Jared M. Spool is a Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre/UIE. Center Centre is the school he started with Leslie Jensen-Inman to create industry-ready User Experience Designers. UIE is Center Centre’s professional development arm, dedicated to understanding what it takes for organizations to produce competitively great products and services.
In the 39 years he's been in the tech field, he's worked with hundreds of organizations, written two books, published hundreds of articles and podcasts, and tours the world speaking to audiences everywhere. When he can, he does his laundry in Andover, Massachusetts
Beyond the UX Tipping Point
For the longest time, making a great experience for the user was a business-strategy luxury item. A great product only had to work and ship. A great experience was a nice-to-have, not a requirement. Times have changed. The cost of delivering a product is no longer a barrier to entry. Quality is no longer a differentiator. What’s left? The user’s experience.
Every part of the organization must be infused with an understanding of great design. Your organization has to cross the UX Tipping Point. You must increase everyone’s exposure to users, communicate a solid experience vision, and install a culture of continual learning. With that, design will become your organization’s competitive advantage.
>> Jared Spool: Hello. Hi! I'm internet sensation
and teen heart‑throb Jared Spool!
Putting on an event like this is a tremendous amount of work
the folks at Sigma, Shaun and his amazing team
have done a fantastic job
let's make some noise for these guys.
What are we doing, come on computer.
There we go.
OK, I want to talk about what it means
to have a successful UX project, user experience project
what does that mean?
One way we can measure it is in the amount of investment
that organisation makes and probably the largest investment
that has ever been made in a UX project
was for something that we hardly ever talk about in our field
and what I am talking about is the Disney Magic Band.
The Disney Magic Band is a bracelet and this little bracelet project was $1 billion investment.
Comes in about, £800 million.
That's what they spent on a bracelet. It's not just any bracelet.
When you order the bracelet, you order it weeks ahead
of going to one of the parks,
because it only works in three places in the world.
Florida, California and Shanghai.
And this bracelet comes in this amazing box
with characters all over it and each bracelet is named for each family member
and has been customised and tailored for the purpose of that family member
and inside each bracelet is a slew of technology including three different radio transmitters
GPS system, an NFC payment system and a lo-fi Bluetooth
and you can use that combination of things to do
things like magically open the door of your hotel room,
or get on any ride as a VIP, or magically be able to wave your wrist
and charge things to your credit card, even when you mean to!
But probably one of the most magical things I like about it
is because of the GPS built into the unit, if your child is celebrating their birthday in the parks
which happens quite frequently, their favourite character will actually use the GPS
to find them in the park and wish them a happy birthday.
It's a little creepy. But it's cool!
And if Uber has taught us anything, we can have both creepy and cool at the same time.
Now the thing that is most amazing to me
about the magic band is that Disney made it.
Because I have been watching the Disney UX teams and their progress for decades
and it just stuns me that they pulled this off.
Because when I first started working with them way back in 1997
I started working with the UX team over at Disney
Walt Disney parks and resorts, this was their best work.
This was the home page for Disney.com. And they were extremely proud of this home page
and they really believed that this was what the Web should be.
Thankfully we have all learned. This site was not only not the easiest thing to look at.
It was tremendously difficult to use. Particularly for its primary use case,
which was to book a vacation at a Disney park and resort.
And it was so difficult to use that for more than a decade,
my team used this website as its primary tool to train people how to do usability testing
because it turns out that in order to train someone to do basic usability testing
it helps to have something that is extremely unusable.
And this site delivered in spades. We used to have a bunch of tasks, my favourite task that we would train with was a task that we actually got from a real park aficionado, a Disney World pile who loves going to the park and loves taking their kids to the park. She had a six‑year‑old who loved trains and she wanted to be able to stay at an affordable hotel that was on the Walt Disney property that was on the monorail system so every day she and her six‑year‑old could take a train to their destination by stepping out of the hotel, getting on the monorail, we crafted a usability test task and the usability test task was what is Walt Disney World's least expensive hotel on the mono rail. It turns out that there are only three hotels in Walt Disney world on the monorail. The Grand Floridian, the Contemporary Resort and the Polynesian. It also turns out that two of those hotels are wicked ass expensive and one is the Polynesian, so that is the right answer, that is the least expensive hotel on the monorail. What fascinated me about this task was that we did it thousands of times and we started keeping track of successes and failures and patterns and things we saw, and one of the things that we noticed right away was that only about one out of every ten participants in our study could complete this task successfully, they could actually get to the Polynesian resort, the others would end up some place else or just give up. But what is even more fascinating was that two out of every ten would not only fail at the task, but fail in this glorious way, they would fail by ending up finding a hotel at Disneyland instead of Disney World. For those of you who are not familiar with the difference between Disneyland and Disney World, there are many differences. Probably the most important difference is that they are 5,000kms apart. And what made this distinction even more interesting is that part of what the training of good usability test moderator is how to ask follow up questions, because what you want to do is not only have we detected there's been a failure in the test task but we want to find out why, what is it that we might learn to figure out what we would change. We want to understand does this person just prefer California? Do they just want to stay in that hotel? Are they realising that they are in two separate parks, do they not know the difference between the parks? Did they think they were in Disney World, but in fact ended up in Disneyland, we wanted to know the difference. We would ask questions. One of the questions we would train people to ask was could you take the monorail from that hotel to Epcot centre which is only in Disney world in Florida. And the participant after being asked if they could take the monorail would inevitably always turn back to the machine, click around the website for a bit, turn back to the moderator and say, yes. Yes, you can. I want to point out, for those of you who have never experienced it, the monorail is a six‑car train, it travels approximately 45kph, and it's a 5,000km distance from one to the other. So that's quite an experience. I was giving a presentation about this once, many years ago, and at the end of the presentation I am packing up my stuff and this woman comes up to the edge of the stage and says, "hi there", I looked down and looked at her badge and it says Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts. I am thinking oh‑oh. She says, "I want to tell you something, you can't tell anyone." OK. She says, "that thing with people picking the wrong hotel in the wrong park on the wrong part of the country, that happens all the time!" I do some research about this and I come to ‑ in fact it does happen all the time. It happens so often that Disney in their ultimate quest to deliver the best customer service, actually holds back a set of rooms, they do not rent out a set of rooms, in case someone shows up in the wrong theme park. With reservations for the hotels in the other park on the other side of the country. They are so afraid someone's vacation would be ruined, because of that, that they actually are prepared, they are ready. And they do this, even when the park is completely sold out, when there isn't a room to be add, prices are at their highest, this is the point where they could make the most money off any available room, and they are holding inventory back to make sure that no customer is disappointed. Imagine working for a company that is so dedicated to customer service that they hold back their most precious inventory because it's too fucking hard to change the website. And that's where Disney was in 1997. So, the fact that they could create the magic band in 2014, this was amazing. That's the question: How did they get there? How did they get from being in a place where it was too hard to change the website, to a place where they have probably the most advanced park experience anyone has ever created? That's what we want to figure out. To do that we have to start with how just people learn to do things. We have to understand that. Now whenever we are learning to do something new, we are learning to cook, we are learning a new language, learning to design, we all start at the same place, we all start at a stage called unconscious incompetence. It's called that because we just started and because we just started, we are not good at this, we are incompetent at it. That's how skills work. But the other thing is, because we have never done this before, we don't know how incompetent we are. In fact, as far as we are concerned, this thing didn't exist before, we did some stuff, it now exists, that's pretty cool. We are completely unconscious about how it is, we just did. We think it's great. We continue to do this. In fact, we will continue to do this and be really proud of what we do for quite a while in many instances. Usually until a close friend takes us aside and says, please stop. Don't cook that anymore. It's not good. Or here is a recipe, or something. And it's at that moment that we learn the difference between good and bad. We learn the difference between good cooking and bad cooking, good language speaking, bad language speaking, good design, bad design. And at that moment we graduate to the next stage. The next stage is what we call conscious incompetence, we are still incompetent, we have no idea how to do this stuff but now we know we are incompetent. This is a very sad point in the process. People get very disappointed. Before this it was very blissful. We are just making stuff along and then suddenly, boom, now we are incompetent. Many of us were expert artists until the age of six or so, every piece of work we did went into the gallery which we called the refrigerator and it was all displayed for all to see and then at some point things stopped showing up there. That is when we got the message. And many people at that stage give up. I can't draw. I can't cook. I can't speak French. We just give up. But a few persist, a few continue and that persistence involves learning the rude aments, learning the process, being able to do the basics, following a recipe, being able to play an instrument, learning the grammar and practising, and all of those things eventually push us into what we call conscious competence. It's when we can do a decent job but we have to think about everything we do. We have to think about every step of the recipe, if we go off a step, we don't know what to do. We have to do it and think about it, step by step by step by step. Then this amazing thing happens. One day we walk into a situation, and, suddenly, we are not looking at the recipe, we are not following the sheet music, we are just doing it, based on what we have learned, our experience. And that point is when we transition to unconscious competence. Unconscious competence is when we are able to solve the problem, do the thing, without just thinking about it, just taking our experience and putting it together, our knowledge and making it happen. We can think of this scale, in terms of a series of journeys. The first journey is getting from unconscious incompetence, to conscious incompetence. And that we can think of it as literacy, understanding the difference between good and bad, understanding the mechanics and pieces are, what contributes to good verses bad. We can think about the journey from conscious incompetence to conscious competence as flu ency. At this point we are beginning to form sentences and beginning to understand the sentences that are spoken to us and we can think about different types of recipes and what the process is, and learn different techniques. And from conscious competence to unconscious competence, that journey, we could call mastery, when we talk about mastering our craft, we are really talking about this segment of our journey, getting so good that we can walk into any situation and we will know how to handle that situation, even if it is one we have never seen before. And this is the journey that the design team at Disney took. Every member of that team took this journey. And they got good. But Disney, as a whole, as an organisation, and if we want to think about the journey the organisation takes, we have to look at it slightly differently, it is a different scale for them. It starts with what we call "the UX dark ages". The UX dark ages is when the organisation is not paying attention to users at all. They are paying attention to their business; they are paying attention to making things work on the technology. That team in 1997 was just thinking about how do I get things to display in HTML. That's all they cared about. They added a little bit of Tinkerbell to it, because they add a bit of Tinkerbell to everything, but that's all they were thinking about. However, at some point someone shows up in the organisation who understands that users exist and that we should design something for them. They are usually not highly placed in the organisation, usually someone amongst the common folk but they push and they are able to get the organisation to start thinking about designing something that is actually pretty good. And that we call "spot UX design". It is where you have a low-level person who is pushing hard enough that they actually ship something that has a decent design. But shipping one thing is different than shipping everything and as a result, they usually get drowned in the organisation and they get lost and sometimes they leave in a fury. But every so often an executive, someone with some amount of power says - you know what, this UX thing, this is actually important to us, we need to start investing in this and at the point that that investment starts to happen, that is when we get UX design as a service. This design as a service is when the team gets built. The executive says build a team, first executives get hired and managers and people are told you need to hire the team internally, it becomes an internal agency that serves the rest of the organisation and that service team is there to help everybody build better designs, but they do it in this sort of internal agency model. And we used to think that this was the best we could do, that if we could get that manager a seat at the table, there is a table somewhere. I don't know if you know this! It apparently has like Herman Miller chairs and it is the place that our manager wants to sit. We can get that seat at the table, if we can get it, amazing things happen, our desk turn into rose bushes and it is just magical. So, if we can do that, if we could get that, that was success. That was all we were trying to do. We would be, we would have arrived. And then we found out that there is more. That, in fact, that isn't it. In fact, if you just get a seat at the table, that means you go to more meetings. And, really, what the next inflexion point is when one of the teams that the service team is working with, suddenly demands their own designer, they no longer want to work with the team. Not because the team isn't good but because they can't get enough of them.
Every so often the person on the team has to work on other team stuff too, it is not acceptable any more. Design is important for our work; we need a full-time designer and they work on this and they get a fall-time designer on the team and they get to embedded UX design. And in embedded UX design we are putting people full time on to teams, they report to the management, they working for that team, and thinking about multiple releases at once and for a long time we thought that was the end game, if we could get a designer on every team, we were golden, that's what we were striving for. Then we realised there was another inflexion point. And other inflexion point happened when suddenly other team members, not the designer, start making decent design decisions. The developer goes off, codes something up without talking to anybody, and it is actually pretty good. How did that happen?! The product manager making decisions about whether they should ship this thing or ship that thing, suddenly says - we should ship the thing with the best design. Like, whoa! My theory is not working, did you say best design, not fastest to ship, will get us our delivery date, no, best design, it has to be good for the user. OK, and suddenly we realise we have reached another stage, we call that infused UX design. Infused UX design is that moment when the non-designers on the team are producing decent designs, they are making smart design decisions. This is the maturity of an organisation. And when I first started paying attention to the Disney stuff, they were definitely in the dark ages. But when they shipped the Magic Band in 2014, they were definitely infused UX design. That team, every member of that team, whether they were wiring the parks or handling what the retail systems were, they were making smart design choices. Every single member. They knew what they were doing. And this process, that maturity, took 17 years. So, if you are looking at this and you are putting yourself somewhere on that chart, if you have spent less than 17 years at this, you are ahead of the game. Congratulations. You are doing better than Disney did. Now, Disney, as I mentioned, is an organisation. And the thing is, you cannot really measure the maturity of an organisation. Turns out organisations, you may not know this, are made of teams. And teams really can be all over that spectrum, right. A team might be at one place, they might be at lots of places, right. So, we sort of look at all the different teams in the organisation. Now, so it doesn't make sense to talk about the maturity of the organisation. It makes more sense to talk about the maturity of teams but in order to do that we have to deal with the fact that teams themselves are made of people. At some point everything turns to soil and green. And being that there are made of people, it is not just any people. Teams are made up of people who influence the users' experience. They may think of themselves as designers, they may not think of themselves as designers, but they are definitely making design decisions and influencing the design. They could be a developer who is just coding something up because they don't know what to do. they could be a product manager, they could be a compliance or regulatory person who is telling us what text we have to put on the screen for disclosures and terms and conditions, they might be an executive who does what we call the seagull manoeuvre; that act where they swoop in, poop over your ideas and swoop away- the executive poop and swoop.
The thing about all these people, they can be anywhere on this chart, right. Our most mature might be in the UX designer service but we could have an executive who is at the dark ages. They have no clue that users exist. And this is the problem. Because, it turns out that the way we assess where a team is, in the maturity scale is not based on the best person, giving them a better designer does not actually change the team's maturity. It is not based on the average of all the people on the team, because they don't cancel each other out. It is based, in fact on the least mature person on the team. The least mature person is the person who is going to give us the biggest trouble, because if they are an influencer and they don't understand UX, what is going to happen when they are faced with a decision of, for instance, shipping something fast that has a poor UX, verses shipping something slow which has a better UX. Guess which one they will make? We cannot blame them; they cannot tell the difference from their perspective. They are looking at the two things, one which would ship fast and one which would ship slow. Why would they choose the one that would ship slow? So, is the problem, right. We have to know who our most immature influencer is. It becomes our job to actually get them to be more mature. I would argue that this is the most important job a design leader can have. It is to take our least mature folks and help them become more mature. That's our job. Not putting pixels on the screens. Our job is to help the team become more mature. Back in 1953, Honeywell Corporation came out with a product that sky rocketed. It was probably the first product to ever capture the imagination of what design could do in what we would call "consumer markets". That was the H model thermostat. The H model thermostat was a simple to use, people, dare I say, intuitive device. It was created by a designer Honeywell had hired Henry Dreyfus. He came in and did designery things. He came in and researched the people who are going to have this thing, he created lots of prototypes, hundreds of prototypes. He and his team built out these things, they tested them with users, all the things we talk about today, Henry did in 1953. It is pretty amazing actually. It took over the market. It changed how we thought about design for decades. And it was the market leader for thermostats until 2011. When the Nest came out. Now I don't know if you know this and this probably won't matter in a little while but it is an EU regulation that if you talk about design you have to mention the Nest! Consider me being compliant with that rule. Maybe that is the one good thing that happens with Brexit. Here is the thing, I am not really going to talk about the Nest, as far as I am concerned it is an intrusive device in your house, like the Eye of Soron, but what I want to talk about is how come Honeywell did not come up with this, how did they miss this opportunity, that to me is way more important. That is the lesson we need to learn from the Nest, because that is the secret to how to get our organisations to ship more products and services. We need an understanding of how things mature and that is how markets grow. Turns out that every time we create some brand new thing we enter a stage called technology and that technology stage is really just about making the thing work. This is the Motorola starred tack phone, this thing cost £4,000, it weighed four kilos, it was this incredibly expensive device and heavy and it didn't work very well, you had to shout in it to make it work, which of course let everybody arched you know that you had one, so that was good. And this thing, people would just, they bought them because they had to have them and they were the only ones on the mark, they would pay the expensive money and carry around the heavyweight. Then competitors come out and then we get into the second stage, the feature stage, we are focussed on features, feature, feature, we are always thinking about features, and in the cell phone market features got crazy for a while and I feel really bad for the Nokia N95 team, they shipped a fantastic product with fantastic features three months, before the iPhone. It could do all sorts of crazy things but no‑one ever bought one because iPhone and that's what happens. Suddenly there's another point where it's like we don't care about all these features, we just want something that works, please give us something we can use. At that point the market shifts. The iPhone had few features that most of the leading phones had. You could not do video, you could not send pictures in a text, it didn't have undo, it didn't have apps, it was a very basic thing, none of us would be happy with this device today but we were thrilled to get it in 2007. This was an amazing thing. So we have to consider that at some point experience trumps features, we have to think about the user's experience. It turns out there is one more inflection point here, that's when the core functionality gets subsumed by bigger things. Nobody buys a phone anymore to make phone calls. In fact, there's a whole generation of people we have bred who refuse to make a phone call. But they all have phones. And so that is absolutely remarkable and what happens is, we get to another stage called the commodity stage. You see weird things happen in the commodity stage. For example a few years ago American Airlines sued a company called Gogo Inflight and what they were hoping to get out of lawsuit was to actually break a ten-year contract they had in its fifth year. Gogo Inflight created the Wi‑Fi on the planes, they were the first people to create Wi‑Fi on the planes, American Airlines signed up and signed this ten-year contract to have them service the Wi‑Fi. But over time other companies created Wi‑Fi for planes, other carriers put the Wi‑Fi on their planes and the next thing American Airlines knows is that customers are telling them they are actually booking on competitors flights because the Wi‑Fi sucks. Americans had never been in the business of thinking about wi-fi before. Suddenly the quality of the Wi‑Fi makes a difference. Gogo says, it's ten-year-old technology and they are like, well, OK we will go with somebody else. You can't, you have a contract. OK, we are going to break the contract. We will sue you, OK. That's what we did. The judge laughed and threw the case out. Because who signs a ten‑year contract for Wi‑Fi. That's stupid. But turns out that Gogol figured out how to make the Wi‑Fi better, American Airlines kissed and made up with them, they are OK now, but here is the thing, that Wi‑Fi is a component of a bigger thing. All these things make a bigger experience, that is the commodity stage. Now, if we want to get to the experience and commodity stage, we have to get our teams to be infused UX design, if we want to own that marketplace be the ones who are competing on experience, we have to have teams that get there. I still haven't really answered the question how come Honeywell didn't invent the Nest. We can think of it this way. The H model was definitely a technology play, it came out, it was the first of its kind, the only thermostat that did what it did, people bought it, it was fantastic. Over the years, Honeywell decided to play with programmable devices to create more features, never really took off, people never figured out how to use them. And then the Nest comes along. It's not programmable per se, you just plug it in, it is smart, it does the right thing. So that's experience. But what really explains why Honeywell didn't get there is the other scale. Because when the H model came out, it was spot UX design. Henry Dreyfus was hired by Honeywell, he was the only one who understood design. He did his project. He left. And then Henry Dreyfus did what all great designers do ‑ he died. Seriously, if you become a great designer, you will die, too! You have that to look forward to. And Honeywell learned nothing from this experience. They learned nothing from this at all. The Nest on the other hand, when they were born they started at infused UX design. They were there, they didn't have to go through all the stages. Now there are those who tell me, maybe it's just that Honeywell didn't care. They're a big company, they make lots of things, the boiler business and the thermostat part of that were just small pieces of their empire. Maybe this was just not important to them. So they don't care about that. And I am not sure I buy that, because a few years later Google comes along and buy Nest for $3.2 billion and I think Honeywell shareholders would have liked to have that added to their company. I think they did make a mistake, I think they should have cared if they didn't. But how did Nest start at infused UX design, because afterall we thought up until we realised this, that every company had to go through all the stages, that you had to go through them, but Nest didn't. Nest just started there. We thought maybe it is because they are a start‑up and start‑ups have some sort of superpower. One of the things that originally occurred to us is that maybe they are like embryonic stem cells, which are these cells that form immediately upon conception, their only job is to replicate and they make a lot of cells in a short period of time. Then don't die off. Instead they mutate into a different type of cell, some of the stem cells become stomach cells, some become liver cells, and the cells take on different functions, they do different things. So maybe start‑ups work that way. Maybe when you are very small you can do all the things and then you hit a critical mass and you start to find a particular stage and that's where you end up. And we thought that might be true because after all we had made a whole bunch of start‑ups that behaved like colons. But it turns out that that's not it. It is a much simpler answer, it is a really trivial answer when you think about it. Nest was founded by a guy named Tony Fadell and Tony Fadell was the lead designer behind the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. And Tony Fadell, as a start‑up founder did what all start up founders do, he poached Apple for his old design team. So his initial employees were all very senior seasoned designer, just like him. And then as they grew the company, that team was in charge of hiring and they would only hire people who understood design, no matter what function they were holding. And everybody in the company understood design on their first day of work. That's how they built an organisation that was infused UX, everybody understood how to make good design decisions. Honeywell on the other hand was a standard company, with people all over the maturity model and as a result many of them did not understand design. The only way Honeywell could have put itself in the place where it could come up with the Nest was to fire everybody and replace them with people who are good designers or to in fact train everybody to become good at UX design and more companies are in the position of Honeywell than in the position of Nest, so this lesson is really important for us to learn. There's one more inflection point in this scale that I did not mention. And that is a change. The change, before the change, where an organisation exists, is they are in a place where the criteria for shipping a product or service is that the product itself works technically and that it meets the business criteria. That's it. If it's not well designed, that's OK, we will fix it in the next release. The oft-promised next release. We will fix it in the next release. For a while I thought that was Microsoft's tagline! But the inflection point which we call the UX tipping point, happens when suddenly a company decides that, yes, it has to work technically, it has to meet the business needs, but it also has to be well designed. We will not ship it until it is well designed. The Disney Magic Band was two years late, it was two years late because it only partially worked in 2012. It could open hotel room doors, that was it. It didn't work in the parks yet. And Disney was paranoid if they put out something sub‑standard nobody would care and they would lose the magic of the thing. So they waited, a $1 billion project waited. The chairman of the boards were calling the product managers every day - is it done yet? They would say no, he would say, OK, do what you need to do. And they waited. They were so paranoid someone else would find this thing out and create a crappy metoo product and ship it and they would lose the magic of the event of showing this thing for the first time. So, they kept it ultra-secret for two years. This was an expensive, difficult process. But they were able to make sure that it had to ship because it was the right design. That is the tipping point. So, how do we do that? Well, my friend Dan Mall likes to talk about the way we work. That we have this image that our design process is this thing like a Newton's be pendulum, where you pull the ball back and you let it go and it does exactly the same thing every time. And we are so fixated on design processes. Right. We talk about design process all the time. What is your design process? What is your design process? We ask candidates in interviews, what is your design process? As if we will ever let them use it! Hell, we will barely let them use our design process, because we don't get to use our design process because nobody really uses their design process. Because design processes don't work like this thing where you pull the ball back and you let it go and it automatically works. That is not how a design process works. Design processes are messy, they are convoluted. They are more like a football game. You know, when the players run out on to the sports ball field and, you know, whether it is football rink or a hockey court or whatever it is, they don't come out with this giant Gantt chart that has swim lanes for every player. The coach doesn't say, "Howard in the last minute you scored at 4 minutes and 42 seconds in the second quarter, can you do that again, it was the perfect time to score. That is our process, we always score at 4 minutes and 42 seconds in the game." Right. It is because the sports ball field is a messy place. We have to take into account the continues of our team and the strength of the other team and the weaknesses of the other team and our weaknesses and who is on the injured list and what the field conditions are and all the things. We have to be able to adapt to our situation. We have to have a lot of situational awareness, all throughout the game and we have to adapt constantly to it. And the way that we do this is through a series of what we call "plays". They are practised, considered pre-thought-out outcomes that we have thought what they are going to achieve and during the game we adapt from one play to the next. It turns out there are lots of plays for UX strategy, we have counted at least 130 and we are adding more all the time. This is a summary. Different plays help with different stages of growth. We have to look at which plays are most effective for which stages of growth. And pick the ones that are right for our situation and no two teams are going to have the same set of play in any given time, because they have different situations. So, here are just a couple of the plays that we find that are really effective. So, for example, one is called immersive exposure. Immersive exposure is when we go out and meet with our users. We are not just meeting with our users. Our developers are meeting with them. Our product managers are meeting with them. We are bringing all the influencers with us. Because if they have true exposure to who our users are, and what it is like to be our users, we see success. Now, teams often start by just usability testing. That thing we were trailing way back in 1977. This technique is still valid and useful and helpful today. A simple way to say, if we ask people to do something, can they actually complete it with our design? Better is going out into the field, seeing the users in their own context, seeing them actually doing the things they want to do, not what we ask them to do. Seeing the environments they work with and seeing what stickies are stuck to their monitor to help them get their job done. The more we can see these things, the better our designs get. In fact, we call every hour that someone sits with a user, watching them use the product or somebody else's product or the old way they used to do this thing, we call that an exposure hour. We have found that you see this incredible change in the quality of products, just by increasing the number of exposure hours. That change point happens at a specific moment. It is when the teams gets to two hours every six weeks. If you can get every member of your team, every influencer to be exposed to two hours in a six-week period and you repeat, that you will see a dramatic improvement in the design quality of the products and services you deliver. Because, they are now seeing what it is like to be a user and as they continue to see, they see what changes make a difference and what ones don't and they become very aware of what users really need. And we can capture this information so simply. We go through all this rigmarole to make everything so complicated. Really, we just need simple ways to do things, we can use something like customer journey map, where we map out the milestones that the participants in our little study have done. And we then put that on a scale of extreme frustration to extreme delight. When I'm taking a team out to meet customers, I will take the most senior stakeholder to come with us, hand them a piece of paper and tell them to draw the chart and as the user does it, whatever they do, we fill in the milestones and record what is delightful and what is frustrating and suddenly we see they are recording all these different aspects and they come out of that room going - oh my God, what do we do to our users! We talk so much about empathy here. It's not that people don't have empathy and we somehow have to train them to have empathy. It is that we have to give them away to use their empathy and we don't give it away unless we get them in front of our users. He can't communicate empathy through a video tape or a PowerPoint deck. It doesn't work. Those are empathy filters. The only way we can get them to have empathy is to make them sit there and watch a user swear at their computer! Second thing is - shared experience vision. Shared experience vision helps with literacy and fluency. It helps us understand where we are going with the design, it asks the questions five years from now: What will the experience of that user be when we have done a good job on the design? You can think of this as a giant flag in the sand that we can see, that is five years away. It is going to take us a long time to get there but everyone in the organisation can see this flag. The only instructions we need is - march towards the flag. We create the vision, we put it in the send and we say: Everybody march towards it.
The beauty of having something like this is we now know where we are going. We know what we have to do and we keep it rating on our design until we get there. that is going it take a long time, but we are OK with that. How do we figure out what that flag should be? Well let's look at the journey maps, see the frustrating bits and ask the question, what if we made them go away, what if it was delightful all the way across? What story would that be? That is our flag, let's march towards that, an experience that is 100% delightful. Let's just do that. The last thing that we see that makes a difference in organisations, is having what we call a culture of continuous learning. And the culture of continuous learning is a literacy, fluency and mastery play. And what it is about is understanding that we are always learning. Right now we fetish failure. There is so much discussion about failure, we have to fail quickly, we have to fail often, we have to move fast and break things, frankly I think we moved a little too fast, we broke a few too many thing, I will let Cennydd talk about that later. But here is the thing - we don't need to talk about failure. I mean nobody wants to be call into the CEO's office and asked - why did you fail? Right. Well, Sir, it's our mission to fail and we wanted to make sure we were doing that! And because we wanted you to see it, we made it extra big. Right. That's not good. OK, no, the question we would like to answer is - what did we learn? What did you learn? We learned a tonne of stuff, trust me, we learned so men things, we are never doing it -- so many things, we are never doing it the same way again. We always want to do things differently. We can build a culture of learning, a culture has to be built in lots of different ways, it is not something you do one way, you have to do it in millions of ways. At Center Centre we have students who are learning to UX designers and every day they answer the standard questions, what did you accomplish to the next stand up, what do you plan to accomplish, what are the big obstacles? We added a question which is: What was the most important thing you learned since the last stand-up and how will it change what you do in the future? It is reflection, betake a moment to reflect. We take a moment to reflect. Everybody has to answer this, no matter what role you are in, the CEO is talking about something they learned in the last 24 hours and when you have a CEO admitting there was something they didn't know 48 hours ago that they now know and they are going to behave differently in the future as a result of it, it gives permission to everybody to be learning all the time. And that is what a culture of continuous learning is. So, these three plays, you do these three out of the 130, you will see success in your organisation. In fact you may see so much success that one day you may have an experience that is not unlike a little girl walking up to what is called the Magic Mickey and holds out her wrist and the Mickey makes this little whirring noise that is really cute and suddenly all of the Disney cast members, the employees of Disney, that are standing within about a 2m radius turn around, look at her and say "Happy birthday Angela". It is a little creepy, but it is cool. That is a great user experience and that is what I came to talk to you about. So, people learn through stages, from unconscious incompetence, to unconscious competence. What we need is to get most of our team at least to conscious competence. So that is our mission. We also need to get our organisations from the dark ages to infused UX design if we are going to deliver great experiences. And finally, we need to make sure that we are thinking in terms of situational awareness, that we are creating our own playbooks that change dynamically because the situation changes and we don't lock ourselves into a process that we think is going to work that never works. That is what I came to talk to you about. If you are interested in this, a weird thing is happening. We have a workshop that actually helps people create their playbooks, we only do it in two places in the world. For some strange reason one of them is Manchester. Actually, not for a strange reason, it is because the thoughts the ThoughtWorks, amazing team, I believe they are hiring, is gracious to give us a chance to bring the workshop out of the US to other places and Manchester is where they picked. It is a lovely place, right up on the other side of the mall, it is beautiful. You can join us in September. We still have a few spots left if you want to bring your team for that.
There are articles about all this stuff and in the next couple of weeks we are launching a newsletter about UX strategy that will be on the UIE website and if we are not connected on LinkedIn, please by all means connect us with me, it's where I find I can have a lot of good professional conversations, say hi, I will say hi back, we can talk about the challenges you face, very excited to get to know you better. You can follow me on the Twitter where I talk about design, design strategy, design experience, I argue with Andy Budd, because you should, and I talk about the amazing customer service habits of the design industry. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.