Design Festival Podcast #4: Talking UX with Jodie Moule

Welcome back again to episode four of the Design Festival podcast. This week I talk all things UX with Jodie Moule, a user experience specialist from Symplicit, a UX studio down in Melbourne.

Download this Episode

You can download this episode as a standalone MP3 file. Here’s the link:

You can subscribe to the Design Festival Podcast either directly or via iTunes — add the Design Festival Podcast to iTunes.

Episode Summary

Presenters

Content rundown

  • What is user experience?
  • Understanding users
  • Testing UX
  • UX & psychology
  • Case studies
  • Recommendations of the week

Recommendations

Audio Transcript

Pascal: Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, depending on where you are in the world and what time it is that you’re listening to this. I’m Pascal, one of the hosts and one of the writers behind DesignFestival.com, and the DesignFestival Podcast.

Welcome, this is Episode #4 — we’re back to an audio episode this week, and I’m going to be speaking today with another Aussie, Jodie Moule, a User Experience designer from Symplicit Melbourne.

Hi Jodie! How is it going?

Jodie: Very well, thank you.

Pascal: Could you give us a run down on who are you, what do you do and why you’re here today?

Jodie: Sure. I’m co-founder and director of Symplicit, one of Melbourne’s leading User Experience Design consultancies. And we’ve been around for the last eight years. And what we focus on mainly is research, strategy and design services that are all really focused on that niche of that user or customer experience, which is exactly what we’re talking.

That’s my background. I’ve been consulting for the last 15 years. And for the last 12 of those, I’ve been a varied type of usability specialist or information architect. As time has gone on, that title has changed, but at the core of it, it still remains about understanding users and then, trying to assist to make technology easier for them to use – and not just technology, service and products as well.

Pascal: So, the chief topic I guess between the two of us here today is that two-word topic, user experience, which I think has gained a bit of traction the in past few years and certainly it’s more prevalent at conferences these days, and articles have definitely been more prevalent on the Internet.

So, what is user experience? Why should it matter? And I suppose the joking part of that question is isn’t it just another one of these crazy titles that somehow earns you another 10 or 20k per year?

Jodie: Look, that’s hardly the thing because as I’ve mentioned, over the course of the years, my title has certainly changed – I think I started out as a usability specialist. And in fact then, not many people knew what that was. I really have to describe and explain why that was important. And as those years have passed, the maturity of organizations and recognition in industry generally as to why that’s important and what matters is broadening.

And I think that just speaks to focus nowadays that there’s a lot of competition. And the second thing on what makes things easier for companies are users is the real differentiator for any product that it’s in the marketplace.

Pascal: It certainly seems to be that as more attention has been given to design and making things good and making things musical and enjoyable, that different areas or different domains opened up and what used to be the title of web master is now split off to some ten (or maybe even more) different niche fields or expert fields.

Jodie: That’s right. And look, it’s still the case that many hands make a lot of work. It’s not all just about designers or developers and the range of backgrounds that contribute to making products and services the best they possibly can be. And number one is always – and again, speaking of our philosophy here is focusing on what do your customers or users want? What do they need? What would be of value to them? And then, designing products around what would be of most value or assistance to them and making life a bit easier and even surprising or engaging or delighting them, as well.

Pascal: So, I guess the goal having been defined, to literally provide a good experience for our user or our customer.

Jodie: Yeah.

Pascal: Just before jumping straight to the next question, I guess my question would be where do you see user experience consultants/professionals sitting within the larger network of design or web-related people?

Jodie: Look, I think firmly entrenched as part of any team really is the ideal – I think that for any kind of product or service that I’ve seen to be highly successful, there’s been an embedding of a user experience professional within that team and then, being able to realize that from the very first day when conversations or business strategies are raised around what are the opportunities for a business right through to researching, Welcome back again to episode four of the Design Festival podcast. This week I talk all things UX with Jodie Moule, a user experience specialist from Symplicit, a UX studio down in Melbourne.

Download this Episode

You can download this episode as a standalone MP3 file. Here’s the link:

You can subscribe to the Design Festival Podcast either directly or via iTunes — add the Design Festival Podcast to iTunes.

Episode Summary

Presenters

Content rundown

  • What is user experience?
  • Understanding users
  • Testing UX
  • UX & psychology
  • Case studies
  • Recommendations of the week

Recommendations

Audio Transcript

Pascal: Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, depending on where you are in the world and what time it is that you’re listening to this. I’m Pascal, one of the hosts and one of the writers behind DesignFestival.com, and the DesignFestival Podcast.

Welcome, this is Episode #4 — we’re back to an audio episode this week, and I’m going to be speaking today with another Aussie, Jodie Moule, a User Experience designer from Symplicit Melbourne.

Hi Jodie! How is it going?

Jodie: Very well, thank you.

Pascal: Could you give us a run down on who are you, what do you do and why you’re here today?

Jodie: Sure. I’m co-founder and director of Symplicit, one of Melbourne’s leading User Experience Design consultancies. And we’ve been around for the last eight years. And what we focus on mainly is research, strategy and design services that are all really focused on that niche of that user or customer experience, which is exactly what we’re talking.

That’s my background. I’ve been consulting for the last 15 years. And for the last 12 of those, I’ve been a varied type of usability specialist or information architect. As time has gone on, that title has changed, but at the core of it, it still remains about understanding users and then, trying to assist to make technology easier for them to use – and not just technology, service and products as well.

Pascal: So, the chief topic I guess between the two of us here today is that two-word topic, user experience, which I think has gained a bit of traction the in past few years and certainly it’s more prevalent at conferences these days, and articles have definitely been more prevalent on the Internet.

So, what is user experience? Why should it matter? And I suppose the joking part of that question is isn’t it just another one of these crazy titles that somehow earns you another 10 or 20k per year?

Jodie: Look, that’s hardly the thing because as I’ve mentioned, over the course of the years, my title has certainly changed – I think I started out as a usability specialist. And in fact then, not many people knew what that was. I really have to describe and explain why that was important. And as those years have passed, the maturity of organizations and recognition in industry generally as to why that’s important and what matters is broadening.

And I think that just speaks to focus nowadays that there’s a lot of competition. And the second thing on what makes things easier for companies are users is the real differentiator for any product that it’s in the marketplace.

Pascal: It certainly seems to be that as more attention has been given to design and making things good and making things musical and enjoyable, that different areas or different domains opened up and what used to be the title of web master is now split off to some ten (or maybe even more) different niche fields or expert fields.

Jodie: That’s right. And look, it’s still the case that many hands make a lot of work. It’s not all just about designers or developers and the range of backgrounds that contribute to making products and services the best they possibly can be. And number one is always – and again, speaking of our philosophy here is focusing on what do your customers or users want? What do they need? What would be of value to them? And then, designing products around what would be of most value or assistance to them and making life a bit easier and even surprising or engaging or delighting them, as well.

Pascal: So, I guess the goal having been defined, to literally provide a good experience for our user or our customer.

Jodie: Yeah.

Pascal: Just before jumping straight to the next question, I guess my question would be where do you see user experience consultants/professionals sitting within the larger network of design or web-related people?

Jodie: Look, I think firmly entrenched as part of any team really is the ideal – I think that for any kind of product or service that I’ve seen to be highly successful, there’s been an embedding of a user experience professional within that team and then, being able to realize that from the very first day when conversations or business strategies are raised around what are the opportunities for a business right through to researching, concepting what a product or service look like, and then being involved right through the design and development process to the end. And that’s certainly I think where you see the value.

Pascal: I suppose, the next question at this point would be how would you define what a good experience is so that you can strive towards providing it? Who do you talk to? And how can you test that at the end?

Jodie: Look, I think it comes down to what is that product/service for, who are they aimed towards? And really understanding the segments of interests. So, you’ve really got to aim towards whoever your key market is for any kind of product or service.

And then, something I believe quite passionately, is going a little bit outside of that square. So, gone are the days where organizations would say, “Oh, it’s on the web so everyone is our potential target.” I think the very best products out there know their particular target or have a priority, primary or secondary personas that they’re aiming towards and they build for that. And then, if it’s good for the key target markets that they’re aiming towards, in time it may actually be good for the vast majority. But I think having a key focus there is really critical.

Pascal: I would agree even though I’m quite removed from UX directly, and by no means would I call myself – maybe an ‘aficionado’, I respect the trade and I try to provide a good experience as much as I can — but when it comes down to it, I’d rather seek the advice of a user experience professional, rather than trying to do something entirely by myself.

I would definitely agree that I certainly stopped trying to cater to everyone, at least on my website. And when doing client work, I try to convince the client that they need to do some thinking first, which often seems to not have been done at all – just thinking about what is your web presence for, who is it a target about, what is it supposed to do and how do you know it’s achieved that?

Jodie: That’s right. And look, one of the very best examples (it’s not necessarily in the web world), I’ve heard of, and I think Alan Cooper cited it in his books, ‘The Inmates are Running the Asylum’ is that the humble wheely suitcase was created for a very niche market, which was airline stuff. So, the people that were working in the airline industry, it’s just a useful little bag. It was a small suitcase on wheels. And you could see how focusing on the niche and getting it right for that niche is now – Gosh! Even kids have those little wheely bags. Everyone has them and everyone finds them useful.

So, I think it is really worth remembering because for you to focus your effort, you need to focus in on a key point rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

Pascal: I guess, following on from that, how do you understand or how do you define your users? How do you come up with a sense of who they are, what do they do or more importantly, what do they want, how do they go about getting what they want?

Jodie: Look, it’s two-fold. You need to be able to work with the business who understands their product and their strategy and where they want to go with that product and tease out their priorities and understand who they’re marketing towards. But also then, using experience and trying to introduce – like for example, we hear a lot and we deal a lot with clients that want to do research into their users’ needs in the online word that are only focused on people that are actually online and are adopting that channel. I think you always need to be a little bit cautious as to trying to understand the people that are not going online and what are the barriers for them, so that you can understand both sides of the coin, as well.

Pascal: I suppose having defined who your users are, you’ve done all the ground work, you’ve talked to your client, you’ve had great brainstorming sessions with them to really, as you say, tease out from them what their business is about, what their product is about, where they see themselves in one years time, two years time, five years time, what new markets they want to reach and who their users are – Having implemented it, how do you go about testing whether or not you’ve provided the right ideas/solutions?

Jodie: Looking back once we’ve implemented something, is that like…?

Pascal: Yeah, I suppose. Does this come down to do you test before you implement, per se? Would you test various iterations or ideas while working or would you do all the tests towards the end? What do you recommend? And how would you go about doing any sort of testing?

Jodie: Look, it’s many fold. I suppose the ideal user-centered design process would look at upfront requirements and research, which might be a little bit more open and exploratory. For us, we tend to focus in on what we call ‘contextual inquiry’. And that’s going into people’s workplace or houses and trying to get a sense of what makes them tick and certainly not relying on hear-say or their memory of what they think they do through things like focus groups. People are really bad at remembering what they do and why they do it. So, we tend not to rely in those kinds of methods.

And then, once we got through to the stage of understanding, “Well, what’s the opportunity? And what kind of product/service are we hoping to build here?” we will move through some concepts, the concepting stage where we might use again a number of methods where you could involve users in sketching. So, participatory design kind of processes. You might get something to pass a sketch phase into an interactive or wireframe prototype. And you would then get team members of the segment to come in and evaluate whether they could complete certain tasks and also, test the logic of the product/service that’s being designed, so does it match the mental product that the users have of that kind of a product or service.

And then, you progress again iteratively. So, I think that you hit the nail on head when you say, “Do you take more of an iterative approach?” Without a doubt, as many times as you can. It’s been proven on a number of projects that we’ve conducted, that the more that you check and iterate a design, the more it improves. So, we have a number of measures and metrics that we put in place in order to evaluate how things are improving and how the design tweaks and changes are effecting the overall level of customer satisfaction. And that’s really important.

And then, of course, before you launch when something is shiny and new, just to be sure, again, testing and evaluating then. And then, ongoing. A lot of sites are not looking at a revolution. They’re looking at evolution. So, health checks along the way for products that are out there in the market and just tweaking and changing it are definitely part of incremental innovation of any kind of product.

Pascal: I think you’ve highlighted some awesome points there. It’s a great answer actually. I suppose the only additional question that I will have is, at the moment, the only idea that comes into my mind is of various sort of iterative testing (at least the chief one) is AB testing. Could you give us a couple of examples or types of testing that you would recommend, something that could potentially be done on a budget quite cheap, but still yield good results. What would you recommend to sort of a freelance designer who is UX aware and wants to provide a good experience for the website, for the product and also wants to test it during the design process? What would you recommend?

Jodie: Yes. I would recommend putting it in front anyone that hasn’t been involved on the project and getting them to complete a number of key tasks. So usually, there are several goals that you’re trying to achieve with any kind of site, whether it be that ultimately, you want them to purchase an item (so, select and purchase an item), you want them to be able to complete various transactions or review information. The very best thing is to put in front of people the design and get them to achieve those tasks – so, how easy or hard it is for them to be able to find that information or complete the task gives you a really good sense of whether you’re on the right track or not.

I suppose hitting a homepage is important. You can do a 3-second kind of test where you just sort of see in three seconds whether people are able to achieve the particular tasks that you’re wanting them to, you know, as quickly as possible digest from the home page. That’s a really great test to see if your home page is doing what you want it to. Essentially, home pages have evolved to have a lot of information on them. And that’s great because it’s multiple tasks to potential content, but thinking in a very focused manner what are the two or three key things that you want people to do. It helps pare it back and really hone in on what’s the critical information to display and what’s the pathway that you want to reinforce.

Yeah, so that’s the two ways I think that are really important. And I suppose it’s that task-based or scenario-based evaluation that really yields the most detail because you’re getting people to then complete a particular path through the site or through the design. And getting that feedback as you go. I think it’s important to get people to think aloud and tell you what are they thinking or what are they expecting if they’re about to click on something or why do they hesitate asking those kinds of questions as a session evolves is really valuable and you gain massive insights.

Pascal: This reminds of the Silverback app, the Mac recording application that records the screen and the audio through the in-built microphone, as well as a webcam snap of whoever’s using the software. It’ll record mouse clicks.

Jodie: Yes.

Pascal: They’re something I very much underutilize, but I love the idea of the app. And a few times, I had used it, I loved it. Would you do something like that or a sort of testing suite that just records simple sessions? Would you recommend something like that for aspiring UX consultants?

Jodie: Definitely. I think the ability (if you’re really into it) to be able to review and go back especially as you’re learning and coming up to speed with how people react. To be able to revert and look back over a session that you’ve run even personally to listen to the way you might phrase or question things, to let you have insight as to whether you’ve been leading or not, also is very valuable. And sometimes, cringe-worthy I think.

But over the years especially when I was earning my stripes as the user experience professional, usability ad nauseam I did a lot of at the start of my career. And going back over those tapes of yourself and how you phrase things and how you probe is one of the greatest learnings you can have. So, without a doubt, I think that would be something that that would be something I’d recommend to any designers. Not only to make use of that technology, but to actually put yourself though the pain of watching it again and taking what are the top five things I’d like to not do again if I did that a second time.

Pascal: Actually I find that notion really interesting. I suppose although I’m not a scientist or anything of that sort, a lot of my friends studied hard sciences at University and I love sitting with them at the bar and having a good chat and just the idea of the observer affecting what is being observed, I find it very striking. It just always reminds me of the whole Schrodinger’s Cat analogy. I suppose it’s quite important to see, or it’s quite important to realize that yes, the environment that you are doing the testing in could have a quite sizeable impact on the testing itself; you’re doing the testing at your office, away from the people who are being tested in their houses. Would you recommend doing testing in the environment that’s most likely to be the environment where the final product would be used?

Jodie: Look, it depends on the product and the situation. We do a mix of both. For example, we went recently into the working world and we ran more of a contextual inquiry and exploration with professionals that will be using the financial tool that we’ve created. And in that working environment, it was important to get a sense of what they were doing, what other things are they using and then, to introduce the prototype that we’ve created and get their feedback on it. And in a subtle way, get them to complete tasks, but not feel too threatened and make them feel as if it was conversational and not a test.

I think those kinds of things can’t be underestimated; it’s the experience to be able to relax people and also, make them feel like they’re not being evaluated themselves. And besides the way that things are phrased or the way the session flows I think are really, really critical things to remember that people often underestimate.

So yeah, both are important. We also have people come to our lab and we have products evaluated in our lab. I think that that’s also valid. We also, a lot of times, have that data added to with remote evaluation so that people can complete scenarios and tasks in the comfort of their own home and then, relay what they’ve done and how easy or how hard it was to complete certain tasks. So, that kind of data does back up the smaller numbers we tend to observe in our lab. And we find that the two mirror each other. And again, it comes down to the experience of the host in being able to manage that situation. But those kinds of different methods really do add a bigger picture.

Pascal: Have you ever come across a situation where there were large discrepancies between an activity that was either exactly the same or mostly the same that was conducted either in a rather – I don’t want to give the wrong impressions — but sort of a clinical lab setting and whoever you’re testing in their house, you’ve got their kids running around or they’re in their kitchen, they’ve just pulled up a laptop, say they’re having a coffee and testing the application. Has there ever been a big discrepancy in this sort of testing?

Jodie: No. Happily, I can say no. There’s not been a massive discrepancy. If there’s a massive discrepancy with what you see in the lab as to what people might be doing in their own home or what you might observe in their home, then obviously there’s a problem.

So no, we haven’t encountered that. But again, it depends on the service. When we’re going into people’s homes, then we’re more observing the lay of the land. And some of the things that we might be asking them might not at all be related to what we’re looking at. And in a way, you don’t want them to be too well-prepared or armed for what you’re doing because you just want those natural day-to-day live accounts of how they live and what they do.

So yeah, I know that it comes up quite often – this feeling of “in the lab”, and how that impacts results, I think there’s several ways you can help with that – making the environment feels quite friendly and relaxed, also putting some people at ease very rapidly and continuing to do so.

Having said that – I mean, I’ve ran sessions, as have probably most usability professionals, where you try as you might, someone might be coming into the environment feeling apprehensive (not relaxed), feeling very anxious the whole time. And so, I suppose you also have to consider that data for what it is.

Pascal: This starts to really enter the realms of psychology, in which you have a good background. Could you allude to the psychological aspect of testing or particularly just user experience in general?

Jodie: Yeah. I suppose I’ve started my luck as a psychology grad. I actually worked in the clinical field, where understanding behavior and the impact and influence of environments on behavior was a massive focus. The appeal as I moved from clinical and organizational side into the user experience field was that we’re still understanding people and how they behave. And so, in order to create products that change experiences, we really need to certainly understand how our customers behave. And once you understand their behaviors and what makes them tick, you can then start working on engineering and experience to achieve a certain end. So, it’s all about behavior. To me — with no bias of course as a psych — what you see, what you get, how people think, how that affects their world view, how memory works, how people process information – all of that is really critical to the kind of work that we do overall.

Pascal: Could you allude a couple of resources that you would recommend to aspiring designers and user experience consultants out there? I know a lot of us probably won’t have the strong academic background.

And there’s been times when I’ve hopped on to sites, great sites like Wikipedia and you look at a page like ‘memory’ and it’s massive because it’s at an academic level, pretty much. So, could you recommend something that will probably be a bit lighter and easier to step into for someone who’s new to this to the psychological aspects of UX.

Jodie: Absolutely. The best resource that I think is a fantastic place to start for anyone that’s really wanting to understand the way people think and how psychology applies and relates is What Makes Them Click – basically, that’s about psychology and looking at challenging basically your assumptions around how people might interact with your site or application and it’s just a load of things that are about behavior and how people process information and then, how that relates to the web world. So, it’s a very relevant site. That’s actually WhatMakesThemClick.net I think that’s a really good starting point.

The other thing that I think is useful – and it’s not necessarily a site, per se – we tweeted a report the other day that was looking back — Nokia released a report in 2008 that spoke about how they innovated. And what I thought that was really interesting was that they were talking about user experience as a key differentiator. And when you reflect on the way that things have gone for Nokia recently, it’s interesting to dissect some of those ways of thinking as conveyed though those kind of articles and what does that mean for the way that you might be able to challenge your own thinking and thought processes if you’re headlong in a project. That’s another interesting level to think about.

But I think as a starting point, ‘What Makes Them Click’ is a great one.

Pascal: Awesome! I’ll make sure that’s definitely in the show notes. It’ll be in the show notes hopefully for the podcast in the mp3 file. And we’ll make sure that’s on the website, as well.

Jodie: Sounds great!

Pascal: Awesome! Cool! So, there’s a couple of more things to run through. One of them is I had an interesting discussion with one of my best friends, Andy, about this who’s a developer. And one of the things we’ve talked about is this idea that we become a really restless society. We become quite restless users. We want what we want – our results right now, we want it already tomorrow and as fast as possible and at the smallest price at the least inconvenience to us. So, this is an age that’s completely devoid almost of manuals. We want to get an application sometimes without even checking that it really does what we want it to do. We want to install it. We want to use it. And we want to get our desired result from it as soon as possible. How can good user experience support this sort of almost ‘restless’ behavior?

Jodie: I suppose it comes back to some of those points I’ve made before – getting in and understanding users’ behavior. I agree. I think we are becoming restless. And the many, many ways that we can access information means that we’re very demanding. And I think that it’s about looking a little bit at the lay of the land and future-visioning, as well as looking from the past and where we have come from. And what are those changes that have led to that behavior in us as a human race and then, appreciating that when we’re moving towards designing products.

Manuals is a fantastic example, though I’m not entirely sure that a lot of people used to really read manuals and detail because I think personally, I think they’ve always been really hard to understand, really hard to digest unless you’re an engineer. And so, I think it’s just critical mass where a greater understanding of how do people use products and it’s that they don’t want to have to learn, they don’t want to have to read something. They just want to get in and use it. Products like the iPhone come now with no manual. It’s an example that’s thrown out a lot, but it’s the way of things moving forward, as well as even on websites. The least information that I have to submit to become registered or get a newsletter, I’m more likely to do it because it’s less effort.

So again, it comes back to understanding people’s motivations, drivers, behaviors and then, just being smart about how you build your product towards that.

Pascal: I suppose the culprit might be the manual itself. It’s not a good user experience. If you want to provide the information that’s required, or the understanding — the knowledge level — that’s required to successfully use an application, perhaps not to its ultimate, fullest extent, but to get all the rudimentary basics right to get what we want, there’s definitely a stronger move that I’ve noticed the last five or six years over – the applications that moved, the new download you installed and then, they have some kind of – they realize it’s the first time they’re being run. And then, they slowly introduce you to various parts of the app.

Is this an example of a good user experience or one of the aims of good user experience to circumvent the user manual?

Jodie: Absolutely. I think so. I think that if we go into homes and we observe people tossing aside a manual as they un-box something, then that tells us something pretty loud and clear. You could probably spend time re-engineering your manuals. And number one would be visualizing it and making it a lot easier to comprehend. Just looking at pictures that might describe but I think that for some products, that becomes impractical.

I saw a great presentation by Scott McCloud at WebStock in New Zealand. And he had put together a manual for how to use Google Chrome. And it was all sort of cartoon-based, which was really…

Pascal: Dumbing down…

Jodie: Yeah, dumbing down (for want of a better reference) information so that people could digest the complexity which was the back-end system that built Chrome. Now, as a humble user, I don’t really care. All I care is that it has multiple tabs and then, it’s got a memory of the things that I’ve done recently and it has some smarts around understanding what I do as the user and how I behave. And that’s the value for me.

There’s probably some people in the room that would really love to know the ins and outs of the code and that kind of thing, but the vast majority of users are not those people. So, it’s just about making it palatable for the people that are going to be using it and need to understand.

Pascal: Yeah, definitely. Could you give us a case study or an example of some of these concepts applied, maybe some recent work you’ve worked or – I don’t know, any sort of recent work or work that would showcase or illustrate a lot of the points that you’ve discussed.

Jodie: Yeah, sure. A true end-to-end experience of – I remember you asking of how us UX are best put into teams. We work on the creation of the Telstra mobile portal. And that has been launched and has increasingly been distributed across over more and more devices over the years. That started with a strategy and a vision around how Telstra wanted the new portal to be. And then, moving through concepting, prototyping, engaging with users and understanding the way that they use their mobile. And then, getting people into the labs to test variants on the design. So, there were many different ways that we could’ve gone with the design. And it was important to prototype and evaluate all of those to the different merits and to make a decision, iterate and prove, narrow down. And then, arrive at the final design that was then launched across a number of devices.

So, that project, we were the design team working with the business and working then with the developer. And still, in fact, working with the developer at the moment as it’s rolled out across different levels of that portal. So, starting at a higher level and now, moving down to different pages and different areas. So, that’s a really great end-to-end example, case study if you like. And challenging too, because of considerations to the population of mobile users — where we first started that project, iPhones were just being released. And then, smart phones weren’t used as much as what they are now. So, the decision for apps versus mobile web was a big one. It was a big, big issue at the time. And so, having to understand the technology and the business that have requirements around that and being sensible about not totally being driven by what the user says they want was a massive consideration, too. So, that’s a really end-to-end ideal kind of process we went through.

Another interesting one is that we’ve been doing some very detailed, contextual research into user’s buying habits. And so, going into people’s homes, understanding why they shop online versus offline and what are the triggers that makes them do one or the other. And that has been fascinating because that will pave the way for our clients as part of their strategy for what they do with their product moving forward and how they may even recreate themselves in some aspects.

I think that’s an important thing, as well. Nowadays, offline and online, a lot of different channels are all merging and they all work together seamlessly. So, it does become, user experience does become more like customer experience across a range of channels and understanding what makes people move from one channel to another and why. And so, that’s been a really, really interesting one.

And another, I suppose, a different end of the scale is rather than an end-to-end process, more of a strategic piece.

Pascal: Actually before going on, I should mention for U.S. listeners, Telstra is the big telecommunications giant in Australia. My only question is, were there any hitches? Anything that you came across and went, “Oh, okay. That’s interesting” or, “I didn’t expect that” or something that – I don’t know, anything really interesting to relate?

Jodie: Yeah, I think that any kind of testing process brings about interesting findings as far as what users will and won’t relate to. And I think that of all the years that I’ve done of user testing, if I run sessions, I still learn something new.

And I remember at the time, between three particular designs that we prototyped for the mobile portal, I think that some of the challenge was going into get users’ advice and see how they interact with the product and then, challenging the assumptions that the business team had made.

So, being able to say that some of these – for example, “users don’t like to scroll” comes up probably for a lot of usability professionals, user experience professional every now and then where someone has heard that from various experts and then, sort of applied that to every instance. The fact of the matter is that we put forward a design that meant there was a potential for a longer scroll on the home page. And the counter to that was that you had more information without having to click through and having to download extra pages, which is of course very important when you’re on mobile and you’re in transit and you’re moving around. And I think that dispelling the myth for stakeholders that people don’t like to scroll was a biggie and quite a basic aha! moment. I think that we had faith that people don’t mind scrolling when they feel comfortable about what the choice is and where they’re moving. But people that aren’t sure of where they are, sure, They probably don’t like to scroll down a very long page.

And so, that was a really eye-opening moment for some of the key stakeholders that we’re involved; that people were happy to move around when information is clear and the path set out ahead of them is clear. And also, the big fact that they don’t want to have to pay per download of clicking through multiple pages. So, that was a critical and an importantly informative step in the process to helping to determine the final design.

Pascal: So, that’s fifteen years into your profession and still, every session has the potential to bring out something new that you hadn’t expected.

Jodie: Absolutely. I think that that’s why I was so drawn to this area from the word go, and I love it. Technology changes so rapidly. We might be working on a website that is totally different to the last website that we might’ve worked on, because each product is so different and each of the goals and the compelling reason for that product being there is very different from your last client. It’s definitely, when you think about templates and a one-size-fits-all, it doesn’t really apply in the technology space. I think there’s certainly best practice and patterns that we can refer to and look at as helping to set a path, but I think the minute you become too rigid and fixed in pushing out something that looks like a widget because it’s the same as the last widget that you worked on is very dangerous.

Pascal: Yeah, I would agree. So, to bring this to a close (because I think we’re nearing the 40-minute mark), thank you so much for being on. I was wondering could you give us a personal recommendation, something that you used recently – an application on a site or a process or a tip or technique – something that you just recommend, sort of a weekly recommendation?

Jodie: What have I used recently? Well, having kids – there’s two-fold. Having kids, I use a lot of applications on my iPhone or on our iPad that entertains them that actually educates them, as well. So, if you’ve got kids out there, I’m sure you’ve already discovered the joy if you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad of – yeah, kids’ games, the talking, the learning alphabet and numbers and that kind of stuff through apps is an amazing God-send. And look, I like many of – I’ve actually downloaded applications like RunKeeper. And there’s another one that’s really cool for vegetarians out there, which is VegOut.

Pascal: I’ve not heard of that before.

Jodie: Okay. Well, that’s location-based. So, if you download that, it’ll give you the distance of the closest vegetarian or vegan restaurants or take-out places in close proximity to you. I think it’s really clever. It’s kind of cute.

Pascal: That’s awesome.

Jodie: Yeah, it’s quite clever. Have a look at it.

Pascal: Awesome! Thank you so much for joining us today.

Jodie: No worries!

Pascal: Would you mind if we checked back in with you at some point in the future?

Jodie: I’d love you. Thank you very much. It’s been a delight.

Pascal: Alright! This has been the DesignFestival podcast. Our guest has been Jodie Moule from Symplicit. Could you give us just briefly your Twitter handles and where we could find you online.

Jodie: Absolutely! On Twitter, @JodieMoule. And our team is @Symplicit. And our site is just Symplicit.com.au. But yeah, we love to tweet. We love to consume the media. So yeah, we’d love to chat to you and get engaged in the conversation out there, as well.

Pascal: Awesome! Alright! So, to close this off, my only last recommendation is to check out Jodie’s slideshow page. I’ve had a browse through some of her presentations and they’ve been pretty awesome. And I shall leave you guys with that. Thank you very much for listening. what a product or service look like, and then being involved right through the design and development process to the end. And that’s certainly I think where you see the value.

Pascal: I suppose, the next question at this point would be how would you define what a good experience is so that you can strive towards providing it? Who do you talk to? And how can you test that at the end?

Jodie: Look, I think it comes down to what is that product/service for, who are they aimed towards? And really understanding the segments of interests. So, you’ve really got to aim towards whoever your key market is for any kind of product or service.

And then, something I believe quite passionately, is going a little bit outside of that square. So, gone are the days where organizations would say, “Oh, it’s on the web so everyone is our potential target.” I think the very best products out there know their particular target or have a priority, primary or secondary personas that they’re aiming towards and they build for that. And then, if it’s good for the key target markets that they’re aiming towards, in time it may actually be good for the vast majority. But I think having a key focus there is really critical.

Pascal: I would agree even though I’m quite removed from UX directly, and by no means would I call myself – maybe an ‘aficionado’, I respect the trade and I try to provide a good experience as much as I can — but when it comes down to it, I’d rather seek the advice of a user experience professional, rather than trying to do something entirely by myself.

I would definitely agree that I certainly stopped trying to cater to everyone, at least on my website. And when doing client work, I try to convince the client that they need to do some thinking first, which often seems to not have been done at all – just thinking about what is your web presence for, who is it a target about, what is it supposed to do and how do you know it’s achieved that?

Jodie: That’s right. And look, one of the very best examples (it’s not necessarily in the web world), I’ve heard of, and I think Alan Cooper cited it in his books, ‘The Inmates are Running the Asylum’ is that the humble wheely suitcase was created for a very niche market, which was airline stuff. So, the people that were working in the airline industry, it’s just a useful little bag. It was a small suitcase on wheels. And you could see how focusing on the niche and getting it right for that niche is now – Gosh! Even kids have those little wheely bags. Everyone has them and everyone finds them useful.

So, I think it is really worth remembering because for you to focus your effort, you need to focus in on a key point rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

Pascal: I guess, following on from that, how do you understand or how do you define your users? How do you come up with a sense of who they are, what do they do or more importantly, what do they want, how do they go about getting what they want?

Jodie: Look, it’s two-fold. You need to be able to work with the business who understands their product and their strategy and where they want to go with that product and tease out their priorities and understand who they’re marketing towards. But also then, using experience and trying to introduce – like for example, we hear a lot and we deal a lot with clients that want to do research into their users’ needs in the online word that are only focused on people that are actually online and are adopting that channel. I think you always need to be a little bit cautious as to trying to understand the people that are not going online and what are the barriers for them, so that you can understand both sides of the coin, as well.

Pascal: I suppose having defined who your users are, you’ve done all the ground work, you’ve talked to your client, you’ve had great brainstorming sessions with them to really, as you say, tease out from them what their business is about, what their product is about, where they see themselves in one years time, two years time, five years time, what new markets they want to reach and who their users are – Having implemented it, how do you go about testing whether or not you’ve provided the right ideas/solutions?

Jodie: Looking back once we’ve implemented something, is that like…?

Pascal: Yeah, I suppose. Does this come down to do you test before you implement, per se? Would you test various iterations or ideas while working or would you do all the tests towards the end? What do you recommend? And how would you go about doing any sort of testing?

Jodie: Look, it’s many fold. I suppose the ideal user-centered design process would look at upfront requirements and research, which might be a little bit more open and exploratory. For us, we tend to focus in on what we call ‘contextual inquiry’. And that’s going into people’s workplace or houses and trying to get a sense of what makes them tick and certainly not relying on hear-say or their memory of what they think they do through things like focus groups. People are really bad at remembering what they do and why they do it. So, we tend not to rely in those kinds of methods.

And then, once we got through to the stage of understanding, “Well, what’s the opportunity? And what kind of product/service are we hoping to build here?” we will move through some concepts, the concepting stage where we might use again a number of methods where you could involve users in sketching. So, participatory design kind of processes. You might get something to pass a sketch phase into an interactive or wireframe prototype. And you would then get team members of the segment to come in and evaluate whether they could complete certain tasks and also, test the logic of the product/service that’s being designed, so does it match the mental product that the users have of that kind of a product or service.

And then, you progress again iteratively. So, I think that you hit the nail on head when you say, “Do you take more of an iterative approach?” Without a doubt, as many times as you can. It’s been proven on a number of projects that we’ve conducted, that the more that you check and iterate a design, the more it improves. So, we have a number of measures and metrics that we put in place in order to evaluate how things are improving and how the design tweaks and changes are effecting the overall level of customer satisfaction. And that’s really important.

And then, of course, before you launch when something is shiny and new, just to be sure, again, testing and evaluating then. And then, ongoing. A lot of sites are not looking at a revolution. They’re looking at evolution. So, health checks along the way for products that are out there in the market and just tweaking and changing it are definitely part of incremental innovation of any kind of product.

Pascal: I think you’ve highlighted some awesome points there. It’s a great answer actually. I suppose the only additional question that I will have is, at the moment, the only idea that comes into my mind is of various sort of iterative testing (at least the chief one) is AB testing. Could you give us a couple of examples or types of testing that you would recommend, something that could potentially be done on a budget quite cheap, but still yield good results. What would you recommend to sort of a freelance designer who is UX aware and wants to provide a good experience for the website, for the product and also wants to test it during the design process? What would you recommend?

Jodie: Yes. I would recommend putting it in front anyone that hasn’t been involved on the project and getting them to complete a number of key tasks. So usually, there are several goals that you’re trying to achieve with any kind of site, whether it be that ultimately, you want them to purchase an item (so, select and purchase an item), you want them to be able to complete various transactions or review information. The very best thing is to put in front of people the design and get them to achieve those tasks – so, how easy or hard it is for them to be able to find that information or complete the task gives you a really good sense of whether you’re on the right track or not.

I suppose hitting a homepage is important. You can do a 3-second kind of test where you just sort of see in three seconds whether people are able to achieve the particular tasks that you’re wanting them to, you know, as quickly as possible digest from the home page. That’s a really great test to see if your home page is doing what you want it to. Essentially, home pages have evolved to have a lot of information on them. And that’s great because it’s multiple tasks to potential content, but thinking in a very focused manner what are the two or three key things that you want people to do. It helps pare it back and really hone in on what’s the critical information to display and what’s the pathway that you want to reinforce.

Yeah, so that’s the two ways I think that are really important. And I suppose it’s that task-based or scenario-based evaluation that really yields the most detail because you’re getting people to then complete a particular path through the site or through the design. And getting that feedback as you go. I think it’s important to get people to think aloud and tell you what are they thinking or what are they expecting if they’re about to click on something or why do they hesitate asking those kinds of questions as a session evolves is really valuable and you gain massive insights.

Pascal: This reminds of the Silverback app, the Mac recording application that records the screen and the audio through the in-built microphone, as well as a webcam snap of whoever’s using the software. It’ll record mouse clicks.

Jodie: Yes.

Pascal: They’re something I very much underutilize, but I love the idea of the app. And a few times, I had used it, I loved it. Would you do something like that or a sort of testing suite that just records simple sessions? Would you recommend something like that for aspiring UX consultants?

Jodie: Definitely. I think the ability (if you’re really into it) to be able to review and go back especially as you’re learning and coming up to speed with how people react. To be able to revert and look back over a session that you’ve run even personally to listen to the way you might phrase or question things, to let you have insight as to whether you’ve been leading or not, also is very valuable. And sometimes, cringe-worthy I think.

But over the years especially when I was earning my stripes as the user experience professional, usability ad nauseam I did a lot of at the start of my career. And going back over those tapes of yourself and how you phrase things and how you probe is one of the greatest learnings you can have. So, without a doubt, I think that would be something that that would be something I’d recommend to any designers. Not only to make use of that technology, but to actually put yourself though the pain of watching it again and taking what are the top five things I’d like to not do again if I did that a second time.

Pascal: Actually I find that notion really interesting. I suppose although I’m not a scientist or anything of that sort, a lot of my friends studied hard sciences at University and I love sitting with them at the bar and having a good chat and just the idea of the observer affecting what is being observed, I find it very striking. It just always reminds me of the whole Schrodinger’s Cat analogy. I suppose it’s quite important to see, or it’s quite important to realize that yes, the environment that you are doing the testing in could have a quite sizeable impact on the testing itself; you’re doing the testing at your office, away from the people who are being tested in their houses. Would you recommend doing testing in the environment that’s most likely to be the environment where the final product would be used?

Jodie: Look, it depends on the product and the situation. We do a mix of both. For example, we went recently into the working world and we ran more of a contextual inquiry and exploration with professionals that will be using the financial tool that we’ve created. And in that working environment, it was important to get a sense of what they were doing, what other things are they using and then, to introduce the prototype that we’ve created and get their feedback on it. And in a subtle way, get them to complete tasks, but not feel too threatened and make them feel as if it was conversational and not a test.

I think those kinds of things can’t be underestimated; it’s the experience to be able to relax people and also, make them feel like they’re not being evaluated themselves. And besides the way that things are phrased or the way the session flows I think are really, really critical things to remember that people often underestimate.

So yeah, both are important. We also have people come to our lab and we have products evaluated in our lab. I think that that’s also valid. We also, a lot of times, have that data added to with remote evaluation so that people can complete scenarios and tasks in the comfort of their own home and then, relay what they’ve done and how easy or how hard it was to complete certain tasks. So, that kind of data does back up the smaller numbers we tend to observe in our lab. And we find that the two mirror each other. And again, it comes down to the experience of the host in being able to manage that situation. But those kinds of different methods really do add a bigger picture.

Pascal: Have you ever come across a situation where there were large discrepancies between an activity that was either exactly the same or mostly the same that was conducted either in a rather – I don’t want to give the wrong impressions — but sort of a clinical lab setting and whoever you’re testing in their house, you’ve got their kids running around or they’re in their kitchen, they’ve just pulled up a laptop, say they’re having a coffee and testing the application. Has there ever been a big discrepancy in this sort of testing?

Jodie: No. Happily, I can say no. There’s not been a massive discrepancy. If there’s a massive discrepancy with what you see in the lab as to what people might be doing in their own home or what you might observe in their home, then obviously there’s a problem.

So no, we haven’t encountered that. But again, it depends on the service. When we’re going into people’s homes, then we’re more observing the lay of the land. And some of the things that we might be asking them might not at all be related to what we’re looking at. And in a way, you don’t want them to be too well-prepared or armed for what you’re doing because you just want those natural day-to-day live accounts of how they live and what they do.

So yeah, I know that it comes up quite often – this feeling of “in the lab”, and how that impacts results, I think there’s several ways you can help with that – making the environment feels quite friendly and relaxed, also putting some people at ease very rapidly and continuing to do so.

Having said that – I mean, I’ve ran sessions, as have probably most usability professionals, where you try as you might, someone might be coming into the environment feeling apprehensive (not relaxed), feeling very anxious the whole time. And so, I suppose you also have to consider that data for what it is.

Pascal: This starts to really enter the realms of psychology, in which you have a good background. Could you allude to the psychological aspect of testing or particularly just user experience in general?

Jodie: Yeah. I suppose I’ve started my luck as a psychology grad. I actually worked in the clinical field, where understanding behavior and the impact and influence of environments on behavior was a massive focus. The appeal as I moved from clinical and organizational side into the user experience field was that we’re still understanding people and how they behave. And so, in order to create products that change experiences, we really need to certainly understand how our customers behave. And once you understand their behaviors and what makes them tick, you can then start working on engineering and experience to achieve a certain end. So, it’s all about behavior. To me — with no bias of course as a psych — what you see, what you get, how people think, how that affects their world view, how memory works, how people process information – all of that is really critical to the kind of work that we do overall.

Pascal: Could you allude a couple of resources that you would recommend to aspiring designers and user experience consultants out there? I know a lot of us probably won’t have the strong academic background.

And there’s been times when I’ve hopped on to sites, great sites like Wikipedia and you look at a page like ‘memory’ and it’s massive because it’s at an academic level, pretty much. So, could you recommend something that will probably be a bit lighter and easier to step into for someone who’s new to this to the psychological aspects of UX.

Jodie: Absolutely. The best resource that I think is a fantastic place to start for anyone that’s really wanting to understand the way people think and how psychology applies and relates is What Makes Them Click – basically, that’s about psychology and looking at challenging basically your assumptions around how people might interact with your site or application and it’s just a load of things that are about behavior and how people process information and then, how that relates to the web world. So, it’s a very relevant site. That’s actually WhatMakesThemClick.net I think that’s a really good starting point.

The other thing that I think is useful – and it’s not necessarily a site, per se – we tweeted a report the other day that was looking back — Nokia released a report in 2008 that spoke about how they innovated. And what I thought that was really interesting was that they were talking about user experience as a key differentiator. And when you reflect on the way that things have gone for Nokia recently, it’s interesting to dissect some of those ways of thinking as conveyed though those kind of articles and what does that mean for the way that you might be able to challenge your own thinking and thought processes if you’re headlong in a project. That’s another interesting level to think about.

But I think as a starting point, ‘What Makes Them Click’ is a great one.

Pascal: Awesome! I’ll make sure that’s definitely in the show notes. It’ll be in the show notes hopefully for the podcast in the mp3 file. And we’ll make sure that’s on the website, as well.

Jodie: Sounds great!

Pascal: Awesome! Cool! So, there’s a couple of more things to run through. One of them is I had an interesting discussion with one of my best friends, Andy, about this who’s a developer. And one of the things we’ve talked about is this idea that we become a really restless society. We become quite restless users. We want what we want – our results right now, we want it already tomorrow and as fast as possible and at the smallest price at the least inconvenience to us. So, this is an age that’s completely devoid almost of manuals. We want to get an application sometimes without even checking that it really does what we want it to do. We want to install it. We want to use it. And we want to get our desired result from it as soon as possible. How can good user experience support this sort of almost ‘restless’ behavior?

Jodie: I suppose it comes back to some of those points I’ve made before – getting in and understanding users’ behavior. I agree. I think we are becoming restless. And the many, many ways that we can access information means that we’re very demanding. And I think that it’s about looking a little bit at the lay of the land and future-visioning, as well as looking from the past and where we have come from. And what are those changes that have led to that behavior in us as a human race and then, appreciating that when we’re moving towards designing products.

Manuals is a fantastic example, though I’m not entirely sure that a lot of people used to really read manuals and detail because I think personally, I think they’ve always been really hard to understand, really hard to digest unless you’re an engineer. And so, I think it’s just critical mass where a greater understanding of how do people use products and it’s that they don’t want to have to learn, they don’t want to have to read something. They just want to get in and use it. Products like the iPhone come now with no manual. It’s an example that’s thrown out a lot, but it’s the way of things moving forward, as well as even on websites. The least information that I have to submit to become registered or get a newsletter, I’m more likely to do it because it’s less effort.

So again, it comes back to understanding people’s motivations, drivers, behaviors and then, just being smart about how you build your product towards that.

Pascal: I suppose the culprit might be the manual itself. It’s not a good user experience. If you want to provide the information that’s required, or the understanding — the knowledge level — that’s required to successfully use an application, perhaps not to its ultimate, fullest extent, but to get all the rudimentary basics right to get what we want, there’s definitely a stronger move that I’ve noticed the last five or six years over – the applications that moved, the new download you installed and then, they have some kind of — they realize it’s the first time they’re being run. And then, they slowly introduce you to various parts of the app.

Is this an example of a good user experience or one of the aims of good user experience to circumvent the user manual?

Jodie: Absolutely. I think so. I think that if we go into homes and we observe people tossing aside a manual as they un-box something, then that tells us something pretty loud and clear. You could probably spend time re-engineering your manuals. And number one would be visualizing it and making it a lot easier to comprehend. Just looking at pictures that might describe but I think that for some products, that becomes impractical.

I saw a great presentation by Scott McCloud at WebStock in New Zealand. And he had put together a manual for how to use Google Chrome. And it was all sort of cartoon-based, which was really…

Pascal: Dumbing down…

Jodie: Yeah, dumbing down (for want of a better reference) information so that people could digest the complexity which was the back-end system that built Chrome. Now, as a humble user, I don’t really care. All I care is that it has multiple tabs and then, it’s got a memory of the things that I’ve done recently and it has some smarts around understanding what I do as the user and how I behave. And that’s the value for me.

There’s probably some people in the room that would really love to know the ins and outs of the code and that kind of thing, but the vast majority of users are not those people. So, it’s just about making it palatable for the people that are going to be using it and need to understand.

Pascal: Yeah, definitely. Could you give us a case study or an example of some of these concepts applied, maybe some recent work you’ve worked or – I don’t know, any sort of recent work or work that would showcase or illustrate a lot of the points that you’ve discussed.

Jodie: Yeah, sure. A true end-to-end experience of – I remember you asking of how us UX are best put into teams. We work on the creation of the Telstra mobile portal. And that has been launched and has increasingly been distributed across over more and more devices over the years. That started with a strategy and a vision around how Telstra wanted the new portal to be. And then, moving through concepting, prototyping, engaging with users and understanding the way that they use their mobile. And then, getting people into the labs to test variants on the design. So, there were many different ways that we could’ve gone with the design. And it was important to prototype and evaluate all of those to the different merits and to make a decision, iterate and prove, narrow down. And then, arrive at the final design that was then launched across a number of devices.

So, that project, we were the design team working with the business and working then with the developer. And still, in fact, working with the developer at the moment as it’s rolled out across different levels of that portal. So, starting at a higher level and now, moving down to different pages and different areas. So, that’s a really great end-to-end example, case study if you like. And challenging too, because of considerations to the population of mobile users — where we first started that project, iPhones were just being released. And then, smart phones weren’t used as much as what they are now. So, the decision for apps versus mobile web was a big one. It was a big, big issue at the time. And so, having to understand the technology and the business that have requirements around that and being sensible about not totally being driven by what the user says they want was a massive consideration, too. So, that’s a really end-to-end ideal kind of process we went through.

Another interesting one is that we’ve been doing some very detailed, contextual research into user’s buying habits. And so, going into people’s homes, understanding why they shop online versus offline and what are the triggers that makes them do one or the other. And that has been fascinating because that will pave the way for our clients as part of their strategy for what they do with their product moving forward and how they may even recreate themselves in some aspects.

I think that’s an important thing, as well. Nowadays, offline and online, a lot of different channels are all merging and they all work together seamlessly. So, it does become, user experience does become more like customer experience across a range of channels and understanding what makes people move from one channel to another and why. And so, that’s been a really, really interesting one.

And another, I suppose, a different end of the scale is rather than an end-to-end process, more of a strategic piece.

Pascal: Actually before going on, I should mention for U.S. listeners, Telstra is the big telecommunications giant in Australia. My only question is, were there any hitches? Anything that you came across and went, “Oh, okay. That’s interesting” or, “I didn’t expect that” or something that – I don’t know, anything really interesting to relate?

Jodie: Yeah, I think that any kind of testing process brings about interesting findings as far as what users will and won’t relate to. And I think that of all the years that I’ve done of user testing, if I run sessions, I still learn something new.

And I remember at the time, between three particular designs that we prototyped for the mobile portal, I think that some of the challenge was going into get users’ advice and see how they interact with the product and then, challenging the assumptions that the business team had made.

So, being able to say that some of these – for example, “users don’t like to scroll” comes up probably for a lot of usability professionals, user experience professional every now and then where someone has heard that from various experts and then, sort of applied that to every instance. The fact of the matter is that we put forward a design that meant there was a potential for a longer scroll on the home page. And the counter to that was that you had more information without having to click through and having to download extra pages, which is of course very important when you’re on mobile and you’re in transit and you’re moving around. And I think that dispelling the myth for stakeholders that people don’t like to scroll was a biggie and quite a basic aha! moment. I think that we had faith that people don’t mind scrolling when they feel comfortable about what the choice is and where they’re moving. But people that aren’t sure of where they are, sure, They probably don’t like to scroll down a very long page.

And so, that was a really eye-opening moment for some of the key stakeholders that we’re involved; that people were happy to move around when information is clear and the path set out ahead of them is clear. And also, the big fact that they don’t want to have to pay per download of clicking through multiple pages. So, that was a critical and an importantly informative step in the process to helping to determine the final design.

Pascal: So, that’s fifteen years into your profession and still, every session has the potential to bring out something new that you hadn’t expected.

Jodie: Absolutely. I think that that’s why I was so drawn to this area from the word go, and I love it. Technology changes so rapidly. We might be working on a website that is totally different to the last website that we might’ve worked on, because each product is so different and each of the goals and the compelling reason for that product being there is very different from your last client. It’s definitely, when you think about templates and a one-size-fits-all, it doesn’t really apply in the technology space. I think there’s certainly best practice and patterns that we can refer to and look at as helping to set a path, but I think the minute you become too rigid and fixed in pushing out something that looks like a widget because it’s the same as the last widget that you worked on is very dangerous.

Pascal: Yeah, I would agree. So, to bring this to a close (because I think we’re nearing the 40-minute mark), thank you so much for being on. I was wondering could you give us a personal recommendation, something that you used recently – an application on a site or a process or a tip or technique – something that you just recommend, sort of a weekly recommendation?

Jodie: What have I used recently? Well, having kids – there’s two-fold. Having kids, I use a lot of applications on my iPhone or on our iPad that entertains them that actually educates them, as well. So, if you’ve got kids out there, I’m sure you’ve already discovered the joy if you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad of – yeah, kids’ games, the talking, the learning alphabet and numbers and that kind of stuff through apps is an amazing God-send. And look, I like many of – I’ve actually downloaded applications like RunKeeper. And there’s another one that’s really cool for vegetarians out there, which is VegOut.

Pascal: I’ve not heard of that before.

Jodie: Okay. Well, that’s location-based. So, if you download that, it’ll give you the distance of the closest vegetarian or vegan restaurants or take-out places in close proximity to you. I think it’s really clever. It’s kind of cute.

Pascal: That’s awesome.

Jodie: Yeah, it’s quite clever. Have a look at it.

Pascal: Awesome! Thank you so much for joining us today.

Jodie: No worries!

Pascal: Would you mind if we checked back in with you at some point in the future?

Jodie: I’d love you. Thank you very much. It’s been a delight.

Pascal: Alright! This has been the DesignFestival podcast. Our guest has been Jodie Moule from Symplicit. Could you give us just briefly your Twitter handles and where we could find you online.

Jodie: Absolutely! On Twitter, @JodieMoule. And our team is @Symplicit. And our site is just Symplicit.com.au. But yeah, we love to tweet. We love to consume the media. So yeah, we’d love to chat to you and get engaged in the conversation out there, as well.

Pascal: Awesome! Alright! So, to close this off, my only last recommendation is to check out Jodie’s slideshow page. I’ve had a browse through some of her presentations and they’ve been pretty awesome. And I shall leave you guys with that. Thank you very much for listening.

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