Getting at the core of UX – UX Camp CPH 2015

I was quite eager to hear the opening keynote for Day 2 of UX Camp CPH. Ida Aalen had flown down from Netlife Research in Norway to talk about the Core Model and share experiences in using it at the Norwegian Cancer Society, Telenor, and the Norwegian Blind Society.

Ida Aalen standing at the front of the auditorium presenting at UX Camp CPH 2015

I really loved Thomas’ talk the previous evening, but I think this talk topped it with its case studies, storytelling, and examples. UX in action. I do think Ida and her team grasped the idea of believing that Thomas had preached. The quality of the presentation and of the content was proof of that. If you hear about a conference where Ida is speaking, just go! And follow her on Twitter: @IdaAa. I’m a fan!

(This blog post covers only the opening keynote on Day 2. I felt it was important enough to give it its own blog post, and breaking my Day 2 notes in two might help me publish this post sooner rather than later! A later blog post will cover the sessions I attended.)

Here are my slightly cleaned up, but scribbled notes from Ida’s talk. They make most sense when you have reviewed her slides because I comment on the basis of the slides. There are also links to read at the end of my notes. This topic of the core model is definitely worth your while.

She started out her talk by saying that your website projects are about designing the home page of that website. But… surprise, surprise. By the end of her talk, she proved that you do not design for the home page at all. She showed how you look for the overlap between business objectives and user needs and design for this “Venn overlap” – the cores. If you don’t have an overlap between these objectives and needs, you’re doin’ it wrong! It also made me think of “EPPO” – the concept that every page is page one.

The core model came to the attention of the world in 2007 when her colleague, @AreGH, presented it at the IA Summit and EuroIA.

While she was talking, I quickly googled and found the A List Apart articles she mentioned:

“Who screams the loudest gets to decide.” Yup. Sigh.

Do user research and establish business objectives. AMEN!

It’s harder to protest when you have taken part in the design discussion phase.

(I made a note to connect Ida with Whitney Quesenbery because they have both done lots of work on cancer society sites in their respective countries. They did not know each other, so I feel pleased at introducing them.)

The inward path is the journey the user takes. Studying this is what makes you think more about the user and their perspective.

Interesting point about having to state something about prevention for a form of cancer even where there is no prevention. People WILL ask so if there is no information, the users will be dissatisfied and search elsewhere – and maybe get wrong info. Sometimes stating what is obvious TO YOU is important because it is not obvious to THEM.

Forward paths – where you send the user after they solve primary task.

Business objectives should be in context of the user tasks!

Keep facts and opinions clearly separate. And do this respectfully.

I like her story about changing the templates for the core model. They had one that was messy when they came out of meetings. They redesigned for mobile, but then redesigned once more. Goal: Core is same on all devices!

Content, not device, tells you about people’s situation

You google cancer because you care! 3.48 minutes spent on computer, 3.57 minutes spent on mobile. People read.

Getting more calls after redesign, but that is OK. Good point!! Some nurse said the callers are now more informed when they call in.

They didn’t care about journalists as a target audience, and now Journalists are referring to their site all the time!

So, does all this work for big business for profit? She turns to Telenor.

They had 2299 pages!!!!!!! And all thought their pages were important. Ugh.

Change is hard in big corporations!

They deleted 80% of pages on mobile broadband; sales went up 80% and support emails went down 35%!

Survey is about what’s on top of the list, but ALSO what’s on the bottom of the list. You might want to fix things if you have a business objective at bottom of user tasks.

Really fascinating to hear about her use of Statamic. You cannot publish if you don’t know the targets.

“Learn a lot about presenting design when presenting design to the blind.” @idaaa on designing for Norwegian Blind Society. There was a great photo of her presenting to some people, and one of the attendees had his head turned away. He was blind, so where he was looking was irrelevant. She said it took some getting used to.

Accessibility first! [Writing this a month after the Camp, I cannot remember where this came from. I believe Ida has a colleague who talks about this in depth in one of his talks. Ida mentioned it, but it is not in a slide. I just know I go all weak in the knees when someone acknowledges this, so I only noted the phrase and not the context.]

Ida gave us a handy link to her slides and more follow-up information to the talk.

I recently learned that Gerry McGovern’s book “The Stranger’s Long Neck” is an excellent book to read in connection with the core model that Ida presented. It’s already added to my reading list.

Ida Aalen presenting at UX Camp CPH 2015 with a slide displayed on the large screen behind her

The language of inclusion on a form

While surfing Twitter, I was drawn to this article because of its title: “Disability-smart customer service: handling difficult situations“. I clicked the link to get to the article, but I didn’t read it. I happened to scroll at the same time and ended up at the registration form section of the page. The form really caught my attention.

After the usual name and email fields on the form, I saw a text box labelled “Adjustments”. Inside the box, placeholder text stated:

Please tell us if you require any adjustments for this event e.g. dietary, access, assistance, alternative formats, interpreters or disabled parking

Screenshot of the registration form showing the Adjustments text box in the middle of the form.

I think using the term adjustments and the language of the placeholder text is neutral. This could be far less stigmatising than the label of “Disabilities”, “Accessibility”, or “Special Needs”, and much more inclusive.

The article is on the Business Disability Forum website. The event for this registration is aimed at “Customer service managers and supervisors responsible for resolving complaints and handling complex situations that may be related to a customer’s disability.” The event will discuss “some of the more challenging situations faced by customer service professionals when interacting with members of the public particularly when they have non-visible disabilities such as mental health problems, learning difficulties, dementia, autism or Asperger’s or sensory impairments that aren’t immediately apparent.”

I have no affiliation with this event or website. I just wanted to share an example of more inclusive language – simple microcopy that can make a positive difference. Nice to see that they aim to “walk the talk”.

Rebooting UX in Denmark – UX Camp CPH 2015

Once again the day came to pass where all fans of User Experience descended on the campus of the IT University of Copenhagen to talk UX, eye-tracking, card-sorting, service design, touchpoints, CX, CJM, UX, SUS, UCD, and all the other magic incantations they knew so well from their lives in the Real World. Now, they could meet, talk, and network with others of their own kind. It was once again time for … the UX Camp CPH!

The rat pack of UX Camp CPH 2015

Ah, it was good to be back in ITU and its big open space today for Day 1 of the fourth iteration of UX Camp CPH. It was good to see familiar faces and meet new ones.

We had three speakers lined up for this evening.

All eyes were on the first speaker, Jonas Priesum from The Eye Tribe.

Jonas Priesum talking at UX Camp CPH 2015

He spoke about eye-tracking technology and areas for its potential use. I thought there were interesting opportunities in the field of healthcare and gaming. When I say gaming, I mean accessible gaming. Could a person with multiple disabilities who could barely use a joy stick enhance their experience by controlling the game with their eyes? Intriguing thought.

Johan Knattrup was up next with a tale about how he made a “first-person movie installation” using Oculus Rift!

Johan Knattrup talking at UX Camp CPH 2015

I was extremely intrigued by some of the behaviour findings they had. The challenges were great. With a seemingly simple short film where five people sit around a dining table and converse and interact, you don’t just have one script. You have five. Five people with different perspectives on what is happening. To know the entire story, you’d have to see all five films! To see the films, you go to one of this movie’s installations and put on an Oculus Rift. When the movie is over, the magic happens. People talk. People ask how others saw the scene. It sounded like people were given a character to become (with the Oculus Rift) that did not match their body type. A small person would wear the film of a character who was big. A man would play a woman. A woman would play a little boy. I will definitely check out his movie, Skammekrogen, or The Doghouse, later on.

The final speaker of the evening before dinner was Thomas Madsen-Mygdal. Waves of nostalgia poured over me as he spoke. The title of his talk was “believing”. He mentioned Reboot, a conference that he ran up until 2009, the year that I was fortunate enough to attend. I thought he was channelling a lot of the Reboot spirit in his talk, which made me nostalgic. At the same time, it reminded me of the effort you have to make yourself if you want to drive something forward. I felt a connection to the talk Euan Semple gave in 2009, one of the best Reboot talks for me personally. Thomas had wonderfully simple, yet completely powerful slides using a clean, green serif font. It was an excellent talk about believing. Believing in your idea. Believing in your team. Believing in your vision. Believing in yourself. One slide summed up the concept of believing: “It’s OK to believe. It might actually be the most important design tool in life. Pursue your beliefs.”

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal in front of his slide with the quote about believing at UX Camp CPH 2015

Because we all believed in food, we filed out of the auditorium and into a queue for some delicious food from Grød. After scintillating conversation, it was time to head home to rest up for Day 2, which kicks off early Saturday morning.