Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Visual Guide to the Customer Journey Mapping

According to the Digital Trend 2015 Report, customer experience is considered the most important factors to stand from your competitor in the business. This can be achieved only through understanding the customer experience. The customer journal mapping can help us to visually learn more about our customers and build a coherent project future plans accordingly.
The literature studies highlighted that companies found that attracting a new customer is 6X to 7X more expensive comparing with the effort, time, and cost spent to keep the existing customer happy and engaged to the product or service. So, how can the customer journey maps help companies to reach this goal? We will go through the steps to create a customer journey mapping and the benefits that can be accomplished by applying it. In this practice, you can use any of the customer journey mapping tools highlighted later in this article.

What is the Customer Journey Maps?

The customer journey maps are a visual diagram that tells the story of your customers’ experience when using a product, service or visits a retail store. it helps us to identify the consumers’ goals, the steps they made to access the service, the touch point with the service, and their emotional experience at each stage of their journey.
The customer journey map can be presented in different formats including drawing on a whiteboard, digital diagrams, and infographics. These diagrams intent to visual and organize a deep research for your customer’s experience using different research methods.

Why Should we Use Customer Journey Mapping?

While human-centered design aims to focus on the customer needs and experience, it can’t be achieved without a deep understanding of the customer experience itself. Therefore, the customer journey maps are considered a powerful tool in the hand of designers and companies to reach a consumer-centric product.
The customer journey mapping can drive the below benefits for the product or service:
– Build a complete and accurate understanding of the customer behavior and experience when using the product or service
– Learn how to customer really use the product or service based on real-life examples
– Identify the pain point that causes bad emotional experience for the customers
– Reduce or eliminate the negative factors that affect the customer experience
– Identify the communicate problems that face customers when interacting with the touch points such as the application interface, help desks, or customer support service
– Build key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to evaluate the product in order to collect feedback to improve the future version

How to Apply the Customer Journey Mapping?

The process to create the customer journey maps follow the critical thinking main stages; understand, reflect, and implement. Based on this flow, the creation of the customer journey maps follow the below main three stages:

Stage 1: Understand

At this stage, the design and marketing team work together to understand the customer behavior through deep research to their experience while using the product. Before, starting the research, the team should define a customer persona; The persona is a virtual character with the same demographic information of the real customer targeted in the research phase. In terms of the customers’ emotional experience, you can also build the persona empathy mapping which allows the design team to understand the different feelings that visit the consumer during using the product or service.

The different research methods (Source: NNGroup: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/which-ux-research-methods/)

Once the persona is defined, the research team is recruited to collect the data using different research method that include the following:
– Qualitative research methods. These methods allow the team to collect the customer emotional experience. These methods include observation, interviews, focus groups, and field studies
– Quantitative research methods. These methods aim to collect measurable information such as how many time does the customers user the service? How long does it take to complete the process?…etc. These methods include surveys, testing, and web analytics.

The persona for the customer journey map created using UXPressia

Stage 2: Reflect

At this stage, the collected data are organized and shared with the team to brainstorm and solve problems. The stage includes the following preparation:
Assemble the team
The team should involve all the stakeholders working in the project in order to understand and discuss problems from all the different perspectives such as the design, marketing, and managerial sides.
Prepare the meeting place
The meeting place should include the tools required to go through all the data, present it, and convert to a visualized infographics. These tools include the following:
– Projector to overview the different collected data and available media
– Whiteboard and notes to sketch different ideas and visualize it to the team
– Online customer journey mapping tool to digitalize the brainstormed ideas during the meeting using the customer journey map template that can be shared with the team later. There are different customer journey map tools such as UXPressiaSmaply, and UX360.
Based on the collected data, the team defines the information that should be included in the customer journey map in order to help to understand the customer behavior including the following:
1. The steps that the customer go through in order to use the product or the service
2. The customer goal during each step
3. The process that the customer should follow in each step and the relation between the customer and the system

The connection between the customer and the touchpoint using arrows (Adopted from UX Lady: http://www.ux-lady.com/diy-experience-map/)

4. The emotional experience at each stage represented in terms or shapes of happy, moderate, or sad
5. The reasons of the emotional experience
6. The channels that customer may use to access the service, it can be a website, a mobile app, an email, or a phone call
7. The touch points where the customer interact with the service such as the mobile design
The figure below shows a customer journey map template created using UXPressia to visualize the persona experience in traveling using railway service:
The figure below shows a customer journey map template created using UXPressia to visualize the persona experience in traveling using railway service:

example of the customer journey map. (Click the image to enlarge)

In addition to the above information, the customer journey map can also include:
8. Qualitative data to evadable each stage such as the Key Performance Indications (KPIs)
9. Ideas area to give suggestions that may improve each stage

Stage 3: implement

After understanding the customer experience, the team should have a clear vision about the pain point that faces the customer and how brainstormed how to overcome it through building an action plan. This plan should address these issues faced by the customer with solutions. The action plan should clearly define the timeframe and budget required to improve the product or the service in order to improve the customer satisfaction. The plan should include the stakeholders working n implementing these changes
After implementing these changes, another customer journey map should be created in order to evaluate the customer satisfaction of the new changes and if there any further improvement is needed. Note that the design of a product or service is an iterative process, there are always ways to improve it as the customer experience change due to the changes in the culture, education, and new technologies.
The above example went through one customer journey map template, yet there are varied templates and shapes of the customer journey maps depend on the visualized information, the team creativity, and the tool used to create the map.
In sum, the customer journey mapping is a powerful tool in the company’s hand to understand their customer experience and work to improve it in the next versions of the product or the service. It allows companies to collect data about the consumer and organize these data in a visual form that can be easily tracked by all the stakeholders included in the project. As a result of this understanding, the team can work to build an action plan aiming to improve the consumer experience which will positively reflect on the project success in the market.

Monday, April 24, 2017

10 Questions You’ll Be Asked in a UX Interview

The Questions (and notes):
1. How do you define UX/design?
Focus on crafting a unique and specific definition that sheds light on who 
you are as a designer. Use this also as an opportunity to tell a story that 
provides context for your design perspective. However you define UX, make 
this a chance to add something personal.
I focused my definition around empathy and the importance of understanding 
the people I’m designing for. It allowed me to touch on my background in 
psychology, allude to past experiences I had doing anthropological research, 
and brought to light the importance of designing human-centered experiences.
2. What is your design process?
Everyone has a different design process (and that’s okay). What will matter is 
your ability to describe your process and explain the rationale behind your 
approach. It’s a good idea to have a standard ‘go-to’ process in mind, yet 
it’s important to acknowledge your design context. Different UX situations 
inevitably call for different UX processes. It’s a strength to understand your 
environment and determine a process that’s best fits for your situation.
Ask your interviewer for specifics. Respond to a particular design problem 
the company is facing or talk about a process you have used in a particular 
Through all my processes, my one constant is to ask the right questions before 
designing.  It frames the way I approach a problem and guides me toward 
the appropriate UX strategy and tools going forward.
3. What are some apps or websites that you love?
When thinking about this question, consider your audience and have a range of 
apps/websites that can demonstrate a diversity of aspects you find important to 
design. When I was interviewing, I chose SquareCashLyft, and 
Meetup.com — all experiences I loved for different reasons.
SquareCash represented simplicity in design. It made money transactions 
painless and solved a problem I didn’t realize I had. Lyft represented a 
peer-to-peer service that was trust-worthy and delightful and leveraged 
local communities to foster sharing in my hometown (San Francisco) and beyond. 
Meetup.com represented a platform for community at scale and had provided 
a tribe for me no matter where I was in the world.While touching on UI elements, try 
to paint a picture of your values as a designer. By choosing apps/websites that 
highlight your interests and elegantly solve your pains, you’ll make a memorable 
4. How do you work with engineers/Product Managers/other designers?
The ability to empathize and understand the motivation of those you work with 
is crucial. Engineers, PMs, and other designers all come with their own particular 
needs and goals and if you can demonstrate your sensitivity to them, you’ll be 
well received.
Engineers: I’ve found that providing especially close attention to interaction 
design and accounting for edge cases is important. Engineers are responsible for 
building the product — making sure that your interactions function properly for all 
use cases will save your engineer friends time and frustration. Also, try to speak 
their language — learn how to code. Being confident in HTML, CSS, and 
JavaScript is a great start.
PMs: I emphasize communication, storytelling, and tradeoffs. PMs manage 
deadlines, appeal to admins and keep projects running smoothly. Make sure 
you and your PM are sync’d. Being able to tell a powerful story about your design 
will also help to make their job easier when trying to persuade other stakeholders.
Designers: Show, don’t tell. Focus your attention toward the design problem 
instead of individual design preferences. Working with other designers is an
incredible opportunity for collaboration and can push you to better work. When 
working with other designers, sometimes I like to practice pair design — it’s a 
great way to develop shared ownership over the work and push your individual 
design limits.
5. Who in the industry do you follow and read?
Don’t fudge this question! Find some members of the design community now 
that you admire and start reading — there are a lot of incredible designers out 
there to source inspiration. If you don’t have a list, check out LinkedIn, Medium, 
Twitter or design blogs to get started. If you’re feeling brave, reach out to members 
in the community and begin to cultivate a relationship. It’s remarkable how friendly 
people in the design circle can be.Julie Zhuo (Facebook), Daniel Burka 
(Google Ventures), Bo Ren(Facebook), Ximena Vengoechea (LinkedIn), 
and Frank Yoo (Lyft) are a few members of the community that 
I look up to, follow, and read.
6. What is the most interesting project you have worked on?
Use this as a chance to tell a story — and follow a typical story arc: background, 
opportunity, process, adversity along the way, triumphs, and outcome. Talk about  
what you did on the project but focus most on whythis particular project was so
 interesting for you. Did it have to do with the people, circumstance, opportunity, or 
something else?As a young designer, I like to talk about my first foray in design: 
Creating the user experience for a co-living space in Tokyo. This project was 
meaningful to me because it was my introduction to UX and trial by fire as a 
designer. I practiced UX principles in a physical space, was challenged with 
designing in a foreign context (Tokyo), and I was able to find success in 
ambiguity and uncertainty — when I started I really didn’t know what I was doing. 
Designing in a physical space provided a laboratory for me to observe, test and 
iterate in real time and built a foundation for how I now approach design problems 
in a digital context.
7. Do you prefer to work alone or with a team?
Having self-awareness of how you work and demonstrating flexibility is key. 
Consider the company you’re interviewing with — the size, what you know about 
the culture, and how you might fit into work dynamics. Also be true to yourself. 
The interviewer will be looking for how you play with others and determine 
if you’re a good culture fit.When thinking about this question, I sometimes draw 
a graph mapping out my energy levels throughout the day. I’ve discovered I 
like ‘heads-down’ time in the morning, collaborative time after lunch, (snacks 
throughout the day) and time to consume content and find inspiration in the late 
afternoons. I try to balance my own patterns while being aware of others and the 
dynamics around me.
8. Tell me about an assignment that was too difficult. How did you handle the 
situation?Working at a fast-paced startup, you’ll inevitably be thrown assignments 
or tasks that you won’t initially know how to approach (If this doesn’t happen, you 
might not be really working at a startup). Think about a time you took on a difficult 
task head first and struggled through ambiguity to eventually arrive at some 
conclusion. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a triumphant story as long as you show 
your willingness to explore, test, (fail), and iterate and demonstrate a commitment to 
learn and adapt going forward.One example that comes to mind is the first time I 
conducted (guerrilla) user interviews. I found myself clueless with a script in my 
hand, an iPhone camera, and 7 strangers to find and interview on the street. I failed 
pretty hard at first — approaching people on the go, waiting too long to make an 
introduction (awkward…) and rushing my questions. I studied my footage, observed 
patterns of when people could most likely be approached (lunch in the park), and 
upped my confidence with the support of a friend designer and tried again. This time, 
a little bit better.
9. Why do you want to work at [company x]?
I like to talk about the company from a design perspective. Focus on 
mentorship, desigculture, co-workers and the type of design challenges the 
company is currently facing. Make it personal and demonstrate a vision. 
Being able to talk about how the company melds with your past and how 
it will elevate you to where you want to be in your future shows a clear 
understanding of what you want and how to get it.When I was applying for 
full-time jobs, I had just left a contract gig where I was the sole designer. 
I knew that I was looking for something different — a place where I could 
be mentored, level up in a thriving design culture, and solve problems at 
scale. I found companies that fit my focus and demonstrated how I was 
aligned with the team.
10. Why should I hire you?
For young designers, this can feel like the toughest question to answer. Without 
lot of design experience, what you can offer is your hustle and a proven 
willingness to learn. Emphasize it. And don’t just talk about it —show it. Point to 
personal projects, blog posts, and other forms of commitment to design that 
you’ve taken.As a young designer, you’ve taken an enormous leap into a new 
career. Talk about this experience and share the strides you’ve taken to get to 
where you are now and where you want to be. You have enormous 
potential — be confident as you go.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Just completed a 7 month contract position with PayPal on their Foundations team, in which I was responsible for redefining the PayPal look and feel as their site hasn't been updated for years. Additionally, since the site is a conglomeration of many departments the look and feel has become disjointed. So as a result their is no consistency between pages and departments. As I am currently abiding by an NDA, I am unable to post many of the designs that I worked on during my tenure there, but I am posting the z-index architecture to be implemented with my new designs by development. More to come!