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What works for you?

. Jason Walley

What works for you?

The discussion was on and UXSears team members weren’t shy about sharing their opinions. The topic: Results-Only Work Environments (ROWE) and other management philosophies to help increase productivity in the workplace. There were some immediate cheers for taking “all the vacation you want” and some good points made about how our “production concepts” should “shift towards one of the models that is proven to support” our creativity. However, the talk fell silent almost as quickly as it ignited. I would like to help keep the conversation going.

Work environments are changing, all for the sake of productivity, morale and growth. Employment and growth are no longer following industry standards. And these new strategies for getting work done means employees now have the opportunity to work how they want, when they want.

The buzz word phrase that leads this new way of thinking is “creative problem solving.” Nearly every successful business has their own specific way of harnessing creativity—removing unnecessary structure to create an environment that fosters innovation and encourages productivity. The companies that are failing to adjust are being left behind.

It comes down to motivation. Whether it comes from strategies like ROWE or the how-it’s-been-done model, we look to our company to motivate us. Without it, the work suffers. It’s quite possible that when motivated properly, people don’t need that forced structure. They can successfully function in a self-determined structure. I think we all know what that would be for us individually. And chances are it still involves a fair amount of office time.

With the good, comes the not-so-good. One of the biggest concerns with ROWE, as it should be, is the possible loss in productivity. Giving an employee complete control over his or her time can quickly weed out the weak from the herd. A ROWE isn’t going to make productivity soar all on its own. But it does present an interesting management tool for employers when it comes to evaluating an employee’s contribution. ROWE could be THE magnet for the kind of talent your company wants to attract.

So the thought of creating your own hours, deciding where you’ll work, and how much vacation time you get sounds like a dream. Right? It does, but we can probably all admit that we benefit from a certain amount of structure as part of our work environment. It’s what we know and what has helped us to be productive. Structure is our check point.

For a company to provide me the freedom to determine my own creative structure and establish motivational strategies that make me want to engage with my work and identify with the company long-term requires more consideration and effort. But the results are worth the effort.

So, what works for you?

Ahhhh tag clouds. Gotta love 'em

. Pete

Ahhhh tag clouds

Or maybe not.

That's one of the current debates up in our little Keebler Tree here at UXSears. We're going to be changing things quite a bit, shortly. New ways of interacting with our customers and letting them interact with each other, but also we'd like to use some experiences that have been around for a while.

That's when someone said "tag clouds".

We were thinking of implementing them in a bunch of ways: popular search terms, what people are buying, what people near you are buying and popular sales. We’re considering putting them in the middle or lower end of the visual hierarchy, if we put them in at all. The discussion has been "very active" here. Namely:

  • “Tag clouds suck”

  • “I love them”

  • “Nielsen says... blah blah blah”

  • “The purpose of tag clouds might not align with...”

  • “They're all sizzle, not-so-much steak”

  • “They can be a little steak, maybe”

  • “More of our customers over here would be new to the site, so tag clouds would be...”

And so on. Yet our goals here at Sears UX are simple:

Be amazing online. Get people to buy stuff. Give them reasons to come back; all the "Made to Stick" reasons that count. Can tag clouds help these goals, or are they just noise?

So far we're about even here. How do you feel?

Labels: , ,

A Good Quote (UX-Blast Thread)

. wandereye

Michael S:

We just can’t always do what is best for the users. We have to try to make sure that we are presenting an overall experience that can meet as many goals and needs as possible for the business and the users." — Russ Unger

Here's an open question:

Isn't designing for users, especially in the context of selling consumers products, about providing them with ways to obtain information or the product itself within an effective framework of service and relevancy? In other words, does real consumer-focused practice lead to "long-tail" adoption? OR, like Punk Marketing says "Consumers want to be told what to do"...? The balance is nearly impossible (between business needs and user needs) — especially when knowledge of both is limited and a moving target.

Wendy V

What's best for the users...?

  • User's Goal: I want to buy a quality, highly rated, fairly priced digital camera today.

  • Retailer's Goal:  Get them to buy the camera from us. How? By satisfying their goal by providing the relevant, necessary information for them to complete the transaction and make us money.

I don't understand how what's best for the user and what's best for the business are mutually exclusive in Russ's quote?

Geoff C

Unfortunately, it's just not that simple. It's the exact converse to the business trying to tell us something should be easy to do just because they think it is--regardless of a lack of familiarity with the technologies required to implement said 'thing.'

Dustin H:

Have to agree with Wendy and Therese on this one... I don't see how there is an exclusionary link between user and business goals. Also though trust cant be underestimated... I'd even go so far as to say that building trust, over the long term, will show more dividends that solely a usable interface...  The quote "Consumers want to be told what to do..." (from Punk Marketing) I think is off-base... or at least has taken a bit of cognition and dragged it into an incorrect direction. People want (consumers or users of nearly any UI I've seen) unambiguous -choices-... a clear path of 'where to go' needs to be laid out, but with user empowerment. IMO...

Arnold E:

My 6 year old likes to be told what to do. He is a user therefore all users like to be told what to do.

Michael S:

He also wants a pony

Dustin H:

The question really isn't what the user wants but rather what works for the majority of users. UX should want to provide a comprehensive experience that enables the most sophisticated user to extract the information he/she desires, and yet at the same time caters to the needs of a user that wants to be "told what to do".
Our best bet... Is to accommodate user's goals (and process if one exists) the best we can, while providing a better way for their consideration. Changing behavior is an enormously difficult challenge. Forcing behavior is rarely successful. But showing them an option or better method is how we take our domain expertise, and put it to good use, by offering an alternative to the previous schema. Designers should be leaders.

Michael S:

Yeah, but 80% of the 100% believe there are 80% our of 100%. Can't fight statistics.

Dustin H:

Magic word! Statistics... please cite your reference...APA Style... :)

Andrew D:

83% of all Statistics are made up 62% of the time.

Elyse S:

Attributed alternatively to Mark Twain and Benjamin Disraeli:  "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics."  I have a great little paperback: "How to Lie with Statistics"

Clint E:

The quote "Consumers want to be told what to do..." (from Punk Marketing) I think is off-base...  What do you think marketing is?  Good marketing is the subtlety of politely telling a consumer that they need that widget and that they must buy it.  Consumers are told to buy certain products if they want to be a part of the cool crowd - they must own a Mac, an iPhone, a Prius, Samsungs new 55" LED flat screen TV, and a full collection of $300 Ed Hardy jeans.
I sold cars for a few years (not a proud moment of my life - but still a part of who I am).  One of the things that we were taught was to get the customer to start saying 'yes'.  So you ask them questions that you already know the answer to and are more like 'confirmations'.  After a couple of dozen 'Yes' responses, you have engrained into their head that this is the car that they want (even if it isn't), it fits in their budget (even if it doesn't), they will put more cash down (even if they don't have it), and they do want to take the car home right now. It really isn't difficult to subtly tell someone what to do and they never realize that they were told what to do.  When you do it wrong, and they realize it, that is when they will dig in their heals and fight you like a cat about to go involuntary swim.  Did you ever wonder why every week overstock.com offers free shipping that ends on Sunday.  Every Monday starts a new week of free shipping that ends on Sunday.  Those customers are politely and subtly told that they have to buy 'x' this week.  There is a reason that they call it guided selling and guided navigation.  We still need to guide the customer to our checkout with products.  We just can't use a cattle prod to push them.

Dustin H:

The quote was “Consumers want to be told what to do...” rather than marketing, which would likely be “Businesses want to tell [consumers] what to do...”; the difference being the origination of the desire...  As a consumer we can be persuaded (read: marketing) even though it is not our desire (read: want) to have this happen...

Peg J:

Or "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure"