Adaptive Path hosted MX 2010 these last couple days and I was lucky enough to attend. Here are some of my notes from day 1 of the conference:

Jared Spool, UIE

  • Customer sat surveys are usually poorly designed and high scores don’t map to good experiences
  • Gallup’s customer engagement measures are better
  • Top 3 factors for buildng great experiences:
    • Vision
    • Feedback
    • Culture
  • 3 questions determining great experiences:
    • Can everyone on your team describe the experience of using your design 5 years from now?
    • In the last 6 weeks, have you spent more than 2 hours watching people use your design or a competitor’s design?
    • In the last 6 weeks, have you rewarded a team member for creating a major design failure?
  • The best teams are built on skills not roles
  • Regular critique is critical

Craig Butler, CSAA

  • Make design tangible
  • Prototype quickly
  • Bite-sized chunks
  • But the majority of CSAA employees can’t relate to the “hip designer”
    • CSAA Set up Yammer to open a dialog with employees and posted Glass Door reviews into Yammer feeds

Kaaren Harison, Intuit

  • Important to have an internal brand for UX
  • Wanted design to have go / no-go decision power on releases, but GMs couldn’t imagine having designers as part of that strategic decision.
  • Why? Negative attributes of designers: complainers, prima-donnas, etc.
  • Focus on personal brand: Power of One
    • Ask team to provide peer feedback: 3 things good, 2 things bad. Designer picks one of the bad things to improve upon
    • Put it in the designer’s goals

Tal Herman, Snapfish

  • No, you used to be a designer
  • As a design manager you can focus on strategy and tactics (e.g. design review)
  • Only go to tactics if you have a good reason, otherwise risk undermining your designer
  • Designer’s idea of “good enough” is different than the manager’s good enough
    • Designer’s range is narrow, high on the scale. Manager’s range is much broader.
  • Clearly identify which hat you are wearing with your team
    • Design critique doesn’t have to be taken
    • Business decision has to be taken
  • Step back from your personal preferences. You are not your designers and they are not you.
  • Be very clear about why a design falls outside the acceptable range.
  • DEsigner is not a subset of UX Manager.

Kim Goodwin

  • Embrace conflict!  (the messy stuff)
  • Your 1st instinct may be to flee. Don’t. It’s in conflict that we reveal our true goals.
  • Use language to take emotions a notch down:
    • “When you ___ I feel___ because ___”
    • “I can see you’re angry “- or – “I’m sorry you feel that way”
    • “Can we have this discussion later today” (if you’re not ready to deal with conflict at that moment)
  • Invite conflict, it gives you a sense of control
  • Designate a devil’s advocate
  • Designate a champion
  • Take criticisms as a gift (even if they hurt)
    • “Thanks for sharing. I can imagine that might have been difficult to say.”
    • Diffuse the emotional urgency of criticism by ensuring that those who give it know that it is welcome

Heather Champ, flickr

  1. Change is difficult – users want to keep your service “still”
  2. Be prepared – make customers ambassadors, beta, document worst-case scenarios, don’t make promises you can’t keep
  3. Feedback has a lifecycle – Past 48 hours, feedback becomes more considered / useful, after 2 weeks things get quiet
  4. Be present, listen, iterate, acknowledge feedback
  5. Don’t panic! No quick-fixes, don’t roll-back changes (shifts power balance)

Richard Dalton, Vanguard

  • Many projects at any given time, each so focused they lose sight of the big picture creating a schizophrenic experience
  • Problems:
    • Big picture forgotten for near term gain
    • No consistent way to gauge success
  • Identify user driven tasks and business driven tasks
  • List all capabilities (web, phone, mail, email, mobile, etc)
  • Projects come and go, but capabilities are always there
  • Two tools Vanguard uses:
    • Capability Strategy Sheet (a single capability)
    • Experience Strategy Map (all capabilities)
  • Help business reframe their ideas