Thoughts about the UX Process
What happens in between the people using a product, the team making it and the meanings we create along the road.
february 14, 2020
Let's imagine the fire as something that provides warmth and good for everyone involved. The fire is the product, the Experience is what happens to you while affected by the fire, and the Process is the series of actions or events performed to make something or achieve a particular result, or a series of changes that happen naturally.

Whatever we throw into that fire will eventually affect everybody.
A consistent process allows us to understand what has been accomplished, what our next steps are, where we expect to be in the future, and how our work will be measured. A team’s creative process should be flexible enough to allow for chaos but also firm enough to prevent a team from getting stuck in a rut or lost in the woods.
Stakeholders at Stake
We are always creating in relation to those artifacts, systems, services and rituals which came before us, and it is in relationship to one another that the creations also take meaning. Therefore, to design for others is to will oneself to become something a little bit different, in hopes that it will also change the lives of the stakeholders for the better in turn.

While it is true that design is often a benevolent dictatorship (and not a democracy), every single person from the product owner to the engineers should feel welcome to present design hypotheses. There are no wrong ideas, just differently informed points of view. A designer needs to be emotionally bulletproof when a team member’s ideas contradict their own because a design-lead organisation needs to foster a culture of creativity. In that culture the best feedback is often inquisitive, not prescriptive: as in “yes, and how about this?” Anxiety, fear, and self-consciousness are the enemies of insight. Surprise is the engine of innovation. Imagine working with people where you could find something surprising everyday.
Design is not strictly created from universal, empirical truth as is the work of science –an invaluable tradition which can inform us of the mechanisms in which the world works, but is absolutely sterile when it is the heart of design. Design is not science.
Design is situated in the infinite subjectivity of all the actants and stakeholders the designer can reasonably consider in their space of creation. It involves all of the small truths that are real in any specific use case, which in turn are always situated in a composite of truths about the culture, time, place, and desires which the stakeholders hold for that design.
- Collin Pfender
There is no “right” design, but there is the most appropriate design situated for the stakeholders it serves. But how might we come to know when the design is most appropriate to serve our stakeholders?
Dialog dynamic with Stakeholders on a UX process.
UX Responsibilities: Mediator, Assembler and Gatekeeper
Ultimately, the UXer holds in its hands the say of what can, may, should or should never be in an final interface. Getting inputs from Project Manager, Developers, Support Teams, Research, Legal, is a work of refining information and purpose to find the best of a common desired world for everyone involved.

And although designers can use trusted sources of knowledge to help generate ideas, there is no way in which the final designs can be evaluated as “right” or “wrong” based on this criterion. Instead, I believe it takes a great designer to acknowledge their humility. They must vocalize what they can know as well as what they cannot; they should explain why they trust and depend on their sources for knowledge.
Just cold, mechanical empiricism can't guarantee the right design. I believe the only guarantor for a design is the designer or design team themselves. As is so, I believe designers must also take complete responsibility for their outcomes, be them known or future invisibilities.
Where is the Ethics moment?
Why should we care at all? Well, if we are the ones who plan the processes and make the decisions, these are topics that ought to be addressed from a professional standpoint. No one would like to be labelled as the creator of an app that makes its users feel uncomfortable to interact with. For company owners, it is even more significant. Users today have a developed sense of critique. They voluntarily leave reviews in app stores, use stars to rate, invest time in conversations about the product/service, etc. You would probably like to avoid a public crisis or a product failure which originated from poor planning, especially when it is relatively easy to prevent by putting your mind to it and gaining trust.
Ethics in is not a binding rule, but rather a collection of professional tips that would help you improve your product for your target users.
Values come from people in their complete, situated uniqueness. It is up to us as designers to work to discover and notice differently the ways in which others come to place value on experiences, artifacts, rituals, and community. Ultimately to design in service of others, as well as myself, is to constantly question what it means to be human, and how I might come to new truths by engaging earnestly with others in activity and in dialogue.
Accessibility and Ergonomics
The more constraints you face in the design, the broader access you may reach, meaning the less people will churn because of the "side effects" of your design. That includes not only making very clear compositions, but thinking about aspects of physiology (disabled, deafness, blindness, color blindness, genders, races) and culture (religion, habits, laws, values, tradition, techniques). Design thrives in constraints.

Considering this, you would avoid launching a feature that will be used in Iran that exposes people's genders for anyone to see, where being an homossexual is punished by death, like Facebook has done.

According to user experience expert Peter Morville a good user experience is:
Useful, Usable, Desirable, Findable, Accessible, Credible and Valuable. Following Ergonomic Guidelines to good software interface design are essential to reducing mind friction to the minimum.

→ See Ergonomic Guidelines

Language is key, in every experience and every dialog we make agreements. Legal design is coming into play using disciplines to enhance the human friendliness of understanding and applying the law, since the law is meant to create order in society and make a peaceful living and working environment for everybody. Let's say goodbye to only-lawyers-read Terms of use and Privacy Policies.

→ See Legal Design
Ways to Measure Successes and Failures
Analytics gives you the basic health status of a product by monitoring Task Success, Engagement, Adoption, Retention and Revenue.

AB tests (randomized experiment with two variants, A and B) being it in production or moderated with a phone with your layout can bring real data insights.

Mapping funnels, in order to get it right where users are churning (dropping out). This can be made with numerical data but strongly recommend to do presencial tests to hear what's users feel about a specific cloudy screen.

Heatmaps are a quick way to see where users are interacting more with the product, or where the mouse is browsing more (or eye tracking expensive tests). The result uncover what attracts the most attention.It can also be analyzed comparatively between types of users, for example Brazilian users and American users.

Usability Tests are carried out with users representative of the target audience. Each participant tries to perform typical tasks while the analyst observes, listens, takes notes or records. From the tests you can minimize the friction of accessibility, test your Design System (visual consistency) and have many opportunities to ask "why" the tester is behaving one way or another.
Other metrics include: Frequency of Return Visits, Feature Usage, New Accounts or Visitors, Conversion Rate, Returning Visitors, Conversion Rate, Returning visitors, Renewal Rate, Churn, Completion Rate, Time on Task, Error Counts and Rate.

By getting out in the field, speaking with others, watching them as they work, how they build the world around them with their artefacts, what things they take pride in, what frustrates them, how they solve everyday problems, and cope with everyday breakdowns. I want to get to know the moral ontologies of my users. By eliciting their stories and living a day in their lives, good designers can provide services that react to their users’ world views.

Personas and journey maps are helpful for teams that have a limited understanding of users, and/or haven’t done user research before. They could also be helpful for teams working on products where they are not the users, such as medical products, products for construction workers, apps for truck drivers, etc.

Don't get obsessed with Customer Satisfaction tests, they don't prove to be very useful. I worked on a product when at a point every every metric was going down, and the NPS (Net Promoter Score) kept having a great rate.
A customer satisfaction score is an abstraction, and an inaccurate one. According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, changes in customers’ satisfaction levels explain less than 1% of the variation in changes in their share of spending in a given category.
- Erika Hall

Below is a deck of a UX Process with some of my cases studies 👇

Use the + and - and hold to navigate.
Mind the Impact
Facebook example of making countries politically polarised, based on white people's ideals of "What's good for the world is not necessarily what's good for Facebook", it's exactly the definition of impact as "Move fast, break things" - which is their motto, and it happened. Just look at how countries from Egypt, USA, Brazil and most of Europe are all polarised. Their engagement madness caused this. The more people express hate, the more likes and shares it tends to generate, creating radicalised parts.

→ Watch The Facebook Dilemma, A major investigation of Facebook’s impact on privacy and democracy around the world.
Compositions suggests actions, materials communicates what we could do with them, digital interfaces with like and share buttons promotes certain actions. The sensitive level of design affects people in many different levels. One way of broadening the way we see these levels is by having diverse teams thinking together, so to think these "touches" in broader contexts.

It shows a bit of hope when Instagram is hiding the number of likes on pictures from users, as a way to stop passing around this engagement sickness to their users. The certain ways a Product team thinks tend to directly affect the way their customer are going to think. If products are not made with care and attention, people will not have care and attention on their experiences. 

For instance, too much engagement with our phone screens may take away the other human rituals and experiences which we may have used to fill our time in close quarters, such as playing cards and cooking together.

Which actors will be immediately affected by my design work? How can I know? What might be the shock-waves of implications and is there any way I can guarantee that the least harm will happen?

Minding the Impact can also be creative and thoughtful of the community, not like Yellow Bikes (Grow) dumping thousands of bikes in 14 cities of Brazil when going out of business. What about some humility, failure embrace and doing a positive action for the sake of it?
The question of Good and Evil design
Given a large enough audience and a long enough time, all designs will be seen as good and evil. An example of low-hanging fruit would be the Nazi Germany — something originally thought by certain people as something as a “national unifier,” escalated as one of the most despicable humanitarian disasters in the history of the world. Or perhaps we might argue the design of an expansion of the wall at the Southern border of the United States — for some individuals, this design promises values of protection, strength, and pride, and for others, it promotes values of hatred, bigotry, xenophobia, and an unsustainable use of resources.
“The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck” - Paul Virilio
Yet another Facebook example, having the workplace mantra of "Making the world more open and connected", can also turn to make the world more radicalised and polarized, the bigger the weapon the bigger the damage, let's think about hazard counterbalances.
Remember the fire pit? Don't put more into the fire than the environment can handle. Be like a "cautious Prometheus". Prometheus is known for his intelligence and as a champion of humankind and also seen as the author of the human arts and sciences generally. He is a trickster who defies the gods by stealing fire hum

To be an Experience Designer is using the medium of interaction and leveraging it to obtain an ever-changing understanding of what it means to be human.

I look forward to the many opportunities in which I can be a small part of creating that understanding.

Thanks for reading it 🔥

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