Bringing Emotional Intelligence To Machines: An Interview With Pamela Pavliscak


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Do we know enough about human emotions to start building them into our technology? Isn’t human emotion the one thing that differentiates us from machines? What does it mean to build emotional artificial intelligence? These are some of the questions we discuss with Pamela in this episode of the Human Tech podcast.


Pamela’s upcoming book is Emotionally Intelligent Design, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

The best ways to reach Pamela are:

Twitter: @paminthelab or https://twitter.com/paminthelab
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelapavliscak/
https://www.changesciences.com/
https://soundingbox.com/

Design In Sweden


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In this podcast episode we talk with Johan Berndtsson about design and business in Sweden. Johan invites listeners to submit suggestions for speakers for his next “From Business To Buttons Conference” and also invites people to come do design work in Sweden.

Throughout the podcast we refer to videos, give web addesses and so on. Here is the list of links and recommendations from Johan:

Check out Europe’s greatest Business, Service, and UX-design conference, From Business to Buttons at https://frombusinesstobuttons.com/, and the videos from past conferences at  https://frombusinesstobuttons.com/archive . All of them are excellent, but be sure to watch:

  • Jared Spool
  • Mike Monteiro (both talks)
  • Kim Goodwin (both talks)
  • Eric Meyer
  • Golden Krishna
  • Patricia Moore, and of course
  • Susan Weinschenk

Also, if you want to learn more about inUse check us out at http://www.inuseexperience.com, and e-mail johan.berndtsson@inuse.se if you have questions or if you’re interested in joining.

Further reading:

The story behind the conference: http://www.inuseexperience.com/blog/story-behind-business-buttons/

Thoughts behind UX and Service Design moving out into the physical world: http://www.inuseexperience.com/blog/experiences-services-and-space/

A template for the Impact Map, our perhaps best tool to connect business goals to user behavior and design: http://www.inuseexperience.com/blog/template-impact-maps-here/

The history behind the Impact Map (http://www.inuseexperience.com/blog/evolution-impact-mapping/) and how it has evolved over the years (http://www.inuseexperience.com/blog/evolution-impact-mapping/).

And… The invitation for designers to come to Sweden: http://www.inuseexperience.com/blog/dear-us-designers-welcome-sweden/

Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography and Design: James Chudley Is Our Guest On HumanTech Podcast

Logo for HumanTech podcastHow much do you think about photography in the design of websites and digital marketing? James Chudley joins us on this podcast episode to talk about photography,  design, and lots more. And here are some links for things we talk about:

James has a great ebook :Usability of web photos book – http://amzn.to/2nIyOt5

And he has a post about How to run a user centred photoshoot article – https://medium.com/vantage/how-to-run-a-user-centred-photoshoot-97918b17a4e4

We also mention the cxpartners blog – https://www.cxpartners.co.uk/our-thinking/


HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Do We Know What We Are Doing With The Internet Of Things?

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This is our first episode we recorded for the HumanTech podcast. It’s about the confusion we seem to have about how to design products that communicate on their own — the internet of things.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

How To Create A Habit Forming Product — Guest Nir Eyal

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For this HumanTech podcast episode, Nir Eyal joins us for a conversation about how can you develop products that people can’t stop using. Nir takes the research on classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and habits and rolls it all together and then applies the research to the design of software and apps.

Listen to the podcast and then for more information you may want to check out Nir’s book, Hooked.

HumanTech is a podcast that explores the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Quick Review of the Business To Buttons Conference

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In Stockholm Susan was the opening speaker for the 2016 Business To Buttons Conference and Al Gore was the closing speaker!  We talk about the interesting people we met and the equally interesting talks we heard and saw at the conference.

HumanTech is a podcast that explores the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Why Lean UX Might Just Rock Your World

I was standing at the front of a training room at about 2 pm a week ago in Chicago. The room was on the 5th floor of a building in downtown Chicago. It wasn’t a very inspiring room. The windows looked out at another tall office building, so there was no natural light in the room at all. It looked like it was nighttime all the time. The ventilation system was loud and actually made the ceiling projector vibrate which made the slides at the froRock Your Worldnt of the room vibrate. The fluorescent lights were harsh. The workshop participants were sharing the results of the case study exercise I had just asked them to do. And that’s when the magic happened.

There were 5 teams, and each team had come up with plans and designs that were unlike any I’d seen in any class I’ve taught. We’re talking about DECADES of teaching, and hundreds, if not thousands of designs I’ve seen come out of classes and workshops. But these were on another level. These design solutions, these ideas, were the stuff of documentary films about the design process and how incredible ideas get started. These ideas were special. To be honest I was stunned. In fact the whole room got very quiet. I think we all realized that we had just experienced a transformative moment together.

Now I’m not particularly shy or humble. I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m a great teacher and that my workshops are special. But this wasn’t just great or special. This was life- changing. I knew it wasn’t just me. And yes, it was a great group of people in the room, but it wasn’t just them. It was the process.

The workshop was “The Lean UX Workshop”. We’d spent the day learning and trying out Lean UX concepts like hypothesis testing, experiments, minimal viable products, pivots, collaboration, Get Out Of The Building, Build, Test, Learn, and all the other Lean ideas. And this exercise that was blowing me away was the last exercise of the day… the culmination of everything we’d learned.  A chance to put it all into action.

Here’s my theory on why the Lean concepts caused break-through designs and solutions in the workshop:

  • Approaching design and user experience solutions from the lens of testing hypotheses meant that people were asking the right questions. It’s not the answer that is important, it’s the question that’s important. Asking the right questions led to totally different, insightful and innovative solutions.
  • Doing design as part of an experiment — Build, Test, Learn —  and then deciding whether or not to pivot, was freeing and empowering. These were not just people in a workshop following instructions. These people felt bold, they felt powerful. They took their ideas and ran with them. They were confident.
  • Designing and solving problems in the experimental mode of Lean UX makes people fearless because it breaks the connection between design and ego. You are experimenting with a design idea in order to see if the hypothesis is true. You aren’t married to the hypothesis and so you aren’t married to the design. It’s not YOUR design, it’s the design that tests the hypothesis. The hypothesis might be wrong or right. It may be neither and may lead to another hypothesis. But you don’t have to worry about your design being accepted or not accepted, because that’s not the outcome anymore.
  • Lean UX elevates the UX practitioner to a UX Strategist — the level they should be working at. When you do Lean UX you aren’t creating the user interface for a screen or page. You aren’t designing a form. Well, you might be doing those things as part of your hypothesis testing, but what you are REALLY doing is solving design problems. You are crafting a user experience based on data.

I was a fan of Lean UX before the Workshop. After my experience last week I’m more than a fan. I’m an evangelist.

Lean UX, carried out with true and basic Lean concepts, is pretty powerful stuff! It’s the best thing since sliced bread!

What do you think? Have you experienced any of this with Lean UX?

P.S. If you are interested in learning more you may want to check out our Lean UX Online Video Course or our next in-person Lean UX workshop that is in New York on June 15, 2015.

P.P.S.S. Thanks for letting me rave!

 

The 4 Magic Questions To Ask Before You Design Anything

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I’ll go so far as to say that if you don’t know the answers to these four questions before you design, then your design will be, at best, mediocre, and possibly a disaster.

Designing anything — websites, software, apps, TV ads, physical spaces, documents – is tough. It takes art and science. Most design principles don’t work in all situations. Designers end up saying “it depends” a lot.

But these four magic questions ALWAYS apply. I ask these questions of my clients every time I design a product, or evaluate a product. Interestingly, although these are basic questions and not really hard to ask, it’s often the case that my clients don’t know or aren’t sure, or aren’t in agreement on the answers.

Here are the 4 magic questions:

1. Who is the target audience? This thing you are designing — who is it that is most often  going to use it? Who is it that you really want to use it? Everyone thinks they know who the target audience is until you ask the question. Then you and everyone else find out that the team doesn’t agree on the target audience. If you don’t know who you are designing for, then what is it you are designing?

2. What does the target audience want to do? Recently I want to the Healthcare.gov website. This is the website you go to get sign up for healthcare insurance in the USA. I had two basic things I wanted to do at the website:

a) My family has been getting health insurance through my husband’s employer, but they’ve announced that they are no longer going to provide insurance, and that everyone will have to go to the “exchanges” and purchase their own insurance. So one of the things that I wanted to do at Healthcare.gov was see what my options might be for insurance, and what it was likely to cost.  You can’t do that at the website. You can find out if you are eligible, based on income, for subsidies. You can read about what to do to “get ready” so that you can apply on November 15 when applications open up. But you can’t input a few basic pieces of data and get an estimate of cost or see what types of policies are available.

b) I have my own business, so the other option I am considering is offering health insurance to my employees. I am wondering if that would be a good option, and then I’d be covered, right? Would it cover my family too? These are the questions I had about employers buying insurance through the “exchange”.  Guess what. You can’t get information on employer plans at the website either. Or if it’s there it’s really well hidden!

Maybe I’m just an outlier. Maybe there aren’t very many people who want to do these two tasks at the Healthcare.gov website. It’s possible. Maybe I’m not the target audience. If we asked the Healthcare.gov design team what the target audience wants to do at the website I wonder what would they say?

3. What does the product owner want the target audience to do? This is not always the same as what the target audience wants to do. I may want to use the pharmacy app to see if there are drug interactions for prescription medication and the pharmacy company may want me to notice the store specials and come into the store. I may want to look up information on climate change and the website owner whose site I go to may want me to sign up for the newsletter. I may want to communicate with my friends and the product owner may want me to sign up for a premium account.

Some designers get stuck on taking only the target audience’s point of view.  You need both. It’s ok for the product owner to want the product to be used in a certain way; to want the target audience to take a certain action. After all, they are committing a lot of money and resources to building this product. And it’s likely for a reason other than or in addition to, fulfilling the target audience’s desires and wishes.  There’s likely to be a business/organization goal too. Does the design team know what that is? If they don’t, how can they be sure to design to match the business/organization goal as well as do what the target audience is hoping for?

4. What is the target action at this particular point? At every point, at every interaction moment, on every page, on every screen,  there is a target action that you want the target audience to take. Does the designer know what that target action is? If not, then how does the designer know what to design? Is the goal to have the target audience click on the Add To Cart button? Is it to share information with a friend? Is it to fill out a form and press the  “Sign Me Up” button? Is it to play a video? Is it to click for more information? Is it to pick up a product to try out in the store? If you want people to take a specific action then you have to design with that action in mind. If there is no action in mind then what is the designer doing?

When clients bring me in I always ask these four magic questions, and I’m often surprised how often the answers aren’t clear, or the team doesn’t agree, or no one has really thought about it.

Ask the 4 magic questions. Know the answers. And then your designers can design or re-design a GREAT product!

What do you think? Do you ask/answer these 4 questions before design? Do you find that your team/stakeholders/clients know the answers when you do? Are there are questions that you consider the “magic” critical questions to ask and answer?

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our white paper Why Re-designs Fail.

Why Re-Designs Fail

Sign that says FAILYour product (website, software, app, device) is seriously under-performing and it’s time to fix it. You’ve lined up the resources, and freed up the budget. You’re about to spend a HUGE amount of time, money, and resources. It’s going to fix all the problems, right? And the new product will bring you the business/conversions/numbers you are looking for, right? It better, because it’s going to take a monumental effort and cash to tackle this.

What if it doesn’t live up to expectations. What if the new product doesn’t fix the old problems. What if the new product creates new problems. These are headaches you don’t want.

So how can you prevent spending time and money? How can you be sure that the new product will get you the returns you are looking for? Here are the top 5 reasons I’ve seen that cause product re-designs to fail.

  1. Your re-design is based on opinion not fact – You’ve made a lot of assumptions about your target audience and what they want/need to do with your product, but they are assumptions and they haven’t been tested or verified.
  2. Your re-design is based on data, but wrong conclusions – You didn’t just work from assumptions, you actually did collect data, but your interpretation of the data was in-accurate and so your re-design decisions lead you astray.
  3. Not enough collaboration – Your re-design decisions are based on accurate data, and your interpretation of the data is sound, but you didn’t involve your stakeholders and your development team in the design. When it’s time to implement the design you get a lot of pushback, and your design changes don’t see the light of day.
  4. Designs are implemented without testing – Your re-design decisions are based on data, and you implemented them, but you didn’t test the re-design. If you had prototyped and tested the re-designed product you could have tested all of your assumptions and design decisions, and corrected the ones that didn’t work out as expected before finalizing the new product.
  5. Technology takes over – You are doing so well. You gather data, design based on the data, prototype, test, and iterate. But after the iteration of the prototype the implementation team swoops in, and the technology decisions take over the design decisions.

If you can avoid these 5 problems then your re-design will get you the conversions you are looking forward. Watch out, though, because if you can’t avoid these problems then you are likely throwing your time and money down the drain.

What do you think? Have you encountered these problems in any of your re-designs? Do you think these are the most important 5?

If you’d like more detail on these 5 problems and what to do about them, then download the whitepaper Why Re-Designs Fail.

Apply For A Free Engagement Audit And Re-Design

Starting in a few weeks I will  (again) be  teaching a semester course at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, on “Designing for Engagement” in the Web and Digital Media Development department. In the class we use “real life” case studies as the students learn how to evaluate a product for usability and engagement, and then do a re-design.

The students are mainly juniors and seniors. They are quite talented, and they work really hard.

If you have a project/product that you would like evaluated or re-designed to be more usable and more engaging, you can apply for us to use your product as a case study. There is no fee. It’s all FREE.

Here is what we are looking for:

A product/project that is a website, app, or other digital product

It has to e an existing product or at least a prototype. We aren’t able to design from scratch.

The product has to be something that is relatively easy for the students and I to learn about. In other words, your app that programs pacemakers in the operating room is probably not going to work.

You or a member of your team, have to be available in the October/November/Early December time frame via email and conference call so that the students can communicate with you about the project. Typically there are a few emails at the start, perhaps one conference call, and then the end result is your re-design and a video explaining it.

If you are interested, here’s what you need to submit to me via email (send to susan@theteamw.com:

Your Name:

Your Contact Info:

Brief Description of the product/website/app etc:

Brief Description of your usability and engagement challenges:

Instructions of how we can access the product

Who the product is for/users/visitors/intended audience:

What the users/visitors/intended audience want to do with the product:

What YOU want them to do with the product:

 

Let me know if you have questions, and thanks in advance for submitting your product for a possible evaluation and design