User Centered Thinking in Higher Ed Communications

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User-centered thinking in higher ed communications Batu Sayici Melissa Zuroff

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Hello! @batusayici @MelissaZuroff

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Let’s talk about • Using research and data to establish a user-centered strategy • Determining the tools and team needed • Recognizing and exploring how to approach potential challenges

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User-centered design Designing a product or service around how users want or need to use it, rather than forcing them to change their behavior to accommodate your product or service.

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flickr.com/photos/remembertobreathe/14351037195 Before

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! Internally driven communication mimicking organizational structure and language

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The problem?

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A user-centered design and content strategy reflecting students’: 1. mental model 2. priorities 3. language

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How to get there in 4 steps

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1 Get management support and sponsorship.

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Challenges you might face • • • • No budget/staff Low awareness of benefits Resistance to act Organizational change

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Overcome the challenges • Show, don’t just tell. • Focus on projects that produce tangible results. • Involve stakeholders throughout the process of planning, execution, analysis, and reporting.

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Make your argument.

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Emphasize what a user-centered strategy enables • More effectively meeting organizational objectives • Better serving user needs • Better accountability

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Some resources on getting leadership buy-in:

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2 Build the right team.

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Identify the right people and skill sets… Visual Design UX Content Analyst

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…and foster their skills.

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3 Involve users (early) in the design process.

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Determine your process. Surveys Analytics Usability tests Surveys Analytics Social Media Interviews Brainstorming Card sorting

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Use your data to find what’s not working.

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Understand current experience and pain points.

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Simplify their journey.

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Talk their language. Avoid jargon and internal terminology.

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Check rough prototypes early.

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Test & iterate Quick and dirty is better than none.

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Here’s an example

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Tips for user tests • Use social media and email to create a pool of participants. • Offer desirable incentives. • Run small tests often. • Aim to make things better, not perfect.

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Some resources on testing:

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4 Measure and communicate results.

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Results Before After 4 3.75 3.5 3.25 3 easy to find easy to understand enjoyable

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To be more user-centered… Get management support and sponsorship. Build the right team. Involve users early in the design process. Measure and communicate results.

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But also… “When fixing problems, try to do the least you can do.” –Steve Krug

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Questions? @batusayici @MelissaZuroff

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