Help features are typically only used as a last resort. Whether it be an electronic appliance or a web application, most users will not read instructions until they feel stuck, and even then they might not. There are two key reasons for this:
- Firstly, due to prior experience users often regard help as unhelpful. Masses of text and pages of irrelevant FAQs have led them to simply ignore it.
- Secondly, as usability continues to improve, users are learning to rely on their own intuition. They expect to be able to self-serve and navigate through a website themselves, so requesting help seems to have become associated with ego depletion.
You might wonder if that makes help features redundant, but we know that users still need help. So the challenge is finding a better way, or ways, of providing it. In this article, we will discuss the helpfulness of some familiar help features from the perspective of how the user gets the help – is it pushed towards them or do they need to seek it out and pull it for themselves? We call this Push and Pull help:
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A User Journey Walkthrough is a great way to put yourself in your users shoes, and using a persona is the ideal way to do this. A persona allows you to focus on your users, therefore keeping their goals and needs at the forefront of the Walkthrough. A persona is based on findings from user research, and can also combine analytics and other customer information. As the purpose of this article is to show you how to use the User Journey Walkthrough methodology, here is one I created earlier:
Running a successful solutions workshop isn’t something you can do off the cuff, and it’s not about standing in front of a group of people, and talking at them for a couple of hours. You need engagement, interaction, encouragement and creativity to come up with design ideas and solutions. But how can you try and achieve that? Here at SimpleUsability we run lots of workshops to help our clients, so here’s my five top tips to help you run a successful one!
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Rebecca began her talk by introducing herself as an ‘Accessibility and UX Research Consultant’. She works freelance now and she’s got lots of experience from working at ShopDirect UK alongside designers to help create accessible apps. She stated that “There’s always things to learn when it comes to accessibility.”
So, why should we make our apps inclusive?
Rebecca started by talking about her experience working with a blind lady, who uses a screen reader to help her use apps on a day to day basis and feels that apps are simpler and easier to use than websites. Despite this, she still sometimes struggles with apps.
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An in-page tab is a go-to method to categorise content on a page, without overwhelming users with too much information at once, however, this functionality is commonly misused on many websites and apps. As a UX practitioner, this UI element is something that I witness users struggling with when implemented poorly. So in this article I will review and give 8 examples of best practice regarding in-page tab design and guide you on how to implement these successfully.
1. Clearly indicate the active tab and ensure this is connected to the content below.
The talks and workshops at Camp Digital covered many different aspects of digital, but the talk I found the most thought-provoking was by Emer Coleman, who asked us to question the role of ethics within technology, and touched on the dark side of big tech corporations.
Emer kicked off the talk by giving us a little bit of history of what her life was like growing up in Ireland. Unable to get birth control or read women’s magazines, Emer was regularly reminded of a woman’s place in the world by The Irish Constitution. The arrival of the internet brought her freedom, in a world that had little before.
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On Wednesday 24th May 2017, it was great to see the digital community come together to learn and be inspired by this year’s Camp Digital event in Manchester. Many great talks were given on topics of usability, design and accessibility, but the one session that stood out for me was the workshop I took part in, given by Molly Watt and Chris Bush, about using and understanding assistive technologies.
Chris Bush kicked the workshop off by giving us an insight into the vast number of people that suffer from a long-term illness or disability, equating to around 15% of the UK’s population. With this striking figure in mind, the question ‘Why design for inclusion?’ was proposed. To help us understand why, Chris introduced Molly Watt, who began by sharing her story on why she is so passionate about this subject.
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In their recent article ‘How to design ‘Applied filters’ (42% get it wrong)’ the Baymard Institute proposed essential features to make filters user friendly on desktop.
1. Ensure the user can easily find any currently applied filters
2. Make it clear which criteria the currently displayed product list is filtered by
3. Allow the user to easily deselect applied filters
4. Provide the user with additional context when selecting new filtering values
5. Help the user infer how much of a filter type’s ‘range’ is currently selected
As more customers are turning to mobile to browse and shop online, we think it is important to look at filters on mobile. In this article, we have looked at how filters are implemented on mobile across the e-commerce sector, considering if Baymard’s recommendations should be adopted for mobile.
This article will look at the following fashion websites: Topshop, Asos, Missguided, New Look and River Island, and compare them to the following grocery websites, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
SimpleUsability hosted a panel debate as part of the 2017 Leeds Digital Festival. Facilitated by Dr Lucy Buykx, one of our Senior UX Practitioners, and with a panel drawn from a variety of sectors, each at different UX adoption stages, the event drew a sizeable crowd keen to discuss, “Is UX research still too slow for agile?”
Shan Beerstecher, Digital Transformation Manager, Skipton Building Society
Adrian Berry, Product Owner, myhermes.co.uk, Hermes
Sophie Dennis, Lead User Researcher, NHS Digital
Phil Stevenson, Senior Digital Proposition Manager, TD Direct Investing
Lucy Buykx kicked off the event by explaining that at last year’s Leeds Digital Festival the same subject had proven incredibly popular, with attendees likening it to a therapy session for those trying to reconcile agile and user research. As agile is becoming more embedded in organisations, the topic is even more relevant hence the re-visit 12 months on.
The panellists got started by introducing themselves and sharing their experience and thoughts on whether UX research is too slow for agile.
First up was Sophie Dennis who has worked with the NHS since January 2017 and has a range of experience from previous roles within the public and private sectors. She’s had a variety of design research and delivery roles doing variations of agile. She said the challenge is introducing design and research together and how do to reduce the cycle time of design sprints.
Adrian Berry from Hermes stated his team are fairly mature in agile and that although UX is a relatively recent concept, they are now finding that UX and agile come together to help them with rapid prototyping. When testing, be open-minded as to what might come out, dismissing preconceptions is really important to eliminate any bias.
How do you describe what you do for a living?
Digital marketing executive? Ecommerce manager? UX/UI Designer? User researcher? Customer insight manager? User experience lead?
Does this change depending on who you’re talking to? Chances are, you have a different answer to this question whether you’re networking at a conference, catching up with old friends, or making small talk with your great aunt at a cousin’s wedding.
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