The Power of Public Media

Published: 7 years ago

UX Boston Conference #2!

Once again UX Boston Conference #2!, which took place in November with a diverse range of speakers, proved to be just as thought provoking and as engaging as UX Conference #1. This post focuses on three of the speakers and their topics of discussion.

Use Your Words (not lorem ipsum)!
Amy Eastmen

Amy emphasized the importance of using real copy early on in the design process, starting with wireframes. Even if you, as the designer, don’t know exactly what the copy should say and feel that ultimately it’s not your resposibility to write it, you can still get the ball rolling. By jotting down questions in the wireframes or even putting in humorous copy it will start the process of narrowing down what the final copy will be and give the copywriters and content producers something to respond to. Writen contextualazation helps to improve usibiity and engagement, which is something we all want to achieve.

Some points Amy makes:
• Be aware of tone. What is the message? Who is the audience?
• Consider formatting options — 16% of users read all copy; 75% scan copy
• Say no to lorem ipsum!
• Create a word or phrase bank with words to use based on personas.

By using copy early on, designers can engage the other stakeholders and encourage teamwork. Everyone, despite their role in the project, can relate to words, it’s a way of bringing others into the process who may otherwise feel indimidated by design, UX, or technology speak. I found this to be true in a recent project I worked on, when the design team brought style tiles to the client with key words to descrbe the tone of the site, such as “informative, reliable, engaging, hot topics”, etc. everyone became engaged and we were able to narrow down the look and feel of the design partly based on the feedback of the descriptive words that were selected. Even though this text was not part of the actual web content, it was something that everyone could relate to. This is also true for writing up personas and user stories, take a stab at it yourself, use your best judgment and any data available to you. Then bring it to the larger group and other stakeholders who might have more knowledge or more statistics about the current users can help refine the written details, making for more polished user profiles.

We, as UX/UI designers, have a lot invested in creating clear navigation to enhance the indented user flow of a web project, and we can play a key role in helping to select the best words to use. Selecting words for the actual navigational elements is always a good place to start. Copywriting is just one part of content stratgey. Use your words to speak clearly and consicely to your targeted audience, and don’t forget to also let them be heard. More and more content strategy is including building online experiences that allow the users to tell their stories in their own words.

EMR Usability Problems!
Pearl Somani


I don’t know about you, but whenever I see these kinds of forms I cringe and start to imagine how much better designed and useful they could be with some loving attention from UX and UI designers.

Over the past 2-3 years, most health care providers in the U.S. have completed the transition to Electronic Medical Records (EMR).

Pearl’s talk focused on the many usability problems of Electronic Medical Records due to their poor design. Both patients and doctors have trouble reading electronic medical reports Here are some of the issues:

  • Lack of readablity, due to dense data fields, charts and graphs could help display important information
  • Use of technical jargon, doctors don’t remember all the technical information and glossaries are hard to access.
  • Doctors spend less time with patients, they are on computers entering data and looking for information which may be many clicks away.
  • Patient identification error, patient names are hard to locate or may be in a different postion on different EMRs.
  • Inconsistent formats
  • Wrong medication event, due to information being displayed in a confusing format
  • Delay in treatment, due to others factors not being displayed prominently enough

Some solutions she suggests:

  • Interactive graphical treatment timelines
  • Group data fields where appropriate
  • Effective use of color to highlight important information
  • Help and reference documentation

UX desigers involved in trying to redesign these records face many challeges partly due to the private nature of the material, the fact that there are only a few companies that are creating these EMR applications, and that it’s hard to get user feedback from doctors. In order to be useful, these records need to be personalized and focus on the real needs of both doctors and patients. Doctors have a specific set questions about patients, and they need to be able to easily find the answers. And patients have their own set of questions, so patients need a way to keep track of the information that is specific to them.

I came across this website which showcases designers who were challenged in 2013 to reimagine the patient health record. Now if only some of these design can be put into practice!

Combining user and staff engagements!
Elliot Felix
Elliot founded and leads brightspot, a strategy consultancy.

Elliot emphasizes the importance of focusing both on staff and customer user experience as a way to ensure an organization’s success. These two aspects of a business must be in allignment to offer the best service and customer satisfaction. Currently there is a big discrepancy between what companies believe about the quality of the services they provide and what customers think about the services being delivered. 80% of companies believe they are delivering a superior customer experience and only 8% of customers say that companies are actually delivering a great experience. But if employees are committed and engaged they become more invested in creating a great customer service. Zappos is an example of a company that is trying to maintain employee engagement. Zappos offer its new hires $2000 to leave, and 97% of those employees choose to stay, thus confirming their comminment to the misson and community of the company, which in turn contributes to a better experience for the end users.

He also mentions the 5 e’s of the experience map model: Entice, Enter, Engage, Exit, and Extend. The experience map is a model of how people experience a product, service, environment, or computer system. I think the 5 e’s are something we all try to take into consideration as we create online experiences.

Expectations also play a major role in customer satisfaction, for example, COSTCO is rated higher than Apple for customer service because people have lower expectations for COSTCO, but those lower expectation get met. This is in contrast to Apple where the expectations are much higher, so service and customer satisfaction often falls short.

So the take away from this talk is that an engaged and happy staff who believe in their product and company makes for happy customers! And if end users expect a quality product or service from your company or brand, try to meet their expectations!

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