Nikos Pappas • Crafting Digital Products & Impactful Experiences
Nikos Pappas • Digital Product Designer

Notebook

This digital notebook is about documenting interesting ideas, opinions and findings around user and customer experience, product design, strategy, processes and tools.

How Expensify acquired tons of new users - a CX case study by Louis-Xavier

This is a slightly different CX case study by Louis Xavier. who decided to do a teardown of Expensify's $5M Super Bowl ad customer acquisition flow.

What good design is: Dieter Rams’ 10 principles


At some point is his life Dieter Rams once asked himself an important question: is my design good design?

To determine that, he came up with 10 principles that define what good design means. Nowadays, this principles are also known as “The 10 commandments” in design circles.

“I summarized my [design] philosophy in 10 points, and I’m actually very surprised that people today, especially students, still accept them. I didn’t intend these 10 points to be set in stone forever. They were actually meant to mutate with time and to change. But apparently things have not changed greatly in the past 50 years. So even nowadays, they are still accepted” he explains.

These 10 points include the following “Good design is” statements:

  1. Good design is innovative.

  2. Good design makes a product useful.

  3. Good design is aesthetic.

  4. Good design helps a product to be understood.

  5. Good design is unobtrusive.

  6. Good design is honest.

  7. Good design is durable.

  8. Good design is consistent to the last detail.

  9. Good design is environmentally friendly.

  10. Good design is as little design as possible.

I was reminded of these principles by a great documentary released recently about Rams’ life in selected theaters across the globe, and that the rest of us can now watch a on Vimeo.

You can watch (paid streaming) the full documentary on following link: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/ramsfilm

A scene from "Rams", Gary Hustwit's new documentary about legendary designer Dieter Rams, with original music by Brian Eno. Motion graphics by Trollback & Co. Watch the full film now on Vimeo On Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/ramsfilm More info, trailer, or to pre-order the book/disc edition: http://hustwit.com/rams

Designing [digital products] for kids - An NNgroup study

Originally published on nngroup.com the following table summarizes some of the main similarities and differences that Katie Sherwin and Jakob Nielsen have observed in user behavior between children (in their recent study, 2018) and adults (across many other studies):

Children’s UX: Usability Issues in Designing for Young People 2019-02-13 at 16.37.51.png
Children’s UX: Usability Issues in Designing for Young People 2019-02-13 at 16.43.03.png

Summarizing the study, Sherwin and Nielsen advise parents and educators the following:

“We conducted this research in order to generate usability guidelines for companies, government agencies, and major non-profit organizations that want to design websites for children. Even so, some of our findings have personal implications for parents, teachers, and others who want to help individual children succeed on the internet:

  1. The main predictor of children's ability to use websites is their amount of prior experience. We also found that children as young as 3 can use websites and apps, as long as they’re designed according to the guidelines for this very young audience. Together, these two findings lead to the advice to start your children on the internet at an early age (while also setting limits; too much computer time isn’t good for children).

  2. Parents and educators should also be aware of how they model behavior with devices. Kids learn from what they see around them. In a study by AVG Technologies, conducted with participants in nine countries, 54% of children 8–13 years old felt that parents checked their devices too often. Nearly one third (32%) of children felt unimportant when their parents were distracted by a mobile or tablet device. Adults must not put the full burden of responsible device use on children, without recognizing the role their own behavior plays in influencing them.

  3. Campaigns to sensitize children to the internet’s potential dangers and to teach them to be wary of submitting personal information are meeting with success. Keep up this good work.

  4. On a more negative note, children still don’t understand the web’s commercial nature and lack the skills needed to identify advertising and treat it differently than real content. We need much stronger efforts to teach children about these facts of new media.”
    _

    Source:
    www.nngroup.com/articles/childrens-websites-usability-issues/
    #uxresearch #uxreports #nngroup

The art of persuasion & the role of Scarcity

In 1984, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini wrote a book called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” Since then, it’s been widely hailed as a seminal book on marketing, something everyone who’s doing product development should read.

The book is quite revealing, as it is effective in outlining the various tactics used to affect people through influence and persuasion. In this book, Cialdini also reveals for first time the Six Principles of Persuasion (Reciprocity, Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority & Scarcity), a collection of very effective “shortcuts” that someone could employ in order to persuade individuals or groups.

Over the years, these tactics have found their way into digital interfaces too.

Source: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a - by  David Teodorescu

Source: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a - by David Teodorescu

David Teodorescu wrote really interesting article reviewing the use of Scarcity on the modern web.

“It [Scarcity] makes things desirable. Scarcity is the psychological bias that makes us place a higher value on things that are scarce than those in abundance. Basically, we tend to like things that are harder to obtain,” he writes in order to explain Scarcity effect. ”You know how it works,” he continues. “Casually watching a review on Unbox Therapy about this mug that apparently is unspillable. I’m having a laugh but by the end of the video I’m also intrigued what people ask for it. There it is on Amazon! On sale at $14.99 from $24.99. For a limited time only. Only 3 left in stock for the stainless steel version. It’s a bargain and it will soon be gone,” he explains.

Then, he analyses some real cases of use:

Lightning Deals on Amazon: Good

They last a few hours and show the deadline. They are accompanied by the percentage claimed by other people to highlight the urgency.

Source: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a - by  David Teodorescu

Source: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a - by David Teodorescu

Courses on Interaction Design Foundation: Smart

Present the time until enrolment ends. Fully booked courses are still displayed to show people what it’s like to miss the opportunity.

Source: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a - by  David Teodorescu

Source: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a - by David Teodorescu

Buying things on eBay: Bad

Time limited products are marked with a red icon and a vague “Almost gone” tag. Not showing when the offer ends is unthoughtful and manipulative.

Source: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a - by  David Teodorescu

Source: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a - by David Teodorescu

He continues with even more examples on his article “Scarcity in UX: The psychological bias that became the norm” that you can find at the following link: https://uxdesign.cc/scarcity-in-ux-the-psychological-bias-that-became-the-norm-3e666b749a9a

Right before summing his article up, Teodorescu highlights the following paragraph:

”Some might argue that this forces them to make a decision, but as long as the numbers are real, what’s the alternative? Isn’t the sense of regret or frustration caused by us failing to tell them about the scarce product in time just as bad? Aren’t we offering an awful user experience if that happens? Rushing people into making a decision seems rather fair as long as we’re presenting them the facts.

Then, he ends the article with some interesting DOs and DON’Ts, for who are interesting in keeping a balance between a fair, ethical and sincere use of this tactic:

”Below are some suggestions for making the best out of scarcity and actually improve the UX:

DO:

  • use scarcity to increase perceived value and expedite conversions

  • use time scarcity to promote products that are time sensitive

  • use quantity scarcity to make people aware of stock shortages

  • use access scarcity to highlight the advantages of the restricted features

  • use A/B testing to test what scarcity message works best for your audience

  • use usability testing to test the impact of messages on credibility and trust

  • use animated elements to emphasise urgency (e.g. showing a glowing red icon to highlight the real-time status)

DON’T:

  • do not use scarcity without testing it first with users

  • do not use scarcity if stocks are not reliable

  • do not use scarcity if the messages are not bug free

  • do not use fake numbers to create artificially scarce products”

_

#artofpersuasion #scarcity #cialdini #productdesign

Designer's toolkit 2018

What were the most popular product design tools in 2018?
Which tools (if any) do digital designers use for handoff?
What tools are designers most excited to try in 2019?
And many other questions answered by 2,775 designers from all over the world in an extensive survey about product design tools from uxtools.co: https://uxtools.co/survey-2018
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Read the full report on:
https://uxtools.co/survey-2018
#uxtools #tools #designtools #product design

Modality: The UX Concept That Most Designers Don’t Fully Understand
  1. “Use Modal Screens for self-contained processes, use Non-Modal Screens for everything else.

  2. Use Modal Screens for critical information that requires a specific user task, decision, or acknowledgement.

  3. Try to minimize the use of modality. Generally, people prefer to interact with apps in nonlinear ways. Consider creating a modal context only when it’s critical to get someone’s attention, when a task must be completed or abandoned to continue using the app, or to save important data. “

_

Intrigued? Read the full article by Fabian Sebastian at the following link:
https://uxplanet.org/modality-the-one-ux-concept-you-need-to-understand-when-designing-intuitive-user-interfaces-e5e941c7acb1

Barry Katz on [Product/Service] Design

“High quality of design, and I mean that in the sense not just of how a product looks or even just how a product works but the entire emotional valance of using product from beginning to end, is now a condition of entry into the market. It's the competitive difference and the competitive advantage that functionally similar products will have.”

_

Originally posted on YouTube at the following link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB43c3o18Tk

#productdesign #customerexperience #servicedesign

To be strategic

How to be strategic” by Julie Zhuo is one of the best essays I’ve ever read on product strategy.

According to Zhuo these 3 things are the “secret sauce” of being strategic:

  1. Create alignment around what wild success looks like.

  2. Understand which problem you’re looking to solve for which group of people.

  3. Prioritize. And cut.

_

The full post is well worth a read.
Find it at the following link: https://medium.com/@joulee/how-to-be-strategic-f6630a44f86b

#productdevelopment #productdesign #productmanagement #strategicthinking #strategicdesign

Product image galleries break out of the carousel
Nike Pages.gif

“There is simply no comparison between scrolling through six lovely images and seeing the product from every angle, and clicking staccato-like through a series of tiny thumbnails in a left hand side carousel.

The new Nike product page is all about showing off that trainer. Adidas is no disgrace, this thumbnail carousel is pretty much the default for all ecommerce product pages. Nike used to use it, too (check it out here).

Where the new imagery layout really comes into its own is where autoplaying video is part of the image tiling. Here’s an example (I’ve only captured a very short loop of the video, it is actually much longer).” (Ref: Why Nike’s refreshed product pages improve CX (& beat Adidas) | By Ben Davis • March 4th 2018)

And this is how “video is not anymore a single explainer video on top of your home page. This is how video became a continuum embedded in the customer journey. Go to any other website, app, or social feed from one of the digital unicorns and the use of video transcends the typical boundaries. You see motion graphics interacting with content; delightful micro-narratives explaining key featuresanimation merging with UI elements; even self-generated videos incorporating real-time data.” (Ref: Move over, UX. A new movement is here | Yann Lhomme  •  Jul 26, 2018)

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Read more on: https://econsultancy.com/why-nike-s-refreshed-product-pages-improve-cx-beat-adidas/ & https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/video-experience-vx

Craving technology-driven experiences

Reading "The myth of human-centered design," I thought that I couldn't disagree more with the author on what Don Norman's "human-centered design" means.

According to Norman, "human-centred design" is about "making technology work well with people". Hence, it's not about who comes first, people or technology, but instead, it's about "how we can build a bridge between human capabilities and technology".

However, I also couldn't agree more with the fact that people indeed crave experiences that are driven by technology:

"All of the critical ways we define ourselves are being changed by our relationship to technology. To suggest that technology must be designed strictly around what people want is missing the central theme of our time: We crave experiences that are driven by technology. And from this, technology has become inseparable from who we are, and from any notion of what we want."

#notetoself
_

Read more on: fastcompany.com/90208681/the-myth-of-human-centered-design
An article by Mark Rolston

 

People are creatures of Emotion
how people think.png

"When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity"
 - Dale Carnegie

#productdesign
_

Found in an article by Eugen Eşanu, Designer & Founder of Laroche.co and host of Laroche.fm
Read more at the following link https://uxplanet.org/product-design-expectations-vs-reality-2e5b24473dc5

The collaboration gap
Airbnb's DLS

"Technology companies are expected to move at an incredible pace, and building software is complex. Add ever growing teams to the mix and you often end up with disjointed experiences. This has led us to try to better understand how multiple teams can efficiently collaborate to build great, cohesive software.

Software design has unfortunately not evolved at a similar pace. The gap between designers and engineers has only increased. Design teams can often struggle to reach a cadence that balances the creative process and cycles of continuous innovation. Quality suffers, the experience becomes less cohesive, and talented people spend an inordinate amount of time simply managing communication across disciplines."

Here’s the simple truth: you can’t innovate on products without first innovating the way you build them.

This led Airbnb to the development of its new Design Language System (or DLS), as well as a suite of internal and third-party tools that allow Airbnb's teams to not only work smarter, but also closer. The DLS is a collection of components defined by shared principles and patterns. This allows for rapid iteration using a shared vocabulary across design, engineering, and other disciplines. The structure of the DLS is simple and coherent, easing communication across teams.

Christopher Alexander, who wrote the seminal The Timeless Way of Building, states that “when language is shared, the individual patterns in the language are profound.” For this to happen, these patterns need to be fundamentally simple. “Nothing which is not simple and direct can survive the slow transmission from person to person.

So Airbnb's DLS focuses on common ingredients that follow Airbnb's core design principles: unified, universal, iconic, and conversational. Universal and Unified define the system’s approach we apply when defining patterns. Is it part of a greater whole? Does it work across devices? Iconic and Conversational help define the character of the system — its unique human qualities that tie back to Airbnb's community and brand values."

#designsystems
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Read more on https://airbnb.design/the-way-we-build/
An article by Alex Schleife, VP of Design at Airbnb

Consider brand's impact

"It’s important to consider to consider the conceptual model surrounding a business strategy. What is the business strategy? What is the strategic role of the brand in supporting that strategy? How critical is it? Is price competition the alternative to creating and leveraging brand equity? What impact will that have on profit streams going forward? Management guru Tom Peters said it well:

“In an increasingly crowded marketplace, fools will compete on price. Winners will find a way to create lasting value in the customer’s mind.“

"

Old > New  At Home Run we deliver groceries from UK's favourite supermarkets, but including another brand in our update SMS wasn't helping us either to gain top-of-mind-awareness or to distill the brand associations that we have developed over the years.

Old > New
At Home Run we deliver groceries from UK's favourite supermarkets, but including another brand in our update SMS wasn't helping us either to gain top-of-mind-awareness or to distill the brand associations that we have developed over the years.

So, how do you leverage your brand's equitity while crafting customer experiences? 

#brandequity
_

Read more on https://www.prophet.com
An article by David Aaker

E-commerce & user expectations

"Today’s online customers have a desire for instant gratification and immediacy when it comes to interacting with e-commerce retailers" - NNGroup

I'm so excited to see that our team at Home Run works towards what the large majority of consumers want and that 1-hour delivery is here to stay.

“In the past, ordering online often meant waiting for days or even weeks for the product to be delivered. Not anymore. Amazon has offered quick 2-day shipping for several years, and more recently it started offering same-day delivery, that, in many locations, can be customized by shoppers down to the hour. This is a step outside of the stereotypical “box” of delivery options dependent on third-party shipping providers (like UPS, FedEx, and government postal services).

As a result, today’s online customers have a desire for instant gratification and immediacy when it comes to interacting with e-commerce retailers.

Speedy shipping is a major benefit for web shoppers who are overwhelmed with options these days, and fast-delivery options differentiate retailers from their competitors. Users’ need for speed is not only about fast shipping — one-click ordering and streamlined purchase workflows are explored by retailers to get users through their shopping activities fast and with little effort.”

Article's Key Takeaways:

  1. Participants in our studies appreciated e-commerce sites that prevented them from wasting time on pointless trips to the store.

  2. Today’s online customers have a desire for instant gratification and immediacy when it comes to interacting with e-commerce retailers

  3. Shoppers in our studies wanted to feel safe and needed to know that sites had the proper security measures and protections in place.

  4. Today’s shoppers expect precision in geolocation information, inventory data, order-status messages, pickup time frames, pricing, arrival dates, and user reviews.

  5. Users are also less forgiving about inaccurate information.

  6. Many sites these days take the idea of flexibility to the extreme by offering policies that were unheard of years earlier. This level of flexibility allows customers to interact on their terms and design a shopping experience that suits their needs.

  7. From chat to click-to-call and social media, study participants wanted multiple ways to get help.

  8. As users’ comfort level with e-commerce grows, they expect added elements of surprise and delight.

#ecommerce #ux #userexperience

• My Linkedin post:
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6412068064073965568

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Read more on NNGroup.com: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ecommerce-expectations/

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And, folks, we are crowdfunding on Seedrs! See our campaign at the following link: seedrs.com/homerun

Build transparent interactions

"We’re gradually moving away from designing GUIs, which require the user’s full attention, and moving towards designing calmer, less obtrusive interaction, bringing human-computer interaction without graphics to the core of the User Experience: Welcome to the world of no UIs."

"The Take Away

An effective no-UI approach is heavily based on the concept of context awareness, which includes the user’s goals and preferences, knowledge of the surrounding environment, social rules and device abilities for knowing how and when to deliver information in an non-visual way to users. The level of context awareness required for a complete no-UI service is difficult to obtain, but the examples above show where no-UI approaches are likely to work best: Allow the user to monitor the progress of ongoing tasks or get updates on important information as it emerges.

The key advantage of no-UI design here is that it eliminates the need for constant visual interaction with the device. You take the device from your pocket, causing it to exit stand-by mode, unlocking itself, and bringing the desired application to the foreground or expanding notifications for you so you can assess all the information displayed and make a decision.

In a world where we are surrounded by information and digital events, Mark Weiser foresaw the necessity for calm technology. As a designer, your task remains to harness and influence the developments in technology, deploying its capabilities with one thing in mind: to allow the user to keep calm and carry on (with the tasks at hand)!"

#noui #userexperience #ixd
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Read more on https://www.interaction-design.org
An article by Andreas Komninos

User flow fundamentals

So, what are user flows and why you need to use them?

Nice and simple.  Source here

Nice and simple. Source here

"User flows are another method to segment and define your digital product, customer experience, website, or app.

So it’s just another method, except, the beautiful thing about user flows is their ability to define sections of something gnarly, abstract and technical like “cross-platform mobile experiences” from the perspective of the user." 

Fundamentals:

  1.  User flows show their purpose  🏆

  2. User Flows go in one direction  ➡️

  3. User flows represent a complete task  ✅

All three together in this example. Source:   https://uxdesign.cc/the-biggest-wtf-in-design-right-now-87139f367d66

All three together in this example. Source:  https://uxdesign.cc/the-biggest-wtf-in-design-right-now-87139f367d66

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Read more on UX Collective
An article by Alexander Handley 

Dark Patterns (5/5)

Well, I was about to post my last piece about #DarkPatterns on Friday (an analysis of Messenger's sign in), but then a friend showed me what COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A. did with its new data protection preferences. 

Thus, I decided to post a video of how Cosmote attempts to trick users into giving full consent for the use of their personal data. 

P.S. The user interface, the content, and the flow have too many non-GDPR-compliant patterns, such as soft opt-in tactics. 

#darkpatterns #kingsofdeception #gdpr 
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* I’ve decided to dedicate my last few posts to “Dark Patterns”. Dark Patterns are carefully crafted features/tactics that trick users into doing things that they might not want to do, and which benefit the business in question.

#ux #userexperience #cx #customerexperience

• My Linkedin post: 
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6397020588589805568  

Nikos Pappas