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Usability and Design – Internet Summit Notes Day 2

The User Experience is Your Brand

@drewdiskin Drew Diskin, M.S. Digital Engagement Strategist, Inertia


I think Drew had a powerful story to tell, using this story of John Hopkins and showing more specific examples of HOW they turned around their results, HOW he got C-Level buy in would have made this a much more powerful story.  All in all a good presentation.


How do you translate real world experiences into a digital one? Drew worked at Hopkins Hospital & Health System.  There was a culture that was beyond anything you could describe in some ways about how amazing they performed.  But they had severe digital woes.  They had a 62% bounce rate, 75,000 pages, 350+ websites.  The reality was that their brand sucked on-line.

The took on a smaller subset of pages and put them out in a few months and put it out there fast so they could figure out how they were doing.  Their CMS was an old Cold Fusion product that was inhibited fast turnaround.  How do you speak to people not at them when all the patient cares about is that their cough has been persistent for two years because they worked in coal mines?

Be present where your customers are at in their lifestyle and how to change to make it more relevant to them.

Obvious UX – Analytics can be used to get a baseline, UX Testing and Prototyping, Focus Groups, Online Surveys, Informal Conversations with Internal and External Customers are a MUST now, they are necessary to do business.  The challenge is convincing the C-Level executives that this is worth spending money on.

Not Obvious – Are people returning?  Are they sharing? Are they converting? Are they completing the tasks that you have? Can you access the site via mobile? Are you trending? Do you have a Facebook presence? Where else were your users before and after they were at your site?

Measure, Recource, Prototype, and Measure again – was part of the Hopkins rescue mission for UX.  Drew helped create a Digital Engagement Strategy that creates and experience for users not just a website.

Traffic findings were a success: Find a Doctor was up 187%, Apply to the School of Medicine was up 200%.

How to mitigate the performance risk of 3rd party web components

@compuware Dennis Gullotti, Senior Product Marketing Manager


The chief takeaway for me was as we add more and more service calls to our sites, make sure you monitor and load test all your 3rd party calls.  If you increase your load time by 2 seconds you will increase your abandonment rate by 8%. When testing capture your hard data so you can show you business people the impact of adding social media hook-ins to your sites.


3rd part components can help you drive traffic like Twitter feeds, Facebook feeds, RSS all of this should be to drive traffic to your site and increase your conversions.  CDN’s can also be used to increase performance like EC2 storage, but outside of North America and Europe the performance isn’t great so add a CDN on top and it will scream.

Your performance because of 3rd party presents other challenges in getting speed because of size and customer satisfaction.  Anything above 8 seconds is not good.  Excellent load times need to be 2 seconds.  All of that testing should be done from user desktops because that is real.

Set your business and performance goals: Is my audience using it? Does the vendor guarantee performance? How much revenue is it generating?  Do some due diligence on the component provider?  How does it impact mobile?

Forrester research claims that in 2009 that a page should load in 2 seconds so think about how you are going to impact that load time when adding a 3rd party component.

Facebook publishes performance statistics for their APIs.

71% of mobile phone uses expect a site to load just as fast on their phone.  The takeaway here is to make sure you are limiting 3rd party content calls, limit the number of requests, keep sizes smalls and use a Content Delivery Network.

Make sure that you LOAD Test, especially if you have 3rd party calls.  When doing this type of testing try to do it from the end users point of view: mobile, outside the firewall, etc.

Half-Hearted User Adoption

@navigationarts Don Bruns – Director of Application Design, Navigation Arts


Don moved really fast through a lot of his notes.  He had some great content, the chief takeaway was to make sure you are creating experiences that accomplish their 10 most common tasks.  Overall this was a high level speed overview of how adoption is the only metric that matters.


User adoption is not binary, it is the core success metric of your application.  Halfhearted adoption can kill your ROI.

Causes of this: No benefit to the end users, lack of business case, system doesn’t reflect how users behave, poor system performance, failure to manage change.

Change management is overcoming the points of resistance for your users, not “because I said so.”

What are the symptoms of half-hearted user adoption?  Do you find yourself bribing your employees to use the system or share information on-line? Are you penalizing non-use or even inventing reasons for use? Are you creating a scavenger hunt?  What you should be doing is creating a killer app that transforms the way that you work.

Get developers to take the User-Centered Design approach with everything you create to make sure you are creating applications that users really want to use.

Designing for Touch: Are We Ready?

@scottgunterux Scott Gunter Vice President of User Experience, Usability Sciences


Not everyone is ready for touch screen devices, but if you are going to roll one out make sure you do meaningful testing.


The iPhone and the iPad have changed the whole dynamic of how we create applications.  Are we ready for it because it has changed our behaviors?  Are consumers ready for more touch screen devices?

Good example of touch screen devices in our lives:  There are over 400,000 ATMs in the US – source Wired Magazine 2009.  This device was not accepted early, but over time has become a standard.  There are now 28,000 kiosk locations nationwide for Redbox – this simple design is a recipe for success.

More choices create more decisions and that typically is bad for a User Experience.  (author note, thinking of Windows Vista here)

Distracted driving accounts for 16% of all care fatalities in 2009, most of these experiences were because of in-car entertainment systems?

Many grocery stores are getting rid of self service checkout. Big Y Foods due to their research decided to bag self service checkout.

“The most valuable asset of a successful design team is the information they about their users.” – Jared Spool

One of the best ways you can do this is buy doing a field study of observing your users.  What do you want to learn?  What do you plan to do with the results?  List out your assumptions and validate them.  This will allow you rollup your data in a meaningful way.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in research is rushing to conclusions before you complete your research.  Try to observe users in their natural environment.

Before you do your testing, conduct a pilot session, arrive early, then stay out of the way of your uses, don’t be afraid to adjust your plans on the fly, and capture all the data you can.

When you analyze your data make sure you test out your assumptions, go back to your objectives and leverage visuals, but above all let your data drive your analysis.

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