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  • Web Council - March 20, 2014
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Web Council - March 20, 2014
  • Announcements
    • Next Web Council meeting will be on April 17
    • SiteImprove license is being renewed. They have a new guy named Bjorn who is excited and might call anyone using SiteImprove
      • SiteImprove has new tutorials and training videos
    • Marketing & Communications is doing a digital audit, including admissions
      • The audit will include outside independent evaluations
  • ConveyUX Conference (http://www.conveyux.com) recap: Rick Ells from UW-IT will share his favorite takeaways from the second annual ConveyUX conference that took place Feb. 5-7 in Seattle.
    • Excellent conference
      • Speakers were currently active professionals who gave well prepared talks about their actual work.
    • Four ideas
      • Thinking, fast and slow
      • Collages to get past rationalizations
      • Experience maps to understand context
      • A mantra to stay focused
    • The user's vantage point
      • The user comes to your site out of their context
      • They come to meet their needs
      • They focus on what is salient to them
    • Steps in using your user interface
      • The user explores your interface (discovery phase)
      • The user tries to use your UI based on their perception and intuition (System 1 Thinking)
      • If necessary, they slow down and give it more attention (System 2 Thinking)
    • Obstacles you might put in their way
      • Unreadable elements (too small, low contrast)
      • Difficult to use design elements
      • Unintuitive success path
      • Slow response or no feedback
      • Inconsistencies in language, icons, labeling, link texts
    • Thinking, fast and slow - from "Thinking, fast and slow" by Daniel Kahneman
      • System 1 thinking is fast, intuitive, and perceptual
        • Most of our actions and choices are made based on System 1 Thinking
      • System 2 Thinking is deeper, slower, and requires more attention
    • Learning about the inner user
      • Observe actual behavior
      • Engage other channels than words, such as visual
      • Learn about the context of their decisions
    • Collaging - from "Collaging" by Kyle Soucy
      • "Getting answers to questions you don't know to ask"
      • "95% of our thoughts and feelings are unconscious"
      • Use images to evoke perceptions, intuitions and feelings
      • Example: Match.com dating site
        • Find a test subject who has used the site
        • Give the subject a big stack of various pictures
        • Ask the subject to select picture that reflect their experience using the site
        • Have the subject make a collage of the selected pictures
        • Give each picture a caption
        • Discuss the pictures and captions
      • Example collage captions
        • Picture of freeway interchange: "I am a complicated person, I am hard to describe"
        • Picture of person looking out window: "I feel like I am something on display in a store window"
        • Picture of dark figure in alley: "I am worried about harassment"
        • Picture of person alone on big landscape: "This process makes me lonely"
      • Design changes given insights gained
        • Members must post an original, current, unmodified photo
        • Required information was limited
        • Communication channel provided so email addresses did not have to be shared
        • Membership is managed to exclude people with inappropriate behavior
    • Experience Mapping - from "Improving US Through Customer Experience Mapping" by Claire Carlson
      • Map all the points at which the user engages with your service
      • Evaluate the context and needs at each contact point
      • Integrate what you learned into your design
      • Example: Buying a house in Rio de Janiero
        • Contact points
          • Define what you want
          • Search available houses
          • Compare the ones that look good
          • Choose a house
          • Negotiate a contract
          • Move in
        • Conduct interviews and observations of people at each of the contact points
        • House search takeaways
          • Most people start their search with Google (Brazil does not have a unified real estate listing system)
          • Being near public transit is very high priority because Rio traffic is really bad
          • Doormen are important. Condos or residential areas with doormen are strongly preferred
          • Ways of comparing homes vary greatly.
          • Smartphones are used heavily in the process
          • Deciding which house is the biggest pain point
      • A Mantra helps you stay focused - From "Agile UX: Embrace or Tolerate" by Rob Keefer
        • At the beginning of every meeting, repeat the project mantra. It will help the project focused and on track
        • We value...
          • People over features
          • User feedback over generalized opinions
          • Ease of use over ease of development
          • Discovery with the interface over explanations in documentation
  • Getting the most out of Google Analytics: Michael Wiegand, senior analytics strategist at Portent, will show us how to improve our website content using Google Analytics. He will take us through the basics and beyond — sharing tips and tools we can utilize to tap the full power of our website data.
    • Follow Michael on Twitter at @mwiegand
    • Contact Michael by email at michael@portent.com
    • The presentation slidedeck is available at http://portent.co/uw-content
    • Portent has a blog at http://portent.com/blog - highly recommended
    • Metrics: Defining our terms
      • Defining our terms
        • Column headers in most Google Analytics displays now have tooltips explaining the item
        • Analytics Education section has been added to most pages
          • Analytics Academy, free, take at your own pace, get a little cert at the end. The lessons include videos.
    • Setting goals
      • Goals can be set by going to your GA site, clicking on Admin in the top menu, then clicking on Goals in the left menu. Documentation is built in.
      • Goals only work going forward, they cannot be set for the past
      • Goals can be set for events (such as clicking on buttons), time on page, time on site, pages per visit, and more.
    • Dashboards
      • You can create a dashboard by going to the left column and clicking on "+New Dashboard"
        • A starter dashboard is offered, gives a good idea of what can be done. You can modify it later.
      • Every dashboard has to have
        • traffic
        • engagement
        • conversion, requires goals
        • attrition metrics - bounce rates
        • channel specific
    • Analysis
      • Weighted sort can be set up
        • To use Weighted Sort, click one of the percentage based metrics (such as Bounce Rate) column header in a table to sort. Then, above the table, use the Sort Type selection menu to select "Weighted". Then use the Secondary dimension selection menu to select what you want to sort by.
        • Questions that can be explored include "How is bounce rate affecting pages with high number of visits?"
          • High visit pages with high bounce rates are not keeping the people
          • Works well with bounce rates - helps surface the best performing content
    • Outreach using data
      • Sorting by source
        • What traffic comes from search engines?
        • What traffic comes from specific URLs
    • Google offers a method for doing content experiments
      • Content Experiments tool
        • Set up several versions of a page
        • Run for a period of time to compare visit statistics of the different versions
        • GA automatically rotates between variations,
    • Demographic data
      • Extracts data from the DoubleClick database, providing demographic data about site visitors
      • Also have access to Google+ and Reddit data, which can be tracked back to individuals
  • UWAA 125th website: Developer Ben Erickson will give us a tour of the story-driven timeline website that celebrates the 125th anniversary of the UW Alumni Association.
    • UWAA 125th Anniversary Page is up at http://uwalum.com/125
    • Content strategy
      • Focus on people: celebrating 125 years of alumni community
      • Timeline of milestones
      • What is the next Alumni story - user generated content
    • Design Considerations
      • Scrolling through time
      • Long content available for each topic, but not displayed by default
    • Technology
      • Responsive design
      • Built with bootstrap 3.0
    • Design Jan 28, got to production on Feb 28
    • Development
      • Built on the depts.washington.edu server
      • Code Editor: Sublime Text 2
      • Local Server Emulation: node.js, WAMP for php
      • Source Code Management - Git
        • Atlassian Bitbucket
      • Bootstrap 3
      • jQuery
      • Respond.js, html5shiv.js
      • Homespun PHP for form data handling
      • LESS for managing CSS
    • Lessons
      • Use Bootstrap/LESS semantically (mixins), gets it out of markup
      • Have a workflow for blending non-version controlled team members with the developer
        • Better Git branch and remote management was needed
      • Done is better than perfect
        • Never access new content at 5:05 p.m. on launch day
        • Don't tweak over the weekend
      • There is no substitute for real user feedback; nothing like production to see if something is set up right.
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