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We’ve just returned from 4 days out at the Glensevin Mansion in the Brecon Beacons for our second annual Webcredible retreat. Our next financial year begins in August so it was the perfect time to go away together and plan for what we want to achieve for the year (as well as enjoy some great weather and beautiful scenery).

It was fantastic to have all of the Webcredibles together, something that very rarely happens.

It got off to a slow start with our bus being 4 hours late so we didn’t arrive at our beautiful house until 2am! We got over our tiredness quickly though and had a great couple of days running lots of workshops. We all knew what Webcredible is trying to achieve as a company but we wanted to work out how we were going to get there and who was going to do what. “You” was very much the theme of the 2 days – what do you as a Webcredible want to achieve over the next year?

We followed an unconference format where we started by collaboratively creating the agenda. By the end of the 2 days – and after many intense but incredibly illuminating workshops – we’d defined what we wanted to do for the year and what everyone would like to achieve.

We then – as usual at a Webcredible event – followed this up with a big party and karaoke before relaxing in the house and enjoying the countryside over the weekend.

Check out the story of the weekend in 5 minutes:

Want to be part of our next weekend away? We’re recruiting!

Webcredible’s own Nirish takes some time to talk about why Interaction Design (IxD) is important in making sure you are fulfilling your users needs.

Why is Interaction Design important for businesses from Webcredible on Vimeo.

If you want to learn more about IxD yourself  book a place today on our next course Interaction design & Prototyping training.

Transcript

What does IxD mean to you?

IxD or interaction design is about helping the user/customer get to their goals as quickly as possible with minimum fuss so that your product becomes invisible. It actually sounds like an oxymoron but the focus should not be on using your product but on solving your user/customer’s problem.

Why is IxD important for businesses?

Well, businesses need to interact with customer’s day-in-day-out across multiple touchpoints. It’s not just when your customers uses your website to order something but also when they go onto social media to brag or complain about you, or even when they pick up the phone. So there are so many different touchpoints that the customer can use to engage with you. The customer’s decision to buy or not buy your product depends on the quality of that interaction. As a business, wouldn’t you rather design and take control of that interaction to get the outcome you desire?

What’s your one top IXD tip?

Always validate your assumptions!

Webcredible have been working with UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) as a user experience and design partner. As part of the user research for a redesign project, we conducted guerrilla research with school students at a couple of UCAS Conventions.

The purpose of the research was to understand the students’ motivation in attending the conventions, their higher education application journey and their critical queries in the process. So what did we learn after spending 2 full days guerrilla testing with motivated, hormone-charged teenagers with hopes, fears and dreams?

1. Don’t be afraid to approach them

As user researchers, most of us are used to with talking to adults and we’re very comfortable with that. But it’s not often that we get to talk to teenagers and children.

But don’t worry. They don’t bite, at least most of them don’t. Don’t be afraid to approach them and stop them in their paths. Just be honest about what you’re after.

2. Talk to the lost and confused first

If you’re nervous about stopping someone for the first time, here’s a tip to help you get started. Look out for teenagers who’re walking around looking lost and confused.

Most probably, they are. Sometimes it’s all about making that first move and breaking the ice. Your participant will likely appreciate it when someone approaches them and says hello without them having to make the effort. Also, it’s much easier to talk to shy people if you’re feeling shy as well.

3. Treat them as adults

Nothing turns off teenagers more than speaking to them condescendingly. Remember the old adage of user research – you’re the apprentice, they’re the master.

The same rule applies with teenagers and children. Show the same respect you show to adults and value their opinions in the same way.

4. Encourage everyone in a group to speak

Interviewing a group of people at the same time is always tricky. It’s too easy for one person to direct the flow of conversation and for others not utter a word. We found that the teenagers felt more comfortable speaking to us when they were with their group of friends.

Don’t turn willing participants away just because they’re in a group. However, encourage everyone in the group to contribute individually. Ask each person for their opinion, but don’t force them to come up with a response. Some teenagers prefer to keep quiet.

5. Try not to interview parents and teenagers together

Every time we interviewed parents and their teenage children, the kids just went dead silent or seemed uninterested in the conversation. Even questions directed at the teenagers were met with quick ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers. However don’t avoid talking with parents but rather interview them separately and compare the data later.

6. Sweets are good incentives

User research doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you’re interviewing teenagers. Most of them are happy to speak to you for a packet of sweets.

However, we found some teenagers grabbed some sweets and walked away while we were busy talking to someone else. In the end we had to place a sign over the bowl of sweets with the words ‘FREE SWEETS if you answer our questions!’.

7. Be prepared for mid-session drop-outs

The stress of university applications, school exams and peer pressure led to shorter attention spans during sessions. We had a few participants cutting the session short or being pulled away by their friends.

The teenagers (and anyone else you talk to in guerrilla research) have much more important things to worry about than talking to you. Respect their time and ask the most important questions first, just in case you have to cut the interview short. Don’t be offended if the participants runs off mid-sentence!

Researching with teenagers is a lot of fun but can be stressful for new researchers. But the tips above should hopefully reduce that stress so you can focus on their problems rather than your own. What is your experience researching with children and teenagers? Do you have any other tips you want to add to the list? Add your comments below!

If you want to learn more about guerrilla research, and other user research methods we have a training course that can help.

Over the last few months we have been working with a talented freelance animator, @adamproctor, to create a video for our UX training programme. Our aim was to make our online content more engaging, and give viewers an overview of why UX is so important to the success of digital products.

We started the process by exploring the story we wanted to tell and creating an animatic with post it notes (we love post it notes)…

 

After creating the animatic we explored some different visual styles for our video…

Before hitting on something we loved…

Here it is, the product of our hard work…

Please watch our video and give us some feedback, we’d love to know what you think! Feel free to be as candid as you like.

Webcredible recently finished an incredibly exciting project working on Dulux’s new app, the Visualizer. The Visualizer is a next-gen augmented reality app for iOS and Android that lets you virtually paint walls in real time.

If you’re still in the dark, we made this video to demonstrate how it works.

We’ve worked with Dulux for some time now, on a range of different projects. However, the Visualizer stands out as a particularly exciting challenge because of the AR element, which meant we were designing for a relatively new and unexplored type of user interaction.

Given that designing great user experiences for augmented reality is by no means an easy task, early in the project we developed a series of design principles to guide us. They were to:

  • Integrate AR seamlessly into the overall user journey
  • Offer “just enough fidelity”
  • Encourage experimentation
  • Avoid prolonged user journeys

Our consultants started the design process by sketching roughly on paper.

The final product was a huge success, we designed a visually stunning, state-of-the-art app that users love.

Of course, don’t just take my word for it, in only 16 days the app saw a massive 145% increase in users and usage shot up by 247%.

If you want to find out how we approached designing for AR, and achieved such great results make sure to read the full case study.

Also, don’t forget to give the app a go and tell us what you think! You can download it from the iTunes Store or Google Play.

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  • UCAS

    UCAS's Track portal is award-winning, achieving a 95%+ satisfaction rating across its 750,000 users

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    Hotels.com gained a much stronger competitive advantage due to a great mobile & tablet strategy

  • Pearson Education

    Pearson Education has embedded user-centred design into all their digital design processes

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