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The AYCL Blog

Learn about what’s new, what’s coming, and find blasts from the past.

Forming A Relationship With Forms

December 5, 2016
by Jared Spool

With a little care and tough love, you can improve the form completion rates on your site. You might even make them fun. How? As Adam Gustafson tells us, start by humanizing the language in your forms. Approach the content as a conversation you would like to have with your audience, and use language they would use.

Eliminate the clutter and noise of multiple fields and focus your user’s attention on the information you need to gather. Make every field fight for its existence. This can be hard, as forms often represent an amalgamation of “asks” from across an organization. You’ll need to fight the good fight and argue for clarity, precision, and laser-like focus. Pare-down fields to the bare minimum and remove anything that isn’t required.

Make sure it’s clear to your users what they need to be doing, and why it benefits them to share their information with you.

Responsive Images and Site Performance

November 18, 2016
by Jared Spool

Images and content are a powerful duo when matched appropriately. Images compel us to act, convey emotion, and communicate the overall art direction of a project. Images help people understand content better. Choosing the wrong image to represent your content can make a big difference in the way users interact with it.

As Jenn Lukas tells us, we have 10 seconds to engage users on our sites before they lose interest. Forty percent of people will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Every second of your page load-time counts, and the culprit behind growing page sizes and slow rendering is the lofty and powerful image, particularly on e-commerce sites.

As we look at page load times and our brand experience across devices, we need to ask whether the image we use in one experience fits the needs of all devices. We should not only consider strategies like optimizing images, loading images lazily, but also choosing the right image and size for the right device, particularly in responsive designs. We want our sites to perform well and we should be shooting for page load-times of one second.

Watch Erika Hall's Preview: Just Enough Research

November 15, 2016
by Jared Spool

Every product, service, or interface we design in the safety and comfort of our workplaces has to survive and thrive in the real world. Research is the key to grounding ideas in reality and improving the odds of success, but research can be a very scary word.

This presentation is one of 6 we captured from Lou Rosenfeld's User Research for Everyone.

Content: Fast and Slow

November 12, 2016
by Jared Spool

Content plays a critical role in guiding the pace of the user’s experience. What we write, the words we choose, and the way we display language in design, are all tools we use to engage users and direct them. Users will often rate experiences that they perceive as slow as frustrating, while they will positively respond to ones in which they perceive to unfold quickly. But should all experiences be fast?

As Margot Bloomstein tells us, when appropriate, users appreciate slow experiences when it is right for the brand, and it allows them to be engaged with the content, discover information, and create memories. Slow content can focus user attention and allow them to deliberate. For example, e-commerce sites that allow users to compare different types of products, pricing, quality, and attributes within comparison charts encourage deliberation. Financial and health information content can also benefit by these slower experiences.

Watch Dustin DiTomasso's Preview: Designing Motivational Interventions

November 8, 2016
by Jared Spool

We all design products that influence our users. Whether we are working on digital apps and tools that support physical or financial health, encouraging a customer to start down the path of a customer life cycle or close a transaction. Learn what behavior change design is and how it can be applied to digital interactions with powerful results.

Watch this seminar to hear case studies and techniques on how to translate behavioral science research into design that improves user engagement.

Designing With Data

November 3, 2016
by Jared Spool

Not all data is created equally. Designers use data and observation to make design decisions. But what data is useful? Google Analytics can give us bounce rates and time on page, for example, but what do the numbers actually tell us? We need to understand the why behind the numbers. Why did someone click on a link? What do people find confusing in the design? These are questions that analytics can’t tell us, and we need to understand them to improve the user experience.

But we do have tools to investigate these questions. Customer Journey Maps help us see an experience and a product through the eyes of the user. Qualitative findings derived from user research can and should drive quantitative analysis. Quantitative and qualitative research should be essential tools that we blend together in our work to make informed design decisions that improve the user experience.

Watch Jim Kalbach's Preview: Mapping Experiences: It’s the Destination and the Journey

November 1, 2016
by Jared Spool

Mapping experiences can help teams think more analytically about a product, adopt a user-centric approach, work cohesively, and engage more deeply with the user experience. Jim discusses how he uses maps as tools to support a collaborative, cross-functional team and stakeholder workshop.

Watch to learn how you can contribute to more strategic conversations and build cross-functional, collaborative environments in the workplace.

Watch Amy Jo Kim's Preview: How to Improve Your Product Design with Game Thinking

October 25, 2016
by Jared Spool

In this seminar, learn how prototyping and getting your product into the hands of early adopters who can share critical feedback will influence your strategy and create a successful product. Amy Jo will show you how to trim the fat from six months of progress into six focused weeks.

This seminar explores an innovative approach that establishes a creative feedback loop with early adopters to get to the heart of a product’s appeal to a broader audience.

Watch Abby Covert's Preview: Collaborative Information Architecture

October 18, 2016
by Jared Spool

It can be challenging to get an organization to agree upon a controlled vocabulary to organize and name content. Abby will share specific tools in the form of diagrams, beyond the ubiquitous sitemap and wireframe, which communicate complex ideas.

If you are looking for techniques to collaborate more successfully and find common ground around language and structure, this is the seminar for you.

Watch Samuel Hulick's Preview: Onboarding for Behavior Change

October 11, 2016
by Jared Spool

Onboarding is the first interaction that our customers have with new products and features, and first impressions are important. Samuel will give us tips on how to communicate to management ways to improve onboarding and increase activation and retention rates.



If you are looking for ways to improve retention rates and signups in your user onboarding, this seminar is for you.

Mapping User Experiences

October 7, 2016
by Jared Spool

We know as designers that there is a business value to thinking about the user experience. Experience maps, ecosystem maps, and customer journey maps are but a few of the tools that we use to visualize that user data and information. Within teams and especially when we include stakeholders, the act of mapping experiences helps us find a common understanding, says Jim Kalbach. We begin by researching and collecting accurate information grounded in reality before we enter a sense-making phase, when we look for patterns and common themes.

The diagrams that we make are compelling artifacts. But the answers that we seek cannot be found in the diagrams themselves but rather in the process of mapping information and engaging with others in discourse around it.

People support what they help to create and when we map user experiences as teams, including stakeholders, we draw individuals out of their heads, out of organizational silos, and into the room to work collaboratively and develop this shared understanding.