Archive for “November, 2015”

solving business problems

Tell me about a design where you set out to solve a business problem.

To me by definition UX is the art of problem solving, so I would say that every day and every job I’ve had to problem solve. I believe the key is total transparent communication. That is why when ever I’m in a leadership role I set a example by always being transparent. Always admitting what I do not know. I might not know everything, but that doesn’t make me a bad leader or a bad designer… rather, it makes me one who continues to grow. Once that space is created I can then proceed to create a path towards a viable and sustainable solution.

At Availity the main problem was breaking down silos and tons of hidden agendas by senior level management. Understanding that the only way to get buy in, in a very hostile environment is to validate your findings. Numbers never lies and numbers and stats are huge and sometimes the ONLY way to get buy-in and results.

What are the basic philosophies or principles that inform your design?
I could talk about F pattern design and grid based layouts or various design methodologies. However, to me the main thing that drives me is “purpose.” All great designs have purpose. They key of UCD is to always keep the needs of the end user front and center.

What questions do you need answered before you start designing an experience?
An experienced UX professional understands that the discovery period is crucial in developing the correct questions. It takes:
Real-world Observation
Trend Analysis
Knowledge of emerging trends
Understanding niche markets
Discovering if there are any opportunity gaps
Conduct rigorous consumer research if necessary
Undergo preliminary market research
and finally develop and Assumption Persona Development workshop and find ways to validate those findings… Then you ask questions if you still have any.

How do you stay current on UX innovations?
I’m teaching myself to become a front-end-developer and that will allow me to better understand key members of cross-functinal teams. I’ve always cross-pollinate with other UX professionals, and joined UX teams. I was a regular speaker at JAX-UX and joined Balanced Team NY. I’m authoring a book in UX entitled “UX, Keep It Simple.” And I read any book on UX I can get my hands on.

Is there anyone you admire in the UX field?
I’m friends with some of the top UX professionals and members of the TED Talk community. Currently working with Aaron Becker (TED TALK) and Steve Blanks (Godfather of UX)… and I’ve worked closely with people like Sean Rad (CEO Tinder). These are all members of the UX community that I really admire.

What are some of the UX designs that inspire you?
I’m a huge fan of blogger Aarron Walter ( ) – I love the simplicity of and the editorial look and how well it stands as a responsive site. Same for — Of course although never visually stunning is still the industry go-to site for e-commerce best practices, so is –

An email to a head-hunter

I’ve been in the interactive space since 1994, an over 20 year veteran in e-commerce. Also, being the youngest CD at Grey I’ve been managing and leading teams since the 1990’s. I also feel as co-facilitator and coach for the #1 Fitness Team in the world (Team Glass – Charles Glass 2001-2015), I’ve acquired tons of transferable skills that allow to be a compassionate and effective leader, able to influence and motivate teams. I’m fortunate that in my career I’ve worked with some of the top brands in the world, from Louis Vuitton to Autobytel to Play Station 4.

My passion for UX is so colossal, I’ve been authoring a book for the past 2 years entitled “UX – Keep It Simple.” I’m constantly reading blogs, speaking at UX groups like JAX-UX and writing about UX. I’ve been invited to give a TED talk on UX and I’m currently working with one of their leaders on a UX project.

Not only will you get a great UX Director, but I’ve always been extremely hands-on. I understand the design and development process, and there’s nothing that my former teams did – that I could not complete, understand or create myself.

A lot of people assume that because I started my career as a Agency Creative Director and participated in the Metropolitan Museum Of Art Copyist program (11 years) gifting me the ability to copy any art, any photograph and any sculpture since age 12… that I prefer User Interface Design above User Experience Research and Development. However, that could not be further from the truth, experience has taught me that the true creative process starts during the discovery period, persona development, validation, research, ideation and prototyping. Therefore, I view UI as the icing on the cake, a reward for all the hard creative work that comes before it.

Another common misconception is that as a coach, mentor, and lead creative most of my career; that I might lack the ability to be an effective team leader as well as extremely collaborative. However, the beauty of UX is that in order to succeed it has to be a true collaborative effort. UX cannot exist or succeed any other way and I LOVE that about it. Unlike my years as a Creative Director where if push came to shove my team or I could complete deliverables on our own, UX can not work that way. Therefore, choosing the correct cross-functional team and being able to collaborate is crucial.

Critical thinking and analysis has been part of who I am since age 9 when I joined the Copyist Program at the MET. It requires extreme analytical skills to dissect a painting from Rembrandt and be able to reverse engineer its development. The last 10 years I’ve taken the time to educate myself on UCD, Empirical Research, and the top 20 UX methodologies.

Having a degree in Fashion and working with Gianni Versace as a teen might not appear to be relatable to UX. However, my over 20 years in high-end fashion as an illustrator, designer, and photographer developed in me a keen eye to simple lines, and high-end aesthetics that allowed not only the fashion industry to benefit from it, but financial companies looking for that beautiful simple look and those clean lines. My aesthetics was the main reason Merrill Lynch brought me on board to participate in their “Be Bullish” campaign in 1998, because they believed my designs would be more appealing to a younger and/or more sophisticated demographics.

I truly believe it will be hard to find a more passionate person for technology and design. Hence my ability to enter enterprises and elevate the equity of a brand by designing workshops that quickly assist teams to get on board and understand why the Pareto Principle is crucial and the dangers of JIC’s (Just in Case Items). Also, the ability to create triggers and engagement that will HOOK the end users and make some of my websites, designs and initiative a daily destination.

Finally, I have a great eye for finding talent. And I’m constantly humbled by some of the people I’ve hired and been fortunate enough to work with. My years developing pitches for Grey and many other agencies allows me to feel at ease in front of teams and audiences and be an effective story teller.

Your job description was exciting to read and I feel strongly I can be a good fit. I’m really looking forward to our continued dialog.

Dolph Colon DieuDonne

20 UX Methods in Brief

The following chart illustrates where 20 popular methods appear along these dimensions:

Chart of 20 user research methods, classified along 3 dimensions

Each dimension provides a way to distinguish between studies in terms of the questions they answer and the purposes they are most suited for.

Here’s a short description of the user research methods shown in the above chart:

Usability-Lab Studies: participants are brought into a lab, one-on-one with a researcher, and given a set of scenarios that lead to tasks and usage of specific interest within a product or service.

Ethnographic Field Studies: researchers meet with and study participants in their natural environment, where they would most likely encounter the product or service in question.

Participatory Design: participants are given design elements or creative materials in order to construct their ideal experience in a concrete way that expresses what matters to them most and why.

Focus Groups: groups of 3-12 participants are lead through a discussion about a set of topics, giving verbal and written feedback through discussion and exercises.

Interviews: a researcher meets with participants one-on-one to discuss in depth what the participant thinks about the topic in question.

Eyetracking: an eyetracking device is configured to precisely measure where participants look as they perform tasks or interact naturally with websites, applications, physical products, or environments.

Usability Benchmarking: tightly scripted usability studies are performed with several participants, using precise and predetermined measures of performance.

Moderated Remote Usability Studies: usability studies conducted remotely with the use of tools such as screen-sharing software and remote control capabilities.

Unmoderated Remote Panel Studies:  a panel of trained participants who have video recording and data collection software installed on their own personal devices uses a website or product while thinking aloud, having their experience recorded for immediate playback and analysis by the researcher or company.

Concept Testing: a researcher shares an approximation of a product or service that captures the key essence (the value proposition) of a new concept or product in order to determine if it meets the needs of the target audience; it can be done one-on-one or with larger numbers of participants, and either in person or online.

Diary/Camera Studies: participants are given a mechanism (diary or camera) to record and describe aspects of their lives that are relevant to a product or service, or simply core to the target audience; diary studies are typically longitudinal and can only be done for data that is easily recorded by participants.

Customer Feedback: open-ended and/or close-ended information provided by a self-selected sample of users, often through a feedback link, button, form, or email.

Desirability Studies: participants are offered different visual-design alternatives and are expected to associate each alternative with a set of  attributes selected from a closed list; these studies can be both qualitative and quantitative.

Card Sorting: a quantitative or qualitative method that asks users to organize items into groups and assign categories to each group. This method helps create or refine the information architecture of a site by exposing users’ mental models.

Clickstream Analysis: analyzing the record of screens or pages that users clicks on and sees, as they use a site or software product; it requires the site to be instrumented properly or the application to have telemetry data collection enabled.

A/B Testing (also known as “multivariate testing,” “live testing,” or “bucket testing”): a method of scientifically testing different designs on a site by randomly assigning groups of users to interact with each of the different designs and measuring the effect of these assignments on user behavior.

Unmoderated UX Studies: a quantitative or qualitative and automated method that uses a specialized research tool to captures participant behaviors (through software installed on participant computers/browsers) and attitudes (through embedded survey questions), usually by giving participants goals or scenarios to accomplish with a site or prototype.

True-Intent Studies: a method that asks random site visitors what their goal or intention is upon entering the site, measures their subsequent behavior, and asks whether they were successful in achieving their goal upon exiting the site.

Intercept Surveys: a survey that is triggered during the use of a site or application.

Email Surveys: a survey in which participants are recruited from an email message.