In this Christmas special Chris and Carla play the UX drinking game (uxdrinkinggame.com), exchange shitty presents and talk about Carla’s replacement.
Oh, Christmas Tree Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
We Wish you a Merry Christmas Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
The Design Untangled Podcast
Episode: DU006 –UXMas Mulled Wine Special
Host: Chris Mears and Carla Lindarte
[00:19] Chris: Hello and welcome to this festive edition of Design Untangled with me, Chris Mears and returning from her travels is Carla Lindarte. Hello.
[00:29] Carla: Hello Chris. How are you?
[00:32] Chris: Yup, I’m good. Welcome back. How was Colombia?
[00:35] Carla: It was really good. Very warm, sunny, very different to this, but yeah, happy to be back though. Back in London.
[00:43] Chris: I found a good replacement last week.
[00:45] Carla: I know. I can’t believe you even attempted to replace me.
[00:51] Chris: Well, anyone whose name begins with C pretty much is who I hang out with.
[00:55] Carla: Oh, okay. It was a very good interview. It was really good.
[00:59] Chris: Yeah. Seemed to get quite a lot of good feedback. Some good tips in there. Might have Christina on again at some point in a three-way chat if you decide to go on holiday again.
[01:11] Carla: Yeah, definitely. Okay, that’s good.
[01:14] Chris: So this is going out probably on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, which means no one’s probably gonna listen to it till after Christmas, but we’re going to do it anyway. So what we’re going to do today, and you can probably join along at home if you want to, is play the UX drinking game. So this is a website on UXdrinkinggame.com and it’s just a load of stuff and little quotes and scenarios that you might have experienced as a UX designer. We’re just gonna fire up a few of those, I think. If any of them apply to us, we’re gonna take a drink so we’ll probably be drunk by the end of it. We’re just gonna have a little chat about them. Hopefully it will be a little bit of fun. Probably not much UX value to be had, but it’s Christmas, so
[02:08] Carla: Why not? Why not? There’s also a Twitter feed as well. You can follow @uxdrinkinggame, and you can get the feed and people would normally just go and tweet what their problem is or their quote is, and sometimes they publish it for you as well.
[02:25] Chris: Okay. So have you got your eggnog at the ready?
[02:28] Carla: Yeah, I’m ready. I’m ready with my whiskey as well.
[02:32] Chris: Okay, cool. All right, so I’ll fire up the first one then, which is if you need to make 25 prototypes for a single page, drink! Has that ever happened to you?
[02:43] Carla: 25? Yes. I actually…you know what, it’s not just the client sometimes asking for 25 versions of something. Haven’t you found yourself doing lots of different versions of the same page?
02:55] Chris: Yes. Well sometimes it depends kind of how sure you are on what you’re actually designing. You might want to just pump like self-inflicted basically, so just trying out loads of different ideas, but very often in agencies, you’ll go back and forth a lot, and yet by the time you’ve done the 25th one, it’s actually basically the same as the first one you did anyway.
[03:17] Carla: That is so true. So I think a tip for everyone. I wouldn’t present to a client more than two options of one design. Even though you’ve done 25 versions, only present maximum two, and if you can go with our recommendation, it’ll be better because once you start going three, four then they’re going to start liking something in Option one, but also something else in Option four, and sometimes things don’t work well together when you combine them. So just a little tip.
[03:46] Chris: I don’t know – I kind of like three. Do the goldilocks techniques. So the one that is a bit lame, the one that is just completely over the top, and then the one that you actually want to put forward as your suggestion in the middle. I’ve found that works quite well.
[04:01] Carla: I’ll go for the next one. The next one is if someone asked you to design the system architecture, do a shot!
[04:11] Chris: Don’t know about that one. Is that talking about doing like BA stuff, maybe?
[04:16] Carla: Yeah, I think the system architecture is just the server and how the integration is going to be, and once I was asked to UX, which is basically make it look better, a very, very complex diagram of a system architecture. This was many years ago, but yeah, that’s not UX work. That’s just design work. Just make something look better. I think that’s what they refer to when they ask UX designers to do system architecture.
[04:45] Chris: Yeah, and quite often you can get asked because they see the word designer in your title, they give you some boring diagram that they want you to make look good in a PowerPoint or something.
[04:59] Carla: Yes. Yeah. They ask you to UX their PowerPoints or use your magic fingers to make them look very pretty. That’s what people say when they don’t know what UX is. But anyway, that’s happened to me many times.
[05:13] Chris: Okay. Let’s do the next one. If someone has the same UX job title as you, and there’s no overlap between what you do, drink! So basically the UX designer that’s kind of like a BA or front end dev or something. I don’t know.
[05:31] Carla: Yeah, that’s happened to me before. You find someone who’s a UX designer by title, but they don’t know what research is, or never interviewed or done any user testing. I don’t know. They are just frontend developers as well, which is a good thing. I mean, it’s good to know about coding when you are an UXer, but it’s not the same job, is it?
[05:55] Chris: I don’t think so, so I’m going to have a swig for that one.
[05:58] Carla: Yeah.
[06:59] Chris: Do you want to do the next one?
[06:00] Carla: Yeah. Right, next one. A recruiter asks you to refer someone with an antiquated skillset. What? A recruiter asks you to refer someone with an antiquated skillset, drink! I don’t know what that refers to.
[06:17] Chris: Yeah, I think we can skip that one. That one’s shit. Okay. I got the next one.
[06:23] Carla: If they respond to your request is it’s in our radar…radar, drink and expect nothing. Oh yeah.
[06:31] Chris: Oh, okay. So you give them a suggestion and they say, yeah, we know about that and then you never hear about it again. Yes, definitely. Yeah, it has happened.
[06:40] Carla: Yeah, definitely. We know that problem, but yeah, we are going to sort it out at some point, but they never do.
[06:47] Chris: So what’s the way around that then? Just keep on their ass about it?
[06:52] Carla: Keep pushing.
[06:54] Chris: Follow-up meeting?
[06:55] Carla: Yeah. It can become really annoying. If you use Jira, just add a task and assign it to the person who was supposed to be chasing that for you or fixing it. That’s very annoying as well.
[07:08] Chris: Yeah. Nobody likes Jira. If you want to annoy someone, get them to log into Jira.
[07:16] Carla: They are going to receive a lot of emails and so it becomes really annoying, so they fix it at the end.
[07:22] Chris: Yeah. So if people don’t know what Jira is, it’s basically an online kind of … it’s not really task tracking, but you can think of it as that basic level. So it’s just got a bunch of cards which you would put different tasks or user needs depending how you’re using it, and it kind of moves through the different phases of the project so you can keep track of where stuff is. And the problem with it is, although it’s an online tool, it emails you about absolutely everything. So if someone’s blinked, it will send you an email. If they’ve gone to the loo, it will tell you about that as well. So annoying.
[08:02] Carla: I used to create rules to go to an empty folder, just a separate folder, so every email that I received with the subject Jira on it goes a bin folder. Do you do the next one? See if you have better luck than me.
[08:20] Chris: When HR favourites your drinking game, tweet “drink”. I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen.
[08:29] Carla: Yeah, me neither. Okay. Let’s get…
[08:31] Chris: Maybe after this podcast goes out
[08:34] Carla: Right, I’m going to get the next one then. Oh yeah, this is very, very common. If someone from your team says you’re the artist of the project, drink! Oh yeah, that’s happened so many times. Like you, I’ve been in workshops, and they say, Oh, you are the designer. You’re the artist. You should be drawing and my drawings are worse than a five year old’s drawing. It’s so bad. Yeah. So they think because you’re a designer or UX designer, you are an artist. That’s not true. Well, some people are, but I’m not.
[09:11] Chris: Yeah, my sketching is absolutely appalling. So I bought a book on how to sketch people, like proper cartoon style and it’s literally like step one, draw a square. Step two, draw a triangle on top of the square. It still looks like shit when I’ve done it, and it’s all stuff that you would never use in a user journey either, like a wizard or clown, or something.
[09:40] Carla: Oh God. I was reading a blog about how to start doing sketching and they say you should start with meeting notes. So when you start drawing down meeting notes, then you can start like at least capturing how you then translate an idea of a concept or a note into drawing, and I started doing it, but I just ended up doing like big titles, like capital letters and using that with my iPad, using lots of colours and stuff like that, but it doesn’t really look like a sketch, but at least you can start connecting one idea to the other and summarizing ideas as well with sketches.
[10:18] Chris: You mean Sketch Notes, right?
[10:20] Carla: Yeah, Sketch Notes.
[10:22] Chris: Sketch Notes look cool but I’m still not convinced if you went back to them in six months, you would know what the hell you drew.
[10:28] Carla: That’s true. That is true. I think they are good to kind of summarize the day and stuff, but you still need your normal notes. Especially if they look at my notes, they wouldn’t know what I mean. All right. You still want to go onto the next one?
[10:44] Chris: Someone asks for high fidelity mock-ups, have three shots of Absinthe. High fidelity mock-ups…okay. So this is people asking for the UX designer to basically do the visual design I think is what it’s talking about.
[10:56] Carla: Yeah, that’s a very common one. I mean sometimes its value of reusing. Like if you are using Azure for example, you can create widgets with the visual design is being approved. Like when you have a more defined user interface and style already defined, it will be good for you to kind of reuse the widgets and try to put something together if you starting a new journey or a new page or something, so it’s not too bad to do it. The thing is obviously you need the support from the visual designer to make sure it makes sense because, I’ve seen UXers trying to do visual design. Some people can do it, but not many can.
[11:39] Chris: Yep. Before we carry on, have you got my present?
[11:42] Carla: My present? Your present? Yeah, yeah.
[11:43] Chris: What is it?
[11:46] Carla: It’s a secret.
[11:47] Chris: You can’t keep it a secret. I know that’s the whole point of presents. That doesn’t make very good podcast listening.
[11:54] Carla: Oh, it’s a secret. You’ll know on Christmas Day. Today is too soon to do it.
[12:00] Chris: Yeah, but when this is going out, it is Christmas Day so I think we can unwrap it.
[12:04] Carla: No, I’m not going to give you. I’m not going to tell you what the Christmas present is.
[12:11] Chris: Okay. Well, I’ll tell you what I got you for Christmas. I got you the boxed set of Modern Family.
[12:19] Carla: Oh my God!
[12:21] Chris: Because I know you love the Colombian lady in that
[12:25] Carla: I hate that Colombian lady in that. Okay. Thank you very much. That’s really nice of you.
[12:34] Chris: That’s okay. So there’s probably about 150 hours’ worth of that lady for you to enjoy over the festive period.
[12:42] Carla: Oh thank you. Yeah. Keep the receipt. I actually got you a scarf.
[12:47] Chris: Ah, thank you very much. Now we can look like scarf buddies. So you are not wearing a scarf today.
[12:52] Carla: No.
[12:53] Chris: On Christmas Day, surely should be scarf day.
[12:57] Carla: Yeah, exactly. Because you say I wear scarves all the time, so you needed one to know what it feels to have a scarf. A cool one.
13:05] Chris: Well, you do wear scarfs, at least in all your professional photos or the ones where you want to look designer-y. I don’t think you can deny that.
[13:15] Carla: I also have indoor scarves as well that makes me look more like a designer. The indoor ones are a smaller but still like gives you a bit more of a designer personality.
[13:29] Chris: And is there any sort of pattern that you go for to look more designer-y?
[13:33] Carla: No, I’m a bit classic in terms of the patterns. I like the Tartan, you know, a bit more classic. For indoor scarves, definitely. Yeah.
[13:45] Chris: Yup. Okay, good. Glad we got that clarified. Right. Next one.
[13:50] Carla: Okay, next one. If someone clicks in a mock-up and asks why is it not working? Drink!
[14:00] Chris: Oh God! I need a whole new vat of malt wine to drink to that one. Yeah. That happens all the time.
[14:08] Carla: Yeah. Aw, but happens when you click on that? Oh, it’s just the mock-up. Anyway…
[14:15] Chris: Yeah. And this goes back to that thing we were talking about in another episode where you have to make these programs have now got kind of sketchiness appearance generators to really get home the point that these aren’t the actual things, but still people will try and click on stuff and go, why is it not working?
[14:34] Carla: Yeah. Well I also think that we’ve said that before as well. Like the more you can prototype, the better. I mean showing something static is a bit unrealistic to the final product anyway, so if you can prototype, that’ll be much better so you don’t get asked that question.
[14:52] Chris: All right, next one.
[14:52] Carla: Next one.
[14:52] Chris: Should we do two more?
[14:53] Carla: Two more and then we’re done.
[14:55] Chris: Okay. If the scrum master starts giving design tips, drink!
[15:01] Carla: Oh yeah. It’s not just the scrum master. Everyone! You know, have you seen Airbnb? Have you seen Google, or have you seen this thing? I think we should make these a bit bigger. Everyone has access to good design these days in terms of web design or app design and they think they’re designers because they can refer back to that particular example.
[15:28] Chris: Hey, have you guys heard of this thing called the Internet? Some well-designed sites on there you might want to check out.
[15:34] Carla: Yeah
[15:34] Chris: Yeah. Okay. I’ll do that.
[15:38] Carla: But you know, I think it’s also our fault that designers, because I see a lot of people copying design, which is okay to copy if you do it well, because sometimes there’s no point to reinvent the wheel. You know, if something that already works is a known pattern and something that is best practice, go for it. But sometimes I see teams really copying like the exact same checkout as this other company, and why don’t you just do something a bit different or at least try to improve it, you know?
[16:13] Chris: Yeah. And the problem with that as well as if you’re copying sites like Amazon or Airbnb or whatever, they’re running like thousands of A/B tests at any one point. So the pattern that you’re copying might just be a test that maybe decrease their conversion but they’re just trying it out as an experiment. So you got to be pretty careful about taking just what’s there as the ideal pattern just because it’s on Amazon. They might be delivering that pattern to, i don’t know, maybe about a hundred thousand users or something just to see how it plays out and then they might get rid of it because it didn’t perform very well. So one to watch out for.
[16:52] Carla: Yup. That’s a very good point. Right, the last one. Last one is if someone thinks they know users better than you do after months of research, drink. Okay. So someone thinks they know the users more than you after doing lots of research, you should drink, which is, I mean majority of clients think they know their customers or users much better than you, even though you’ve done research and spoken to real customers and they haven’t done it.
[17:25] Chris: Businesses always have some kind of internal viewpoint of who their customers are and if they’re a successful business, that’s maybe even more reason why they might think that they kind of know everything. They know how to serve those customers and yeah, it’s just a case of presenting actual research back to them, helping them understand where the gaps in their knowledge are, and the chances are they do know some stuff about their customers. I think you shouldn’t be too kind of dismissive of that, but there’s obviously a lot that you can only learn by speaking to actual users, getting actual users to use the product or the service, whatever it is.
[18:06] Carla: Yeah. I think also that the type of understanding that businesses might have on their customers is more like marketing-related, like market research and segmentations and things like that. Whereas the type of research that you will be doing is more around how they feel and how they perceive certain products or services, especially in the digital space, so it’s very different and it’s another level. I think in my opinion, it’s kind of a lower level of detail where you get a deeper understanding on how people feel. For example, interacting with your website or interacting with that apple, or a particular like surveys face to face as well. You know, it’s deeper. So I think that’s why you have to try and articulate to the clients because sometimes they cut budget on research because they think they know, or because they think they’ve already got lots of research already been done. So I think the best way of doing it is just asking for that research and analyzing it with them, playing back and just make sure that you have some open questions that I’m sure you will have anyway, and things that you still need to find out. And that’s how you can start justifying research as part of your design process.
[19:24] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So I think we’re drunk enough now after playing that. Okay, so we will see in the New Year. I can’t remember the exact date, but one sure way not to miss that is to subscribe on Apple podcasts. So just pop in Design Untangled on there. You can also follow us on twitter @designuntangled or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
[19:51] Carla: Yeah, you can write on LinkedIn as I have someone who always… actually, thank you very much for the last message as well, you know, the person who follows me on LinkedIn. You can also send me a LinkedIn message if you want to.
[20:05] Chris: The mystery person?
[20:06] Carla: The mystery person. Thank you very much. Thank you, Chris for this year. It has been amazing being with you and this podcast. I was so really sad when you replaced me for one episode, but hopefully, you know you’re not going to replace me again.
[20:23] Chris: Well, we’ll see how you perform in 2018 but yeah, it’s been good to kind of get this thing off the ground. I know that we’ve only been going for a few months, but hopefully many more to come.
[20:35] Carla: Yup. And any feedback, any questions, any topic you want us to talk about or any of your UX, the drinking game quotes, please send it to us. Your feedback is really, really appreciated. Thank you.
[20:48] Chris: And if you’re listening to this on Christmas Day instead of spending time with your family, then have a good Christmas or festive period, whatever you celebrate, and we will see in 2018 for more high quality UX banter
[21:04] Carla: Okay. Bye. Merry Christmas, Chris
[21:04] Chris: Okay, Merry Christmas. Bye
[21:09] Carla: Bye