Megan Leigh McDonald
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'Don't make me think.' Steve Krug

Megan Leigh McDonald

Scrum Task Board Template

Even when working under the ‘Waterfall’ methodology, I always make it a point to keep a ‘task board’ at my desk or nearby. It’s something I borrowed from Scrum but it works so well for my own personal workload.

Customer Service User Experience

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past year about what makes designing for customer service different than designing for conversion or other business needs. Clearly, most of the goals around customer service efforts relate to cost savings in terms of reducing contacts, handle time or user churn (repeat user contacts). In this area, businesses are more transparent about making changes that impact the bottom line,

Clean Forms = Better User Experience + Conversion

As a veteran web designer, I’ve created many a form in my day, but recently really took stock of what I’ve learned over the years.

A Limitation of Click Map

Today I learned something from my Product Manager. He had the look of a ‘bearer of bad news’ but he gave me the medicine anyways. I have heard in the past that ClickMap is not always reliable and noticed even that the data didn’t always match the next page reports I pulled.

But today, I understood at a new level of how this tool, as great as it seems to a designer, is sometimes wildly innaccurate. As you might have read on this blog before, I love this tool mainly because of its visual appeal and in some cases, when the link leads to a popup or a page that doesn’t have omniture tracking code, it can be really helpful.

However, when using templates, one must beware. It’s probably also a factor of not being coded correctly or with great care, but templates can give some very misleading numbers that represent the total clicks of all the links in a defined module. The module, such as a sidebar or navigation menu, might have more than one link but the flag will appear on only one of the links, leading one to misinterpret the data. Sigh. Well I hope that Omniture really looks at ways to improve the implementation of code for this tool or the tool itself because the visualization of clicks on live site pages seems like a really great idea.

New Job, New Adventures

I’m leaving so many of my friends here at Reunion. This is a small team but I’ve bonded so much with them, that the hardest part about leaving now is leaving them. I’ve learned a great deal from watching my boss, P. You can tell he really cares about his people. He takes great pains to gather all the requirements so that we can do our jobs that much more efficiently and clearly.

About Face

In re-reading this book, I have re-discovered valuable excerpts and insights into what I do everyday. There are a few quotes I want to blog about. Nothing fancy today, just a few somewhat random thoughts about User Experience.

“…good design makes users more effective”

Truly, this is the point of good design, although the term ‘design’ is such a broad-based, multi-interpreted word. In the ‘real world’ the title ‘designer’ is often used as a ‘catch-all’ for someone who can do graphics, maybe produce a website and possibly provide some basic usability. But looking more closely at this word, it probably should be more narrowly defined. I read very quickly a prediction (on Adaptive Path or some random Tech article) that the job descriptions calling for a ‘do-it-all’ kind of person would be supplanted by very specific, more narrowly defined descriptions.

Consequently, the kind of designer that I naturally became and am still becoming is a more user-centric one. I studied media user behavior in Graduate School and appreciate a more academic analysis of website usage. I remember back in the day with WebTrends, how the data was focused on uniques and visits and clicks and various user statistics like browser type. But now, using Omniture’s SiteCatalyst I’m completely blown away and (dare I say?) excited. It’s the kind of thing that gets me up and moving in the mornings, for lack of a caffeinated beverage.

Something about examining the numbers is kind of like being a detective. I get to root out where the problems are, where people have trouble using a piece of software or web application. I can’t help it, I did love Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. So this aspect of my job is the one part that gives me the greatest satisfaction. I get to improve the experience for the user. I get to make the user more effective at what he/she does.

There is a huge difference between teaching the user to use the system and designing a system that works for the users because ‘good design makes user more effective’.