The 6 Mind-Blowing Things I Learned about UX in 2012
I hope everyone had a very Merry UXMas! I figure with the New Year right around the corner, it’s a good time to review some of the things I’ve learned about UX this year. Maybe you’ll learn something too!
If you follow our blog, you know that I’m still new (about 6 months in) to the field of web marketing and principles of UX. There is so much to consider when creating, maintaining and growing a business online that it can feel overwhelming at times. Since June, I’ve spent countless hours reading, watching videos, writing articles and talking to other professionals about UX and how to build websites work better for businesses.
Here is what I’ve learned…
1. The UX Community Kicks Ass
The UX community is extremely generous when it comes to sharing useful and meaningful information related to the field. Whether its tips on how to tackle your first survey to case studies, podcasts, interviews, UX cartoons and more, there is a plethora of information at your fingertips and a community of professionals willing to share.
Ben and I do podcasts every Friday, where we interview folks about their product or service and how it relates to UX and improving websites. We’ve had a great time getting to know the people behind these UX business. Not to mention all the cool tech people we met at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC.
Looking for more info on UX? Here are links to some of my favorite UX blogs and some UX women I follow on twitter.
2. There are oh, SO MANY TOOLS!
One thing that really surprised me as I begin to learn more about UX, is that there is a tool for everything!
We have tools to evaluate design, User Testing, A/B Testing, Design Evaluation Tools, Heatmaps / Mouse Tracking Tools, Information Architecture Creation Tools, Information Architecture Evaluation Tools, Mockup User Testing, Wireframe/Mockup, Live Chat Support Tools, Marketing Automation Tools, Mobile Prototyping, Multi-Use UX Tools, Synthetic Eye-Tracking Tools, Screen Capture Tools, UX Survey Tools, Web Analytics Tools to name a few.
For a more in-depth look at User Testing tools, check out the article:
For our full list of UX tools visit the UX Directory.
3. Peter Morville’s UX Honeycomb
Ben introduced me to Morville’s UX Honeycomb. It pretty much sums up the 6 aspects of the user experience that marketers, developers, and designers must try to maximize to the best of their ability.
Useful: the website (or product) must be useful to the user.
Usable: usability is extremely important, but it is only one aspect of what UX designers need to address.
Desirable: we must look at the users’ emotional responses, the effectiveness of images, colors, the way branding affects users, and what might make the user feel good about an interaction.
Findable: good information architecture, navigation, and attention to search engine optimization make a website findable.
Accessible: value and work toward making sites usable by people with disabilities.
Credible: including aspects of design that increase a user’s sense that the web information or the company the site represents is credible and trustworthy.
Valuable: websites should create value for the stakeholder and a website should be valuable to the user.
4. Goal Setting is Crucial
I’ve really gained a new appreciation for goal-setting, both personally and professionally. It is only by setting and defining SMART goals, that we can track and determine meaningful progress and accomplishment. What are SMART goals?
Specific – Targeted to a clear and unambiguous business goal
Measurable – Answers the question “How will I know when the goal is met?”
Attainable – Can be achieved with effort
Relevant – Answers the question “Is the goal worthwhile?” “Is this what I really want?”
Time-Bound – Creates a time-frame and deadline
5. The Iterative Process
I always thought that the design process worked like this:
step 1. I want a website that does/sells “this”
step 2. I hire someone to do what I want
step 3. They create it
step 4. The website is done
As it turns out, a website should never be “done.” Just as you constantly improve and modify your physical business, so should you be doing with your online business. Once you get your site or product up and running, you share it, get feedback, make changes and then improve, hence optimizing for usability and conversions. Because the technology and the web and how we engage and interact with our customers is always changing, there is no “final product.” User testing, surveys, usability testing, analytics and interviews are great ways to get feedback for the iterative process.
6. Analytics for Everything
Holy analytics! I had NO IDEA the amount of information available to us using analytics tools. Tracking data on your website is key to being able to refine it to achieve your business goals. As a marketer, I always want to be able to track and quantify design and product decisions with my clients. And now, we can. Just about everything we do online is trackable, with the right tool.
With tools like Google Analytics, we can track traffic to the site, traffic from the site, clicks on a page, on what page users are leaving and how long users are staying just to name a few.
Even social media offers analytics to track “likes” on a Facebook page or Twitter “follows” for example.
Check out the article:
Now you have it, the 6 mind blowing things I learned about UX in 2012.