15 Tips to Help Designers Gain Stakeholder Buy-In
Solid advices from Catriona Cornett, like:
- Involve internal stakeholders as early and as frequently as possible
- Set proper expectations before your work begins
- Relate your ideas and designs back to the needs of your stakeholders
- Support designs with data whenever possible to reduce subjectivity
Read on: 15 Tips to Help Designers Gain Stakeholder Buy-In
Myth #25: Aesthetics are not important if you have good usability
There are usability practitioners who completely dismiss the importance of aesthetics, often citing unattractive but popular websites such as Craigslist.
However, aesthetics do have a function. Attractive things work better. Studies show that emotions play an important role in the users’ experience. If a website has a pleasant visual design, users are more relaxed, tend to find the website more credible and easier to use. A positive first impression — usually based on looks rather than interaction — determines the value of the website on the user’s behalf.
Aesthetics also tell a good many about your brand, product or service. It shows that you care.
Provide reasons for your request to motivate people
Research findings confirm that people are more likely to comply with your request if you accompany it with a rationale.
In a series of experiments, a stranger tried to cut the waiting line to use a copier by simply asking “May I use the Xerox machine?” In the next round, a legitimate reason was added to the request (“because I’m in a rush”), and then a meaningless reason was added (“because I have to make copies”). While 60 percent agreed to let the stranger cut the line in the first case, when any reason – legitimate or meaningless – was provided, nearly everybody complied (94 and 93 percent).
In web design, it means that for any request that isn’t obvious, conversion rate might be increased by simply providing a rationale. Most of the times, simple microcopy is enough, for example putting a “Why do we ask?” link next to input fields like Social Security Number.
Read on: How a Single Word Can Control Your Prospects’ Actions
The discussion of the experiment can be found in Robert Cialdini’s books: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
Users must feel they’re in control
One of the deepest need people have is for control, or at least the sense of control. Good design acknowledges and fulfills this want.
Sometimes, the illusion of control can be achieved by placing placebo buttons on an interface. A placebo button, as Wikipedia puts it, “is a push-button with apparent functionality that actually has no effect when pressed, analogous to a placebo.”
Examples of buttons that don’t actually do anything:
Focus on the peak and the end experience
As it’s nearly impossible to provide a flawless service, companies should focus their efforts on having one (or a few) very pleasant, memorable high points in their service, and making the last experience outstanding. These experiences will be remembered the most, not the sum of the experience.
This phenomenon is called the peak-end rule, Wikipedia defines it likes this: “We judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak (pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended. Other information is not lost, but it is not used. This includes net pleasantness or unpleasantness and how long the experience lasted.”
This works the same way for vacations.
Read on: The peak-end rule
Don’t make something look more complex than it is
Researches show that people judge the complexity of a task by such tiny details like the font used on the instructions.
In an experiment, an exercise was described to participants in Arial, a notably easy-to-read font, and in the harder to read Mistral font. The results “were astounding – the subjects who read the same instructions in the hard to read font estimated that the regimen would take nearly twice as long.”
If you want to make your users to perform a task on your website, describe it as simply as possible and use an easily scannable and readable format. Make sure that people will perceive it as something that’s easy to get done.
Read on: Convince with Simple Fonts
Small text changes may have huge impacts
Campaign Monitor ran A/B tests for a feedback email campaign. What they did was to change the text of the call-to-action (the body of the message remained the same):
- Version A: “Tell us what we can do better” and
- Version B: “Give us your best Campaign Monitor ideas”
The result: version A clearly outperformed version B with an estimated 51% more clicks.
So do A/B tests if you can, and mind the small details, they make the design!
Read on: A/B testing: the difference one line can make
Design involves compromise
“Design almost invariably involves compromise…. Rarely can the designer simply optimise one requirement without suffering losses elsewhere…. There are no established methods for deciding just how good or bad solutions are, and still the best test of most design is to wait and see how well it…
Read more: Excerpted highlights from How Designers Think
Don’t go for “wow”, go for “of course”
Organizations often want to create “wow” moments while forgetting what could really help them to create long-term relationships with their customers. Colin Raney writes about how organizations should go for “of course” instead:
"Most companies are looking to “wow” with their products, when in reality what they should be looking for is an “of course” reaction from their users.
If you really understand your customer and you’re aligned with what they want, shouldn’t they be looking at your offering and saying to themselves “of course”?
- Hey did you hear the new Google phone is a completely open architecture? Of course it is.
- Hey, you know my TV was broken on my Jet Blue flight. There wasn’t an open seat, so they gave me a discount voucher for my next ticket! Of course they did.
- You know, I wanted to go camping on the west coast but I didn’t want to lug my gear. Did you know REI rents camping gear? Of course they do.
- Man, the shoes from Zappos didn’t fit, but returning them was no hassle at all. Of course it wasn’t.
Each of those examples are actually extremely phenomenal in their own right, but in the context of their brand the acts become expected. It’s some sort of higher order of consumer connection. You only reach that place if you take the time to know your customer, know your market, and really know how to deliver.
That’s not “wow”, that’s thoughtful design, incredible focus, and lots of hard work.”
Read on: Of Course…
UX can be greatly improved by random acts of kindness
Jeff Howard writes about how it’s often not sustainable to provide consistently excellent services and that the key might be to design for some random details where you can and do exceed expectations:
"Rather than offering reliably excellent service, what about unpredictability? What if the answer lies in random acts of kindness? The bits of business that add value to a service, but that aren’t part of its core offering. Something we can’t anticipate, something that captures our attention — randomly exceeding our expectations. A foil to the capriciousness of human perception."
Read on: The Problem with Service Design
Also: Random Acts of Design Kindness
And update: Design for Delight