Issue #33 - Bucking trends and analysing spend

Copycats never prosper.In nearly every single meeting I go to, we somehow end up looking at what othe
Issue #33 - Bucking trends and analysing spend
By Ross Chapman • Issue #33
Copycats never prosper.
In nearly every single meeting I go to, we somehow end up looking at what other sites do. I guess this is to speed up learning and to get to success quicker by looking at other successes. In the eCommerce space, we look at Amazon and friends (we should really be looking at The Coop!)
The problem is, we don’t ask why their decisions would apply to our business.  Plus over time, these marks of success become trends without being challenged. Take the hamburger menu. Take scroll jacking.
Don’t follow trends. Follow data. Try new things. Course correct if they don’t work. Above all, learn.
Take this from Gary Vaynerchuk:
“I have literally no idea what my competition is up to right now.
Surprised? I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t be.
You know what I spend my time on instead? My people and my team, where we’re going, what the next big thing we’re going to CRUSH is. I spend time on making myself unbelievable at everything I do.”
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Note: I’m tweaking the format a bit - blending research in with design (can’t do one without the other) and cutting down on links, but increasing on curation. If I hear feedback to the contrary, I’ll change back. This is me iterating the design from data. Please let me know if you like/dislike!

UX design
In the first of a series, Sarah Richards does the mother of all retrospectives. In this part, she retells the situation UK Government was at prior to her leading content design initiatives. In the early days of shutting down sites, done was better than perfect. Also, take a look at the list of closed sites! 
Asking the better questions
Conducting user interviews is a skill in itself. Do you know what you want to ask and how to ask it? Don’t prepare too much though as “the only way to get good at it is to do it.”
Accessibility posters
“Is our site accessible? What is accessible?!” Helpfully, the UK Home Office have created a set of posters to easily explain what Accessibility considerations designers need to make. Think screen readers and designing for people with autism - good tips!
eCommerce
People buy from people repeatably because of trust. Trust that they’re not going away anytime soon. Look at Amazon. Customer Lifetime Value is one of the most important factors in determining your business’ present and future success. It also lets you evaluate your cost of acquisition and ultimately, return on investment.
Why I can’t convince your execs to invest in UX
“And neither can you.” Jared Spool highlights a key criteria to successful design teams. You need to understand whether your CEO values design. “I’ve been pitching our services for 23 years and I’ve never once successfully convinced an executive of anything.”
I’m working on a navigation piece at the moment. “Discover-ability is cut almost in half by hiding a website’s main navigation. Task time is longer and perceived task difficulty increases.” Think about it. Not every one of your users is going to understand what a hamburger menu does, even if it is the cool thing to use. Instead, design mobile-first and visible navigation. Hamburger menus are the result of desktop-first. As James Archer notes “this hamburger is made of mystery meat.”
Coolness
Make something easy and people will use it. That’s the takeaway from London’s Cycle Superhighways. With Quietways coming, it won’t be long until people reclaim the streets from the mass of cars and lorries. And pedestrians win too. The Quietways will mean wider paths to walk and enhanced crossing places.
RAMS: The First Feature Documentary About Dieter Rams by Gary Hustwit
Gary Hustwit is raising funds for RAMS: The First Feature Documentary About Dieter Rams on Kickstarter! If you watched Helvetica, you’re going to love this. Take a peek at the trailer and enter the world of Rams.
Audi R8 'Spin' Making Of
A commitment to craft (plus I’ve always had an interest in film making.) Mark Jenkinson gives us a behind-the-scenes look at his latest spot for the Audi R8. It’s making me hungry for doughnuts this morning!
Here's to tastefully designing for user needs!
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Ross Chapman
A weekly collection of product design, user research, cycling and coolness from @rosschapman of @etchuk
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