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Interaction 10

This past week I had the pleasure to present at Interaction 10 in Savannah, Ga. This was my first Interaction conference and I absolutely loved it. The city, the venue, the crowd and the content were all fantastic. Even the food was the best conference food I’ve ever had. The IXDA should be really proud for making such an excellent event happen.

I was excited to go but apprehensive because I was meant to present on a topic that is new to me and I had not had an opportunity to have other conversations about it across the community. Also, after seeing the first two days of excellent content one is bound to feel nervous about their own stuff! It ended up being great – I talked about key performance indicators and measuring success in the context of user experience (slides forthcoming – I’m writing notes because they are not good enough on their own as they were only triggers for my talking points).

While preparing for this talk I expected to have few people show up, precisely because of the reason why I am investigating this topic in the first place: designers don’t like numbers. I didn’t think the topic would be attractive at all (thus my “out there” title and description). The feedback I received and the types of questions asked during the event were really interesting and helped validate some suspicions about how our community sees metrics and numbers.

My main goal was to put something out there about KPIs and measures of success for UX so that we could start a conversation and really explore this topic. I have grown tired of how this topic ALWAYS ends up going into a “what is the ROI” conversation and never advances our ability to express what success means to us. Measuring success to show our value to others is a secondary goal, measuring success for ourselves seems far more valuable to me, which is why I am going to continue to explore this and try to focus the conversation on that goal.

The main theme I saw emerge from the feedback I received is that people felt validated; that I brought up the questions they all have but had not seen articulated in the community — which is precisely what I felt when I started looking into this 4 months ago. We can’t really learn and expand our understanding as a community if we don’t figure out what questions we’re trying to answer. And that is why, in my opinion, we always fall back on the pointless ROI calculation discussions.

I am very grateful for all who came, participated and found me later to discuss the topic. I am very excited about seeing what’s next.


Katherine Gray said,

February 9, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

I love your topic. I’m married to an analytics expert (@agray) who came out of IA and UxD so our dinnertime conversations (yes, it’s sad) often revolve around how to measure what’s good and what’s not apart from the dashboard that the client needs for ROI measurement. I believe in numbers, as long as you know what they mean and when to ignore them. I’ve even considered requiring that clients include my KPIs in their dashboard just so I can get feedback on what I want to know about. (Whether or not they want to do this is an interesting indicator of the quality of the client.)

I can’t wait to see your slides!


arpit said,

February 9, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

Cant wait for the slides but we should definitely do lunch or something sometime soon. As you know some of the newer projects I am working on (rhymes with “the ball” ;) ) are using UX as their main motivation factor. This would be the perfect time to introduce some of your ideas into the project. I am getting a little tired of UX being such a subjective concept.

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