Visualize the user experience across all touch points

Jared Spool

January 11th, 2018

Teams get caught up in process. It happens. We all have work to do, and we are all fine-tuning how we do it. Without a process for examining the experiences we create, we move further away from understanding how users actually engage with our products, and where the experience falls short.

Diagrams and visual artifacts collect data in one place to illuminate problems we might not otherwise see. These maps align teams around real issues the customer is experiencing.

How do teams get started using experience maps? There is no right or wrong way to map an experience, so don’t let it hold you back before you get started. We use maps to visualize the customer journey as it happens. The map that solves the problem we are trying to identify is the one that works, explains Jim Kalbach, and it might take the shape of sticky notes, sketches, or more formal journey maps.

“The concept of mapping helps us understand complex systems of interaction, particularly when we’re dealing with abstract concepts like experience. But mapping experiences is not a singular activity limited to one type of diagram over another. There are many possible perspectives and approaches,” says Jim in his book, Mapping Experiences.

Join Jim at the 2018 UXI Conference as he explains how teams can Utilize Mapping to Gain Stakeholder Alignment, and learn the many ways you can approach experience mapping to communicate the customer experience.

Explore the User Journey Across All Channels

Jared Spool

January 10th, 2018

The larger the business, the more likely it is that departments work independent of one another, even when their goals are aligned. When we engage with our peers and clients across department silos in strategic conversations, it can be a challenge to get everyone on the same page, to say the least.

Experience maps are visualizations, and diagrams, that serve as artifacts of the customer experience. They are based on research, but don’t need to be exhaustively researched or slickly produced. Visualizing the customer experience in this way shines a light on problems that teams across silos can immediately recognize and find alignment around.

“The reality is, very often, we don’t know, companies don’t know, what their customers actually go through,” explains Jim Kalbach. “I see that time and time again and that’s part of the activity of mapping, is to shine a spotlight on that, to say, “Well, here is the real experience, slowed down, frozen in time, so we can diagnose that and actually step through it step–by–step.”

Creating experience maps takes some care and consideration, because your map can’t contain all of the information that you’ve uncovered in your research, lest you want to overwhelm everyone. It needs to offer relevant, pointed, organized information about an experience. While experience maps don’t contain answers, explains Jim, they do provide an opportunity for deep engagement that helps teams identify strategic solutions.

Join Jim at the 2018 UX Immersion: Interactions Conference as he explains how teams can Utilize Mapping to Gain Stakeholder Alignment, and learn the many ways you can approach experience mapping to communicate the customer experience.

Save Hundreds on the Must Attend UX Event of 2018

Jared Spool

January 8th, 2018

This is your last chance to save some money when you register for the UX Immersion: Interactions Conference in Newport Beach, CA, March 5-7. Here’s what you’ll get when you register through Friday, January 12:

  • A coveted seat to the UX Immersion: Interactions Conference
  • Your choice of two full-day workshops
  • A day of featured talks from all of the fantastic workshop leaders
  • A stupendous keynote from Jared Spool
  • 30 days of premium access to UIE’s All You Can Learn Library

What are you waiting for? You only have a few more days to save $200 on your UX Immersion: Interactions ticket. Prices jump after January 12.

See you in Newport Beach.

P.S. Save even more money when you bring your team We consistently hear from attendees that they regret not having their team at our conferences. We’re making it easier to bring yours. Just register 3 or more people from your organization and each person automatically gets $200 off from the current full conference price.

What Makes a Design Seem ‘Intuitive’?

Jared Spool

January 5th, 2018

In this week’s article I discuss what makes a design intuitive.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

The biggest challenge in making a design seem intuitive to users is learning where the current and target knowledge points are. What do users already know and what do they need to know? To build intuitive interfaces, answering these two questions is critical.

For identifying the user’s current knowledge, we favor field studies. Watching potential users, in their own environments, working with their normal set of tools, and facing their daily challenges, gives us tremendous insight in what knowledge they will have and where the upper bounds are. Teams receive a wealth of valuable information with every site visit.

For identifying necessary target knowledge for important tasks, usability testing is a favorite technique of ours. When we sit users in front of a design, the knowledge gap becomes instantly visible. (We’ve had great success, right after a test, listing out all the knowledge the user needed to acquire during the test. It can be quite revealing!)

Read the article: What Makes a Design Seem ‘Intuitive’?

Have a different idea on intuitive designs?  Share your thoughts with us below.

A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

Jared Spool

December 29th, 2017

In this week’s article Leah Buley discusses how to spot a UX team-of-one in job listings.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

This may point to a lack of awareness about the processes and people involved in user experience work. Some user experience professionals do include graphic design in their arsenal of tools, but many do not. You can still be a user experience designer even if you just stop at wireframes, but user experience generalists–which most teams of one are–are sometimes called upon to do a bit of visual design as well. To get a sense of what your colleagues do and don’t know about user experience, take them out to lunch and have a casual conversation. UX teams of one sometimes have to be diplomatic, informed, and well-meaning meddlers.

Read the article: A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

Have you seen a UX team-of-one description listed somewhere?  Share your thoughts with us below.

Net Promoter Score Considered Harmful (and What UX Professionals Can Do About It)

Jared Spool

December 20th, 2017

In this week’s article, I discuss the implications of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and why it shouldn’t be used.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

One of the crazier things about the Net Promoter Score is how it’s calculated. The inputs come from a simple survey. Respondents are asked a single question: How likely are you to recommend [COMPANY] to a friend or colleague? On an eleven-point scale, with zero marked as Not At All Likely and 10 marked as Extremely Likely, respondents pick a number. (In later versions of the survey, Fred Reichheld suggested people ask a subsequent question about why they gave it that score. We’ll address that second question in a moment.)

Any normal statistician would just report on the mean of all the scores they collected from respondents. For reasons never fully explained, NPS doesn’t like the mean average of the numbers they receive.

While NPS won’t help you, there are measures that give you solid insight on what’s happening with your design. Kate Rutter will help you find them in her fantastic full-day UX Immersion: Interactions workshop, Measure What Matters: Crafting UX Success Metrics. Take advantage of that 2017 training budget and sign up today.

Check out the details of Kate’s workshop.

Read the article: Net Promoter Score Considered Harmful (and What UX Professionals Can Do About It)


How does your team feel about NPS?  Share your thoughts with us below.

Measure what matters

Jared Spool

December 19th, 2017

We gather data to determine the direction and assess the value of what we create. Every business, and client, has a specific approach to the way they define success. How many subscribers do you have? What is the customer retention rate? How many unique visits, and downloads? What is the time on site, the bounce rate? How are your WAUs, DAUs, and MAUs? (Weekly, Daily, and Monthly Average Users.) How do you define engagement?

We make critical decisions around content, design, and product development that are informed in part by metrics. But what do metrics tell us about the success or failure of a product, the user experience, or design? What metrics should we rely on?

Unfortunately, user experience designers rarely hold sway over determining what metrics matter, but they may be able to shift the conversation around how teams determine metrics for success to evaluate product designs and usage.

The quantitative data that we collect often drives important product decisions, but numbers garnered from out-of-the-box solutions like Google Analytics often generate arbitrary data points that don’t really tell us much. Metrics paint only part of the picture: the what, and not the why. For the why to happen, we need qualitative measures. We need the narrative behind the numbers to establish and track metrics that provide true insight into the user experience, the value, and the outcome of what we create.


You need to start making measurement part of your design practice. To do that you’ll want to spend a day in the amazing UX Immersion: Interactions workshop with Kate Rutter. Kate is a master at the intersection of business performance and great design, which is exactly why you want to learn about UX Metrics from her.

UX Metrics: Identify Trackable Footprints and Avoid the Woozles

Jared Spool

December 15th, 2017

In this week’s article I discuss how to capture key UX metrics.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

Teams often start with the metrics that come out of the box. Tools like Google Analytics come with metrics that have important sounding names, like Unique Visitors, Bounce Rate, and Time on Page. However, most teams quickly realize these metrics don’t actually track anything that’s meaningful to the users’ experience.

Sure, the Bounce Rate, which supposes to measure whether someone leaves the site immediately or stays, sounds like something important about how people interact with design. (I say ‘supposes to measure’ because it only does so if the site has been correctly instrumented and that, it turns out, rarely happens.) Did the person who left the site do so because they were confused and gave up? Or was it because the site did exactly what it was supposed to and they were happily moving along in their adventure?

A high Bounce Rate might be ‘bad’ (and warrant being lowered) or the same rate might be ‘good’ (and warrant doing more of the same). We can’t tell which from this number.

Bounce rate isn’t the only culprit in the out-of-the-box metrics. All of them are.

Read the article: UX Metrics: Identify Trackable Footprints and Avoid the Woozles

How does your team utilize UX metrics?  Share your thoughts with us below.

Promise, Vision, Scenario, and User Stories

Jared Spool

December 1st, 2017

In this week’s article I discuss how to to deliver the right promises to your users.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

People like to share their stories with me. Lately, many of these stories have been about their experiences on recent United Airlines flights. I’ve become a bit of a magnet for United Airlines stories.

Most of these stories are about how the airline failed them in some way. In their minds, they weren’t asking for much.

They wanted their flight to go exactly as the airline had promised. Yet, for whatever reason, it had gone awry. And then, due to issues that seem to be endemic inside the airline, it got worse. The outcome was frustration and disappointment.

Yet sometimes the stories have a happy ending. Frequently these stories start with something that went wrong, but then a helpful employee takes the reins and goes above and beyond. The problem isn’t just resolved, the employee treats the passengers great, and everything ends well.

These stories are about promises. Promises broken and promises exceeded.

Read the article: Promise, Vision, Scenario, and User Stories

Does your team have a different method to keep up with your users needs?  Share your thoughts with us below.

Content-First Design

Jared Spool

November 16th, 2017

In this week’s article Steph Hay discusses how content can help to positively influence design.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

I never dreamed practicing content-first design and talking about it at a couple conferences would lead me to work for a bank. Especially one I knew nothing about. But the idea of creating jobs for people who get that content is product design, well that was too dang good to pass up. So now we’re growing a niche team of UX content strategists, sort of like our equivalent of the video game industry’s story designer.

Part of our process is working directly with designers and product managers to design conversations in plain text. We call them content prototypes, and they take many forms depending on the team and project.

Read the article: Content-First Design

How does content affect design on your team?  Share your thoughts with us below.