July 25-27, 2018 / Vancouver, BC

Real Talk: Why Honest UX Matters - Lauren Lucchese

September 6, 2016

Speaker - Lauren Lucchese

Transcription coming soon

Hi, everyone, yup, I’m Lauren and I’m here to talk to you today about why honest UX matters. So I’m going to start with a little bit of a story. When I was in grad school, not too long ago, I was working quite a few freelance jobs to try to cobble together rent so one Saturday night I found myself on my computer, and I found this job posting site for freelancers that seemed awesome. There were all of these different posting opportunities and these jobs that I wags reading about seemed like something I’d be really interested in doing so I immediately created an account and spent quite a few hours building my profile because I wanted people to read about me and be like, yeah, she can do this word and I’m telling you this thing was a masterpiece.

I was really proud of what I’d created. And so then the next step after I published that profile was to go to all these different job postings that I saw and apply for them. So I found one that was especially interested in and clicked apply, and hit a paywall and I was mad about it, because it was unexpected. And the thing is, it wasn’t even that expensive of a paywall. It just felt deceptive because where it hit me in the experience. I’d spent a ton of time and energy going through that process, and I was ready to apply, and it was like all of a sudden now they wanted me to pay, because they felt like maybe they had me, because they knew that I’d put in that effort up front, and so I got kind of upset by it, and I ended up losing all trust in this platform.

So I didn’t end up buying into it, and the thing is, I actually still get emails from them all the time. Even one today. That they have job opportunities for me and it adds to my announce, because I can’t figure out how to unsubscribe. But I assure you did not take this opportunity to get up on stage and rant. But this whole thing got me thinking about honest design. Honesty is the foundation of all of our most important relationships. It becomes an expectation when you begin to get close to somebody and unfortunately when your trust is broken in a relationship, you feel really hurt and it can destroy even the closest connections we have to other people. I honestly don’t think it’s that different from the relationships that people have with the different products and services they engage with.

So we have a responsibility to be honest in the things that we’re creating for our customers. When we mess that up, it can erode trust in our product and it can hurt people and ruin relationships. I think, you know, up there on the list of all of the different principles that we adhere to as designers, honesty is what really, really matters when it comes to great UX. And a lot of be honest in our designs really comes down to this: Be real. We’re all people and we know how to do that and when something is going to happen at a certain part in an experience that we’re working on, we should tell the customer that it’s coming or there should never it be unpleasant surprises in the things that we’re building. It also means that as companies, if we make a mistake, we need to say so and we need to explain what happened and move on.

If something’s broken in a digital experience, we need to tell our customers exactly what’s happening and why and how we’re working on fixing it, when we don’t do this, and when we don’t put in the effort to be this up front and authentic and genuine in our interactions that we’re building with our customers, we can end up losing them, because we lose their trust and their respect in our products and it can ruin our relationships with them. And a lot of what goes into being real, also, is communicating in a very natural, real way, with our customers. Ream talk means using accessible language that our customers can understand, that makes them feel comfortable and secure, and most importantly, in control of their interactions with our site.

One of our pillars, my UX content strategy team at Capital One adheres to in our day to day work is natural language and the way that we talk about our work is that we want to be designing the conversation that we’re having with our customers at every single touch point across an experience. So what that means is when we get to any point we try to anticipate all of the different questions that a customer might have at that exact moment in time and then we create content that addresses these questions truthfully in a way that is straightforward and clear.

Much like you would react to a conversation you’re having with somebody in real life. It can be a lot of work, it is a lot of work to sort of put that effort in up front but it can have the power to completely reengineer design flows in a way that makes them a lot more understandable. And so really the work ends up being worth it. So what can all of us as designers and content strategists do to constantly keep ourselves honest? For me, you know, I ask a lot of meaningful questions, which really is how I approach most things in my life is just ask an I incessant amount of questions.

Which means at any touch point we should be asking ourselves or asking our users if we have the ability to do user research, who is our customer at this moment, why are they here? What are they going to be trying to do? What brought them here, in the sense like how are they feeling at this exact moment when emotions are being triggered here, how can we be writing content that addresses those motions. You know, Sara brought up in her talk today where sometimes cute, quirky content is the way to go, but sometimes it’s not and being aware the emotional state of our customer coming to our site is really important.

When it comes down to it, we’re all people, and while there’s probably a lot of different things that impact the decisions that we have to make on a daily basis, like business requirements or whatever else, we can all do our jobs as the designers and content strategists in the room, to just be real. That’s it.