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UXINDIA Conference speaker Neil Pawley

Neil Pawley

Principal Consultant at Foolproof, UK


I joined W3C in 1995 working for six years on the formation of guidelines for HTML, CSS, RDF and WAI. I worked with some of the cleverest people around, lectured in the UK and US and authored and contributed to a number of technical publications.

In the time I’ve been at Foolproof (12 years) I have been involved in a multitude of tactical and strategic UX programmes of work for a wide range of major clients around the globe.

Much of my time is concentrated in the consumer experience in global finance with HSBC but I’m also lucky enough to engage with companies in both the retail and gaming market verticals. I’ve had the privilege of immersing myself with a range of clients, circling the globe concentrating on gaining a deeper understanding of the differing stimulus, support networks, requirements, social interactions and personal drivers and desires of online users.

My continuing work within Foolproof has confirmed to me the importance of understanding the dynamics and nuances of cultural differences, the political and social influences on how and when users interact with online and mobile, and the effect this has on the approach to online selling and purchasing processes.

Make me stop and think!

18 min TED like Talk | Category: Design Practice & Process | Target Audience: This talk will be accessible to anyone who works in (digital agencies, UX professionals) or engages with the UX industry (clients, service providers). Non-technical in nature, it concentrates on the basic concepts of process flow and the bad habits that have developed over time, based upon an incorrect understanding of Steve Krug’s book.

Should an eCommerce process really be frictionless?

Are we, as UX professionals, striving for something that can cause more harm than good?

Should good decision making be prioritised over funnel conversion rates?

In 2000 Steve Krug published a seminal book called ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. It set the direction for usability design, focusing on user requirements and simplifying process flows.

Through multiple digital interactions consumers have come to expect everything to be simple and that nothing should take more than a few seconds to complete.

In turn, over simplification has set unrealistic expectations for all eCommerce interactions. The phone/App interface has accentuated this as swiping/tapping has sped up completion rates and reduced consumers’ willingness to engage in detail.

Applied unwisely, speed and simplicity can guide consumers into unwitting mistakes and ill-informed choices. Is speed and an absence of all friction something we want to encourage?

I will highlight examples of where we are going wrong, the frustrations and problems this can cause consumers, using case studies, to illustrate how it can be overcome.

It’s our job to make people stop and think, we must guide consumers through good decision-making, highlighting necessary and important information to ensure better outcomes for all.

Three key takeaways

  1. Designed disruption can be beneficial for all: Adding considered design friction to slow down not break a process will create a win/win scenario for both the provider and the consumer.
  2. Find the optimal tipping point between convenience and importance: Consumers like things simple but are wary and mistrusting of anything that seems too easy.
  3. Success should not be measured in time or process steps but in consumer comprehension and contentment:  Metrics are important, using the right metrics is essential.

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