What Starbucks Gets that Architects Don’t

User Experience design is not solely for digital products, it’s for any time human needs are involved. This article discusses how UX methods, particularly ethnographic research

Dear architects,You’re outdated. I know this because I once was one of you. But now I’ve moved on. I moved on because despite your love of a great curve, and your experimentation with…

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Notes from the Keynote: LCMC13 Day 1


Just the raw notes for now, folks. Tweet out using #lcmc13

What the Five(ish)

The web could have been a fad. Five foundations that have changed in the consumer mindset that companies are doing nothing about. 

  1. Power of Direct Relationships 
    The war you’re in is with all those in the value chain of your customer

Be a customer. Who in the value chain deserves the most attention? Beats by Dre or Target where you bought some headphones? 
We compete with everyone who has a piece of the value chain. 
Kick starter is the power of direct relationship. 

Big data = taking disparate data and use it to give you information that no human or computer could ever give you before. Not available to most

Use small data, connect with your consumer on a personal level. 

Amazon knows a lot about you. Not many people are concerned with the personal information you’re giving, because it is helpful to the customer. 

Utilitarian marketing. A new foot traffic. The home screen of digital devices. A world of narcissism.  Branded apps must provide utility 

Sit or Squat by Proctor and Gamble. Solve a problem. 

DishTip – gives you the best dish near you (rather than restaurant)

Lego stores – needed an insight. That’s User Experience. Legos, can I build this? Created virtual box. When you hold it up to it, it virtually builds the set in front of your eyes

Passive vs. Active
Connect with your users actively when they’re active and passive when they’re passive.

Newspapers, we’ll just put banner ads around our articles. Newspapers took passive and put in active channel.
Google took active google ads and put it on an active channel (search) with active participants and makes more ad money than the entire print industry

What we have is a Frankenstein industry. Content on different channels, everything is just cobbled together. 

Can you just put your tv commercials on YouTube? Of course not. Environment is different

One screen world
The only screen that matters is the one in front of you. 
People don’t take this change very seriously. Turn it on and it works. 
Technology has removed technology from technology. A simplified user experience
And it’s growing exponentially. 

Not phones, they’re the remote controls of our lives. 

Brand Narrative
How do customers 

Direct relationships
Sex with data
Utilitarianism marketing
Passive v active
One screen world
New brand narrative

Global Leadership Summit – Day 1

20140517-005341.jpgThe Global Leadership Summit kicked off yesterday to 170,000+ people in 100 countries around the world. Leaders from every corner of the globe gather for this conference each year to study ways they can improve themselves as leaders as well as those they lead. It is an exciting opportunity to begin conversations and learn together what makes a great leader.

Here is a brief recap of day 1’s talks.

Continue reading “Global Leadership Summit – Day 1”

Users, customers, and the personas that define them

Alan Cooper talked yesterday about users and customers. Years ago when a company would release a piece of software, the user was the customer. Today with the advent of Facebook and Twitter, the user is becoming separated more and more from the customer. You might argue that the advertiser is the real customer now and that the user is actually the product being sold.

The pervasive idea today is that the “customer is always right.” However, this concept needs to now shift to users. Mr. Cooper said that you can keep the customer happy—for awhile. But if you keep your users happy, it keeps the customer happy. Ultimately, the best thing for the new customer (or advertiser) is a happy user base.

Developing personas

The way Mr. Cooper developed Personas was to find one person and make them ecstatically happy. He reasoned that assuming this person was not a huge outlier, they represented a group of people. This one person became a persona.

So what is the way forward? How do you make that one person ecstatically happy? It has to start from some type of research. Perhaps you know someone who is in your target audience. Maybe you use a tool like Ethnio to apprehend an user in the middle of what they’re doing. Or, like Nate Bolt from Designing for Context, you could use several tools to get at that one person. Any of these will give you a better informed persona, resulting in something more useful.

I used to have a little bit of trouble using the persona to develop the product. I had a picture of who a person was, but didn’t know how to turn that into features. The answer, of course, is to make that persona ecstatically happy. How can you build your website or webapp in such a way that it solves some of their deeper needs? What would make them smile?

What about you? How have you developed personas or worked to make people happy through what you made?

Good vs. Great Design – Cameron Moll

As stated before, I was excited to hear Cameron Moll speak. I’d heard good things about it and was anxious to experience it for myself.

He began by saying that there is no magic formula for great design.He used a quote from Bryan Lawson’s book, How Designer’s Think that sums the idea nicely: “Do we really need a simple definition of design or should we accept that design is too complex a matter to be summarised in less than a book?” In other words, it is something that requires real work—it isn’t something that just looks cool or is cobbled together.

I was excited to hear this as it seems many design magazines, books and websites these days seem to suggest, usually subtly, that there is.

Cameron Moll broke his presentation into sections organized around two opposites: Necessity vs. Passion, Starter vs. Finisher, Reduction vs. organization, Influence vs. Inspiration and Creative Drive vs. Creative Pause. They are simply opposites, not necessarily in conflict.

The first section concerned Necessity vs. Passion. He used his Authentic Jobs website as an example. It was very bare-bones at first, created to fill a need he saw. As time went by, his passion for it grew and it has become a far better site today. “Create passion about your work, satisfy your passions on the clock or off,” he suggests.


Welcome to the HOW Conference Blog

Here, follow the adventures of Justin, Kelly and Grant through the HOW Design Conference in Denver, Colorado, June 5-9. Here you will find images and thoughts on our experiences that will hopefully enable you to be a more effective in your job here at Mutual of Omaha.

Feel free to write us your questions at our Mutual e-mail addresses and we’ll do our best to answer them. Check the Agenda page for more information on what sessions we’ll be attending.