El fin de semana pasado aproveché para leer el libro UX design for Startups  escrito por Marcin Treder.

Si tienes unos conocimientos mínimos, creo que la parte sobre metodologías y técnicas de trabajo basadas en la experiencia de usuario no aporta mucho. Sin embargo, me parece destacable la importancia que le da el autor a las métricas (las cuales no pueden ir separadas del diseño UX) y al proceso de optimización del producto:

Our Golden rule was meant to constantly remind ourselves about two things:

1)      A UX design is only as good as its measured performance.

2)      Optimisation is constant. We just postpone it when the cost are higher than the assumed gain.

Como muchos otros, siempre he creído que, más allá de cuestiones estéticas, el buen diseño es aquel que resuelve un problema. El punto caliente es saber cuándo el problema está resuelto (o si el nuevo diseño es mejor que el anterior, etc. ) y con las métricas podemos saberlo de una forma bastante sencilla.

I’ve recently had a conversation (not the first one of its sort) on why the results of the work of a very talented designer don’t bring home the bacon (happy users and money). The design looks great, most of the decisions are backed up with reasonable argumentation, it’s shiny, personal and seems to be clever. What could be wrong? Why doesn’t it simply fly?

It’s very easy to lose faith in the designer’s talent, the users, or, God forbid, the design itself. Too easy. We have this inner urge to blame, but believe me – that’s not the right path to take. This shiny design might have a certain value, it just doesn’t perform well enough. Blaming the designer would only obscure the picture. Perhaps we’re just one small tweak away from a great-looking, high-performance interface.

How could we know this, if not by carefully measuring performance, gathering the right data and drawing a valid conclusion?

Make sure that you know what your design is supposed to do (choose one main thing to start with), choose one metric that can tell you if people succeed and measure it. The numbers don’t look too good? Try to figure out what’s going wrong (classic usability testing might come in handy) and correct it. It’s almost always that easy.

Measurement is a habit that you need to grow and in time you’ll get better and better at choosing the right things and ways to measure them. Your startup will flourish.

UX Design for Startups

Portada del libro UX Design for Startups

Respecto a la optimización, creo que poco a poco va calando la idea de una web no es algo que se lanza y queda “estático” hasta que 5 ó 7 años después alguien decide que es necesario hacer una nueva. Tras la primera puesta en producción empieza una nueva etapa de optimización de lo existente, de creación de nuevas funcionalidades, de corregir pequeños detalles… donde cada despliegue es una oportunidad para medir y optimizar, algo que debe entrar sin ningún tipo de dudas en cualquier ciclo de desarrollo de un producto web.

Creo que el punto de vista de Marcin respecto a la priorización de lo que debe ser optimizado es bastante acertado:

My rule of thumb is to deal first with anything that creates a loss. If something irritates your customers and makes them leave your app, that’s the first thing to optimise. If you don’t, you’ll always have a hole in your product.

The second step is to look for the cheapest solution that offers the highest probability of the highest gain. (Obviously, in practice, it’s not quite that simple. Choosing the right optimisation requires solid knowledge about your users and a little bit of experience in making design decisions. But if you properly measure your users’ behaviour, you’ll get this with time.)

Finally, in a startup, try to avoid expensive solutions. Think what else you could be spending that money on. If you expend your entire development budget on a feature that will take three months to optimise, your competitors might gain such a lead on you that you’ll never be able to catch up.