Why are some dashboards so meaningless? How can you make information helpful? Today our guest is Brian O’Neil, founder & principal of Designing for Analytics. You’ll learn how to approach data visualization thoughtfully, how to help users make their decisions, why you shouldn’t go after fancy diagrams, and why “removing everything” isn’t always your best strategy.
Tagged with “ui” (11)
The opening keynote from the inaugural HTML Special held before CSS Day 2016 in Amsterdam.
Bruce: UX people are, I have found, highly, highly leveraged in those early days of testing your assumptions. I’ve done this over and over again, actually. We did it at NetProspex, and we are doing it right now with a startup that I founded called Reqqs, reqqs.com. It’s a product for product managers that helps them with prioritizing and road mapping.
What we did early on with that product was to first do a bunch of research with product managers to understand their problems, and when they ask for features to ask them why they wanted them. Get those problems boiled down to the essential few, which, with product managers, it turned out, the worst problems are prioritizing and road mapping.
Both the decision-making part and the communications and getting-everybody-bought-in parts of that process. Then the whole question was, “Do we have a solution to those problems? Do we have something that will actually provide value in those problems over and above the alternatives,” which right now, for most product managers are Excel and PowerPoint.
So we did mock-up after mock-up. I walked users through those mock-ups. We set them up in a clickable fashion. So you could go from one page to the next as though it were a real product with real data.
Kept optimizing it based on the feedback that we were getting and to the point where we had something that was in HTML and clickable and apparently responsive, even though there was no database behind it, that people said, “Yeah, this is great. If I could put my real data in, this is exactly what I would want.” Then we went from there into producing the real code.
We used a whole bunch of the front-end code. Not all of it, but a lot of it. Similarly, at NetProspex, I was building a tool for salespeople that was basically a search tool for contact information. It was for telephone salespeople, for what they call BDRs, who just make lots and lots of outbound phone calls all day long and make appointments for salespeople.
This was a quick lookup-tool, essentially, for getting the right contact information for somebody you wanted to reach. We had a whole team of these BDRs. We had 25 of them at NetProspex in-house. So I said, “Perfect. I will produce a clickable mock-up and I will put it in front of them and see what they think.” I learned a huge amount by doing that.
Then after we got beyond the clickable mock-up stage and into early prototypes, but the UI was still very minimal, I would put it in front of them have them actually use it in their job and see where it did or didn’t work for them. I quickly learned to keep the UI simple.
It actually helped me reduce the feature count that we needed in order to get into our first release. Because I discovered that some of the advanced features that I thought people would think were really cool, that the salespeople couldn’t figure out how to use them. So we just got them, and we had a better product for it.
Creating visualizations from data can be a powerful and intriguing way to present findings. But way too many design teams sit on vast amounts of data. They also spend entirely too much time making static images rather than interactive tools.
In his virtual seminar, Data Visualizations that Pack a Punch, Brian Suda outlines different types of meaningful data visualizations, from charts and graphs to more interactive models. He also discusses the importance of using the right tools and newer technologies and higher resolution displays as they emerge.
The audience asked a slew of great questions during the live event. Brian comes back to chat with Adam Churchill and tackle some of those questions in this podcast.
How do you approach accessibility challenges, such as color blindness? How do you communicate that the data you’re presenting is “fresh”? Is there a good way to demonstrate the ROI of good visualizations? What can you do to encourage people to start exploring and using data? Are there any examples of companies currently using visualizations well? Should you try to do this in-house or is it better to outsource to an agency? What is the best way to get started? Recorded: August, 2013
Web forms are the mouth that feeds most web apps. There’s no way around that. Yet, few people are thinking about how to make one of the more unpleasant parts of the web more pleasant. The world’s foremost authority on web forms is Luke Wroblewski, author of the heralded book, Web Form Design.
- Duration: 35m | 16 MB
- Recorded: January, 2010
- Brian Christiansen, UIE Podcast Producer
As we use social tools on the web, design patterns are emerging. Social design must be organic, not static, emotional, not data-driven. A social experience builds on relationships, not transactions.
In 2008, Yahoo!'s Christian Crumlish introduced the idea of social design patterns to BayCHI. He returns in 2010 to share what he learned over two years. With his Yahoo! colleague Erin Malone, Christian created a wiki to gather social design patterns and published a snapshot of the wiki in book form.
Among the many principles of social design, Christian presents five:
- Pave the Cowpaths: Watch what people do, then support and adapt to that behavior.
- Talk Like a Person: Use a conversational voice. Be self-deprecating when an error occurs. Ask questions.
- Be Open: Embrace open standards. Support two-way exchange of data with other applications.
- Learn from Games: Give your application fun elements, like collecting and customization.
- Respect the Ethical Dimension: Understand the expectations people have in social situations and abide by them.
Christian then describes five practices:
- Give people a way to be identified and to characterize themselves.
- Create social objects that give people context for interaction.
- Give people something to do, and understand the continuum of participation, from lurkers to creators to leaders.
- Enable a bridge to real life.
- Let the community elevate people and the content they value.
Finally, he discusses five anti-patterns, commonly-used design choices that appear to solve a problem but that can backfire and pollute of the commons. Examples:
- The Cargo Cult: Copying successful designs without understanding why they are successful.
- Breaking Email: Sending an email alert, but rejecting or silently discarding the reply.
- The Password Anti-Pattern: Asking people for their password to another service encourages poor on-line hygiene.
- The Ex-Boyfriend Bug: Connecting people who share a social circle but who have reasons to avoid each other.
- The Potemkin Village: Building groups with no members. Instead, let people gather naturally.
Christian stresses that social design is an ecosystem in which designers must balance many trade-offs. Not every design pattern applies to every application, but good designers can use patterns to strike a balance that works.
Kevin Eldon is one of the UK’s finest comedy actors. For this exclusive series Kevin has written a series of monologues, lectures, soliloquys. All of which, no doubt, squat toad-like upon the cusp of delerium.
Make It So explores how science fiction and interface design relate to each other. The authors have developed a model that traces lines of influence between the two, and use this as a scaffold to investigate how the depiction of technologies evolve over time, how fictional interfaces influence those in the real world, and what lessons interface designers can learn through this process. This investigation of science fiction television shows and movies has yielded practical lessons that apply to online, social, mobile, and other media interfaces.
Nathan Shedroff is the chair of the ground-breaking MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, CA. This program melds the unique principles that design offers business strategy with a vision of the future of business as sustainable, meaningful, and truly innovative — as well as profitable.
Chris Noessel is an interaction designer and self-described “nomothete” (ask him directly about that one.) In his day job as a consultant with Cooper, he designs products, services, and strategy for a variety of domains, including health, financial, and software.
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