Sunday, July 26, 2009

User Experience: my own definition

My definition of the role of user experience design is something like this:

What UX designers do: Products should create a smooth experience for customers. Not a bumpy road, not a mine field. An awesome user experience designer considers all touch points to optimize product engagement and delight--something I call "flow".

Scope: Proper UX involves visibility across departments and ties into the development process, back-end architecture, customer service, & advertising experience. This is the one person in your company who keeps her/his eyes focused squarely on the enduser.

In other words, pretty images & icons are nice. But being able to checkout quickly is totally awesome. Get it?

Success Measures: Once users exit the flow, user experience designers want users to remain enthusiastic, recommending, & sharing the spoils of the product, with others.

I say nothing about the tools, deliverables, or methods but I hope I provide a new spin on something I've, in the past, struggled to describe.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Story of two Red Carpets

Which red carpet would you rather step out on?

Esteemed US visitor Red Carpet
Above you'll see a 2006 state department photo of the Japanese Prime Minister arriving near DC. This is Wikipedia's demonstrative photo for "red carpet". As you can see there's a sense of class and royal treatment.

The Avis Red Carpet

I didn't find any Avis messaging that might explain what they mean when they say red carpet-- neither through a web search nor through their web site.

In the dystopian novel 1984, the aim of Newspeak ultimately is to destroy meaning. Nothing means anything when you see signs like "freedom is slavery". The destruction of language is being used in packaging, marketing, and politics. At Avis a few weeks ago, several of us in line certainly didn't feel we got the red carpet experience waiting in 90 degree weather. This is only a bit of the line (pictured above) faced with a sign: "AVIS Key Pickup AVIS Red Carpet"

What does red carpet mean when a company or person uses that language to describe something that's the opposite of the word's dictionary definition.

But there's a bright side: We live in a country where we can retort without fear via sites like Yelp Glass Door & the Politico Truth-o-Meter