UX Advantage 2015: Keynote – Beyond the UX Tipping Point: Infusing Design Into Our Organizations

Jared Spool, UIE

– Disney magic band: most important UX event in 2014; completely changes your park experience; pre-choose preferences and stuff before you go, including kid’s favorite characters, birthdays, etc; $1billion investment
– Disney used to have a horrible web site; UIE always used Disney site as a case study for its training over the years; at one point, people would scroll the page to get an animated gif off the page “animated things piss people off”; watched hundreds of people do the same task, find the cheapest hotel on the monorail; 1 in 5 people would accidentally go to DisneyLand instead of DisneyWorld; analytics never showed the problem; Disney confirmed that people come to DisneyWorld with DisneyLand reservations and they hold rooms just for that case; web site folks and guest services never talked; problem lasted almost a decade (1997-2007); to get to the band, huge amont of growth
– phases of UX awakening: Dark Ages (not thinking at all about UX), Spot UX Projects (a few recognize that maybe something could be better), UX Effort (people talk about it and have at least one UX person, larger projects, centralized group), Embedded Team (dissemitate designers out into the teams, but individuals feel isolated), Design-Infused Culture (not the designers are talking about and doing design and UX)
– UX teams shoud be at the place in the org where decisions are made
– Design-Infused Culture: UX tipping point; prior to it, design plays a secondary role, something you do in addition to what you’ve always done; after, design drives the strategy, products, and delivery; tipping point is on the horizon where you see a shipment delayed because the design isn’t right; tipping point is reached when more than half of the products don’t ship until the design is ready; only a handful of companies are at this point today
– all Apple marketing images’ clocks are 9:41am; original iPod announcement happened at that time in the keynote; before the keynote, they take their web site down; while it’s down, the site is completely relaunched; it comes back online at 9:41 pacific with the new products; web team doesn’t know anything more about what new products are going to be there until the keynote; make the final changes right at that ‘flip-the-switch’ moment; site content may be be ready for a product but they decide not to ship because it isn’t designe right and it does not go on the site; have from 10pm Monday to 9am Tuesday to remove all traces of any pulled product and retest
– product evolution stages: base transformational technology -> competition on features -> compete on experience; when those transitions happen, the top dog in a particular stage lose out to new leaders in the next stage; a fourth stage is when it becomes a commodity and the experience is about the bigger picture of use
– to not ship until the design is right, you have to define what “right” means, and align everyone in the chain on what that means; shared understanding of the goal is key to it
– need a common definition of “experience is good enough”; it’s tricky because everyone thinks they are a designer, everyone has design opinions
– in truth, everyone *is* a designer; everyone is solving design problems all day long; recognizing that is the basis of ‘design thinking’; we have to help the people we work with bring out their “inner designer”
– a big fault in our school system is not teaching everyone the basics of design early enough
– compared great design companies to not great design companies, e.g. Apple vs Dell and Microsoft, Cirque de Soliel vs Ringling Bros
– 3 things shared in successful companies were rare in the others…
– #1 constant exposure to users; 2 hours every six weeks by each person who has influence over the products; frequent repeated exposure
– UK digital service made it a policy that every person in the org has to spend 2 hours every six weeks watching users; instead of “I think…” the conversation moved to “I saw…”; hard to get execs to do it at first, but it feeds itself and becomes each
– #2 shared vision of the experience; every member of the team shares an understanding what the experience will be like 5 years from now
– Disney created a foam core and artwork mockup on a studio lot where they could simulate the experience and quickly iterate it
– #3 culture of continual learning; reflective, what did I learn that I didn’t know before; happens in many many small pieces over time, not big leaps
– CenterCentre uses daily standups; standard 4 questions (did do, will do, blocks, risks/unknowns); question 5 – what did you learn and what will you do differently
– UX designers need to be the MCs of this massive storytelling effort to drive all of these; tell the story of current experience; tell the story of what it could become; tell the story of what we are learning
– we need to focus on themes over features; the best designers don’t fall in love with their solutions but their problems; don’t list the features you will ship but the problems you will solve
– great design is rarely noticed, it’s invisible; like when the temperature in the room is just fine, you don’t notice; at Disney you never notice all the sensors and radios that are tracking you; when you get home, you even get a gallery of pictures taken of you all over the parks; “It’s really awesome (and a little creepy)”
– empathy: hear it constantly over the last few years, “need to teach empathy”; “everybody has empathy… okay sociopaths not so much”; problem is not the lack of empathy, but the organizational structure prevents the empathy to happen; no exposure to users; no ability to iterate to improve; taught to be objective and distant from everything that will make great design
– alignment is not just getting everyone to agree; it’s building the substructure so everyone can achieve that a-ha! moment; make sure the tools we all have are actually being used to create this alignment, to get exposure to users, shared vision, and continual learning; we have to tell the stories
– we need to design how we make UX a competitive advantage

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