Going out to eat teaches us about UX

First of all, let me start by saying I was particularly excited about attending this talk. I would be lying if I told you I don’t watch an episode of an Anthony Bourdain show at least once a week, so when I heard there was going to be a talk about how restaurant experiences can teach us about UX (i.e. combining my two favorite things), I was doing my happy dance.


Jimmy Chandler, UX Architect, Co-organizer  and presenter of the talk, started off with showing us one thing we New Yorkers are all too familiar with, the Shake Shack line! Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 1.09.46 PM.png

What is that make people stand in line for hours on end when there are countless of other options? The answer: brand loyalty.

How can restaurants build brand loyalty to their customers and how do they treat different customers with different needs?

Fun Fact: The factor that angers restaurant-goers the most? Waiting for a table – especially when they tell you 15 min and it takes 45.

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Why Businesses Fail Without UX

What may be obvious to you, may not be to your users.

At last night’s “Why Businesses Fail Without UX” meetup, Laurence Adrian, the UX Lead at Dom & Tom,  gave the audience an extensive number of tips about project management methodologies, user research, UX tools, prototyping, and user testing. By the end of the talk, I was feeling like a student back in college, taking frantic notes, trying to digest all the information I just heard.

Laurence broke UX into three pillars: Planning, Research, and Communication, although his talk mostly focused on the first two. Continue reading

5 Tips to Conduct a Remote Usability Test

I recently worked on a project where we conducted ten 90-minute moderated remote usability tests and I want to share my biggest takeaways. We ran five tasks that and asked participants to conduct both a concurrent think aloud (CTA) protocol (asking them to speak while they complete their tasks) and a retrospective think aloud (RTA) protocol (asking them questions at the end of each task).

Usability tests are a great way to uncover what your users actually think and feel when using your site. Even if you think that your design is easy and awesome to use, the only way to find out is by putting it to the test with real users.

1. Always run a pilot test

Can’t stress this enough – pilot tests are truly eye-opening. I spent a lot of time with my team preparing our usability test – writing the script, creating the assets to show the participants, creating a notes template, you name it. I thought we were good to start testing, but boy was I mistaken! We ran pilot with a test participant before starting our official testing and it revealed odd task flow transitions, confusing follow-up questions, technological challenges, and unexpected comments.

Don’t forget to plan a few days in between the pilot run and your first actual test in order to have enough time to make all the revisions you need.

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Music Hacking Meetup

If you told me that by the end of Women Who Code NYC’s very first Music + Wearables Workshop that I would be playing the piano with cups of water, I would think you were crazy! And then it happened…


Stefania [l] and Nancy [r]

Once we all settled in and grabbed our share of pizza at the Hook and Loop’s NYC office, Stefania Druga and Nancy Otero gave us an introduction to Arduino, an “open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software [that’s] intended for anyone making interactive projects.” In a nutshell, you can program the Arduino microcontroller to mapping any conductive material (i.e. your skin, water,  coil tape) to render a particular sound. Here is one of my favorite examples of a guy who created a guitar out of old drum pads, some softpot ribbon potentiometers, and a sparkFun joystick shield.

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Designers are from Mars, Engineers are from Venus


Meetup space filling up @Motivate_Design, NYC

“Designers and engineers always get along,” said no one…ever. That is why the meetup I went to last night at Motivate Design was packed with people, curious to gain a better understanding of how to communicate effectively with team members of all disciplines, and learn best practices to help facilitate more project collaboration.

Jack Cole, Director of Design at Motivate Design, was the presenter for the meetup which was coordinated by NYC Code and Design Academy and the UX Labs meetup group. Jack is a 15-year veteran of working as a UX/Design professional who has experienced the thrilling highs and the crushing lows of corporate life.

What’s the issue? Many from the two disciplines don’t see eye-to-eye, which causes friction and unnecessary roadblocks that prevent success. 

He started off by taking us through a few particularly challenging projects and what he learned from each of them from a designer’s perspective.

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How to Measure UX

Let’s say you are on a team that needs to create a better user experience – you come up with some changes, get support from your stakeholders, and deploy. What happens next? Was the UX really improved? Can you justify to your stakeholders that you did your job?

Without credible UX success measurements, we all risk not being able to quantify our success.  Without credible UX success measurements, we are unable to align our efforts to an organization’s business objectives and desired outcomes. This often results in UX efforts becoming very unfocused, undefined and easily changed on a whim. Basically, you’re left having to tell a very subjective story of your UX success or failures, which unfortunately, could lead to you and your team being very exposed. – Mark Disciullo, User Experience Strategist and Designer

In order to quantify the progress (if any) was made, your team should be conducting iterative studies and tests throughout the development of your app/site. Before conducting any study, it is necessary to define 1) the goals you want to reach and 2) the metrics you want to track.

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