In March 2013, we conducted a survey to get insights into what people in the Toledo region needed to help them create better user experiences.
- Largest needs are user interface design specifics and case studies/practice to understand the process.
- The ideas to provide training were all popular.
- Formal activities (such as forming a local professional chapter), business-related ideas (such as evangelization) and “academic” options (such as book club) were not that popular.
- Being low cost was important.
- Two events in May are based on the more popular ideas: May 8 UX speaker and May 29 webinar.
We got 43 replies. Some generic job titles of some of the respondents:
- Executives: CEO, President, Vice President, CIO
- UX Practitioners: Web designer/developer, Usability analyst, Creative director, Interactive designer, UX designer
- Other practitioners: Communications, Software developer, Application developer
- Academia: Student, Instructor
In response to “What do you need to improve the user experience (UX) of the things you create?”, the ranked list of needs (with % of people who marked each as a need) are:
1. (70%) Insights into innovative UI & interaction designs
2. (67%) Knowledge of advanced UX techniques
3. (63%) Case studies showing how others do UX
3. (63%) Practice doing UX
5. (58%) Training and formal education on how to do basic UX methods
6. (44%) A UX “tribe” to hang out with, get support from
7. (35%) More commitment from my clients to pay me for UX work
8. (30%) Better tools for doing UX work
9. (28%) Awareness and understanding of UX by others within my company
10. (19%) UX talent to hire
The comments from the Needs sections included these 2 groups of responses:
What I need…
- Inspiration and aspiration for my team
- Real-world use cases and empirical data
- User interface design guidelines and best practices
- Good UX (for my app), without paying too much
- UX value to business
- More of ALL of this
How I want to address these needs…
- Tell war stories with other veterans of UI
- See UX teams in action
- Network with people who need my services
- Compare my practices to the work of others
- Bounce idea off of others
- Learn by doing
We asked “What can we do to address your UX needs?” and for each idea, let people select from 1 of 4 categories: Bad idea / Good idea / Great idea, will help / Awesome idea, will pay $. Respondents could skip an idea and not rate it. We can break down the ideas into 3 general categories:
Top Ideas (the most popular ideas, probably try them first)
- Add more UX events to the Toledo Web Professionals program: #2 “Great idea”
- Arrange online webinars and virtual training: #1 “Awesome idea”
- Organize a local conference about UX: #2 “Great idea”
- Create hands-on training of UX methods
- Set up a mentoring program for students and others new to UX: #3 “Awesome idea”
- Build a directory of UX people/companies in the region: #1 “Great idea” but no “Awesome” votes, so ranked lower overall than other top ideas
Middle Ideas (have some merit but not as popular)
- Evangelize UX to local business leaders
- Schedule UX reviews so we can talk about UX and help improve local products and services
- Collaborate with AIGA Toledo
- Create a marketplace for UX work (where clients and agencies can meet): Most controversial idea, #1 “Bad idea”, #1 “Awesome idea”
- Plan road trips to UX events in Detroit, Columbus and other nearby cities
Bottom Ideas (least popular, not worth doing any time soon)
- Create a Meetup group, schedule meetups
- Establish a local chapter of a professional organization (like IxDA or UXPA)
- Rejuvenate Refresh Toledo: #1 “No Response” because few know what it is
- Set up a site where we can show off our UX capabilities
- Set up an online area for discussions (e.g., Google group)
- Suggest the best national UX conferences to travel to
- Set up an exchange program with other cities (to help us get up to speed faster)
- Compile a list of classes to take (e.g., BGSU CS 3240)
- Launch a UX book club: #1 “Bad idea” and #20 “Great idea” so the overall bottom idea
Comments about the ideas
Several of the comments were about a lack of time:
- I would love to help out but I am spread too thin as it is.
- I don’t have a lot of extra time/energy these days to assist but I am a cheerleader.
Several comments featured the importance of training:
- Love the idea of training opportunities. For example, plugging into that web cast last year was great.
- I’d be willing to pay for (or make the case to the powers that be to pay for) specific training classes or materials.
- Training the next generation is the foundation of it all.
Several comments were about not knowing what Refresh Toledo was.
Finally, some people volunteered for specific activities:
- My new project would be a great homegrown solution to mentoring locally.
- If you need someone to help organize a UX conference, contact me.
- I am willing to talk and present.
- 43 responses: that seems good, more than expected. Enough interest to keep going, at least.
- Largest single need is how to do user interface and interaction design. “What to design” we might call it.
- “How to design” is also a major need, captured in the “case studies” and “practice” needs.
- Despite “training” being a mid-level “need”, the training-related ideas were all rated highly, and the comments called out training even more. As long as it was not too academic.
- Large, more formal efforts, like Refresh Toledo or a UXPA chapter, were ranked low.
- Connecting with nearby regions, like road trips, was ranked low.
- None of the “business development” needs or ideas were ranked very high. This includes getting more commitment to pay for UX work, evanglizing to business leaders and creating a marketplace.
- In general, things that cost less money were rated higher than things which obviously were going to cost more. 70% of the respondents were not willing to pay for ANY idea.
- Some of the comments called out the power of combining different ideas: definitely a good approach to take.
Two ideas were so highly ranked early on that when opportunities arose to make them happen, we jumped on them:
- Add more UX events to TWP. Join us on May 8th for an out-of-town speaker on UX.
- Arrange online webinars and virtual training. We are hosting the Rosenfeld Summit webinar on May 29th.