Lifts and elevators are things that we love to talk about in UX circles. Every lift seems able to become the starting point for a user experience conversation. To answer all the questions we have about elevators we talk to Reetta Ranne and Jussi Hiltunen who are senior UX design specialists at KONE in Finland.
We take a deep dive into Keyboard shortcuts, or hotkeys in this topic show. We dig into how to decide and design what keyboard shortcuts to have in your web app. What are keyboard shortcuts? Are they the same thing as Accesskeys? What standards and conventions are there to follow? What are shortcut no-nos we should avoid? We try to shine some light on the topic and give your own list of recommendations about what you could do.
(Listening time: 35 minutes)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) March 3, 2017
- Keyboard shortcuts (wikipedia)
- How to choose keyboard shortcuts for web applications
- Web apps have keyboard shortcuts too
- Accesskey conventions
- Standard access keys (SAK2014)
In our listener survey we ask the question: What is the biggest occupational challenge facing you right now? Over the past few surveys we’ve gather quite a number of responses to that question. In this episode we take a look at some of the challenges you say that you face, and even try to give some advice about how to meet those challenges.
(Listening time: 39 minutes)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) May 13, 2016
- European UX impact survey
- MVP episode – #89 James & Per want a car not a skateboard
- Tom Greever episode – #119 Articulating design decisions with Tom Greever
- Whitney Hess episode – #110 UX Coaching with Whitney Hess
- Word cloud based on the responses to the question
- The Moth Radio hour – Explanation of the cryptic opening sentences between Per and James
- UX Podcast listener survey (if you missed filling it in earlier this year!) – takes just a couple of minutes to compelte
It’s so easy to add a little rectangle to a wireframe, but what are the consequences of adding an image to your design? Are images good or bad for UX? How can we improve our design processes so that we take the impact of images properly into account?
In this topic show Per and James look into how to design with images and how the performance of your website is a critical part of the user experience and should be a central part of your design process.
(Listening time: 52 minutes, Size: 36MB)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) January 8, 2016
- Images – good or bad for UX?
- Mosiac web browser (wikipedia)
- http archive interesting stats (December 2015)
- Page bloat update: The average web page is more than 2 MB in size
- WPO stats
- Responsive Workflow
- Responsive design workflow by Stephen Hay
- Code pen and w3ss and James’s example wireframe
- WEEE Image optimizer plugin for WordPress
- Smush it online image optimiser imgopt
- Setting a web performance budget
- Processing Fluency: The Missing Link in UX
- Featured image by Baldiri (CC BY 2.0)
Many of us suffer from imposter syndrome. Everyone else is better than me. This was just luck. Good timing. Soon they’re going to find out that I’m faking it.
We talk to Lori Cavallucci and Amy Silvers to learn more about what is it and how it effects us. Why does our branch in particular seem to suffer from it? What can we do to deal with it and can it be a good thing in any way?
Amy is an information architect and UX designer in the NYC. Lori is a user experience designer with a background in psychology working in Philadelphia.
(Listening time: 39 minutes)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) August 21, 2015
- We’re not worthy: Understanding and escaping imposter syndrome (IA Summit 2014 program)
- We’re not worthy – Video of Amy & Lori’s talk from Madison+ UX August 2014.
- Feeling like a fraud – The psychology of the imposter phenomenon
- Featured image by Sharyn Morrow cropped to 1:1 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
How do you build a minimum viable product? Inspired by a Twitter conversation, we talk to Russ Unger, Stephen Anderson and Jeff Gothelf about what MVP is, what it isn’t. Does it cause more confusion than add value? What are we trying to learn and validate? We get some hangups off our chests, and discuss how you and your product team can avoid some of the MVP pitfalls.
(Listening time: 53 minutes)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) December 26, 2014
- Your ultimate guide to Minimum Viable Product
- The “Spotify image” How to Build a Minimum Viable Product
- How DropBox Started As A Minimal Viable Product
- Minimum Viable Products — Defined by The Experts
- Minimum Viable Product vs. Minimum Delightful Product Minimum delightful product
- Bus unge translated from Swedish
- Russ pulls out a puppet (27:40)
Are you in it for the money or in it for the UX? James and Per reflect on Facebook’s $19bn purchase of Whatsapp, the history and future of messaging and personal correspondence as well as how the start-up ideology you adopt can affect your approach to UX.(Listening time: 38 minutes)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) March 7, 2014
- Wassup 2008
- Mark Zuckerberg announces the Whatsapp deal
- Famous tech acquisitions, cost per user
- The “missing” Bokado article: Whatsapp’s focus on UX
UX deliverables with Anna Dahlström. We look at the problem with UX deliverables, explore being tactical and adapting what you produce to the situation, dabble with mentoring and find time for a “fika”.(Listening time 53 minutes, transcript)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) February 21, 2014
Whilst sat around an open fire drinking sherry and wearing Santa hats, James and Per record a podcast about podcasts. In this meta-show we explain how podcasts help us in our work. What is it that makes us like a podcast? What kind of challenges do podcaster face in producing awesome shows? Finally we recommend a bunch of podcasts that we listen to and explain why you should give them a try.
Pour yourself a glass of something nice and enjoy the last UX Podcast show of 2013.(Listening time: 49 minutes)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) December 27, 2013
- Stitcher (all the podcasts recommended are available on Stitcher apart from the two with links provided to RSS Feeds)
- UX Podcast interview with Nathalie Nahai
- The Good, The Bad and The Dirty – RSS feed
- Sex Nerd Sandra
- The Big Web Show
- UIE Brainsparks – RSS feed
- The Psych Files
- Snap Judgement
- The Dirt
- UX Podcast on Spotify
Why do we produce so much content, and so many websites and apps, that people don’t want or need? We take a look at the problem of bloat that so many information rich (non-transactional) sites have. How did our sites end up this fat and irrelevant?
In this show we also come up with some tips and advice on how you can avoid this happening in your organisation.(listening time 29 minutes)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) November 2, 2013
Per: Hello and welcome to UX Podcast. You’re listening to me Per Axbom.
James: And me James Royal-Lawson.
Per: And we’re sitting in a hotel lobby again.
James: We are. What happened to us normally recording at Beantin HQ?
Per: I don’t know. It’s like we’re getting really busy in trying to squeeze this in all the time. You were coming from a meeting and I had to like walk here briskly and we’re off again.
James: We were supposed to record this at Beantin HQ actually.
Per: We were supposed to, yeah. True. It is really cold out in Sweden now and it’s getting dark so this is …
James: Oh, you sound so depressed about it. I really like it. These kind of crisp, frosty mornings and the fact that we can light candles now and the winter snow is almost here. We can go skiing and we can build snowman and igloos and awww …
Per: Wow, I’ve never seen you this positive about something like that. I had to stop riding my bike now, so that’s why.
James: I had great fun yesterday as well. I used my leaf lawnmower, a leaf vacuum.
Per: A leaf vacuum.
James: Normally, I can’t use it as a vacuum. Normally I can only blow leaves with it but it was dry enough yesterday. So I can actually suck up the leaves in my garden. It’s like a crazy man pushing this giant blue vacuum around his grass, sucking up leaves.
Per: Nice. So how long did that take?
James: Oh, about half an hour, 40 minutes.
Per: OK. How many leaves? How many square meters of leaves?
James: How many square meters of leaves? I would say about a few hundred square meters. Oh, probably 100 square meters thinking about it.
Per: That must be extreme job satisfaction. I mean you see the goal.
James: We should do a sister podcast where we talk about gardening.
James: Gardening and birds.
Per: But I thought it was a really good segue into like talking about goals. You see the goals of the leaves and you have to suck them all up and one hour you do it and so done and it’s really satisfying and what we wanted to talk about today is I think you have the title of the show there.
James: We did actually come up with a title basically. Hold on a second. I’m on the wrong page. The curse of producing websites that people don’t want.
James: Actually in the beginning you said the curse of producing content that people don’t want and I give it an upgrade.
Per: Yeah, you did and I think that’s good because I mean in the end it’s about the websites we’re producing and how much they suck sometimes.
James: Just to emphasize the kind of segment we’re talking about here where we deal an awful lot with the non-ecommerce sites. We mentioned this before in previous shows. We mainly work with sites that are corporate or governmental or they don’t involve a basket and a checkout.
Per: So large information-rich websites.
James: Yeah, and I think we can say that the web industry are split these days. We’ve got the ecommerce world who seem really very good at setting goals and having optimization and conversion optimization and making sure that you get money from products on their website.
James: Then we have the other side of things, which we deal with where …
Per: And our side of course is more complicated because it’s harder to measure.
James: I want to say that our side of things is more complicated. I mean ecommerce has its problems too.
Per: Of course it does
James: …but just not as – this particular one about producing thousands of pages of probably unnecessary content is not one they generally have.
Per: Yeah. So you might say this show is born sort of out of frustration, going to meetings and hearing people talking about the content they’re producing and you realize that they don’t have a clue about what sort of user behaviour they’re satisfying or user needs they’re satisfying with all that content that they’re producing. So usually the way it goes if you’ve worked in this business for a while, you come to a company. You help them redesign a website by a new CMS. They go down from 3000 to 1500 pages and then you come back and two years again, they’re up to 4000 pages and they realize, “Oh, this is too much. We need to get rid of these pages.” It’s really strange how they can realize that they need to get rid of the pages but they don’t realize when they’re producing the pages.
James: They need to think more about what they’re doing.
Per: Yeah, need to think about why am I producing this right now and I really don’t get why people go to meetings – it’s sort of like well, the companies you and I work with, they usually have quite large web teams and a team of web editors producing content and they go to meetings and they decide what content to produce over the coming weeks.
But they’re not at all discussing why they’re producing that content and we have a really big hard time here getting them to realize that each and every piece of content they’re producing has to satisfy a business goal, a user need, something that helps the business reach something, a goal with something that you’ve set up beforehand and my – well, my – the thing that I’ve realized is that the people who are working with producing the content aren’t realizing how what they do fits into the big picture and also going to school, I realized that. I mean I worked – I studied communication science so I’m one of these people that actually could probably work as a web editor. I have that type of background and you’ve learned the trade. You learned how to produce content that actually is something that you change and squeeze and fit into how people think and you know how to meet different target groups’ needs.
But you don’t learn how that actually makes companies make more money or helps them sell more or helps the types of organizations we work with, help them actually get better business value from the content in the end.
James: One of the issues there is that in a lot of the web teams I have worked with, there is a number of people working with content. So whether they’re producing the content themselves or their web is address is receiving content or orders for content, and then pushing it out there, and the number of people who are responsible for the websites, so the web managers, they’re often just one and in a lot of cases, they may be not working fulltime with the website because of other things such as they’ve got to work with internal issues to do with – internal politics to do with the digital side of things, whether it’s getting buy-in for certain things or budget work or the whole list of non-operative tasks that you need to deal with, strategic tasks you need to deal with and in a lot of cases, they’re also team leader for the web team.
So the web manager and the team leader and if you’ve got a group of six or whatever, just pick your number, web-editors, you’ve got to deal with the personnel issues with them as well as the strategic issues or whatever internally. What have you got left to deal with these operative issues and goal setting and optimization and tweaking and pushing your site forward gradually? It’s not much time at all.
Per: There’s not much time but also if it’s not in your job description, I mean it may very well not be. This question is why were you even hired to run that website. Were you hired to help the business or were you hired because there’s a website there and it needs content? I think the latter is usually the case.
James: You got to have someone who the book stops at. So someone has got to be responsible for the site.
Per: Right, because everybody has a website. So let’s get a website and let’s get somebody to run it and it’s like we’re stuck in that frame of mind that was like common in the late 90s, early 2000.
James: But at the same time, you got product owners or rather you’ve got content owners or content area owners who are out there in the business side of the organization, not part of your immediate web team and in many organizations, they have a lot of say and a lot of power.
Per: Oh, yeah, that’s a story in itself.
James: They run over. They overrule even if you have got a web editor that’s good.
Per: Good at writing content for the web.
James: And engaged. Also engaged in the goal side of things and is prepared to put the questions: why, as well as the rest of the W questions. They might say, “Oh, because I say so.”
James: See not …
Per: I was even at a client’s last week where they said that some of the professionals who are creating these reports that were being published, they had – like really clearly said, you’re not allowed to make this easier to understand. You’re not allowed to.
James: What? You’re not allowed to make it easier to understand. They actually said it like that?
Per: They said it like that.
Per: In some sense some sort of work pride and the report that they published but also that they’re afraid that dumbing it down so to speak would make it not – well, not official and not really the thing that they want to say. They …
James: So they had attached a status or a goal to the readability level of the report and that it had to be university level readability because that’s the desired target audience.
James: Irrespective of …
Per: Irrespective of …
James: Any further broader goal.
Per: Right, and they could have so much potential with actually involving more people in this content and having more people and have a say about it and understanding it and its business recommendations that we’re actually putting out there and so many people can’t understand what they’re saying because the language is too hard.
James: One of the slides, that belongs to my collection that I showed you in some of those things is just why measure and the answer to that is because if we don’t measure, we’re just guessing.
Per: Right, and this is what I don’t understand is you have all these people producing all this content. That’s not free. That costs a lot of money. All this content that’s being produced and hours being put into it, there is money to be measured here. You need to measure that value of the time being put in to the value that the content brings back and that is possible.
James: The things about measuring, other people retort, “well we do measure. We have 1000 visitors a day”.
Per: Right, yeah.
James: But then how does that help you know that that page you published then or those collection of pages, how does that help you know if those were successful.
Per: I remember Jeremy McGovern telling me what HITS stands for.
Per: How Idiots Track Success. And it’s true. We’re stuck in that frame of mind as well, that hits in some way is – I don’t know, communicates a value which it really doesn’t in any way, especially in the last few years when you’ve realized that oh, we have so many more visitors and we’re realizing well, it’s because people have more devices. Same people using different devices, stuff like that.
James: For example.
James: Or it could even be something like I saw this week that there was a poorly-configured server somewhere that was pinging the home page of a website and was accounting 50 percent of visits.
Per: Oh, yeah.
James: Well, the visits went up.
Per: Yeah. So people install stuff and they read stuff and they make the wrong conclusions about what they’re seeing which is really sad as well.
James: Because that kind of analysis in many cases. It’s such a broad general level that you don’t go into the details because you don’t have any details to go into because no one has thought about goals or target audience for a specific piece of content in many, many cases.
Per: Right. And why is it so hard? I think that’s the core of our – what we’re talking about here. Why is it so hard for people to realize that they need to set goals for the stuff that they’re producing? Does it seem like this big wall that it’s really hard to get past or feel they don’t have the competence to set goals? What’s really eating people and hindering them from doing this?
James: I think there are two sides to this. One of them is we’ve made it too easy to publish, which is a good thing in many, many …
Per: In one way, yeah.
James: We’ve enabled a fantastic world of web here and we’ve revolutionized how you can get content out to people. It’s very, very easy to publish, even if you have an awkward broken CMS. It’s still pretty easy to publish and then the other side of it is time. If you are put into position where you – well, if you do sit down and carefully think about some of the things we’re talking about that’s kind of – who is this content for, why they’re going to read it, what do you want to achieve when they receive it or visit it. What do they want to achieve when they visit it? These kinds of questions, to answer them, take time. It takes sometimes a lot more times than actually producing the content.
James: So if you’re there and you’ve got a mailbox that you monitor as part of your web team and it blinks, it kind of beeps and their mail comes in and it says, “Oh, I want you to publish this FAQ.” You just kind of thought and you’re expected to get on with doing it.
And it has to be out tomorrow because tomorrow we’ve got a press – a meeting with the press and they’ve got to have this out so we can refer to it. So you don’t have any time or choice. You’ve got to just get on with publishing.
Per: So it always comes back to management I guess and what your expectations are from the tech team that you’re employing to run the website and if your expectations aren’t that they produce something valuable, then suck it and OK. So let them do what they do.
But if you actually expect to get some value from your website, you should be asking them to provide reports of well, I love the template that you have for analytics, for setting goals for every piece of content or article you’re writing. I mean that should be requested or expected from the people who are actually working with your website and actually report back because what I’m seeing is that people are – the balance between listening to users and producing content for users, that’s where you’re off because you’re not listening at all. You’re just producing and producing and producing and there’s no listening and none at all. There’s no thinking going on about what you’re producing. But also of course you can put those templates out and saying it’s compulsory to actually fill in one of those but people won’t do it. But …
James: You just put crosses in all the boxes and the …
Per: You have to make them – help them realize that it’s going to make their jobs a lot easier. On the one hand, they’re not going to produce 1000 pages this year. They may only produce 300 pages this year which would be wonderful. But also if you plan that content you’re producing, actually typing it up, it’s a lot more fun when you realize that you have to have the call to action in the end and you think about, “OK, so what’s the call to action going to be?” I’m saying this for every, every piece of article you’re writing and you have that like short, brief summary in the top and you realize, OK, so I’m going to guide them to this decision and that’s so much more fun.
James: It is because you said you don’t have time to start thinking about the psychology side of things.
James: It’s this persuasion we come back into this to help us reach our goal. How can you write a good piece that’s persuasive if you don’t know what you’re persuading?
Per: Right. Also if you put this tool in the web editor’s hands or whoever is actually producing content, then they actually have something to fall back on when the content owners tell them that I just published this and the content that I want published has to be exactly the way I wrote it and the editors can say, well no, because we have this guideline that we have to follow. The content that we put out there has to be valuable and this is how we actually value.
James: I mean if you’ve managed to set the goal for an individual piece of content, then you can go back to them and say, “Well, you haven’t succeeded.”
James: Give them feedback and say well, this time, it was like this. Then maybe you can compare it to last time. Well, last time, we did this because we wanted to achieve that. Then you had – like 86 percent conversion or whatever you want to call it.
Per: That’s perfect.
James: We really need to roll out shopping cart mentality in these organizations that effectively your page, those have a shopping cart at the end of it, and you’ve got to work out how many people have put your page in that cart.
Per: Exactly. I like that.
James: If they aren’t putting in the cart, then you got to ask yourself why. Is the product crap or is there something else. Is my copy not persuasive enough?
Per: Another way that these content owners measure value on is how much content they’re producing. Not just hits but OK, I produced 50 articles this year for the website. Aren’t I doing good?
James: If you’re employed as producing web copy, then you’re right. You’ve expected to spend so many hours producing web copy.
Per: And you compare yourself to the others. Oh, you only produced 20 articles? I did 50. I’m so much better. The company should value me much more and you’re asking yourself. Jeez, how can the company value a person that produces that much content? They got to be doing something wrong. So it’s quite the opposite of actually what they’re thinking.
James: We bring up quite a lot during our shows, just the whole immaturity side of things. It’s one of the running themes we have is how young our branch is and how it has got a long way to go in many aspects and this is one of the biggest challenges of a maturing industry, like ours is, of getting something that’s so fast moving, so much more formalized in the way we deal with it. At the same time as the majority of people in your organization don’t understand, they’re not at the same level as you, they’re not going to be at the same level as you, but they need to alter their way of working to respect this digital world that you’re advising them in.
James: Because every web team has an advisory role even if the organization is using them as a production facility. You can’t get away from the fact that it’s this gang that are the ones that are the gatekeepers and the people who are managing the website and making sure it all pieces together and sticks together and it fulfils its overall purpose because you’ve got the overall vision and purpose for a website which ties into the overall vision of the company.
But when you break it down as we’ve recommended and said, you need to have specific goals and focus and understanding for every bit of content.
James: Or banner or interaction point on the website.
Per: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. When I was walking over here, thinking about the show, I was thinking about well, they can do that on their own time if they just produce content because it’s fun and they realize they will be like working as a freelancer. But if you actually get the freelancer mentality, into each and every employee, then they would start thinking about, OK, I’m costing this much, how can I bring enough value to the company so that they keep me employed, which would also mean that you would expect them to actually show more paperwork on what value they’re bringing to the table.
James: That’s a good point but at the same time, as we’ve mentioned with time. If you are time-pressed, then you’re just going to get this stuff out. You’ve got 50 emails in this inbox that has – everything has to be published. You’re just going to get on with it. You need to just put your head down and get on with it.
Per: Awesome. But the gateway probably has to be earlier on because you’re probably not the person who has to fill in the template. You just reply to that email and say you have to fill in this template first as well.
James: Yeah, that would be a nice great way of doing it. But you can see sort of where this kind of angry conversation that someone’s phone – team leaders, web team leader or manager, his phone starts ringing because you send a template to Charlie when he’d sent the content to be published for tomorrow’s press meeting and you said, “No, you got to fill in this template first.” He then gets a phone call saying, “What do you mean not publishing? That’s what you’re meant to do. Just publish it and stop arguing. I don’t have time for templates.” You can see how this is going to be.
Per: Of course, yeah.
James: It’s a change management process to get people to accept and acknowledge that it’s – there is more to this than just pushing buttons and getting your content out there.
Per: Which means actually that we – as always in UX, you have to find a way for people to think it’s more fun if you put the goals there. The templates have to be fun. Well, you know what I mean. It’s not that the templates have to be fun. It has to be designed in a way that it actually helps you in your work. It’s an aid. It’s an assistance rather than something – oh my god, it’s for something else that I have to do.
You realize that you don’t base your value on the amount of content and the number of hits but actually on something else and a template can be so easy. You would make it really, really simple in the beginning and then perhaps make it – well, build on it as you go along and realize the value of it.
James: Yeah, that’s good advice out there. You be pragmatic. There’s no point implementing stuff that all high level and perfect and all the rest of it, if the organization is going to just shrug the shoulders and go, “Meh!” But if you can break it down into smaller steps or progressively increase, it now offers something that’s achievable and can help you – or maybe some templates with five points of it. Actually you just have one question you reply back with.
Per: Exactly. What’s the call to action? I’m thinking that …
James: Yeah. What’s the next step? Yeah, just exactly, yeah.
Per: When they get to the end of your article, what you want them to do.
James: Yeah, or what do you want people to do after this page? Just a simple question like that. Maybe it’s a first step.
James: Depending on the organization.
Per: And you could even have like in one of my social media strategy templates, like have checkboxes that you just check. These are some of the most common calls to actions that we have in this company. Which one do you want to check?
James: You’re right. There might be enough in the beginning just to make …
Per: Have 10 items on there.
James: Exactly. Just start the process off because in the beginning it might be enough just to highlight that these are the normal call to actions or next steps we have on web pages. So when they start seeing these regulate, they will start to think about them and you set a process in place of thought.
Per: Exactly. Just like having Type Ahead functionality in a template.
James: Yeah, a little bit.
James: Yeah, and eventually you get used to what word it’s going to suggest first and correct it and put the right one.
James: It’s all about creating a thought process…
Per: Yeah, exactly. As you’re saying, it’s one way of educating people in the value of doing it. Oh, so these are the types of goals that you’re like …
James: Without scaring them.
James: That’s a backside of – it’s very easy for us to say a template, five, six points, wonderful. Be really hard, refuse to publish and they say fill it in, but you’re going to scare people. You’re going to irritate people. You’re going to cause conflicts. So a softer process and more gradual education-based process might work if you think of it more strategically.
Per: And it will give you something to measure and give feedback on and you can say that oh my …
James: You can improve on, yeah.
Per: Fifty percent of the people did what you wanted them to do. That was excellent or …
James: It would be, yeah.
Per: Yeah, that would be actually.
James: Yeah. The amount of times we can get people to guess less and know more, I will be happier.
James: How are we doing with the time Per?
Per: I think we’re finishing off. I think there’s …
James: You started to think. I could see it. You’re thinking a little bit more with something. You’re drifting off into thought.
Per: I was looking forward to the show because there was so much frustration in me since I had been to a lot of meetings the past couple of weeks and realized that people don’t really care. It’s like they don’t care. Yeah, a lot of people don’t and they think, well, we just keep doing what we’re doing because that’s what always worked and we keep producing this content and people are happy because that’s what the yearly survey tells us. But that’s only responded to by the people who actually care.
Per: Yeah. So I mean – but I think we’ve gotten to some really great conclusions here about having a template, make it simple, give suggestions because I think that’s one of the things that are hindering people. What do you mean by the call to action? What do you mean what the people want to do next? Give them some examples to check off.
James: I think you can’t ask “why?” often enough. At the same time, you’re not just really producing content. The same thing when you sit down for that meeting where you go through your backlog or your list of development points that you want to do for your sites. When someone wants to change a feature or add a feature, yeah, ask them why. Don’t just kind of prioritize it.
Per: Right, and start thinking about oh, we could …
James: Oh, we could do this. We could do that or yeah, that will make it easy for the editors. Dig a little deeper.
James: Ask yourself what you’re going to achieve by doing these changes.
James: And the web will be a better place or your intranets will be a better place. What we’re talking about now applies to intranets as well as websites.
Per: Exactly, and I have this image in my head of actually everyone going around and sucking up all these leaves and each leaf is a webpage that we’re sucking up now. We’re getting rid of them. This is our goal and I hope you will help us do it.
James: Oh, just don’t put them all into my compost site. It’s almost full now. I filled it yesterday. I haven’t got room for the web.
Per: Oh, I imagine pressing delete on all these websites and just having them start over. I think that’s about it. OK. You’re going to go into the cold, smiling.
James: I am. We’re actually going to go next on a sushi.
Per: Oh yeah, that’s right.
James: Get some lunch now.
Per: I will be whinging about how cold it is and how dark it’s going to become.
James: Yeah. And remember to give us some feedback on the show, individual shows or the whole show. We would love to hear from you.
Per: Yeah, love to hear about what others have encountered in this type of area as well.
James: Yeah, tell us your stories.
Per: Yeah, and how you may have solved it as well.
James: Yeah, because there might be solutions we haven’t thought of.
James: God forbid.
Per: Oh, wow. OK then. Remember to keep moving.
James: And see you on the other side.
James and Per are both fans of quantified self. In this show we take a look at what quantified self and life logging are. We chat about some of the potential benefits plus some of the challenges that surface from a UX and user perspective. Is quantified self ready for mainstream, or is it still a play thing of early adopters and gadget geeks?(Listening time 37 mins)
— UX Podcast (@uxpodcast) August 9, 2013
- Jawbone UP
- Fitbix Flex
- Nike Fuelband
- Nike+ sensor (and Nathan sensor pouch)
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- No link between fatigue and sleep
- Kevin Kelly
- Steg-för-steg med Fitbit Flex och Jawbone UP (Per’s blog post, in Swedish)
James: Hello and welcome to episode 53 of UX Podcast with me James Royal-Lawson.
Per: And me Per Axbom.
James: It’s a little bit odd when we do that the other way around. Not as often we do it that way.
Per: No, that’s true. I usually start off. It feels kind of weird.
James: It’s like wearing someone else’s underwear.
Per: Yeah. It’s August 6th of 2013. It’s a Tuesday today, I think. I have been working a bit that I’m off again and I’m actually at the summer house now.
James: I’m at Beantin HQ.
Per: Yeah. I’m sitting in a really hot car because this is the only place I could find that would be silent.
James: You’re in your car!
Per: I’m in my car in the passenger seat because I have five kids I’m taking care of. Well, two of them are mine at the summer house here. So it’s really loud.
James: Beantin HQ is 29 degrees at the moment. I’ve got two, maybe three kids. I don’t really know, to look after. I’m clearly not doing it very well.
Per: Instead we are recording.
James: Exactly. Well, OK, let’s jump into it. First of all, welcome back to all of you in Sweden who have bothered to start working again and is starting to listen to the show.
Per: Right. A lot of people are returning this week and next week …
James: of our Swedish audience..
James: …We can see that they roll back into work now and start listening again. So, hello there. Welcome back. Today though, we’re going to be talking about quantified self and life logging. What’s all that about?
Per: Well, interesting that you should ask James because I think we’ve talked about a bit before, you and I, about life logging and what’s the difference between life logging and self quantification. The gist of it is that you gather as much data about something as you possibly can to like make out trends and behaviour of yourself or in trips you’re making, your weight, whatever.
So usually when you talk about quantified self, you’re talking about data that you’re collecting about yourself and your body and your behaviour but life logging goes even beyond that. I think one of the hugely massive great examples that’s making the rounds and it should have been out by now is the Swedish innovative Kickstarter project Memoto where you actually have a wearable camera. You could even argue that that’s quantifying yourself but it’s also quantifying your life and what you’re seeing around you.
So that’s a camera that you attach to your clothes and it’s taking a snapshot. I don’t know what it is actually. It’s maybe every 30 seconds something. Yeah, something like that. So once you start doing all this life logging, you’re starting to see trends and behaviour because then you can see maybe from the photos. You see what you’re eating or how much you’re exercising and the gadgets that you and I will be talking a lot about today, the wrist bands that we wear to monitor our sleep and see how much we moved during the night. You can connect that and how badly you sleep, to exercise, and how much you’re moving around where you’re checking in.
Sometimes you see trends which could be quite interesting and that’s the incentive or the appeal for people to actually realize stuff that they haven’t realized before about themselves, but also to be able to look back I guess to previous behaviour and previous data about yourself that has changed over time.
James: Yeah. I’m just going to have to go and shut the window.
Per: Oh, absolutely.
James: I can hear the kids that I’m meant to be looking after far too much. I don’t want to hear them at all. So just hold on a second.
James: So sounds are gone. Yeah, well for me, the quantified self aspect is when you gain insights from the data you gathered by various means whether it’s weighing yourself or taking pictures every 30 seconds or counting how many steps you’ve done and so on.
Per: You could argue even then that it’s a variant of behavioural therapy that to be able to change your own behaviour you need to become aware of your own behaviour and that’s the basis of behavioural therapy. So what you’re doing here is automating that using a device of some sort. Well, it can actually be that you’re entering data yourself but as long as you’re doing it consistently over time.
James: Well yes, exactly. I think it’s just – like all statistics, you’ve got to be careful to make sure that you understand what you’re reading and what it is that you’re looking at. So for self-improvement or the behavioural therapy side of things, I mean if you look at a chart that tells you you’ve had this much sleep, and you believe it’s correct, you’re going to be changing your behaviour best on that information.
James: And whether it’s correct or not is something that’s questionable.
James: Or how correct is it.
Per: Exactly, how correct is it and what type of conclusions should you be drawing from the data.
James: Yeah. One of the reasons I mentioned just that is because I have a Jawbone UP band.
James: Which I wear on my wrist. It says – looking down at the wrist, realizing it’s not there. Where is it? Then I’ve just remembered now, I put it in my pocket, which is a thing in itself actually that I have to put in the pocket around that, but I will get to that. Now I have a Jawbone UP band I wear and I keep it on during the night as well and it measures steps during the day and it measures how little I move during the night and from how little I’ve moved or how much I’ve moved, it judges whether I’ve been sleeping deeply, lightly or awake.
James: Now this produces lovely little graphs. I think the Fitbit Flex that you have, you know collection, does a similar thing. It measures how little you move and produces nice little sleep graphs.
Per: Exactly, basically the same output from these different devices actually.
Per: To be clear, I have the Jawbone UP as well before and we both had it while we were travelling to UX Lx. So we were sort of comparing the data we were getting from that as well at that time, which was really interesting.
James: It was very interesting because we were sharing a hotel room as well so we had very similar sleep patterns because we were going out together and so we’re waking up together.
Per: Oh my god. We’re going there again.
James: Oh, really. Anyhow, what you could see was that you Per for example, you actually – my wife as well. You’re very still during the night.
Per: Yeah, exactly.
James: So even though you’re awake, it doesn’t register you’re awake because you’re not moving enough and my wife, when she was using hers at first, she ended up getting to the habit of when she woke up during the night, she would shake her arm so that the UP knew she was awake. So it would register an awake moment.
Per: So basically telling the – that’s how you talk to your arm band. You shake it …
James: Yeah, which is silly really. But no, but for her that was her pattern of sleep. So to try and improve the graph, she was doing this kind of – she was having to work a little bit extra to get better data but that’s a learning thing. when the app presents the graph to you, it doesn’t really – there isn’t really so much talk about it’s inaccuracy or potential inaccuracy. The marketing and the drive of a lot of these quantified self things is this is how much sleep you’ve got. This is how many steps you’ve taken.
Per: Yeah. When you open up the app, it actually tells you you’ve been awake seven times this night.
Per: And the funny thing about that is that a lot of people are going to take it literally because it is presented literally.
James: It is presented literally.
Per: Yeah, and that pisses a lot of people off and they realize, “Well, I haven’t been awake that many times.”
Per: And you have to start interpreting the data. Well, that means that you’ve moved around quite a lot perhaps seven times during the night and you may and may not have woken up specifically during those times.
James: You want to peel back a little of the UI effectively and say OK, when it says this, it really means this. My wife, she actually stopped using her Jawbone UP for two months, the last couple of months, because she just got so disappointed that it wasn’t really telling her how much sleep she was getting and I explained to her in my usual way. Well, of course it’s not going to know exactly how much sleep you’ve gained because you haven’t got electrodes attached to your head. The only way you can tell exactly how much of six different levels of sleep you’ve got and the four different types of REM sleep and so on is by the electrodes attached to your head. This is just a kind of gyroscope that’s attached to your wrist. Of course it doesn’t know.
Per: But I mean most people won’t know that and I mean they will trust the app, what it’s telling them, because this is a new thing. It’s a great new device. It’s being marketed that way. It doesn’t have a big disclaimer when you open a box that – don’t trust the data. It tells you that this will measure sleep patterns. It will measure the number of steps you’re taking – and that’s it.
James: You had both on your wrist for a while, the Jawbone UP and the Fitbit Flex.
Per: Yes, I did.
James: So there you got to see how each of them has different formulas you could say for judging what kind of movement is a step.
Per: Yes. When I walked more than 10,000 or 12,000 steps per day, usually the Jawbone UP was almost 1500, 2000 steps less than the other one. So I mean that’s how you can tell that they’re not really exact and usually you probably have to calibrate these to your own walking style, your own gait, which is really interesting as well. I mean you can’t take a device and be sure that it will fit with your body and the way that you move around and if you’re – and as we’ve both noticed I think is that if you’re riding in a car or riding a bicycle and stuff like that, it does register something and sometimes not as much as other times. So many different aspects of this that can affect the data that you’re seeing.
James: Shopping trolleys Per.
Per: Shopping trolleys, oh that’s interesting.
James: I realized that when I do shopping which sometimes can take an hour and a half, I just get almost a flat line on my graph of how many steps I’ve taken even though I’ve been walking for an hour and a half.
Per: It doesn’t register.
James: And that’s because my arms are holing the trolley.
Per: So you will have to start walking with only one arm pushing the trolley.
James: So you put your Jawbone UP in your pocket which is why mine was in my pocket now because we went shopping this morning and I put it in my pocket while we were shopping. So again, you have to learn an interaction in order to fix the limitations of this particular device. I mean OK, if we’re talking about the – what is it? Withing scale, the Wi-Fi scale that can measure your weights and it transfers up to the app it’s on. That’s a little bit different thing because with the scale, I expect it to be 100 percent accurate when it comes to weighing me. Although as we know, if you weigh yourself in the evening or morning and so on, you get different weights because of different liquids and different food in you and so on and waste in you.
Per: You’re even actually – well how do you say it? Less tall in the evening than you are in the morning.
James: That’s right. Your spine compresses and it can be a couple of centimetres.
James: Or a half an inch. But yeah, so even there, there’s a certain pattern you got to follow because – to get the accuracy. Then there’s some other guessing aspects to it that he tries to do but the weird thing is a pretty definite thing because you’re still in the platform and it tells you how much …
Per: So if we connect this to a UX perspective, then I think it’s really interesting how you communicate to the user will set the expectations of that experience and if that experience is not aligned with what you’re telling them, then they’re not going to like it.
James: But if you told someone, “Ah, this is all a bit of fun. It’s not really accurate,” would they sell any? Would people be interested in changing their behaviour? Doesn’t it have to lie a little bit given the limitation, the intrinsic limitation?
Per: Excellent point. Could it perhaps be saying something in the lines of that this is accurate to the point of X and we can’t really promise anything but it gives you something to work with. I’m not sure what I’m saying here but …
James: No, I know what you mean but there is going to be a lot of people – there are going to be a lot of people that – like my wife that think, “Oh god, if you can’t do it properly, I’m not interested.”
Per: Yeah, so that’s interesting. So people would buy it. Well, they use it. So does that really mean that people are not ready? Is the device not ready for the mass market yet? Is it just ready for the geeks like us?
James: I would say so. I think generally a lot of this quantify self stuff demands you to be quite – well, highly engaged. You’ve really got to be driven to want to keep it on you, to keep syncing or checking the app or learning these little tweaks to make it good. Most people aren’t going to bother doing that.
James: OK. Maybe we go beyond geeks here. We’re going to get into the fitness geeks as well.
Per: Yeah, exactly. Like my wife currently who is running a lot and she has been using a Fitbit One which is not the arm band but the one that you attach to your clothes. She has been using that for over a year now. She has been using it like everyday and she’s really fond of it and it has changed her behaviour a lot because I mean – and mine sort of. I mean I had a Fitbit One and didn’t have anything for half a year or something but we started taking walks in the evening to get up to 10,000 steps as per recommendation of what someone our age probably would need to walk everyday to keep healthy. That’s really interesting how that behaviour changes and we can bring people together as well, not only in the virtual world but in the physical world.
We’re actually starting to take walks together and which is an interesting effect. Whether or not the accuracy of the device is an issue here, I’m not sure, because I have – I think I have the same discussion with her that it’s not that accurate but it’s a trend and that’s sort of fine with her.
James: I think that’s the key. Just when it comes to these bands, being aware of the days when you’ve not moved so much is quite useful. It’s a reminder to say, “Oh, you actually do need to move more than this.” It can make a couple of hundred calorie difference in your burn rate by walking a few thousand steps less. I noticed that during the summer. When you’re in holiday and you sat around, you’re drinking beers and relaxing, I’m not walking about. You understand why people go gain weight during the summer, during the holidays. Have you tried the FuelBand, Nike FuelBand?
Per: No, I have not.
James: This is for people that run. This is another wristband that you put on and the FuelBand in my impression – and I’ve got no real idea about this – is that there’s more normal people who have the FuelBand than the UP and the Fitbit.
Per: Oh, interesting.
James: It’s pushed by Nike with trainers and everything. I’ve got a couple of running friends in England that have the FuelBand.
Per: I’m guessing it’s also time to market and I’m guessing in the fitness world the FuelBand is a lot more used. The FuelBand though does not have the sleep monitoring, I think. It only has steps.
James: Yeah, steps. What’s that with the little satellite thing, the little – there has got to be a name, the little thing that you put on your trainers.
Per: Oh, that you put in your shoe. I actually have shoes that one of those fit in.
James: It’s called Jeremy or something. No, not Jeremy. It has got like a man’s name.
Per: I don’t know.
James: I’m sure it has but that’s another little thing. Is that something you have in addition to the band or you have just that and an app?
Per: Just that and an app I think.
James: Right, OK. That measures steps as well.
Per: That was a Nike Plus thing that they – that’s the first launch they did together with Apple I think, one of the first devices that could actually talk with your phone and give you information about how far you were running.
James: Right, yeah. One of the first ones on the market. But this whole – back to the question about whether I still – I think generally it’s just geek stuff. To go mainstream, with almost all of these things we know that to go mainstream, involves a level – I think a level of simplification that isn’t there yet or a level of desire that isn’t really there yet.
Per: Right, and something that they are trying to do is be able – you’re making people able to personalize these armbands more and more and have your own colour. They’re trying to design them in a way to make them more appealing as well. So that’s one big aspect of these arm bands is that they have to be designed really well for people to even want to wear them and that’s one reason that my wife actually doesn’t have an armband. She doesn’t want to wear one though all the time. She has the one that she has in her clothes even if that means that she sometimes forgets to put it on.
James: The thing there is you could use it sometimes with these telephones and have apps on their telephones.
Per: Oh, yeah.
James: But I get the impression they’re really – even less accurate. I’ve got that impression.
Per: Yeah, I can’t really say.
James: Also you don’t wear it around – it’s not with you maybe every single hour of the day, so you can see things.
Per: And having the phone on your arm when you’re sleeping isn’t really that comfortable and believe me, because I’ve tried because there are apps for that. Oh, actually when you attach it to your chest.
James: You mean you strap an iPhone.
Per: You strap an iPhone to your chest. I have tried this but not – like two times.
James: Like Iron man. The generator thing in the middle of your chest.
Per: And that was the first one time I tried what you have in the Jawbone UP which I don’t have in the Fitbit Flex where it actually wakes you up when you’re in light sleep.
So that’s one of, I think, the main features that I am sort of envious of you that you have is that it wakes you up. It can tell when you’re moving around a lot so it wakes you up before you’ve set your alarm for it, before the time that you set the alarm for it because if you wake up now, you will feel better than if you wake up later or maybe in deep sleep.
James: Exactly, that’s the thing. It is a Smart Alarm and you’re right. This is my killer feature with the UP and I love this. I’ve changed using this every single day now as my alarm. You give it an alarm window of 20 minutes or half an hour and you tell it this is the latest time I want to get up. Say 20 past 7:00 and if you get an alarm window of 20 minutes, the band will – it will of course be monitoring your sleep. It’s monitoring your movements and if it notices you’ve come up from deep sleep into light sleep or rather if it notices you in deep sleep when it’s your alarm time. It won’t wake you. It will wait as long as it can to let you come out of deep sleep naturally and start moving around a bit. Then a few more minutes and it will vibrate unless it reaches the end of it.
It’s right. What happens is that, that you wake up more naturally. You wake up at a point where you’re actually ready to wake up and you feel much less tired than that car crash of an alarm when suddenly something starts wailing at you at a certain time. You have move around then to go to snooze and so on. It’s an excellent feature. I’m hoping they develop it a bit more to make it a bit more – a little bit more flexible.
Per: And I’m hoping that the Fitbit Flex will develop it because I mean that is a software feature that they have the data so they could implement it afterwards.
Per: It’s what I’m thinking.
James: Yeah, it’s software mainly but at the same time, I’ve noticed that you can only see what alarms are set by looking in the app.
James: An app will only show you the alarms when the band is connected and because the UP isn’t wireless, you have to plug it in. So to check your alarm for the morning, is actually quite complicated especially – it’s happened several times – I get into bed, put my band to sleep into night mode. Then realize, “Oh god, have I actually set the alarm for the morning?”
So I have to get out of bed, go to my phone because I don’t charge my phone in my bedroom and plug the band into the app, open the app, check the alarm, see that it sets and undo all that. Go back to bed. It takes minutes whereas if there was some kind of display, it could just tell me so many hours the next alarm.
Per: Right. That’s true. Yeah, I agree and I’ve been comparing the Jawbone UP because I’ve had both with the Fitbit Flex and what has been surprising for me is how enormously different these two arm bands are based on – well, they’re supposed to be doing the same thing really, measuring steps and like monitoring your sleep.
They’re designed very differently. Just studying these two devices, it’s interesting from a UX perspective looking at how they actually implement it and how you charge it, how you sync it which is wireless for the Fitbit Flex if you have certain phone times like the 4S and up, iPhone 4S and certain Android phones as well.
James: Does it use Wi-Fi or does it use Bluetooth?
Per: It uses a special type of Bluetooth. I’m not sure if it’s called Bluetooth 4.0 or low energy Bluetooth but one of those and not all phones have it.
James: It might be the same thing. I’m not quite sure.
Per: It could be.
James: Yeah, OK. That’s interesting but I like the fact that the Jawbone UP needs to be charged every 10 days and it’s pretty much true. It’s more than a week anyway so I change it every Monday morning.
Per: I can easily say that the UP has better battery life than the Flex and the Flex does not always last a week which means that I can’t have like a set day in the week that I can recharge it because I have to monitor it and there’s another big issue with the Fitbit Flex as well actually. It does not have a battery indicator which is …
James: At all?
Per: … insane. Yes. There is an API and there is a third party app for – that I’m using that actually emails me when it’s getting low in battery but I’m so surprised they haven’t implemented it on the device.
James: I mean that’s the kind of thing we’re talking about, this extra step, these little extra things you got to learn and tweak and do to make this work which implies that it’s clearly not ready for mainstream.
Per: Right, which makes me think also because I mean the display that my wife has on the Fitbit One, it’s a large display. You can just look down and see how many steps you walked. It has a clock which none of our devices have and stuff like that and I’m not sure if it shows the alarm. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. But you can see so much more without having to sync it, without having to go into the app, which I think is a real benefit as well for the most people who are just getting started with this device and who are more accustomed to the old types of pedometers and stuff.
James: I mean I wonder if the whole quantify self thing is kind of doomed to be like low adoption and inaccurate, given that we know that most people don’t bother configuring things. Is it ready out of the box? And just with quantified self, it’s incredibly personal. You’re measuring you and so if you are prepared to customize, and most people aren’t, then how can you make a product that is a one size fits all?
Per: Exactly. I think that’s a really good point and I mean just one example is that both of them comes at actually – you’re supposed to walk 10,000 steps everyday.
Per: And there are a lot of people who don’t do that and aren’t able to. So what happens is that you get all these sad faces and red alerts and stuff that you haven’t and you get that for two weeks and I mean you’re ready to give up and the thing about UX and your experience in behavioural psychology is that you need to get quick wins fast. You need to see the benefits of using it really fast. So it should be set like at 5000 and then my recommendation is usually set it at 5000 and when you manage to do 5000 steps everyday for a week, then raise it to 6000.
James: But if you’re a jogger, wouldn’t you be really kind of frustrated and disappointed with that, that you get this thing, new thing and even the first week, it’s kind of like oh my god, you’re utterly fantastic. You’ve done 30,000 steps. I mean you’re just going to go, “Come on. Of course I am. I’m running.”
Per: Yeah, yeah.
James: Again, one size fits all. It’s a very different use case.
Per: You need the quick setup guide.
James: Yeah, me and you and not runners. So we don’t knock up that kind of number of steps in the same way because we’re just walking.
James: Yeah. So we need a quick setup in the beginning. Yeah, that maybe it is.
Per: It would help at least, I think.
James: Yeah. I mean we’ve focused an awful lot on just these bands in the show because that’s probably because we both got them and we’ve been talking a lot about this during the summer and you’ve written a blog post in Swedish about this. But I don’t think the problems are limited to this type …
Per: No, it’s all the same things. How do you get started? How do you talk to it? I mean the Jawbone UP has a physical button. The Fitbit Flex, I have to tap it, different stuff like that. How do you get it to talk to the device, to the app?
James: The interaction itself.
Per: How does the app talk to you? Is it telling you stuff that aren’t true and how do you react to that? Like the example I gave with waking up seven times even though you haven’t and there are so many aspects in UX to this – since it’s a physical device in which I love about it and you have to think about – well, from the point that you wake up in the morning and how you interact with it during the day and how many days before you charge it and stuff like that and all of those things combined is what creates your experience.
I mean the main reason for me, using the Fitbit Flex right now is because I’m competing with my wife who has also a Fitbit device. But I mean I can’t say that there’s a clear winner between the both of them even though they’re very different in design and functionality. They both have benefits and well, disadvantages to them. But there’s so much more to do in that area actually I think.
James: I didn’t realize until we talked about it a little bit ago that you have to shake the Flex to tell it what to do because there’s no button. I had no idea …
Per: Well actually, you have to tap it and you like tap it twice and you see how far you went. Oh, there’s an indicator for how far you’ve reached, how close you are to your goal and you have to tap it like four times quickly in a row when you’re telling it that you’re going to sleep and usually that fails for me and I have to do it like three different times.
James: Have you seen – there was a sketch on an American – one American talk show kind of late night – late evening talk show ones where they did Google Glass and he was tacking the mickey – go back glass back! And he was shaking it flicking his head flicking his head and it looks like you’ve got some kind of crazy tick because you’re going to do this head motion thing to make it go back.
Per: And sometimes I have an alarm going off when I’m like in the store or something or standing by the cashier and I have to start tapping violently on my wrist and they can’t really understand why. At one point I actually – I was shaking a juice carton and I realized that my band was set to sleep because it thought I was tapping it.
So I mean that type of interface has lots of disadvantages to it. I mean you have to think about people actually move their arm in real life even though they’re telling you that you should put it on the arm that’s not your strongest. I mean that doesn’t always like solve all the problems that you can encounter during the normal day.
James: Fascinating, but it’s – there’s a lot of stuff here and a lot of stuff to do that you said, the interaction and about a two-way interaction with a physical device and communication feedback. Not just feedback in the from of graphs but feedback from a small visual acknowledgements or sensual acknowledgements.
Yeah, it’s a fascinating area when it comes to these bands, but even with some of the other quantify self things and how you – why do it, what you can do from it and the incentive side of things is crucially important. I’m thinking of Memoto there and taking the photos all the time and trying to build up some excuse as to why the hell you would want to take a picture every 30 seconds of your life. I can say that that’s definitely not going to go main stream. Same thing with Google Glass. I just can’t see why or maybe I’m just being old there, Per. Are we being old again?
Per: I’m not sure. I was sort of thinking the same thing. Are we being too old? This spring I was – at a talk with – there was a Quantified Self Stockholm meetup and Kevin Kelly came.
James: Oh, yeah.
Per: He’s the founder of all this quantified self groups and also the founder of Wired, a co-founder of Wired Magazine. But he was talking about how important it is to keep measuring even though you don’t know why you’re measuring.
James: He’s right there.
Per: Because sometimes you just find stuff because you’re measuring.
Per: Yeah, and I really love that, what he was saying there because that’s really an important point. If we stop measuring, if we don’t see the point of it, then we’re not going to discover anything new. But if we start collecting data, as much data as we can and start seeing trends, then all of a sudden new stuff is going to appear that we can draw conclusions from and probably change the world basically in the end.
James: Now he’s absolutely right with that. You can never go back and start collecting data again. You don’t do it. That’s true of everything, whatever we’re talking about, analytics for our website or temperature values from your house or your wristband that’s measuring you.
Per: And that’s something we haven’t talked about today is the data that we’re actually collecting can be used by our respective apps and the companies that they’re behind, so you can actually get – I mean you’re inputting your age, your weight, your height and everything. So you can get on the whole population. You can start seeing trends on how much our people are walking during the day in different age groups and what is the norm and what is the mean and what should be the recommendations. We’re seeing that people are walking less over time and you can start seeing that over the next 10, 12 years if people are using these types of apps.
James: Yeah. Why don’t we just all get the chips fitted?
Per: I mean it’s inevitable, isn’t it?
James: To be honest, I’m starting to think probably. It’s going to be so much – I mean you’ve already had the night clubs. A few high end night clubs have the little chips inserted, injected into your arm.
Per: Oh, yeah.
James: It is a way of kind of having VIP pass and non-transferable. So I think there is going to be a growing group of people who are quite willing to have a little thing injected somewhere. Now people have got tattoos and all the rest of it, and piercing. So I can’t say there would be too much of a problem with a chip, provided they’re reassured about the integrity side of things. You’ve got control over it and it’s not some kind of like dog tagging system where you are getting hooked up to a government database somewhere to monitor how much you’re sleeping.
Per: I think the conclusion here is that I mean these devices that we’re talking about, the sensors and the self-quantification, I mean it’s ripe for the picking for us geeks and it’s fine for us early adopters but it’s not really there yet for the mass market. But perhaps that’s what we’re for, that we have to use these devices so that they can like calibrate them and make them better over time so that more people can use them.
James: And learn a huge amount. This is an excellent opportunity for us to analyze what we’re doing, analyze and to look at – how does this physical object that we carry with us all the time, how does it work? What’s making this work, user-interaction-wise or UX-wise? What don’t work? I mean give us a little chance to experiment. That’s what us early adopters are for. We are for testing up.
Per: We are guinea pigs.
James: Yeah, we’re guinea pigs and we like complaining about it a bit and so on. But it’s fun and I mean that’s the most important thing to remember of the quantified self stuff. It’s actually fun.
Per: Exactly. Yeah. Good point. It’s getting really, really hot in this car.
James: And me too. I shut the windows so I’m up to 30 degrees now in here and I need to stop. But before we go …
James: A little reminder, now that our Swedish listeners have come back and come back to work after the summer break. We’re going to be at Conversion Jam 3 on the 10th of September like we were last year.
Per: Really, really fun.
James: It was really good fun. It’s a really intensive day of speakers here in Stockholm, Sweden. Really well-organized little conference and …
Per: Lots of international speakers.
James: Yeah, including one of our favourites, Craig Sullivan.
James: Also Brian Massey. He did that last year too. Sorry, André Mores was there last year. So no, it’s normally a really good day and for you listeners out there, we have a discount code if you want to come along or you are in Stockholm or in Sweden and want to come along.
Per: And just for the sake of meeting us.
James: Yeah, that works too. The code is simply “UXPODCAST” if I can remember correctly.
Per: Yes, it is.
James: Yeah, UX Podcast and you get …
Per: When I saw it, it said “UX Podcast” in capital letters. I don’t think that matters.
James: If you don’t get the 200 kroner discount with it in lower case, try it in capitals..
Per: Oh, yeah. I’m really looking forward. Yeah, we will be recording our shows on location there as well, which would be excellent fun.
Per: One great way to get access to the speakers.
James: It’s, as always, great fun. So thank you very much for listening today.
Per: Yes, and we will talk to you again in two weeks.
James: What do you say?
Per: I say remember to keep moving.
James: I say see you on the other side.
Per: Ah, that’s it.
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