What has influenced my thinking (so far) about
#7  Risk of end-users not using or liking the product
from a previous blog entry “Seven Risks in Software Development

From my work experience, everyone has an opinion about what a good user experience (UX) is.  Few are really talented in UX, except those who have studied and practiced UX.  And even the talented ones, designs and implementations must be checked to see if they work as intended with the targeted users.

UX is front and center in every product.  UX is the visible part of the product.  Thus good designers carefully and patiently explain the design.  Taking in feedback when appropriate, but most often explaining the design — several times to various stakeholders.

This risk is inspired by Marty Cagan‘s (product management consultant) basic question:  will the users use the product?

Dan Olsen, author of “The Lean Product Playbook” has two simple models I really like.

Model 1:  Olsen’s Hierarchy of Web User Needs, that helps put UX in perspective.

Layer#1:  Is the site available for the user?
Layer#2:  Is the site too slow?
Layer#3:  Does the functionality work?  (Quality)
Layer#4:  Does the functionality bring value to the user?
Layer#5:  How easy is the web page to use?

UX goes directly at Layer#5, but all layers are important to the users.  UX designers should be working with Product Management, User Research, Development, and others to make sure the right functionality is being developed and the product is working well at all layers.

Model 2, Dan Olsen, is the UX  Design Iceberg.  On-top is the Visual Design.  Below the Visual Design and below the water’s surface is Interaction Design, followed by Information Architecture, and at the base is Conceptual Design.

For more on Information Architecture, follow the thought provoking work
of Amy Covert who’s tag line is “Make the unclear be clear”.

(Dan) Olsen’s Law of Usability:
“The more user effort required to take an action, the lower the percentage of users who will take that action.  The less user effort required, the higher the percentage of users who will take that action.”

Olsen’s Law of Usability is good way for the broader team to think about UX and why a good UX matters.  For a deeper look, check-out BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model –> B = MAT.

That is, Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Trigger
where Ability (to perform an action) is what Olsen’s Law of Usability is referring to.

And Nir Eyal uses BF Fogg’s behavior model and other research to develop his popular Hooked model for products.

Dan Olsen runs and hosts a Lean Product Management & UX meet-up in Palo Alto, that has featured both BJ Fogg and Nir Eyal as speakers.  There is a Dan Olsen YouTube channel that captures many of these great talks, so enjoy from afar.

I firmly believe great products are a collaborative result of Product Management (business-side) + User Experience (end-user interests) + Development (technical side) all working well together and not one or two of these  disciplines dominating the conversation.