Transcript: Ask the UXperts: What Stakeholders Need to Know About Psychology — with Susan Weinschenk

Transcript: Ask the UXperts: What Stakeholders Need to Know About Psychology — with Susan Weinschenk

Summary:

If you missed today’s interesting and informative chat with Dr Susan Weinschenk, never fear – here is a full transcript.

Read on to find out what went down.

I had an enjoyable and informative morning hosting Dr Susan Weinschenk in our Ask the UXperts Slack channel today.

The topic of of discussion was “What Stakeholders Need to Know About Psychology”. It was a popular topic with our audience (no surprises there!) and Susan was generous with her knowledge and guidance. We talked about everything from project ownership to handling gender bias, and some great resources were shared.

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’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
2017-03-15 21:00
Welcome everyone – thanks for joining us today.

hawk
2017-03-15 21:00
And a huge thanks to @susanweinschenk for her time. It’s much appreciated.

hawk
2017-03-15 21:00
I’m excited about this session. I’ll start by introducing Susan, who will then introduce the topic

hawk
2017-03-15 21:01
At that point we’ll throw it over to the rest of you for your questions

denisekedwards
2017-03-15 21:01
has joined #ask-the-uxperts

desertcoder
2017-03-15 21:01
has joined #ask-the-uxperts

hawk
2017-03-15 21:01
If things get busy, I’ll queue the questions for Susan, so feel free to ask them as they come up for you

shuvy
2017-03-15 21:01
has joined #ask-the-uxperts

hawk
2017-03-15 21:01
I’ll post a full transcript of this session on http://uxmastery.com tomorrow and pin it in the channel.

hawk
2017-03-15 21:01
So… formal introduction:

hawk
2017-03-15 21:01
Susan Weinschenk has a Ph.D. in Psychology, is Chief Behavioral Scientist and CEO at The Team W, Inc, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin.

hawk
2017-03-15 21:01
She consults with Fortune 1000 companies, start-ups, governments and non-profits. Dr. Weinschenk is the author of several books, including 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People, and How To Get People To Do Stuff. Clients include Medtronic. Walmart, Disney, Amazon, and the European Union Commission.

jakkii
2017-03-15 21:02
Morning all! Joining from wet and gross Sydney

hawk
2017-03-15 21:02
If you’re interested in upskilling, TheTeamW have some great courses https://www.theteamw.com/

hawk
2017-03-15 21:02
Morning @jakkii :slightly_smiling_face:

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:02
I’m encountering gender bias issues. What advice do you have for women working with make stake holders

desertcoder
2017-03-15 21:02
Question: How do you best manage stakeholders…so that they don’t ‘lord over’ new features?

hawk
2017-03-15 21:03
So @susanweinschenk – over to you for an intro to the topic

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:03
Hi Everyone!

jakkii
2017-03-15 21:03
Oh that sucks @debbiev – good question for discussion for sure

hawk
2017-03-15 21:03
(everyone else, I’ll mark your questions with a :grey_question: so you know they’re queued)

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:04
@debbiev Deborah Tannen has a great book on communication and how men and women phrase things differently in the workplace. I would check out her work.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:04
I always think it’s good to talk about research rather than your opinion if/when you are disagreeing with a stakeholder

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:04
Thx @susanweinschenk I will

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:05
@desertcoder what do you mean “lord over” new features?

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:05
I’m actually working on my own app, getting out voted by the guys working on my marketing materials

desertcoder
2017-03-15 21:06
@susanweinschenk : “lord over” meaning instead of relying on research, a stakeholder tells the product team what to build and when.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:06
yes, that happens a lot… that a stakeholder wants to do things a certain way.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:07
this may sound weird, but I think the job of a UX designer is to come up with the best alternatives

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:07
but that we have to understand that only a fraction of what we suggest is implemented

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:07
it can be frustrating, but I think we need to change our definition of what successful means

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:08
ask yourself, “is anything about this product better for my having been involved?” and if the answer is yes, then you’ve been successful

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:08
having said that, the other tack is that data always helps. you have to take it out of me vs. you and put it on to “the data from our users shows that…”

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:09
another thing is to phrase things in terms of the stakeholder and what is important to him/her

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:09
sometimes they turn down your idea because they don’t see that it will actually help solve the problem they are interested in

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:10
for example, you want to implement a certain feature because you know it’s a better way to go in terms of what’s standard, or what the users will want

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:10
but if you can rephrase that in a way that is in terms of what the stakeholder wants….

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:10
instead of “The users have asked for…” or “On the other apps we have…”

jakkii
2017-03-15 21:11
“To meet your objective X, we should do Y, because Z…” ?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:11
and instead say, “If you want people to click on that button more often” or “If you want to increase conversion by x %…”

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:11
@jakkii right… it means you have to know what their goals are, not just guess

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:12
and then you repeat those back to them

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:12
what if there goals are not what the user wants?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:12
@usama.mirum so now you are asking the interesting question of who is it you are actually “working” for

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:13
you have to ask yourself, “on this project, what is my job. who am I supposed to make “look good”.”

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:13
there’s always one person — usually the one who can decide if you are getting paid or not!

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:14
and the sometimes ugly truth is that your job is to make that person look good

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:14
within reason (i.e., don’t do anything immoral, illegal, or unethical)… and if you don’t agree with what they are doing, then I think it’s your job to tell them you don’t agree and why, and what a better way is

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:15
however, it’s THEIR project, not yours

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:15
in the same way that means that since you don’t have total authority you also don’t have total accountability.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:15
i make sure the stakeholder knows that we are in this together — their decisions count — in an accountability manner…

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:16
so unfortunately, we can’t always be the advocate for the user

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:16
which i know some people don’t like me to say out loud!!!

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:17
but it is the reality of it .. if you want to keep doing the work and have a chance to have some of your ideas implemented

hawk
2017-03-15 21:17
So assuming they make a bad call and the users respond with attrition, how would you approach the stakeholder to rectify the situation?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:17
it’s also why I think it’s important to now and then go design something that you DO have total control over!!! an app for a hobby, your own personal website and so on

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:17
so you don’t go crazy!!

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:18
@hawk so i would explain clearly why I think we should do X instead of Y… and let them know the the decision is theirs. In a case like that i will probably document it in some way… via a status report or an email trail or meeting notes

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:19
then when it doesn’t work out i can bring it up again

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:19
i wouldn’t say, “told you!” but i’d say, “remember we (notice the “we”) talked about the fact that that might happen. Perhaps we want to try an alternative…”

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:20
here is the dilemma though, you’ve researched and gathered the data to know what the user wants, stakeholders just want to push something else i.e their products…you take their approach as they are the ones paying…the experience goes bad….that ultimately makes your or your agency look bad

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:20
you already answered that..thanks :slightly_smiling_face:

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:20
i think sometimes UX people feel guilty when things don’t go well. that’s why it’s important to be very clear from the start that the buck stops with the stakeholder… they are accountable. You are working together with them. You are an adviser. If things don’t go well you are right there willing to help, but it’s not all your fault. They make decisions too.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:21
@usama.mirum right. you can easily become the scapegoat. but if you are clear from the beginning what your role is then you can remind them later too.

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:22
perfect

hawk
2017-03-15 21:22
What else frustrates you about dealing with stakeholders ?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:23
I think it’s important too to always be educating.

hawk
2017-03-15 21:23
Do you feel like you have to justify your work/decisions/ideas?

laurelwn
2017-03-15 21:23
Ghosts – when they put you on mute to talk or don’t answer and you can hear them whispering.

hawk
2017-03-15 21:23
Ouch.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:24
You can provide mini-education sessions to talk about design issues in general that don’t have anything to do with a particular product you are working on… then if those issues come up you can refer to them.

juliadinh
2017-03-15 21:24
so what is the most important thing stakeholders need to know about psychology?

jakkii
2017-03-15 21:24
“You don’t need to talk to users, we already did this survey” :wink:

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:24
for example, you could do a session with them about color, or about best practices on images and so on… so that when you are working on a project that stuff will come up and it won’t seem so much like your idea vs. theirs

bgas
2017-03-15 21:25
@susanweinschenk how do you make sure stakeholders focus on the design of the wireframes instead of obsessing on irrelevant minuscule details?

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:26
what is your approach with stakeholders to innovate, push new barriers for something that’s never been done before..i.e governments, country’s regularities which are outdated and are blocking businesses to implement clutter less experiences

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:26
@bgas Let me bring something up at a larger level and then we can go back to your question. because sometimes i think the problems with stakeholders comes from expectations

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:26
about roles

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:27
I talk about two roles — one is where you are an “extra pair of hands”. So the stakeholder is the “expert” and you are there to help them out, be an extra designer, do some user testing, great some production graphics.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:28
the other role is that you are consultant/ you are the expert

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:28
and one of the things that happens is that you are thinking of this one way and they are thinking of it another, but you never talked about it

laurelwn
2017-03-15 21:28
@susanweinschenk – what do you do when a decision maker hasn’t been defined and no one in the meeting makes the decisions?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:29
so you keep giving them advice because you think they want you to be an adviser, and then they get frustrated when you do because they think THEY are the xpert and they just want you to do it the way they told you to

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:29
so i think you have to get that straightened out at the beginning

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:29
@laurelwn you have to insist that someone is the decision maker

laurelwn
2017-03-15 21:30
yea… that’s not easy with big, slow moving corps such as financial or pharma…

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:31
@laurelwn well, it may take a while to get a decision, but someone has to do it. you can give them the option of having you wait or you can move forward knowing things might change later… again i think it’s an accountability question. who’s accountable for deciding these things?

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:32
Good advice… It’s all about attitude adjustment. I like the idea of defining both of those roles from the get go

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:32
@bgas back to your question…. i would answer their question about the detail, but point out the higher level of the wireframe. otherwise you may need to skip wireframes with them, but you could explain that that means you will be doing more work in the long run

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:32
when you have to go back and fix a detailed prototype

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:33
@usama.mirum

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:33
your other question…

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:34
i would find out first if they want something innovative. and if they say yes, give them some preliminary ideas. i’ve had situations where they say they do want something new

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:34
but when i give them something new they want to go back to not new

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:34
give them a vision/storyboard of the new

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:34
before you do too much work on it

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:34
it’s always good to show them what other people/industries are doing

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:35
and they get very excited (or nervous) if you can point out what a competitor is doing

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:37
great! thanks so much.

corinned
2017-03-15 21:37
I’ve encountered the opposite problem – stakeholders say they want new and cutting edge, when in reality their users would just like something that works. How best to manage this tension?

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:37
What about selling the role of being the user advocate?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:39
@juliadinh your question about what do stakeholders need to know about psychology. — i think they need to know that users are focused on their tasks, may not like change, can’t see the color blue as well as others, may have very specific need

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:39
@corinned so someone has to decide — are we designing for the current users or are we going to make some big changes and figure out how to help current users adjust to the changes

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:40
@debbiev you can always be the user advocate, but you have to undrestand that the stakeholders may care about that and may not

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:40
if you can sell it that’s good

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:41
more psychology stuff — there is a difference between performance and preference… so users typically say they want to see all their choices at once, but research shows if you show too many choices then people don’t choose at all

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:42
or research shows that people read faster with a longer line length, but they prefer a shorter line length…. so what’s more important… that they read faster or that they read at all?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:43
that if people are stressed they may not notice things on a screen that are perfectly noticeable to the rest of us because when we are designing it we aren’t under the same type of stress

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:43
that 10% of men are colorblind and can’t distinguish between some colors

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:43
things that make a design difficult for people with impairments such as vision or hearing

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:43
So fewer words is better, right?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:44
fewer words is always better! and clearly understood words!

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:44
Also, there are things that my son notices, that I miss. I think it’s from playing video games

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:45
ways to motivate users other than gamification?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:45
and marketing speak can sometimes be the worse. recently I saw this:

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:45
“Delivering a seamless and consistent omni-channel buying experience — across mobile, social and in store — is no longer an option. Customers expect to be engaged in an immersive brand experience through contextually relevant content,
marketing and promotions that extend the brand experience.
Throughout their journey, customers need words that are accurate, complete, and informative; they need images that inspire; and they need videos that demonstrate a
company’s essence, helping them to fully experience a given brand. B2B buyers want to see only relevant content based on individual, established agreements. Combining cognitive capabilities with powerful asset and content management enables commerce and merchandising professionals to deliver these kinds of experiences by analyzing content characteristics and quality and more effectively harnessing the power of their brand assets. They can create strategic and impactful personalized offers that outmaneuver competitors to increase sales while boosting brand value and market share.”

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:45
written supposedly for business people

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:46
@usama.mirum oh, well, gamification in my opinion usually refers to a misunderstanding of what makes games motivating

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:46
gamification usually means providing rewards. and rewards are actually not what makes games engaging

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:46
which is why gamification often fails to achieve the results it was supposedly implemented for

hawk
2017-03-15 21:47
I think gamification using intrinsic motivators can work…

ashleamckay
2017-03-15 21:47
@susanweinschenk: Hey Susan, I just wanted to say that I think you’re awesome! Love your work! I have to run off to work now but I’m looking forward to reading the transcript after! Thanks!! :smiley:

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:47
@hawk yes… but often people don’t realize that and they just do rewards

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:47
@ashleamckay ok, thanks for coming on!

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:48
@debbiev yeah, i’m not sure what they were trying to say

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:49
@susanweinschenk yeah, I was a little slow, lol

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:49
@hawk intrinsic motivators, interesting

lynne
2017-03-15 21:49
There’s a great online course on gamification on Coursera which explores what does and doesn’t work and why (inlcuding extrinsic vs intrinsic motivators)

shuvy
2017-03-15 21:49
I’m actually curious about this one. In the finance space, “gamification” is “hot”, but people hate to look at their money sometimes – and the rewards/ intrinsic motivation balance is not clear in the designs I’ve helped with/ seen. Any thoughts?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:50
@usama.mirum people are more motivated by things like the desire to learn and master and interacting with others than by getting a reward

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:50
in fact research shows that if you give people rewards (external motivator) it can dampen the effect of the intrinsic (internal) motivators

jakkii
2017-03-15 21:50
I would agree. Done well, it can be useful.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:52
@shuvy money represents a lot more than just money… it’s tied to who we are, our self-stories, whether we feel we are “good” person, or successful. so you can’t gamify finance stuff with rewards. You have to get at the more complex psychology issues

debbiev
2017-03-15 21:52
I would like to see a financial gamification that shows me how soon I can retire based on my current savings habits/activity

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:52
@lynne do you know whose course it is?

jakkii
2017-03-15 21:53
I think there’s some apps doing that

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:53
@debbiev that would tie into larger goals and self-stories, and what’s important to that person, so that would likely be more successful.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:53
@hawk i’ll check it out

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:53
thx

hawk
2017-03-15 21:54
We have 5 mins left in the session. Any last questions?
RELATED:  Using A/B Testing to Drive Constructive Conflict with Stakeholders

lynne
2017-03-15 21:54
@hawk you beat me to it – yes that’s the one, taught by Kevin Werbach. He also has a book.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:54
i’d like to have a course that i can recommend to people.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:54
i talk a little bit about it in one of my online video courses, but I don’t spend much time on it

shuvy
2017-03-15 21:55
@debbiev have you looked at MoneyBrilliant? In answer to your question about goal directed savings.

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:56
any recommended books and courses on finance complex psychology issues?

usama.mirum
2017-03-15 21:56
any recommended books and courses on finance complex psychology issues?

zekegeek
2017-03-15 21:57
I’m also interested in book recommendations– any related to UX that you’ve found particularly helpful/interesting

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:57
@usama.mirum These aren’t necessarily just about finance, but they would apply: Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow, and my book, How To Get People To Do Stuff are both about psychology issues that can be applied to design.

nicolasvelezuk
2017-03-15 21:58
What is the best research tool?

shuvy
2017-03-15 21:58
Have you had a look at http://uxmag.com/articles/psychological-usability-heuristics? Someone attempted to operationalise some of your thinking for a heuristics check. Do you feel it captures your findings well?

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:59
@zekegeek — I have top 10 book lists at my blog… I like Charles Duhigg’s book on Habits, a general intro book I like about UX is Leah Buley’s book a UX team of One. Of course i’d recommend my 100 things every designer needs to know about people and the sequel, 100 MORE things every designer needs to know about people.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:59
blog is blog.theteamw.com… lots of info there.

hawk
2017-03-15 21:59
Well, I think that might be a wrap! A huge thanks to you @susanweinschenk for both your time and knowledge. It’s been a really great session.

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 21:59
@shuvy yes, i know that article. it’s pretty good.

hawk
2017-03-15 21:59

susanweinschenk
2017-03-15 22:00
ok, thanks for joining me. it was fun!!

Sarah Hawk
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Sarah Hawk
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3 comments
  • Great session. Thanks for the transcript since I wasn’t able to join the live chat.

    My main takeaways are:
    Number 1: I loved what Susan said about what “Succesful” is:

    susanweinschenk 2017-03-15 21:08
    ask yourself, “is anything about this product better for my having been involved?” and if the answer is yes, then you’ve been successful

    2 I’m not the only one struggling not to get frustrated if “overlords” stomp over a carefully designed piece. :) *Pfew*

    3 Review data and research can mean the difference between getting a feature implemented or not. (not: “The like to have…” but “Reseach shows that X% of the users….”)

    4 I recognize the different roles we UX’er play. Sometimes leaning more towards the Stakeholders (make them look good… or in my case trying to keep the project alive) and sometimes more towards the users, we are designing for.

    Last but not least:
    5. About the Gamification course on Coursera, it’s awesome. I’ve attended a while ago and learned so much. I can highly recommend it :)
    https://www.coursera.org/learn/gamification

    Cheers,
    Thank you,
    Francesca

  • This article would be a lot better if someone went through the transcript and wrote out an article about the discussions and recommendations. This transcript makes my head hurt and is so hard to follow and read. Very poor UX for a UX website.

    • Thanks for your feedback Alyssa. This transcript is intended for those that were in the session and want to revisit what was discussed (our Slack channel only retains 10k messages). If you’re interested in the topic, you’re definitely better making it along to the live session.

      That said, we do have a plan to summarise the key points of the sessions at the end of each month. Watch out for a summary of both Susan and Andy’s sessions later this week.