Transcript: “I co-created UX advice column UX Agony Aunt” : Ask Me Anything

Transcript: “I co-created UX advice column UX Agony Aunt” : Ask Me Anything

Ashlea Mckay
Summary:

Today we were lucky enough to host our good friend Ashlea McKay in our public Slack channel for an entertaining and enlightening ‘Ask me Anything’ session.

Read on to find out what went down.

Today we hosted our good friend Ashlea McKay in our Slack channel for the sole purpose of picking her brain, and pick we did! Ashlea is a UX designer, researcher and writer most famous for her (now not-so-secret) role of UX Agony Aunt.

The session was one of the more intimate that we’ve run (timezones!) but that actually worked in our favour because it was really personal.

It was without a doubt my favourite AMA ever because I managed to hijack the conversation for long enough to talk about cats!

If you didn’t make the session because you didn’t know about it, make sure you join our community to get updates of upcoming sessions. If you have follow up questions for Ash, you can ask them here.

If you’re interested in seeing what we discussed, or you want to revisit your own questions, here is a full transcript of the chat.

 Transcript

hawk
2016-07-07 07:03
So – @ashleamckay has been a member of our community pretty much since we launched, and for that we’re both lucky and grateful

hawk
2016-07-07 07:03
She’s a UX designer, researcher and writer with a background in industrial design

hawk
2016-07-07 07:04
but what we love most about her is the fact that she’s always happy to help anyone with anything

hawk
2016-07-07 07:04
she’s making a name for herself as a UX Agony Aunt (https://www.optimalworkshop.com/ux-agony-aunt)

hawk
2016-07-07 07:05
So Ash, over to you (and a huge thanks for your time)

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:05
Hello Everyone! Thank you so much for joining!

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:05
Hi!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:06
As the name of this session suggests, ask me anything!

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:07
I was wondering how you deal with trying to change a users behaviour / mental concept about a product?

hawk
2016-07-07 07:07
(UX related :wink: )

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:07
yes UX related

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:07
haha

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:07
lol

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:07
To explain a bit further, we recently changed our model for our software and have had huge backlash from customers

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:07
oh wow, what luck, I get to participate in this AMA session

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:07
@jacqui_dow5: Great question! Can you tell me more about why the change was made?

hawk
2016-07-07 07:08
@hugofroes: Welcome. We’re literally just kicking off. Jump in with questions at any time. I’ll queue them if nec.

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:09
It was a business decision as SMT level

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:09
at*

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:09
So now we are trying to change it again to make it seem more beneficial to customers

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:10
Our main issue is that the main benefits don’t come until phase 2!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:11
@jacqui_dow5:Yeah that’s not easy. I would recommend doing user resesarch to learn more but also since you’re using a phased approach you could potentially look at rolling out smaller changes over time. Once you put it back, is it possible to give users the option to opt out?

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:11
I’m afraid not :disappointed:

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:12
Although in our brain storming session yesterday we came up with a way to make it appear that users are opting in

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:12
so we are hoping this will help

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:12
@jacqui_dow5: what did you learn from the backlash feedback?

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:13
@jacqui_dow5: also can you test it?

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:14
Yes luckily we have a huge user base and many users are happy to come in and do user testing for us

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:14
@jacqui_dow5: That’s fantastic!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:15
I would also recommend getting some of those SMT people in to observe the testing

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:16
That can help build a shared understanding of user needs

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:16
This question on behalf of Lynne, JC, and Jeremy (who aren’t here): What general advice can you give to people working mostly solo, whether in their organisation, or in parts of the world that don’t have many UX networks yet?

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:16
Get on twitter!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:17
and UX Mastery of course!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:17
Look for interesting people and reach out to them

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:18
What in particular should they be looking for?

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:18
Anything that resonates with them- if you have a particular are of interest like user research, make a list of 10 user researchers you’d like to connect with

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:19
If there’s something you want to learn or if someone writes an article that liked- tell them! :slightly_smiling_face:

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:19
@ashleamckay: how does one take their level of UX from simple “dabbling” to professional level process? How do you measure if you’ve made the transition?

william.roberths
2016-07-07 07:20
has joined #ask-ashlea-mckay

anitab
2016-07-07 07:20
has joined #ask-ashlea-mckay

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:20
@hugofroes: Great question! Immerse yourself in it as much as you can! Are you working in UX right now?

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:21
Yes, I am :slightly_smiling_face:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:21
Fantastic!

hawk
2016-07-07 07:21
@william.roberths: @anitab Welcome! Jump in with questions (any questions!) at any stage. I’ll queue them if it gets busy.

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:21
You’re already well on your way!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:21
Now you need to get your hands on interesting articles

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:21
Meet people

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:21
I started “dabbling” about 3 years ago, but now I’m oficcially a UXer :wink:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:21
Get to conferences

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:22
That’s awesome :slightly_smiling_face:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:22
Hi! Welcome new joiners!

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:22
That idea of knowing where we are in a UX skill/experience spectrum is a common concern for people.

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:23
There was a really cool self assessment sundial thingy

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:23
There seems to be a lot of confusion in general about the difference between a UXer and a UIer

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:23
@lukcha: I think you got me onto it

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:23
Elizabeth Bacon’s thing?

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:23
@lukcha: yes, I for example have 17 years professional experience, but certain UX aspects are much more recent to me

basu
2016-07-07 07:24
has joined #ask-ashlea-mckay

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:24
@jacqui_dow5: Oh yes there is! UX is a methodology and UI is a thing.

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:24
Here’s a link to our take on Elizabeth’s Ux Sundial (with thanks to Thomus Yung): http://uxmastery.com/ux-self-assessment-sundial/

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:24
@lukcha: yes

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:24
it was orange

hawk
2016-07-07 07:24
@basu: Welcome :slightly_smiling_face:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:24
@hugofroes: what are those 17 years in?

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:24
I try and explain it to people like ‘UX you know more about human psychology, user research etc, but UI is looking at design patterns and applying them to a problem’

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:25
I bet there’s something in there you can draw from :wink: @hugofroes

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:25
I don’t know if I’m right but it seems to help other people with seeing the difference

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:25
@jacqui_dow5: if it works- go with it :slightly_smiling_face:

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:26
@ashleamckay: 8 as a Graphic Designer, The rest has been a start as a web designer – head of digital crativity and strategy

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:26
now UX

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:26
Nick wants to know: Where do you think the most time can be saved in UX projects? Lots of UXers are pressured for time but unsure of how to prioritise things.

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:26
@ashleamckay: so much :wink:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:26
@hugofroes: All very valuable and all part of UX :grinning:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:27
@lukcha: I love the IDEO thing of failing often and succeeding sooner

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:28
@ashleamckay: what is your opinion on the rise of product design, that includes UX? Am I wrong in assuming that UX is almost a principal rather than just a process, and so it’s natural that it becomes part of a job rather

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:29
and testing early and much as possible saves a ton of time in the duration of the project because you get it right sooner

basu
2016-07-07 07:29
hi

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:29
@hugofroes: I’m an industrial designer which is product design and it follows a user centris process

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:29
products aren;’t just things- they deliver experiences

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:30
hi @basu welcome!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:30
To me, UX is an overarching methodology that emcompasses many fields

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:31
and is all about delivering great experiences for humans

ellieisobelle
2016-07-07 07:31
has joined #ask-ashlea-mckay

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:31
@ashleamckay: ok, we’re on the same page then :wink:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:31
sweet!

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:32
@ashleamckay: how do you approach user testing, research etc.? I often find it can be complicated deciding which test to do

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:32
@hugofroes: case by case approach

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:33
I work really closely with BAs and find that between the research and analysis they do, and my skills in UI we are a UX team, is there anything more I should be doing on top of the user research and product analysis that they have done?

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:33
it depends on what I’m doing

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:33
how much time

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:33
how much money

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:33
and what I need from it

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:33
there’s so many to choose from and it can seem really tricky! But considering those things will help narrow it down :slightly_smiling_face:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:34
@jacqui_dow5: build good relationships with devs

hawk
2016-07-07 07:34
@ellieisobelle: Welcome. :slightly_smiling_face: Jump in with questions at any stage.

anitab
2016-07-07 07:34
Hi everyone! Quick question … What makes a good portfolio esp if your starting out in the industry?

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:34
ideally they should be part of your team too but if not build that connection :slightly_smiling_face:

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:35
Yes, we always have a task to do a technical discussion with the devs and involve them in the design process

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:35
@anitab: Hello! So I’m actually not a fan of portfolios

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:35
I worry that I’m missing a large part of UX as I tend to work straight from requirements and go straight into paper prototyping / wireframing

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:36
@jacqui_dow5: content is really important

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:36
but I think the BAs do an amazing job with the requirement gathering and research side of things

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:36
they do – we love BAs!

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:37
From David: “How do you find robust inspiration for a new design approach without scrolling through Pinterest or CSS inspiration sites?” He says he struggles when a project doesn’t have any colour palette or basic design guidelines. Jumping from knowing ‘what’ to design to designing something usable AND attractive seems very airy-fairy and unpredictable.

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:37
@anitab: the reason being, it’s the relationships that matter

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:37
For David: I sketch

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:37
like on paper

anitab
2016-07-07 07:38
Thanks @ashleamckay & I agree.

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:38
I just start sketching and trying out ideas – i keep it very basic and I don’t go anywhere near colour etc

huckledust
2016-07-07 07:38
@ashleamckay: why do you not like portfolios? I agree to a certain extent, just interested to hear why? :grinning:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:39
@huckledust: Of course! :slightly_smiling_face: You’re a person not a collection of work. The big thing they look for when they’re hiring you is – do you fit in with their culture?

dean
2016-07-07 07:39
It depends on what your view of a portfolio is. If it’s just full of UI shots then it’s terrible (unless you’re a UI designer), if it describes the problem, the paths explored, and analyses the end result then a portfolio is important.

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:40
I feel that you can communicate your thought processes through conversation and interview processes like design tasks

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:42
Following up on David’s question: Does iterative sketching lead to the personality of the site coming through somehow? How does it click?

huckledust
2016-07-07 07:42
@ashleamckay: thanks! Def agree. And so often it’s had to show what bits of the project were yours and where you contributed…if it is a big team job

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:43
@ashleamckay: , building on @anitab question. Even without a portfolio, how would you suggest showcasing your capabilities or what you can bring to the table? I’ve heard it’s good to have a description of your process, wheras other suggest just a journal/blog

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:43
@lukcha: for David- for me it does! :slightly_smiling_face: It’s a chance for me to get all my ideas out and make them real (on paper at least) which leads to more brainstorming and kind of snow balls from there

uxsos
2016-07-07 07:43
has joined #ask-ashlea-mckay

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:43
@hugofroes: yep :slightly_smiling_face: blogging is awesome! that’s what I did!

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:44
Something I have found which has really helped is having a passionate CV! Talk about how you love what you do, explain how it changes the way you look at every day objects and experiences

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:44
Then in the interview let the passion come through again

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:44
@huckledust: exactly! and everything we do is a team effort we rarely design in isolation and it

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:44
I would have to agree with @jacqui_dow5

jacqui_dow5
2016-07-07 07:44
My last 2 jobs, I asked afterwards why they hired me and both times it was because I was passionate and eager to learn

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:44
and that’s a good thing!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:45
@jacqui_dow5: Agree! Make it human!

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:45
If anyone ever want to see my site, PM me :wink:

anitab
2016-07-07 07:46
Seems the portfolio is just to get you in the front door… equal emphasis is to network and build positive relationships between jobs.

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:46
@hugofroes: send it to me after- I’ll have a look for you :slightly_smiling_face:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:46
@anitab: that’s right- you spend something like 2/3 of your life at work!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:47
it’s the humans that matter

hawk
2016-07-07 07:47
and cats

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:47
yes!

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:47
haha!

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:47
Michael asked us: “There is waaaay too much information to keep up with. too many competing points of view and ‘best-practices’. How do I know what is worth learning or not?”

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:47
I have a cat named Wednesday

hawk
2016-07-07 07:48
I have a cat named Dr John Hawk and another one named Furry

hawk
2016-07-07 07:48
“several people are typing” :wink:

anitab
2016-07-07 07:48
:sweat_smile: can named Wednesday! :heart:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:48
@lukcha: yeah there’s heaps! I skim read and if I like it, I read properly

anitab
2016-07-07 07:48
Cat

huckledust
2016-07-07 07:48
My cat is Dusty

hawk
2016-07-07 07:48
Really? What’s its name?

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:48
She’s black and has yellow eyes- I named her after Wednesday Addams :slightly_smiling_face:

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:48
I don’t have a cat. :worried:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:49
That is awesome!

dean
2016-07-07 07:49
Well this AMA took an interesting turn :wink:

hawk
2016-07-07 07:49
Wow, I’ve really hijacked this session :wink:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:49
you have chickens right? @lukcha

dean
2016-07-07 07:49
hahah

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:49
@dean: the cat lady is out of the bag

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:49
I do. They’re not quite as cuddly tho.

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:50
@ashleamckay: @lukcha I have a sugesstion… I use twitter to share articles I’m interested in and then I have a IFTTT setup that put’s those tweets ina Google Drive spreadsheet. I can then do a quick search if I ever need a specific subject, but that way I hav a repository of the articles even if I don’t have the time to read them

dean
2016-07-07 07:51
Do you get around to read them though @hugofroes ?

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:51
That’s a brilliant idea.

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:51
@hugofroes: that’s a great idea!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:51
love it!

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:51
@dean, the ones that spark my interest I read, the ones that seem somewhat intersting I skim through

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:51
I do something similar with Evernote, but I might move to Google Drive now that they’re changing the pricing.

ellieisobelle
2016-07-07 07:51
@ashleamckay: what are your thoughts on basing design decisions on “best practice” – where by “best practice” is an article on Medium

dean
2016-07-07 07:52
I used to save articles in Stache, but then found out that I just save articles and never get around to read them. I now use Omnifocus to say “Read this article – link”, and set a date to make sure it’s done – it’s more time consuming to do, but I find it makes me get around to reading them

m1ketayl0r
2016-07-07 07:52
has joined #ask-ashlea-mckay

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:53
@dean, a good way of skimming is going through the headers of the article :wink: Gives me a good overview… if it’s well done :stuck_out_tongue:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:53
@ellieisobelle: ooh – I primarily design based on what the user needs and balance that with business reqs and tech constraints. Best practice is a great guide and starting point but I feel that it should come down to each individual project

huckledust
2016-07-07 07:53
@lukcha: I didn’t know Evernote pricing was changing. :thinking_face: thanks will look it up

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:54
Medium is a great source of info- but users are the source of truth :slightly_smiling_face:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:54
@dean: @hugofroes You guys are awesome!

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:54
@ashleamckay: do you have a ux checklist for heuristic evaluations?

huckledust
2016-07-07 07:55
Thx @lukcha

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:55
@hugofroes: I tend to stick with the Nielsen ones but I like flexibility so I might also add a few extras depending on what I’m doing

hawk
2016-07-07 07:56
Hey guys, we have about 5 mins left in the session. If you’re sitting on a question, now is the time to ask!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:56
Wow that went fast!

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:56
Thanks @ashleamckay, had not found this one yet :wink: I’m trying to put together a mix of various checklists for one that best suits me

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:56
Nice one!

huckledust
2016-07-07 07:57
Thanks @ashleamckay @hawk and @lukcha great way to spend my train ride home!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:57
Thanks for joining!

ellieisobelle
2016-07-07 07:57
Dieter Rams: ten principles for good design is also a good one

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:57
Great way to start my day :smile:

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:57
great to have you here @huckledust :slightly_smiling_face:

anitab
2016-07-07 07:57
Agreed. Thanks so much for hosting this :+1:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:58
@ellieisobelle: I haven’t seen that one- will have to look that up! :slightly_smiling_face:

nicolkosky
2016-07-07 07:58
Thank you so much! This was so informative :slightly_smiling_face:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:58
You’re all very welcome! I had a great time!

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:58
Can’t believe how fast that went!

lukcha
2016-07-07 07:58
You’re a star, Ash :slightly_smiling_face:

hugofroes
2016-07-07 07:58
went way too fast :stuck_out_tongue:

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:59
If you have any further questions you can always find me on the UX Mastery community forums!

hawk
2016-07-07 07:59
thanks SO much Ash, for your time

hawk
2016-07-07 07:59
really appreciated

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 07:59
Thanks for organising! @hawk @lukcha

hawk
2016-07-07 08:00

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 08:03
Signing off now- thanks again everyone!

hugofroes
2016-07-07 08:04
THANKS @ashleamckay

hawk
2016-07-07 08:05
Thanks to all of you. Have a great morning/afternoon/evening

hawk
2016-07-07 08:06
@hawk uploaded a file:
Hawk's cat "Furry"

ashleamckay
2016-07-07 08:07
@ashleamckay uploaded a file:
Ash's cat Wednesday

nicolkosky
2016-07-07 08:08
haha :joy:

lukcha
2016-07-07 08:08
@lukcha uploaded a file:
Luke's cats

hawk
2016-07-07 08:08
best transcript ever!

Sarah Hawk
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Sarah Hawk
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