Avoiding the Heuristic Solution: Creating Inspiring Mobile Design with UX Principles

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* This is the version with my notes below the text. Only use it if you want to see descriptions. Else, another is under a similar name, as projected * Stevens forthcoming book Mobile Design Patterns (with Eric Berkman) will serve as a point of departure for a conversation on the topic of using the techniques of collaboration, team and workshop activities, and iterative design to develop inspired, delightful designs that can differentiate your product in the market, while still meeting proven design principles.Presented 10 June 2011 at Float Mobile Learning Symposium, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois.Speaker notes were carefully crafted, but generally bear little relationship to what I said. While they communicate the basic point, they are in no way a transcript of my comments in person.


<ul><li>1.Steven HooberdesigningFloat Mobile Learning Symposium11 June 2011mobileinterfacesmobile designgobile</li></ul><p>2. DesigningMobileInterfaceswww.4ourth.com/wikiSteven Hoober&amp; Eric Berkman 2I am here basically because I have been spending the last 9months working a second full time job collecting around 60patterns for mobiles.gWhen it comes out, itll be great. Buy one. Look for the bookwith the colorful parrot on the cover. Itll be hard to miss.Actually, its a lovebird. No, I dont know why. And its beenobileyears since authors got to choose their animal.Also, every bit of the patterns, and some other helpful informa-tion including over 70 links to platform-specific UI standards,templates and stencils are out there. Add to it if you want.I want to define, briefly, what a pattern means to me. 3. Patterns are universal3These are just some of the devices I actually own.Heres many of them if you want to rifle through.A common question, right after why a lovebird, is what phone Ig carry.Doesnt matter. Right now, a Droid 2 Global. But in the last 3 yearsobileI have carried -- full time, porting my number and everything -- 7 dif-ferent devices with 4 different OSs. Part-time, a lot more than that.I have TEN browsers on my handset now. I have a contract to dosome browser design.You need to keep your hand in the market, and not just stick to yourfavorite device. Because design is not about one device, or brows-er, and even if /your design/ is, you are missing out on other goodideas. 4. Patterns are generalizedVi Vi deodeo se se N r ret vicN et vicfli esfle H ul x ...H ix s...uul Pl u Am u Am Plu a s a s Yo zon Yo zonuTuT u u Sl beSl be ac ac kekerMrM edediaia 4Patterns are very non-specifc. Even talking about specificexamples sometimes bothers me; just like when showing offyour design everyone gets hung up in details.g I use illustrations. The top is the complete set of illlustrationsto describe the Scroll pattern. The bottom is the same forRemote Gestures.obileOnly when needed did I make an illustration including a realweb page. And even that is drawn, to only focus on the dis-ussion points at hand.On the bottom, notice nothing is assumed; arrows indicate(generally) axes of movement, etc. 5. Patterns are organizedDirectional EntryInput Method Indicator OK 3G 3:52PMSign on to continue To prevent unauthorized access to your account, access has been locked. Password 123TF43Continue Exit 3G3:52PMabc3G 3:52PM123 Going to be a little late picking you up. Go getSign on to continue some coffee and Ill textTo prevent unauthorizedaccess to your account, when getting clo access has been locked.Password TF433G3:52PM Just passed through Asheville, Continue you still on?Exit Start selection Stuck in meetings, where are you Paste stopping tonight? Copy all abcGoing to be a little lateFocus &amp; CursorsCut allpicking you up. Go getsome coffee and Ill textwhen getting clo Clear Entry 5Part of the analysis of the patterns is grouping, and not justby immediate relations, but by higher level categories, andrelated tasks in other categories.g Building a taxonomy of patterns helps understand them (itcertainly helped me) and is designed to help you find themand use them correctly.obileThey also cross-link a lot. 6. Patterns are explained6Ive seen a number of new pattern libraries that simplytake screenshots and post them by category.These are fine, as galleries of design. But they are not pat-g tern libraries.You need to know what the pattern is, and why it is, so youcan do the right thing, explore the edges, and avoid theobilewrong things.There are nice simple pictures, bullets to follow, but also aLOT of other words. All of which matter. 7. Patterns are best practicesNot necessarilycommon practice. Contacts21-25 of 125Noce necessarilyJane Adams816 210 0123 (M)Jamie Adamlypopular, trendy.913 111 0234 (H)Paula Adamowlsky785 985 0345 (M)Mike Adamson314 987 0456 (O)Mike Adler210 618 05677Patterns are not just collections of popular themes in theworld of design, or what I have taken to calling commonpractice.g Fashion and interior design work differently, but UX is ev-idence-based. Just because its popular doesnt make itright, and if there is clear evidence (from research, gener-ally) that this is wrong, I say so.obileMany patterns are improperly implemented in the majory ofdevices. Now, I didnt buck the trend completely; this exam-ple is simply that you need to hide pointlessly repeating ava-tar stand-ins. But thats an easy fix. 8. Patterns are misunderstood Reactionary Single view First solutions Rote solutions Too high levelObviously, this is not a key attribute of patterns that we want tohave. But its true. Patterns are misunderstood, and thereforemis-used. Design solutions are Reactionary and solve for point problems,instead of considering the entire system.8 Even when larger solutions are found, they are Single view oronly for one screen, one device or one platform. The first satisfactory solution is accepted, and rapidly be-comes entrenched. There should always be incentives to findthe best possible solution. There is likewise no incentive to find unique, interesting or dif-ferentiable solutions. The Rote solution, or the published pat-gtern, is used without modification (another reason I dont like togive examples). Patterns that do consider solutions generally sometimes lead toexcessively High-level design, with no reasoning (or an incom-prehensible one). VizDs and developers wont understand whatobilepart is important so will modify it and miss the point.I tend to call all of this the heuristic solution. Its not /bad/ perse, in fact it checks all the boxes, but its not inspired, and is nev-er truly satisfactory.It might even pass CSAT measures, and show improvement. Butit levels off and you never get up to that really top-tier, no matterwhat you do. 9. Steven HooberavoidingFloat Mobile Learning Symposium11 June 2011the heuristicsolution mobile designSpeaking of CSAT, this is not your fault. Its very, very institu-tionalized.Just a few weeks ago I was in a presentation by [a topgCSAT vendor]. The company had bought the extended anal-ysis, and had 120 pages of suggestions on how to fix thesite. Which addressed each failure point as an individualproblem, with an individual solution, and a best case fromobileone industry leader or another.Then an executive got up and said that this gives us direc-tion and (and I wrote this down) now theres no need tothink, explore and do user research to figure out which ofthese options is right.And since its exective direction, thats whats happening. 10. Steven HooberavoidingFloat Mobile Learning Symposium11 June 2011the heuristicsolution mobile designI originally had 20 slides of this stuff. but I realized I was go-ing too negative. If anyone disagrees with the premise, raiseyour hand, but I am otherwise just going to move on, to thesolutions.gobile 11. Be a conscious designerKnow why you draw Define Codify Compare Choose Combine Expand11The key, to me, is that yoy be aware of why you are design-ing.Patterns and heuristics (as well as formal uses of theseg methods, like heuristic evaluations) have value not just inthe immediate use of them (e.g. does it pass the heuristic ornot?) but in making the designer aware of the components,and the reasons they exist.obilePatterns are communicated in a consistent manner, allowingyou to understand them, pick the right one form several op-tions, combine related ones, and add your own.This is also important later. When you need to revise, orwhen you are building the product. 12. Design methodologies to success Understand the problem Leverage your team No idea is worthy Your competitors are not wizards Embrace your constraints Collaborate Seek outside input12Design is not art.I have an art degree, so I know this.g Design has goals, that pay the bills when they succeed. Youneed to work with others to find these.Design is not just drawing the right line, or box, or button,obilebut building an ecosystem to support that design, so youknow what the right line, or box or button is.I wrote a whole book-length treatise on some of my favoritedesign practices. Dozens of people use it now.And over the years I have changed my mind enough, its outof date. These are the key objectives I work to now. 13. Understand the problemPut the markers down.First time, every time,ask the customer, theirworkers, the users.Create objectives, andstick to them.13Before even starting to design anything, ask questions.Perform user interviews, ask the business what they want, and gatherany other information about current and expected usage you can.g Develop measurable objectives, stick to them during design, and besure to measure after it launches. Without feedback, you cannot learn.Try not to draw. This is hard to do, for me at least, but sketching con-obilecepts early will tend to lock you into that thinking. You might be on thewrong track. Keep away from this, and seek to understand the prob-lem space first.If you are wondering, this is a project I did for Hallmark, where one ofthe first things we did was have them to the office for two full days ofinterviews and data gathering, kicked off with a visit to a store, to reallyunderstand their current processes. 14. Leverage your teamStudio methods tofoster competition,creation of new ideas.Manage them, to addchallenge to each step. 14Studio MethodsThe best ideas come from individuals, or small teams, work-ing independently. To get the most good, unique ideas, taskg those individuals or small teams to develop quick, indepen-dent designs and regularly share and regroup, iterating to afinal solution.obile 15. No idea is worthyDont do a little dancefor your great idea. Ipromise it has flaws.Consider componentsindividually, and lookfor flaws. 15...So, everyone comes back with ideas and you reviewthem.Then you evaluate not complete designs, but each compo-g nent. How does it fit into the overall concept... etc.Assign components that are similar to other designs, so theyare combined in interesting ways, and people get outsideobiletheir comfort zones.When working with design concepts, whether evaluatingcompetitor sites, or with the design teams above -- remem-ber to approach the design from a modular point of view,and evaluate the suitability of each element to the overallgoals, and process. Do not just accept (or reject) whole de-signs. 16. No idea is worthy16Even with one idea, whether just trying to determine if theidea is good yourself, doing an eval or whatever, do not fallin love with the idea so much that you:1) Look at it as a wholeg 2) Miss the flaws.Deconstruct it, to understand what it is, what it is made of(patterns, components!) and then how it might NOT work.obileThis is a challenge again, but who said it would be easy. 17. There are no design wizardsInspiration is fine.Copying is pointless.Follow your process tofind the right answerfor your business, andthe current world.17Your competitors and forefathers do not have the magic formula.Some just have better cultures of design. / Some just lucked into it.When required to look at the competition, or the great previous-g generation ideas, recognize that business models, customers, andgoals are not the same over here, or these days.obileInspiration is fine, but use good process to find the right answer.How many of you carry a Walkman phone? Of course, none. Butfor /years/ after the iPod came out, every pundit was sure Sonywould come and crush the market.Didnt happen, because Sony (apparently) builds good products,not good ecosystems. It seems no one turned their tape player eradevices into digital era music. 18. Embrace your constraintsBrainstorming doesntwork.Working within yourconstraints adds focusto any design sessionand fosters ideas. 18Brainstorming is for suckers: Doesnt work. Boosters willsay it does, and the counter studies arent doing it right. Towhich I say: no one does it right, such that I never want tocall it brainstorming.g There are bad ideas There are ideas that you shouldnt even consider, as theyare out of scope.obileInstead, I like to set preconditions and say Embrace yourConstraints.Whether in concepting exercises, workshops or as individu-al designers, only work within the domain, set preconditionsand remind everyone that the goals and objectives define thedesired end state. 19. Embrace your constraints 19...A common complaint about patterns is that they are too con-straining, and stifle creativity.g I never see this happen, except by those same designerswho voice those complaints, when they take some greatobileidea they see, and implement it without changes.I am all for borrowing good ideas, and being inspired. Butusing another pattern without knowledge is dumb.Embrace your constraints 20. CollaborateDont just worktogether, collaborate.Use everyones skill,and knowledge, tofind the best solution.20CollaborateI have a 10,000 character essay on this, which you can find on my blog.So this is necessarily a summary. If collaboration eludes you, or like I was,you get blamed for being not collaborative, check it out.g Design teams will, ideally, have a variety of individual skillsets, or at leastmultiple individuals, each with their own background and opinions. Usethe individual skills of the team members to find solutions and exploreobileconcepts.Some other key attributes of good collaboration have been outlinedabove. Be a conscious designer, so you can discuss your ideas, or de-fend them. And not because you like it; defend only what you know to betrue from experience.Collaboration can be very informal. When you get into it, you will startasking advice for even simple behaviors and problems. This sort of activ-ity is why some people like open plan offices. Just turn around and askthe team. 21. Seek outside inputSystems, process andbusiness-intelligenceknowledge is held byspecialists you wontsee.Unless you go looking.21Beyond collaboration, get input from people outside the de-sign team. This is expecially good in big places that have beenaround for decades, or centuries.gNot everyone has all knowledge of the arbitrarily complex sys-tems we work on all too much, so cross-functional collabora-tion can have great value in confirming concepts, getting inputon the viability of concepts, and discovering tangential solu-obiletions already considered or in progress somewhere else.This is not just useful for the gathering of information, whichyou should do up front, but to confirm your design works.Often, those same people can add more value after they seewhat you mean. Oh, you are using that information. Have youtalked to these guys about their project in the stores? etc. 22. And now your design is perfectBitstream ThunderHawk 3.0 Detailed Design DocumentNovemb A Home &gt; ii URL EntryWhat could possiblyA2c URL entry (widget)A2f URLoversentry(widggo wrong? goog|google.com/newsgoogle.com/docs Inputgoogle.com/search?q=Xpe... 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