UX Advantage 2015: The Candidate Experience and Performance-based Hiring

Lou Adler, CEO, Adler Group

– top traits of top people: 8 items from presentation; every one is predictable during the hiring process; most people use a process that doesn’t find this out
– comparable results; trend of growth; achiever pattern; managerial fit; job fit – map intrinsic motivators;
– 5 pillars of exceptional candidate experience: strategy to pursue top talent; job is clearly a good career move; recruiter has to know the job; managerial fit; professional process
– strategy: is there a surplus or scarcity of a-team “achievers”; have, get, do, become; surplus – weed out the weak; scarcity – attract the best, emphasize what they can do and become; manager has to define the work, recruiter defines career path
– how best people get jobs: networking is by far the most important
– you only see a fraction of the market; wrong strategy; transactional versus consultative recruiting; ill defined lateral jobs vs career moves; ROI and quality of hire vs cost and efficiency
– why people take jobs: to engage, title, compensation, location; to accept, career opportunity, job and impact, manager and team, compensation and work/life balance, company/culture/mission
– when recruiting, figure out if it’s a good career move before worrying about compensation
– are you attracting the right audience: our job ads suck; person descriptions vs. job descriptions; a job doesn’t have skills, background, competencies, people do
– difference maker: who would you rather have, someone who can do the work or someone who has the skills; performance qualified vs. skills qualified
– EVP, employee value proposition: why would someone take this job independent of the money
– tell stories, capture the intrisic motivator, emphasize the doing/learning/becoming, sell the discussion not the job
– are you asking the right questions: most significant accomplishment, how did you get the assignment, when did it happen, what were the big challenges, what were the big changes you made, what was the environment like, how did you apply key skills, what did you learn and how did you apply, where’d you go the extra mile, single biggest success, biggest failure, how’d you build the plan, did you achieve the plan, single biggest problem and how overcame, biggest decision and how, what would you do differently now, how did you change as a result, what’d you like most about it, what’d you like least, what recognition did you get and was it appropriate
– what personal traits stand out; take responsibility to measure performance, not presentation; candidate experience starts recruiting process; look for stretch gaps, good career move; fact-fiding is the key; repeat the trend of performance
– do you have the right process (it’s a pipeline): pipeline development, contact and convert, prospects, recruit and convert, candidate shortlist, quality and interview, recruit and negotiate, close and hire; explore->consider->meet manager (15-20 minute phone screen; describe job, best accomplishment)->apply
– if you sell them on the intrinsics, you’ll get a high performer; if it’s extrinisic, you’ll get an underperformer
– 5 pillars of exceptional candidate experience; manager, strategy, job, process, recruiter
– what about a compliance oriented HR dept: show them that they are doing it wrong with authority (from his book)

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UX Advantage 2015: Keynote – Culture Work: Organizational Becoming Made Practical

Marc Rettig, Fit Associates

– A fable: The Shoemaker and the Strategist; shoemaker thrives on connection (dance and real people), strategist thrives on control (march and abstractions)
– Hugh Dubberly, Dubberly Design, dubberly.com; wonderful conceptual models; “the creative process” poster; observe->reflect->make (loop)
– design = observation, reflection, and making
– design culture: values conversation, dialogue, open attention; quality of attention determines the quality of result
– culture = essential driving story, myth of your existance; identity, values, relationships, explanations
– culture->structure and process->form
– design culture vs design capacity; capacity = knowledge, tools, resources, processes, etc, a practice that produces better results; shift to iterative is a fundamental shift in capacity
– capacity in a closed culture = “that isn’t us”; observe orange, encounter closed culture, make a better blue; organization is unchanged by design experience; design must engage the culture to have meaningful results
– revenue, profits, competitivenes, even innovation are not enough to serve a culture of design; they are inwardly focused; you repeat your own patterns while the world changes around you
– judgement is the enemy of open observation; conquer it by moving your attention outside your normal center of attention; wonder
– cynicism is the enemy of wonder; conquer it by moving your center of attention outside of yourself, but as part of something bigger; letting go
– fear is the enemy of letting go; conquer it by moving your center of attention to a gathering of a great many possibilities
– design capacity in an open culture = “what do we need to become?”: observe orange, encounter open culture, we do blue but let’s work with orange; explore the possibilities
– design culture: after ever project, something in the culture has changed
– convene diversity and power as best you can (relates to observational research and collaboration story that led to redesigning their quality process)
– doing design together opens culture; “design is scary damn stuff”
– organizational becoming = systemic, participatory, emergent (trying something now); get the “other” in the same room and de-abstract it; document our bubble together, immerse together, give people time for reflection, facilitate great dialog
– Berkana prototypes; participatory narrative, open space technology, dialogic leadership, ritual dissent, intuitive methods: theater and art, conflict styles and NVC, match appropriate to complexity, etc.
– this stuff (driving cultural change) is personal, it’s hard; if you are lost, you’ve started; pay attention, be open
– Shoemaker and strategist conclusion: go into the village together, and other villages, realize they’d been clinging to their own stories, excited because they are asking new questions, they try experiments, and some are successful, they can’t wait to see what happens

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UX Advantage 2015: Government’s Design Lessons

Dana Chisnell, Co-Founder, Center for Civic Design and Dean Logan, County Clerk, Los Angeles County

– LA County, largest in US, Dean’s been in that role for 9 years; Dana is also now part of US Digital Service for the White House
– getting developers to sketch: were doing “AgileFall” software development; spend months doing flow charts, hand off to analysts that define data elements, hand off to PO and devs; database barfed on the screen; sat in on demos and working with developers; send them back to the drawing board; found that if they sketch ideas first, she can give feedback before there’s code; first dev that did it got a fried chicken sandwich on a donut, nickname is “Design Princess”
– point of pride for Dean: being here, and thought of as someone worth listening to; had a huge problem to solve with voting equipment; largest voting jurisdiction in the country and using tech from 1960s; market solutions didn’t fit and regulatory environment complicated; build our own; no funding, just to purchase; started with data collection (focus groups etc); first design what is best for the voters, then deal with the regulatory and certification stuff; had to fund it creatively using the data to drive it
– brought in IDEO initially, and after developing voting experience, now creating a spec for the voting equipment part of this; will go to market to get it manufactured; participatory design with voters; vendors have never done that
– innovation in government seems impossible: crisis was an instigator; technology has changed radically in 15 years providing more opportunity; more modularity; agile, continuous delivery, and hackathons opened up doors; voter behavior changed radically but market didn’t respond – early voting, electronic voting, absentee, etc; voting by mail is not innovation, the next generation doesn’t use paper mail
– gamechangers in these solutions: uses familiar devices; interactive sample ballot; fill out, go to any voting center, scan and verify; same piece of equipment can support individual variation (e.g. wheel chairs); test with people with low literacy and mild cognitive issues; learned so much; decades of design practice challenged by those users
– more designers in government: yes there’s room for more designers; however, there are people designing all over the government who are not in formal design roles; with some help and access to information, they can do great work; need to become aware of the world of design; easy access to the actual populace for testing
– small changes iterated over time mitigates the fear and the risk at the same time; can track the change; did it work? many small failures for learning instead of one big one; without user testing, compliance testing against regulations can’t create a successful system
– will your work teach the private sector: been too busy to consider it, but it’s obvious that the private sector out there didn’t do this work; still have to change law and regulation to make this work; vendors are watching what’s being done
– working with IDEO has been transformative; stepped out of their comfort zone to do this work, particularly around government procurement; created collaboration spaces in government offices; whiteboards, sticky notes, and sharpies everywhere
– if voters are motivated, they’ll overcome issues with time, space, and equipment; but if the experience is good, they are more likely to do it again and encourage others; media coverage about long lines discourage other voters
– technology and voter behavior are changing faster than ever; need to be able to evolve the systems to keep up without scrapping the whole thing

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UX Advantage 2015: Infusing MasterCard with UX

Karen Pascoe, SR VP Group Head User Experience, MasterCard

– hardest role ever; most support ever; lead UX on emerging payment products; MasterPass (secure commerce), outreach to startup developer community (APIs and SDKs), personal payments (mobile money; tied to identity)
– brought in by CEO who was sold on what she was going to do already; many people excited she came in; sponsorship is huge; first strategic UX hire; previously rarely thought about the end-user of the card as the customer
– driving change in a larger org requires a lot of skill; evangelical, domain expert, visionary leader, arm-twisting, butt-kicking; most important is to form partnerships with people
– executive sponsorship has made alignment incredibly easy in some cases; e.g. going agile in development; managers are used to waterfall delivery of elaborate feature sets; harder, longer term work to get customer-centric techniques into the management processes; need to build more technology understanding in execs
– 3 quarters into agile transition now; getting leadership comfortable with test and learn, experiment
– what’s different about mastercard: leadership and culture; really slow in digital; needed to move big; needed to be at NYC HQ; thoughtful decision making
– customer experience: need journey mapping, but teams don’t know how; need to measure, but don’t have the tools yet; investing in 2016
– difference between user experience and customer experience: traditionally, customer experience is placed in operations, reactive, optimize on unit cost; user experience is about a good experience end-to-end; these are coming together now
– hiring process changes: good thing she knows a lot of people; competing against the best agencies and the hottest startups; lots of speaking and outreach; like to hire experienced people out of an agency; excellent people skills, consultative skills; enterprise has better work-life balance; long term career development
– 12 people right now, growing to about 20; small and great is better than large mediocre team or mediocre processes; not a fan of chargeback; manage a budget, includes growth next year; align resources on most important, strategic priority; help find other resources for projects outside that core
– outside agencies: for first 6 months, she was only one, and needed to engage; used vendors for the work; shifting to more internal work now with capacity; going all lean UX and agile, not all vendors are comfortable with that; want to do co-creation at the studio; stay local; many vendors are still focused on deliverables; arrangement still evolving
– did design-centered agile transformation at JPMC, then PayPal, and now MasterCard; existing agile at MC are currently low maturity; key to teach the teams on the ground how to be good at it; cross-functional retrospective bi-weekly; working really well; collaboration is getting far better; developers way better at shifting around priorities
– what led the CEO to get so invested in UX; recognition that digital is critical to future
– design primarily for merchant, card providers, consumers, etc: need to design for the whole ecosystem; recognize that may be providing a service to provider, but the provider is creating the experience for the consumer
– how do you recruit to a financial services company: exciting futuristic stuff such as biometrics that they’re working on; ecommerce is more interesting than mobile banking
– moving toward “digital by default”; card is just your credentials; MC can understand how physical and digital world are coming together in this space; how can digital be a safe and seamless as physical
– doing both evaluative and generative research; balance right now is evaluative, but need to do more generative; using kan-ban for open-ended stories; no sprinting until it’s ready
– doing guerilla usability now; putting a usability lab on floor in Manhattan that customers are brought through; also get the execs through; developers will work right in the lab
– how to measure the success of this initiative: not really looked at as just user experience; customer-centricity, customer-responsive, user experience, digital used loosely and interchangeably; major investment in vertically integrated colocated teams

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UX Advantage 2015: Bringing UX to all of GE

Samantha Soma, UX Program Facilitator

– GE is 130 years old
– shout-out to engineers: GE has been a design company for its entire history
– 2010-2011: discovered 14th largest software company in US, unbeknownst to them; analytics tools build by engineers; decided to codify design as a practice; created UX Center of Excellence, team of 4, with about 40 other UX designers across the company
– what is a UX program facilitator: originally, was UX community lead to bring together all the UX designers across the company and evangelize; have 800+ now and is self-supporting; moved to facilitate “design workouts” at HQ now; soemtimes have to intervene between GE salesperson and the end client – grab the pen from the GE person and hand it to the customer; don’t have a number to make, have a problem to solve; facilitator, not domain expert; get peole closest to the problem to speak up
– tell us more about the structure: UX CoE is dispersed; software CoE is in San Ramon, with about 60 designers that work with multiple products in industrial arena; now have ‘design directors’ instead of ‘design leads’; they are invited to more meetings and listened to more directly; GEs language didn’t map to the outside world; also found that general HR couldn’t really evaluate recruits; inserted ourselves into the hiring process for designers; invest $1billion a year in corporate education (LP – leadership program); started the UX Leadership Program – apprentice new graduates to senior designers, hope to propogate out
– measured as much on how you do your job as well as how productive; if you get a lot done but no one wants to work with you, you don’t succeed; there is a long career path for designers
– in a data driven organization, is design hard to measure: some business verticals have been more successful than others; can’t measure lines of code you didn’t have to right because you were solving the wrong problem; have had some great successes where the Design Workout changed the direction of a product; e.g. drilling process folks needed a screen design, did in person research, and understanding was so much deeper that they designed a completely different solution and won all the awards that year; no two problems are alike, so how do you measure the impact; have been able to show measured results in a few cases like how much higher a team’s velocity is or how much time was saved
– how are projects resourced to include this work: evolving to better place from where designers were used to “skin” products that were already “done”; products that focus on velocity to the detriment of good user experience haven’t had as good business outcomes; design is now present at the outset rather than later; getting people to realize that design is about solving a problem and being the voice of the customer rather than making it pretty
– evangelism: training, workshops, etc. only works so far; most of org needs to see the value of a design-oriented way to solve the problem; her facilitation is now has a reputation and is in demand
– GE Work Out: a special meeting where the people invited are explicitly empowered to say ‘yes’: http://www.slideshare.net/steven.hy.tseng/the-workout-solve-your-business-issues
– Design Work Out: 2-day, design focused; a bit ritualized to create the space to open up at the design center; put away the technology, comfortable space, whiteboards, etc.; at the end of 2 days, they realize they are thinking about the problem differently
– outside firms: still use them because we have more design work than they can possibly do; changed the nature of the collaboration, sometimes that’s been uncomfortable for some agencies
– design directors: 50% promoted internally, 50% recruited; important attribute of anyone in that role is patience; e.g. have to go knock back a couple beers with a railroad engineer in a field study
– would love to have a research librarian that helps communicate and disseminate what we learn to others across the organization
– Fast Works Every Day – lean startup, scientific methods, design thinking methods; evolving from Six Sigma: https://hbr.org/2014/04/how-ge-applies-lean-startup-practices/
– how does this big lumbering organization move: patience; not really waiting for people to age out; story-telling culture; success stories lead to more attention and the spread of ideas and methods

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UX Advantage 2015: The Role of Outsiders

Scott Zimmer, Head of Design, Capital One and David Baker, ReCourses

– is there a shift from using outside firms: no; more inside designers than ever, but there is much more design going on, so plenty of work for agencies
– Adaptive Path is a small but very influential part of our design effort
– 20th anniversary of IPO, still founder led
– lots of interaction with 3rd party design firms while building internal team
– for a successful acquisition, both parties have to be excited
– can’t create an internal team by buying a bunch of experts; need to integrate them and their expertise; organization has to have appetite to learn; if acquirer thinks they know it all, also not successful; CO and AP felt they were kindred spirits, especially with belief in user research
– often in past, acquistion may just be the primary client buying the design firm they use; all but 6 our of 50 over the last number of years; not a good story for the agency
– acqui-hire can be exciting for individuals at an agency; usually give it a chance for at least 6 months; owners may not enjoy running a business; porbably see more of this happening
– David: “Did you just mention SharePoint? I can’t believe you said SharePoint at a UX conference.” Jared: “Friends don’t let friends do SharePoint. Look up the definition of CF, you’ll see SharePoint.” David: “If you don’t know SharePoint, look up their MySpace page.”
– hands (contracting) vs. brains (consulting): no price premium on hands work, big premium on brains work; with internal competency growing, UX firms are often called for the hands work; unfortunately, doesn’t often lead to the brains work
– CO, biggest need is on the hands side for capacity; feel the tension from agencies that they want more, so may hurt partnership; rely on freelancers; become unofficial members of design team; highly value expertise consulting, but need them to deliver too, because internal team may not be inspired to continue the work
– internal workshops on design thinking really inspire the organization to want to adopt this sort of work; then can start talk about sustaining roles on design team
– in house departments don’t have three things that agencies do; business development, IT, and accounting; don’t neglect business development internally, treating your org as the client
– most internal UX teams don’t have an internal charge-back systems, so you can’t say no to stupid requests; some agencies don’t have the skills to say no either
– have to build and maintain expertise reputation; working with you makes their life better; if you are so accessible, may not be viewed as expert
– at the end of a brain-work contract: 1) agency implements it, 2) org implements it, 3) another party implements it, or 4) don’t implement it; clients generally want #1 for “one throat to choak”, but happens less and less
– how evaluate agencies: if you have senior business leaders but a junior design team, going to have problems; need to go toe to toe with a business leader and push back and influence; partners and peers, not customers or clients; tend to select agencies where we have points of proof on what they do and how they do it; culture has to match yours; user-centric principles more important than domain-specific knowledge
– web sites don’t really pay off for agencies; at UIE, hired someone to do our web site in 2003 and have ignored it since
– what happens if an acquisition is considered and then not do it because “we would crush your soul”; if you want a relationship with the agency for their expertise, they should figure out how to best work with you; client should want you to work with their competitors
– off shore design contracting: in person interaction is always preferred, though off-shore always seems like it should be a good option; success is from having equity partner on the ground where the agency is
– colocation is massively important, especially design, engineering, and product management; colocating designers with their teams instead of all the designers together; helps continue to evolve and change the culture; have a “design castle” is a nice place for execs to show off, but then not really engage design beyond that; a bit of distance, so the designers aren’t always hovering over the shoulder, is desirable (“co-location to a point”)
– how to you incorporate remote teams and individuals: travel to site of project; video
– how do you evaluate cultural fit of an agency to a client? experience, networking, and trusting your strong folks; if you look at the most successful projects, it all seems accidental; no good heuristics
– banking regulations keep you from selling anything that isn’t backing, right? how do you keep doing the events; CO has found ways to make it work and keep the events business going
– focus on not screwing up AP with their acquisition; hope that CO gained UX credibility by making that choice

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UX Advantage 2015: Designing a Global UX

Gina Villavicencio, Director UX Design and James Nixon, General Manager, Digital Globalization, Marriott International

– share an accomplishment or two:
– ratings and reviews product; 2/3 of millenials use ratings and reviews before choosing a hotel; search visibility; Marriott not well known in some international markets; want to see reviews from people like them; ratings and reviews can hurt conversions, so goal was “do no harm”; increased conversion; feature designed by US team, did competitive analysis in international markets; had to look at customers who weren’t familiar with Marriott; tested in Germany, France, Italy, and China; tested our review version vs. local; source doesn’t matter as much as it coming from a person like the user
– integration with WeChat: China, 549 million monthly users, 1 billion registered users; texting + photo/audio/video + payments + other; English version only has two features, not the full ecosystem available in China; not a lot of creative opportunity with integration, working from template; first time the region is leading the project and HQ is learning from them; WeChat is what Facebook will be in a few years, and we are learning through this; in China, mobile is more important than web
– where does Globalization sit in org: starts at CEO; growth is coming from international markets; decentralized structure with presidents and support staff in different regions; mandated HQ to support those regions; Digital Globalization is horizontal across the digital experiences but also vertical and builds experiences and products; centralized core technology, but decentralized for specific purposes in the regions; growth is in regions, but scale is focused at HQ
– UX team is structured similarly; UX leads for each product line, standards team that crosses all, and global UX team that works across and vertically as well; principle, everyone is responsible for global, so hope that someday no need for a specific global UX team; started with research to infuse global information, but it’s now more structured – still research based, but has packaged training, KPIs, and rewards
– localized prototypes: trying things in the regions and decide if UX should be decentralized, including specific technologies and changes in specific regions; e.g. localized content, regions have more control over the content of the site (text and imagery); need a governance model that enables regions but maintains scale and quality
– how do you start and then build momentum: need executive support; fear of loss of control, especially around brand; intelligent experimentation then figure out how to formalize and scale, then monitor
– how do you get exec support: James’s group has to align the different regions and groups to get the funding for these initiatives; budgets supposed to take 3 months but takes longer; lots of education; measure impact in 3 buckets: core traditional metrics (“win the booking, win through the stay”), adoption metrics (largely education right now), strategic bets metrics (big local initiatives); 80/20 rule definitely applies in globalization, 80% decisions can be global, 20% need to be local
– global UX initiatives: influence product decisions (including domestic), impact the entire platform; localized prototypes are key; e.g. enhancements to search forms for local needs; work with standards teams to ensure quality but enable exceptions to exceptions; it’s not a standard if it’s not validated globally; e.g. favorite icon = heart, or does it need a label; e.g. Brazil payment is payment system “layaway on steroids”, need to support multiple payments for hotel stays; took about a year to convince the organization to support it; 50% of James’s job is education
– significant and growing part of revenues is coming from outside the US
– what obstacles to overcome: without local support teams for product, do an experiment with temporary or agency help, and show the multiplier; need initial funding, get creative; get a regional account but manage it domestically
– what do you do if the region pushes back: had to prove ourselves, for example in China; again the local prototyping, research in market, build a prototype, test that prototype; built credibility

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UX Advantage 2015: Fidelity’s Shift to Design-driven UX

Steve Turbek, SVP UX Design, Fidelity Investments

– 3 1/2 years with Fidelity
– 60,000 employees
– Customer Experience is not just designing screens, but a motivating program across the whole organization; call center; in-person branch experience
– naturally led to taking user centered design techniques to thinks like paper forms
– management was way ahead of wanting to drive customer satisfaction; UX middle-management has to translate business desires to execution; in the past he focused too much on selling UX and not ‘how can I help you’
– look for people who need something you can help with, then help them, rather than trying to convince them they need what you have
– his role is largely connecting individuals across different departments and functions; take the tools we use and apply them in new ways; e.g. user research to help business folks solve business problems, not just evaluating interfaces
– started with many interviews and such to discover the problems
– where is the team within the org: org design is very important; 300+ people, centralized UX design group in very decentralized business; be strong where we need to be strong but flexible in other ways; there was no perfect place for the team, but they chose a “good place” within one of the digital product teams; evaluate for the president each year whether the UX team is serving the needs of the other groups well
– design has two roles: 1) the technical product design and project implementation, and 2) advanced visualization of concepts; need to separate the two; can’t jam advanced concept visualization into an ongoing project
– moving UX into a product group instead of a central service is key; getting the product group to invest in UX work before there is a “project” in development
– how does your oversight role work: key role is to keep the different silos communicating; forcing function; balance the communication and delivering results
– how do you attract and motivate designers: are you solving a problem that people are really intersted in; does the organization value and invest in design, that it “gets” design; Fidelity takes care of people, and invests in the space for creative work; my office reflects that I spend my whole day talking to people; round table, conference phone, white board, book shelves, remote control collection on wall (as inspiration that there are lots of hard to use controls, just as there are hard to use financial product)
– transitioning to mobile is a big deal; created a ‘device bar’ in the middle of the space to show that what they work on has to work on all those devices; moved them from a lock box to an open display; “culture is a story you tell yourself and everyone repeats over and over”; cultural focal point; teaching tool when other groups come in for a tour
– Fidelity UX group has been around for decades, did you make changes to the roles and titles and what they imply: every designer’s not a vice president :); roles and titles are different things; treating people fairly with titles and such is important in a big organization; understanding roles means that the title doesn’t restrict what you do; e.g. act like a creative director and guide the code changes, don’t create mockups to just move a few things around; his main role is to keep the culture going well and develop the young designers; not all folks want a management role; need a contributor path to advance in their career; worked with HR to understand that the more senior a contributor is, the more different roles they can fill, so you can pay an individual more that fills more roles yet reduce the overall cost
– you have to pay designers well, as well as create a great culture; design is a real career; need to respect the people you work with and make sure the organizational culture supports that; does the organization stand for something you can believe in; e.g. individual can bang a gong and recognize good work by another, makes it a public and positive
– how did you roll out the space design and make it work: the space is not just for design; design hosts people coming together at certain points in a project; people locate there for an entire agile project; innovation space, not design space
– how do you deal with partnerships and acquisitions: work with many startup companies on specific things, but difficult to scale; what works for one customer segment may not work at all for others; Fidelity has diverse consumers, from retired folks to kids; design role is to drive the requirements and make that knowledge of the differences and commonalities available
– use a lot of internal design groups and many agencies; have an explicit process for evaluating design firms and saying what they are good at; when someone is looking for an external firm, they have a list of recommended ones that are vetted and agreements in place already
– what do you look for in an agency: folks go out and talk to different agencies; different agencies have different specialties; biggest thing is ensuring the way you work together is good; seed people across teams; share pattern libraries and tools
– customer-centricity taken too far, like at Amazon: comes right from the top of the organization, treating people well; people come and want to stay; previous experience included a financial service company that didn’t, and it was dynamic, but probably not a long-term success culture
– individuals with multiple roles on a project: ideal agile is no individual is on multiple projects, but not realistic; they are senior enough to know how to do things more effectively and productively; tension between coming up with new ideas and testing with users; creative frission; try to keep user researchers seperate so they don’t test something that they themselves designed
– how do you mentor and coach more junior designers: constantly hiring as a large company; two part strategy, 1) always look for the best folks in the industry, and 2) hire really junior people via internships and straight out of college; junior folks don’t have the tools and skills to succeed, so need to invest a lot in training and mentoring; every new one gets partnered with a more senior designer; investment pays of quickly; as you become more senior, you are expected to be a mentor; may teach a class a few times a year

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UX Advantage 2015: Reinventing the PayPal.com Experience

Bill Scott, VP of Next Gen Commerce, PayPal

– 4 years at PayPal
– key accomplishement: reinvented “check-out” process – slight variance in conversion is a lot of $$$
– war room: 2-3 designers, 3 engineers, 3 product folks (balsamiq mockups from new CEO); prototype in a day; usabilty testing within a week; whiteboard to prototype, no specs and such
– forensic investigation of existing design process; create things, throw over the wall
– need executive support + ground-swell from the folks on the ground; have to have some principles you believe in; organizations are set up to maintain the status quo; shared understanding between all functions of how you get product out the door; continuous customer feedback; adaptive to current situation, not rigid playbook; “not sure what I’m going to do, but this is what I believe”; wisdom in crowds; many people want to do the right thing; dogged persistence + humility and improv
– PayPal experince in 2011 felt like 1999
– adjust the playbook as things change
– principles that drive the playbook: get engineering, product, and design working together, other functions like legal as well (legal became a design team); always make sure you ask what problem are you trying to solve; get customers involved (field research, user testing, etc)
– put a smart team together, soak them in the users’ problems, you’ll have a good product
– when from 500 people on design team to 10 reallly strong cross functional people
– how do you start working with a new culture when you start the job: people are a common element of all orgs (we’re all messed up in different ways; each has an agenda/self-interest); don’t sacrifice principles or the product; sometimes make a key decision successful and don’t be in the forefront; don’t worry about who gets the credit; identify those few people in the organization who won’t change, but have to route around (and hope for them to leave)
– how do get executives to support you: speaking the language of the customer is speaking is speaking the language of the business; UI layer is the experimentation layer; “tweetable moments” sound bites; moving from culture of delivery to culture of learning; where multiple hats as necessary, come from each peson’s angle; connect at base need level
– organizational structure influence: who you end up being in exec staff each week affects the whole organization; real work happens across organizational boundaries; identify where the connections aren’t happening; did 100 interviews in the first 45 days, across all parts of the org at all levels, for a short a time as 30 minutes; organizational map; lots of weird overlaps in a large organization; learn a hell of a lot; apply design research methods to changing the organization; then diagnose and intervene
– what did you discover about design in those interviews: design and front-end engineering were not well-respected; developers (engineers) vs “web dev” (wrote templates); changed “web dev” into “user interface engineers”, bring in good people and solve hard problems; on design side, many different leaders with different attitudes; design done at the end to make things pretty; new leadership came in and helped make the change
– how do you get alignment among various UX teams that don’t report into the same places in org; PayPal was trying to create a pattenr library (really becoming Pattern Police); if the core design team isn’t solving real problems for those other groups and helping make them better, they will fail; start thinking of those other teams as customers, understand how they work, and improve their work; make them more successful and they will embrace you
– does it get political around design at PayPal: 18-19 anti-patterns on Lean UX (http://www.slideshare.net/billwscott/lean-ux-antipatterns); different actors play a big role; “genius designer” (usually from Apple :)) – won’t hear usability feedback; need a dose of customer/user reality
– can you do something through hiring: need design leaders who’ve worked with engineers and product; some from agencies and such retreat back into their studio
– how did you get the company to change from long-planning process to lean ux: if you don’t have high-level support giving you carte blanche (like he did at PayPal “make us love usability”), you need to create a sandbox to try something and show the difference, hopefully something important
– how important is evangelism: coming to PayPal, lots of front-end engineers were leaving; had to change the story; lots of presentations but CEO wanted the message of the change to be heard publicly; got in trouble with PR a few times
– transformed in 6 months with 7 people what 100 people couldn’t do in 4 years (moving to new technology stack)
– any resistance to war room, and has it propagated to other projects: president got them the best conference room and offered the board room; results are best when people are co-located and right next to each other (less than nuisance distance)
– how do you deal with the disruption to existing flows when an outside firm is brought in from the outside: intervene and ensure that a) real problems are being solved and are the focus, and b) collaboration across the groups must be maintained, and c) the deliverables from the outside group need to be understood, consumed, and used
– stripe was founded by folks who tried to use the paypal API and said they could do better; PayPal didn’t have enough fear of disruption; as long as we engage and enable every type of transaction, we win; can’t obsess over the fear; payments is a hard problem
– most exciting thing coming up that you can talk about: next gen commerce – enable people who don’t have good livelihood now to get access to money through loans and such; working with the unbanked and underbanked; equal access is exciting

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UX Advantage 2015: Keynote – The Challenges of Making UX a Competitive Advantage

Karen McGrane
– wanted to make an event for people who are already making it happen as leaders in their orgs
– 6 interviews – executive sessions, huge global corporations where design initiatives are big and working; 4 interviews on more focused topics
– gaining executive support: frustrating: orgs want design but aren’t will to make changes to pull it off; how do you get budget; how do you convince; is there a crisis; what space do you get to play (and fail) in
– reinvent corporate structures: small local group -> central team with budget -> pervasive design thinking across organization; where does the UX function and leadership live
– restructuring incentives and rewards: hard incentives: how are execs rewarded; how is success recognized and rewarded; how to not focus just on shipping but quality of its product; soft incentives: how to reach the hearts of individual designers; how do you know its working; how do you motivate, even across stronger vs weaker team members
– shift to continuous deployment: it’s a very deep change; how do you make it work for more than developers; can you tweak your way to design success; big companies and the government
– taking advantage of fear: what if you are the next healthcare.gov; what about a new competitor or market disruption; can be a catalyst for change but hard to admit
– governments’ design lessons: seem to be the slowest movers, but have done some amazing things; US Digital Service and Los Angeles County; fascinated by people who don’t come from a design background but realize there are techniques and tools out their to make their work and business better
– inventing the ‘yes’ lawyer: legal is a blocker to many ideas; how do you get legal on your side; struggle with contracting especially in highly regulated industries; contracts that allow iterative and creative work rather than laundry lists of requirements; how to not be in conflict between UX and legal; incorporate the actual meaning and spirit of the law into design; agile/iterative methods
– designing a global UX: many companies have plans but have not achieved; how do you operate a global business right; how do customers in different places make decisions; executive buy-in; where does globalization live in org; how can it be infused
– the role of outsiders: is there still a role for design agencies; eg. Capital One acquired Adaptive Path; how to think about internal vs external resources and teams; reasons to use outside agencies beyond just extending capacity

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