.
Here are some quick hits as to how UX is impacting development and strategic vision:
Visualize your work, in knowledge clusters. Ideas are then disseminated to users as solutions in terms of their problems.
With a UX lens, setting realistic Work In Progress limits for each stage of production is critical. Accounting for time slots within stages for user testing as opposed to piecing it together at the end.
Manage flow to clearly identify bottlenecks and accurate metrics. When infusing UX research into your design process, you are hedging against expensive “revamps” at the tail end of your SDLC.
Make Policies Explicit. Stick to your design, research and implementation policies! However, the #1 policy should always be, “If one of your policies does not work, change it”. By first following your process and analyzing what is wrong, you will be in a much better position to fix it.
Implement Feedback Loops. Communicating accurate measurement with your target market is key. Measurements need to be relevant to the timing of your project, not “at the end of each quarter” or when “you have time for it”.
Empowering yourself and your team to think- you are allowed to think and change processes. These SDLCs are not recipes, instead they are thought of as disciplines. Every question you ask yourself must be phrased as, “is this a driving force to consider design for servicing users or just designing software?”
The message for us as researchers when entering a new frontier of rapid development and testing can be wrapped up with a quote by Prof. Barbara Adam: “The message for research is unambiguously clear: learning is a process with a history and a future; it is thus not containable within observable moments. It entails a joining of life-worlds, a drawing on collective and individual past knowledge as well as projected vision, all of which are brought to bear on the interactive present.”
by Kelly Nercess Produce like Picasso
We all know Pablo Picasso and we all know he was a genius. Primarily known for his role establishing Cubism, he was also an efficient artist. He brought this discipline to each of his artistic periods including Traditional, the Blue Period, the Rose Period, his African-Influenced work, Neo-Classicalism and Surrealism. His innate talent and unstoppable drive meant that he produced an average seven new pieces of art every day. Today we have over 147,800 completed works of art from this amazing artist. At this point you may be comparing your own productivity to Picasso’s his jaw dropping feat; try not to feel too bad about yourself. There was a method to his madness.
The presentation was not a Picasso art history lesson, but rather a lesson on how to apply this work ethic to your daily tasks. How can we apply Picasso to our work? Brian Sullivan and J. Schuh presented their findings on how the average worker can apply these Picasso techniques to achieve success.
It all starts with the five P’s of Productivity: Passion, Purpose, Proficiency, Persistence and Partnership. These five components will pave the road to ‘producing like Picasso’.
The first words that came out of Picasso’s mouth was a form of the word ‘pencil’. Jose Ruiz, Picasso’s father, taught brush technique and was popular for his painting doves. When he noticed that his son loves to draw, he began giving him lessons. The start of his passion for art began at a young age and eventually led to his first oil painting at the ripe young age of 9. The name is the brand. Noticeably, Picasso has a different last name than his father. Could you imagine the iconic name being Pablo Ruiz instead of Pablo Picasso?
Picasso began art school and found himself daydreaming in class rather than focusing on what was being taught. “For being a bad student, I was sent to detention. I liked it there, because I took along a sketchpad and drew incessantly. I could have stayed there drawing forever.” Passion Points of Picasso:
Find your passion (drawing for Picasso).
Family support for focus and education.
Find a mentor, early on (Picasso’s father).
Get an education (for the sake of learning).
Know life events will fuel your passion.
“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Stealing allows you to make something yours.
“Copying is doing exactly like someone else does. Stealing is when you take something, change it so much, the innovation is so disguised, so changed, that it looks like it belongs to you.” Steve Jobs can be known to use those words to his advantage. He took the branding that Picasso created and made it his own. Jobs considered Picasso his mentor and built the Apple brand using the artwork that Picasso created. If you notice the famous Apple ‘finder’ symbol, you will find a very close relation to the artwork of Picasso. Steve Jobs was shameless to steal ideas and build his brand off the work of this extraordinary artist.
There was no stopping the Apple empire, Jobs also wanted to be considered the Ritz-Carlton of retail. Someone is always there to great you at the door and the genius bar is a place to get advice on your products, rather than drinking a gin and tonic. Again, this goes back to the idea that Apple was shameless bout stealing great ideas. In order to be the best, you had to follow the footsteps of the best.
Looking back at the work of two brilliant innovators, they both continued to reinvent their brand and give their work a purpose. Picasso established his work in the Blue Period, Cubism and Neo-Classical, while Apple continued to push the boundaries with new technology including smartphones, tablets and computers.
Picasso held a great influence to Steve Jobs. Without his impact on the Apple brand, I would imagine some of the products we use today would not be the same.
“Steve Jobs admired Picasso because he could have taken a conventional approach and done it well for the rest of his life, but Picasso (like Jobs) tried to change things.” – Dr. Enrique Mallen, Forbes 2013 Purpose Points of Picasso:
Have an open mind to new experiences.
Be original. Challenge the status quo.
Look beyond your own design discipline.
Steal great ideas, but make them your own.
Take risks. Do not copy other people.
In part two of this article, I will deep dive into findings that Brian Sullivan and J. Schuh shared on the remaining three P’s: Proficiency, Persistence and Partnership. Stay tuned in our March newsletter for the final article!
Last year was an amazing year for Key Lime Interactive. Our beloved CEO, Ania Rodriguez, was named South Florida Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, we expanded our team and attended some really great conferences and networking events. We’re proud of the work we did for our imaginative clients and look forward to doing more of the same in 2015. Thanks for being part of our 2014.
I recently had the opportunity to represent Key Lime Interactive at the UXPA 2014 Conference in London. This was my first official conference representing Key Lime so I was a little apprehensive. I wanted to impress my bosses and contribute in any way I could. As the new kid on the block I was feeling more than a little responsible for the trust and financial investment in my attendance. Adding to this self-imposed pressure was the fact that I was traveling with a UXPA veteran, self-proclaimed user experience Ninja and VP of Research, Eugenio Santiago. (You can follow him at @TheLimeNinja).
Whether you are reading this as a UX novice or have 10+ years of experience in the industry, you know the benefits of attending top-notch conferences. Not only do you get industry training, the latest trends, best practice review, and team building exercises; you get those awesome little pastries that seem to be on every dining cart. Ultimately, it’s all about the networking. I’ve learned that the user experience community is a small one. It’s a tight-knit group of professionals with long standing histories and crossed career paths, which can definitely be intimidating to newcomers. A pleasant surprise for me was the camaraderie and wonderful sense of humor we all share. Everyone is equipped with quick wit and good-natured jokes – most of which are aimed at web developers. Truth be told, I don’t know those jokes. It got me thinking…. What else I could learn before heading to the next conference? What tips could I share with you, the reader, on maximizing your experience at any professional conference? Here’s a few that come to mind: 1. PRE-CONFERENCE PREPARATION IS KEY
As my university professor used to say, ”Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Have a list of target companies, vendors, and individuals that you would like to connect with professionally and personally. Most conferences will have a fan page on Facebook or a list of sponsors/attendees on their website prior to the event. Use that information to your advantage. It’s a great way to maximize the short coffee breaks between sessions. You may want to contact people in advance and set up a time and place to rendezvous and talk shop. Be sure to leave time in your schedule to allow for organic conversations. This is particularly true for training sessions where you’ll probably get to know your fellow attendees fairly well in a smaller group. 2. HAVE A 140 CHARACTER ELEVATOR PITCH
I wonder if the founders of Twitter ever envisioned their platform being utilized for virtual conference attendance? When used effectively, Twitter is a powerful tool to converse with speaker and other conference attendees, maximize corporate/personal exposure and start new business conversations. You can even schedule some tweets based on your planned itinerary. Be sure to follow the conference hashtag to extend your conversations beyond the conference walls. 3. DON’T BLEND IN
Don’t be afraid of wearing the “new guy” badge. The organizers will literally put it under your name on your conference badge so you won’t really have a choice anyway. Own it. There’s no reason to be shy. In fact, your “newness” is a great ice breaker. Everyone will be excited to see a fresh face. This is your opportunity to ask questions, stimulate discussions with panelists, and build equity amongst your peers. My advice for first time attendees, or for any professional looking to learn more about the UX industry, is to start a conversation whenever you find yourself in a crowd. Helpful hint: You are never “off-duty” while at a conference so be aware of who’s in the room during designated social hours. You might meet that industry player who you’ve been hoping to meet.
My theory going into my first big event with Key Lime, was that a novice and a ninja might look at a conference in very different ways. I imagined we would each have different definitions of a successful conference. As it turns out, our success metrics weren’t all that different. We each learned a lot during the five-day event, got some great tips to inform our research back at the office and met some incredibly smart people along the way.
After the closing keynote, I sat down with the ninja for a debrief. We compared notes and talked about some of most exciting takeaways. The ninja nodded at me and confirmed that we both had great experience. He had one piece of final advice for me. I eagerly pulled out my smartphone, ready to capture these final words of wisdom. He was going to give me the inside scoop. I was eager and thrilled to be a part of this secret knowledge. As he motioned me to come a little closer he said “So rookie, did you hear the one about the web developer walking into a bar…..He didn’t like the table layout”