data + design in Austin, TX
This week’s design challenge was, in retrospect, pretty open-ended: redesign the LinkedIn experience using research & existing styleguides. The process included the normal components of sketching, mockups, and coding - with the added on challenge of research and wireframes
So I’m a data gal, that’s been established by this point. All this time, I knew the point was going to come where we were going to conduct design research, but I’m like “hmmm… how are we going to do that without behavioral data?”
Turns out there’s a whole nother kind of data called qualitative. I mean, I knew this, but strangely it’s never been a part of my role as an analyst. (SIDE NOTE: I would like to briefly take the time to call this out - this is super dumb. As analysts, our minds are trained to be critical and ask questions like “is this person reacting to the UI or the type or the facilitator of this research.” Not folding UX research into an analytics team is a huge misuse of resources, and in general just a big ol’ travesty. END)
I really liked the process of coming up with questions like:
- What did you expect when you clicked on that thing?
- How did that message make you feel?
- Why do you think this thing exists?
I also liked the process of asking these questions, because it opened my mind up to the idea that there are answers out there, other than mine. I think of myself as an empathetic person, but I couldn’t have come up with some of the answers that my tester did.
If you want to see the whole process, it’s available here, but my main insight was this:
linkedin creates fear, pressure, and feelings of inauthenticity.
To eliminate those negative feelings and create feelings of value, trust, and confidence, I came up with this approach:
design with the imposter in mind
This refers to “impostor syndrome”, a person’s inability to interalize personal accomplishments and persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”
This meant reducing what I refer to as “professional indicators” - content dumping, updates without comments, empty endorsements, and increasing
engagement in a more meaningful and helpful way
by encouraging questions, with prompts, asking users to participate, improving user feedback (alerts, etc.) and focusing on value-add of features instead of threatening them. Also more tooltips!
I used placeholder text, UI cues, and chose a styleguide with humanist typefaces to make LinkedIn more approachable, while using colors that maintain trustworthiness and authority.
You can view my code for the project and a link to the live thing here.