Interactive Austin – Breakouts 1 – Leadership, Experience, Obama, Measurement & Metrics

collective-ideaThe first set of breakouts for Interactive Austin 2009 included:

Emergent Leadership –  How to organize without organizations.  Discussions included how omnidrectional hierarchies work, the new rules for effective social engagement, and how leaders emerge in ad hoc “headless” organizations, with panelists Jon Lebkowsky, David Armistead, Clay Spinuzzi, and Jason Fellman.

User Experience Design – Balancing customer desires and business goals.  Discussions included the importance of planning experience, strategies and tools to solve complex problems and how to integrate social media tools for a consistent overall experience and extended reach, with panelists Alex Jones, Erik McMillan, Alora Chistiakoff, and Craig Heartwell.

Obama Campaign – Lessons for Enterprise.  The Obama campaign used social media/interactive marketing and organizational tools to empower supporters.  This case study discussion was for enterprise level companies/organizations who desired to understand the new landscape of the social web and its impact on society and business, with panelists Matt Glazer, Susan Scrupski, Mike Chapman, and Carrie Chitsey Hice. (Shannon Aronin covered this session on her blog)

Measurement and Metrics – How to measure ROI in social media involvement.  Discussions revolved around how people are using social media to find business opportunities and partners, how to attribute leads to the right marketing initiative (paid/organic search, direct mail, social media) and how marketers can cope with complex B2B sales with long sales cycles, with panelists John Rasco, Andy Meadows, Michael Wilson, Ian F. Strain-Seymour  and Pam O’Neal.

I attended the User Experience Design session.  (Shawn Scott sat in for Craig and Dustin Ground from PROACE Technologies was on this panel)

Alora – A web page is your calling card, in the end, user experience is from the moment your customer first hears about you and/or your brand, all the way through sales process.  With user generated content, it’s also about them interacting with each other about you.

Discussion example: Netbooks (beta)

Alora – Bookeeping, invoicing solution for small businesses – took a fairly unsexy topic, simplified and made it not so intimidating.  Clean overview metrics.  There is a lot of terminology in accounting, they have stripped it down to clarity.  

Alex  – clean and straightforward

Discussion example: Mailchimp

Shawn –  Straightforward interface.  As a developer it can be hard to envision what your customers want.  Mailchimp makes things easy to find, it’s not overwhelming.  For every feature they have, they have a quick 2 minute video about it.  

Dustin – They make it fun and add personality.  They use social media tools (twitter, last.fm) and link on bottom of site. 

Discussion Example: Turbo Tax

Alex & Dustin – Load times are better, more simple.  Lots of simple instructions.  They crowdsourced their help (creation of videos & they rewarded their community for helping to provide user design). 

Alora – nice that when sessions timed out, you don’t lose data.  You can pick up exactly where you left off too.  They’ve ensured that something that is a painful process isn’t any more frustrating.

Alex – find people on message boards who will work for your community for free.  Make them a moderator and get them involved.

(Question asked) Walk through general user process of how to analyze/generate a user experience….

Alex – Will work directly with product managers – established products used by large organizations (versus web design…which is a totally different process)  Examine (features/requirements) talk with customers directly to get a feel for what they need to do.  Sketch out workflow possibilities.  Work through find gaps & brick walls.  Once established, document and build wireframe (a step before design).  Visual hierarchy.  Pull in engineering, then designers.  Bring designers in as early as possible.  Designers are good at pointing out the interaction pieces.  

Alora – Too many categories can be overwhelming, Information Architecture by O’rielly media is a definitive guide.  Really no more than 7 categories.  Piece it out, not too much up front.  Let them drill down.  Cross categories.  You’re likely to lose customers when you give them too much up front.  Look for new ways to bucket and group products. Don’t overwhelm main navigation.

Alex – studies on the human brain from early to mid 20th century show that there is a reason why 7 is a good number, like a phone number.  In the design world, use an odd number, like 3.  Put out three hosting plans.  People go for mid plan.  On a restaurant menu, put a box around something. People will order it.  

Shawn – when doing design, it’s not static, constantly improve upon it.  Analytics provide feedback to re-engineer processes.  Create three versions of landing pages and test.  Get a recipe for best page.  Let people tell you what makes them convert.

Alora – JetBlue study – when people actually go through experience, keep it in mind, it’s not a flat 2 way thing.  Watch people actually try and do it (whatever you are imagining your customer experiencing).  Ask your 65 year old father, does this make sense?

Alora – don’t be overly confident in your own expertise.  Be open to feedback, those are your customers, they are experience.

Alex – Sit down with a client, shadow them using your product with no boss around.

Alex – TripManager – poor layout.  Weird details.  Bad colors (dk green on neon green) bright blue on red, red on violet saying “News updates can go here”.  (Business failed to provide information for an area of the website.  Poor reflection on company.)

On the other hand – the inclusion of personality, good copy.  He showed a screenshot of  bungeeconnect.com as an example of a site that has unique, fun and simple copy infused with personality (“Be a rocket”  “Succeed”).  He also showed a screen shot of Culturedcode.com/things, a task manager for Mac OS.  They made their copy fun with phrases like “Look ma, no columns!”.  They want to show off the neat things they’ve done.  He also showed a Tumblr screenshot as an example of simplicity.  Just start posting and have fun.

Alex doesn’t like basecamp.  Dustin said they end up going to google spreadsheets for collaborative project management.

This session took place in the main events room and was captured on video (courtesy of Visual Innovations).  You can view it here.

3 responses to “Interactive Austin – Breakouts 1 – Leadership, Experience, Obama, Measurement & Metrics”

  1. Alora Chistiakoff

    Great job, Ricci. Nice coverage of a busy day! Thanks for all the work!

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