What about the user experience? Building UX into projects and campaigns
The WordPress Leeds / Northern Bloggers group met last night at Google Garage in Leeds to discuss User Experience and Email Marketing.
The group meets monthly to share ideas and inspiration around blogging and WordPress – both the content and development side.
Last night’s speakers were: Kimberley Bottomley (@freedbydesign) who gave us ‘An Introduction to User Experience’ or ‘UX’ and Becs Kemm (@becskr) who spoke about the User Experience and Email Marketing
Kimberley Bottomley – An introduction to the user experience
Kimberley’s talk shone a spotlight on an often-undervalued or overlooked element of the development and design process. The importance of understanding and robustly testing the end user’s experience online cannot be overstated, and Kimberley gave a great overview of the process for managing a client project.
Here’s a quick overview of the approach she outlined:
Step 1 – This is about setting the tone
Testing and fine tuning relies upon the assumption that not everything is perfect right away. The language used to frame discussions can help set the tone and allow everyone to know that “It’s OK to be wrong” – innovation requires this assumption.
Some practical examples:
- Don’t say “Requirements”, say “Assumptions”
- Don’t say “We know”, say “We believe”
- Don’t say “Let’s build that”, say “Let’s test that”
Kimberley referenced this book on Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf and hig blog ‘Perception is the experience: thoughts on design, agily and leadership’ also gives some great insights on this topic.
Step 2 – Identifying users
This process of creating personas for your typical users will probably already be familiar, but it’s a process that is sometimes skipped and assumptions made made on the client’s own idea of what they like, rather than the user themselves.
Kimberley gave this example of a simple framework that can used to create personas, and she advocates spending no more than 15 minutes on it:
(Once you have identified personas, you should recruit a mix of current and potential customers who fit your personas to act as end user testers.)
Step 3 – Understand their journey
This is about:
- Context – thinking when and where users will access
- Storytelling – story mapping (never explain your idea, always tell a story)
- Identifying issues (eg cannot add this product to the basket) and opportunities (eg would the user like to also read a review of a product at this point to help them make the buying decision?)
- Start with the user need and goal
- What do you want them to think/feel/do?
- Then use ‘because’ and ‘meanwhile’ to prompt deeper analysis
For more information on story mapping: http://www.slideshare.net/wickedgeekie/story-mapping-workshop-nuxcamp-2015-leeds
Step 4 – Test regularly
Regular testing days should be scheduled into your project plan. The key is to set real world tasks and simply observe users interacting with the technology, rather than leading or providing guidance. And answer as many questions as possible with “what would you expect it to do?”
In summing up, Kimberley made these key points about the process:
- UX is a ‘team sport’ – it’s everyone’s responsibility
- You are not your users – go find out about them
- Declare assumptions – then validate with users
Becs Kemm – User Experience and Email Marketing
As an experienced email marketer, Becs gave some interesting insights on how to increase engagement with email campaigns.
For example, when designing an email, it’s useful to bear in mind that people read in an ‘F’ shape: starting top left, scanning across to the right, then going back to the left and down, again scanning across to the right, before looking left and down again. Knowledge like this can assist in the decision about where to place the high value offers in your email campaign.
Other tips Becs gave included:
Think about ‘contextual relevancy’ – ensuing your email content is relevant to the reader in the context they will be reading it
- Personalisation is key – ideally include the reader’s own name at the top of the email – obviously clean data is vital, you probably won’t get a second chance if you spell someone’s name wrong
- Ensure the ‘From’ field makes sense – if it’s from a named person in your organisation, will the reader know who it is? From [your first name] at [your organisation] is more likely to be recognised by your reader
- Avoid ‘do not reply’ – it can be extremely annoying when a company opens up a conversation with you via an email then blocks off your obvious method of response
- When planning email campaigns, build in various touchpoints for the customer journey, eg an introduction to the site, lapsing and reactivation
The importance of responsive (emails that look good on various devices) and testing for various email clients (Litmus provides a testing platform for about 35 different email clients)
Are you going to the next WordPress Leeds / Northern Bloggers event?
I had attended both to learn and to meet others, particularly talented freelancers and bloggers who we may be able to work with. To facilitate this at the next event, it would be great to see the organisers share an attendee list and agenda (with timings) with those who have signed up for the event. I’d certainly be happy to share my details and Twitter name (@_HelenRobinson) to make connecting with others in the group easier.
I’m away when next month’s event is on, but it would be great to follow the conversation online. So if you’re attending next time, please do share your insights using the #WPLeeds hashtag. And I look forward to seeing you all in September!
About WordPress Leeds / Northern Bloggers
WordPress Leeds is an informal organisation that helps promote WordPress and Blogging events in Leeds and West Yorkshire. The group’s main event, Northern Bloggers, is a monthly evening meetup for Bloggers, Journalists, Designers, Developers and anyone interested in Blogging and Digital Publishing. The group also has a coffee morning for informal chatting.
Upcoming WordPress Leeds / Northern Bloggers events
- Coffee & Cake: 10:30am on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at La Bottega Milanese Bond Court cafe. No ticket needed, just come along.
- Northern Bloggers: 6:00pm on the 4th Tuesday of the month at The Digital Garage. Due to space constraints the event is normally ticketed but is free.
Blog post by Helen Robinson, Head of Marketing at jrc.agency.