March Survey Results

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.

Executive Summary

  • 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.

Respondents

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

Needs

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

Ideas

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.

Observations

  • 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.

Already happening

Two ideas were so highly ranked early on that when opportunities arose to make them happen, we jumped on them:

 

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