Usability & Analytics
So what analytics is is the collection, reporting and analysis of application data. And what that means is we look at what you're doing when you're on our site to see if the site is accomplishing the goals we set out for it, right? And you best believe that they are looking at everything that you're doing, not you personally, right? They don't care if like Jamal from California is browsing the footwear section, but it's like it's totally, it's anonymous, but they are looking at how people behave on a site. Like generalized behavior patterns. So, for example, say you're working on a product and then your boss comes in and is like, Man, I saw this feature on a competitor's site and their shopping cart is so cool. Can we do that? And you know a bad designer, a junior designer, might be like, okay, let's do it, you're my boss, and a more senior designer will say, okay, yeah, sounds like a great idea. How about we run two versions of the site, you know, a version A, the way it is right now,...
and a version B, with this new feature that you talked about and then we send people to both versions and see which one does what we want them to do more. This is a term that in the industry they call conversion. So if people, for example, if you're selling stuff online, and people go through the check out process and buy, they have converted from a prospect to a buyer. And you know you can test those features and if one has 22 percent conversion, your other has 56 percent conversion you have your winner, right? And this is just another way of taking the emotions out of the process and the opinions out of the process. So this process of testing a version A and a version B against each other is called A-B testing. So that's one of the primary methods that you will use when you're testing in a UX context, but there are others. We have data where we can overlay a heat map over a page and see where people are clicking so the white hot sections are sections where people are clicking a lot. The blue sections are sections where people are barely clicking. So if you look at something like this and you notice that there is a section that you really want people to pay attention to, but they are not paying attention to it. What does that mean? What can we do? Can we make adjustments? In a similar vein, you have scroll maps where you can see how far people scroll down, right? So the white hot sections are the sections that everybody sees, and the blue sections are sections that almost nobody sees. So again if you look at something like this- this is actually something I have where I am currently working. We have a section down here at the bottom of the page that shows case studies of the impact that we have had for major brands, and no one scrolls down far enough to see it even though it's really important information because it's that social proof that leads to sales. So you can see how far people scroll down. My personal favorite- I can't say I have a favorite-but this is pretty cool, right? There's these analytics data can let you see exactly what people are doing on a site. So this is a screen recording of someone from Israel on a Windows 7 machine scrolling in depth through my website. That just blows my mind. I mean, I don't know who this person is. They are person number but it's still fascinating to see that behavior. And if you have a lot of those and you start noticing patterns over and over of people missing a certain thing or behaving in a certain way that's a sign that you need to make adjustments. Isn't this cool? Yeah. Okay. I have to move on now. Then there's in-depth analytics, right? So you know your Google analytics or whatever other program you want to use for this. And this is super granular data. You can detract all kinds of stuff here. So, for example, you can go into this data and you can be like you can see that if you see that when people come in on a certain page 90 percent of them leave again after 15 seconds or so without clicking through and looking at more you have to wonder, what's going on there? Especially if that doesn't happen on other sections of the site, right? What's different about this section? How can we improve on this? And there's a lot of things that you can measure through in-depth analytics data, like where are they coming from? Are they coming to you through their phone or on a laptop or something else? How much time are they spending on each page? What other website did they come from? Like how did they find you? What are the pages on your site that people visit the most? What are some of the search terms that they use to find you? Who leaves after visiting a single page? An example I just talked about, they call that bounce rate. I guess-I don't know why- but I'm imagining it's because they come in and then they bounce back out, right? Like BOING. So how many of your visitors have been to your site before? At what point do they leave the site, right? There's like you can map out flows so they come in here, they visit this, this, this and they leave again. And there's trends that you can analyze if you have enough data. How fast are your pages loading? And you can set up specific goals for conversion and measure how many people do that, like how many people sign up for your email form, how many people buy this thing, how many do this or this. You can set up custom goals. So what's cool about all of this is that it helps you figure out if what you made is actually hitting those goalposts that you set for it. This is a supplement to actually inviting people in and testing with them, right? But a super useful, quantitative information and what I also like about this is it's another way to get the opinions out of the room. We don't want your opinion. We want to figure out what's the best way. Jeff Bezos the Amazon CEO calls it customer obsession. What's the best way that we can serve these customers? And if the best way to serve it goes against my intuition or against what I personally like tough, right? Now there is one thing to keep in mind with testing because like here in the Bay they are always talking about we're data-driven, we're data-driven, we iterate, we iterate, blah-blah-blah. So testing is great. They love talking about iteration. There's nothing wrong with it. It makes a ton of sense. But it depends on what are we iterating to? That's missing to me a lot of times when people get into this ongoing cycle of iteration and testing. It's like, where are you going? What's the vision? What are you trying to achieve? One example of this is is I mean I'm using Amazon here, but just log in forms, in general. This is like your standard log in form, nothing wrong with it, but, you know, you can't- the password is always hidden for security reasons because someone could be like looking over your shoulder while you're entering your password, right? And that's a problem, right? Because, first of all, 82 percent of people have forgotten a site password. Every day when people log in to your site, when people visit your site, five to ten percent of them will request the password reset. And it's the number one request to like a company's internal Internet. Whatever they are using-Sharepoint, Confluence or something-it's the number one request, I forgot my password. Can you please reset it? And of course that's going to be a big problem because look at what people are making us do for our passwords, right? Between 10 and 14 characters, one letter and one number, does not contain spaces, does not contain three characters that are sequential or next to each other on a keyboard, for example "ABCD" "qwerty" or "1234". So they are making us do all these things that are totally unnatural and then they don't even let you read the damn thing. So then Amazon figured this out, so then they added this feature to show your password, which is kinda cool, you know, then they iterated on that and made it so that the password is how can we make it even easier, right? So they made it a version where the password is shown by default and you have to click this to hide the password. Then in the next iteration, they, when you click the show-password thing it shows the password in small so the person looking over your shoulder can't really see it, right? You see the password the whole time. And I mean clearly this is progress for sure, right? I mean, this is clearly better than the first version and then Amazon launched Touch ID. No sign in, right? Put in your password, done. And this is like a nice small example of what I'm talking about when I say, what the vision, right? Is the vision just to make sign in forms incrementally better or is the vision no sign in? And you know without a vision the people perish. So you need to have a clear vision of where you are going and ideally it's a vision that takes advantage of the capabilities of current technology, right? Because this whole log in form thing that's remnant from 20 years ago that we are still holding onto that we don't really need to do anymore in a lot of cases. So you know you can only create a vision if you understand what the true goals of your users are.
We have a lot of people watching who have been working in other types of design, and they want to get into UX and this question comes from SimplyAGirl who says, Do you have any advice for trying to move from print design, for example, into UX? I've taken some classes. I worked on some fake projects, but the industry is new and difficult to get into. What's some advice you can give to somebody to break into this industry? Internships? Doing some other work? She's having trouble breaking in. Maybe you can give some final advice as we wrap things up here.
Yeah, I actually wrote a blog post on that.
There you go.
A really long, really good one. It' called, "Starting out as a new designer. How to get a job ASAP" It's posted on Medium.com, but the gist of that is well, this person already has a leg up because they have somewhat of a design background. They are not starting from zero. Another cool thing about this industry is that it doesn't matter what school you went to. The only thing that matters is can you do the work, right? So if you want to break into this you have to see it from the perspective of the people that are hiring you, right? See it from this user perspective, right? What do I need to do to convince these people that I am capable of doing the work? And well first of all you have to be capable of doing the work, so you need to acquire those hard skills. There's lot of ways that you can acquire the hard skills. There's courses like this. There's vocational schools that you can attend to acquire the hard skills. Then the fake projects that she did are already a good starting point, but something even better is volunteer projects, right? So when I was first starting out I remember I did this one project for this-it was like two years into my career- and this church approached me for a project and was like, hey we can't really pay you anything, though. I was like, okay, that's cool, I'll do it for free, but I'm going to learn how to code Wordpress themes, and I'm going to use you guys as the guinea pig. And they were like, yeah, okay, cool, that's fine. And it works even better if at first you write them like an estimate of how much it would cost, and then they're like, this is way too much, then you're like, okay, I'll do it for free, but... So that's what it boils down to. You need to prove to people that you're capable of doing the work. That means acquiring the hard skills through whichever means are available out there. You know, some people, if you're the type of person that can teach themselves, if you have that autodidactic quality, I mean, yeah, just watch courses all day and practice. If you needs someone to give you a kick in the butt, then go to one of those vocational schools like GrowthX Academy is a really good one. There are some others, too. Then after that, once you have the hard skills, and once you've you know done some volunteering then it's just a matter of connecting with people. And I wouldn't think of it as networking or marketing because those are terms that when people hear it, they automatically shut down, right? Like, I don't know how to market myself. I don't want to network. It's so shallow, like all they do is just sit around with their cocktails and talk small about weather and app startup pivoting, so just think of it as you're going out there and you're telling people how you can help them, what you've got to offer, right? And 99 percent of the time you will not connect with them, but I've noticed that if I go out to these events, almost every time I will meet one person that I connect with. So imagine, you go to one event every month, you always meet one person, slowly you build a network. So I've started when I go to these events-I mean, I still don't really like them- but I still, I started looking for that one person. Once I found that person, goal accomplished for the night. I can go home. So you will always meet someone that you connect with and that you know you are going to keep in touch later. So okay to sum up, acquire the hard skills, find proof, create proof, that you are able to do this work for a potential employer, then get out there and talk to people in the industry.