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Happiness Machines

Happiness Machines

Some musings on people and technology, presented at WebVisions Portland in 2012

Andrew Hinton

May 11, 2012
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  1. HAPPINESS MACHINES WebVisions Portland | 2012 @inkblurt @undrstndng Andrew Hinton

    The Understanding Group Click to start clock!!!
  2. HAPPINESS MACHINES WebVisions Portland | 2012 @inkblurt @undrstndng Andrew Hinton

    The Understanding Group Intro .... quickly.
  3. @inkblurt This is a presentation about questions. (Let me know

    if you have any answers?)
  4. @inkblurt Coke’s “Happiness Machine” Coke’s “Happiness Machine” video. Viewable here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqT_dPApj9U
  5. @inkblurt 4 million + views on YouTube That video was

    highly successful as a narrative for a brand. It made the rounds everywhere. It even got a lot of play at the financial services company where I was working. People saw it and thought: I want to make my customers that happy! But recently I found myself wondering just how effective that video really is, when faced with the reality of the experience. So I made my own little movie. ...
  6. @inkblurt movie plays - see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=runvBNxIYBo I try

    to buy a drink from a coke machine; it doesn’t take my money, and then when it does I discover it is out of the drink I wanted (doesn’t let me know this until I put my money in); I try a new machine, also out of the drink. Finally get a different drink, then when I open it, because it dropped to the bottom of the machine, it spews froth everywhere and makes a mess.
  7. @inkblurt Expectations unicorns.com gekko-image.com Reality vs So, what went wrong

    here? It seems to me that an expectation was set -- a brand story was told about a product. The product is fine ... but the way the product got delivered ... the whole experience ... cast a shadow on the product itself. Did the machinery meet its requirements, technically? Yeah! It took my money, it delivered a soft drink. Everything worked. But in some fundamental way, it missed the mark. It’s like I was promised a unicorn, but got dropped in a dirty stable. Technically there was a four- legged animal there, but it’s not the magical experience I was expecting.
  8. @inkblurt So, obviously I’m not here to talk about vending

    machines. But in a way I am. Because software is machinery -- it’s just made of code rather than hardware. Just like hardware, it’s something we make that we then want to interact with us, help us, even take care of us. And we have many of the same problems with it. But unlike vending machines, which have been used by the general public for at least a couple of generations, software used to be much more rare.
  9. @inkblurt ONE WORK TASK OTHER WORK TASKS REST OF LIFE

    The software was often geared around just one specialized task, and it was only one thing during a given day that someone would have to work with. Just imagine -- a time when so few people actually worked with software, and only did so for part of their jobs.
  10. @inkblurt ONE WORK TASK OTHER WORK TASKS REST OF LIFE

    It didn’t take very long before the personal computer revolution came to the enterprise. Then we had to learn things like word processors and spreadsheet software. There would often be special training for these as well -- and we spent more time using these programs. But that was still about it -- a few people had computers at home, but would usually only spend limited time with them, again doing only a few tasks, like writing a letter or balancing a checkbook.
  11. @inkblurt ONE WORK TASK OTHER WORK TASKS REST OF LIFE

    Turned into one where we’re all suddenly covered up with software and technological devices. Each one of which requires that we learn how to use it just to get everyday things done.
  12. @inkblurt Every product, service & organization... ... is wrapped in

    software. ORG SERVICE PRODUCT Not only that -- but now everything a company tries to do has to be wrapped up in software in some way, whether a web site (or web-based application) or a mobile app, or some other digital interactive layer.
  13. @inkblurt So now we need to make software ‣ anybody

    can use ‣ and want to use ‣ without pay, and ‣ without training. This was/is the catalyst for UX. So just to be clear -- we went, in about 15 years, from being in a world where most people who used software did so only because they had to for their jobs, and were trained to do so, to being in a world where the stakes are much higher. Namely, our livelihoods and businesses depend on making a digital layer that anyone can use -- and ideally something they *want* to use -- even though we’re not paying them, and we’re not training them. >> This was the catalyst for user-experience design and the practices most associated with it.
  14. @inkblurt UX TO THE RESCUE!!! ....Right? So the user experience

    practices are poised to assemble and save the day. Kicking bad-guy butt & taking names. Right?
  15. @inkblurt Do we really make things that much better? Totally

    swiped from Peter Merholz’s presentation from yesterday.
  16. @inkblurt 1. working well with (and within) organizations making stuff?

    2. really understanding user behavior? 3. fundamentally solving the right problems? THREE QUESTIONS Are we ...
  17. @inkblurt 1. working well with (and within) organizations making stuff?

    2. really understanding user behavior? 3. fundamentally solving the right problems? THREE QUESTIONS Are we ...
  18. @inkblurt This is Sal the cook for M*A*S*H unit 4077

    This is Hawkeye A Meeting Between People Who are Part of an Organization ‣ Chief Surgeon ‣ Recently given charge of mess hall ‣ Has a favorite family recipe for french toast This is a scene from MASH, the TV show. We have Sal, who is the gruff cook for the unit. And we have Hawkeye, the idealist chief surgeon, who was recently given charge of the mess hall and has grand plans for making breakfast delightful for the troops -- a family recipe for french toast.
  19. @inkblurt movie ... (Sorry no link: YouTube took this clip

    down after I uploaded it :( )
  20. @inkblurt Whose side are you on? Why?

  21. @inkblurt Disconnections ... • Wants what’s best for the “users.”

    • Passionate about a vision of excellence. • A fish out of water. Hawkeye • Cooking for a war zone, not a restaurant. • Is already in middle of preparing the meal. • Doesn’t have time or resources to engage Hawkeye’s “best practices.” Sal I have to confess I was on Hawkeye’s side when I first saw this. I mean, he’s obviously the protagonist here, and how can you not identify with his idealism? >> He just wants what’s best for the users of the mess tent; he’s excited, passionate about a vision of excellence; and he’s kind of a fish out of water -- an idealist doctor placed in a somewhat alien situation, trying to get these thick- headed people to understand how great things could be if only they would listen. But the more I thought about it, I had to start understanding things from Sal’s point of view. >> He’s cooking in a war zone, not a cafe -- the business model of this establishment is winning battles, not Michelin stars. He’s already in the middle of preparing the meal, for goodness’ sake ... how is he supposed to suddenly change his process to meet this guy’s demands? And even though Hawkeye might have some great ideas ... some wonderful innovations ... there’s no time or budget to make the happen. The problem here isn’t that Hawkeye isn’t dedicated or that Sal isn’t interested in making people happy -- it’s a bigger, systemic issue.
  22. @inkblurt Disconnections ... Focused on the “Users” and the “Design”

    Focused on Delivery and meeting Requirements Who is designing the engagement? I have to confess I was on Hawkeye’s side when I first saw this. I mean, he’s obviously the protagonist here, and how can you not identify with his idealism? >> He just wants what’s best for the users of the mess tent; he’s excited, passionate about a vision of excellence; and he’s kind of a fish out of water -- an idealist doctor placed in a somewhat alien situation, trying to get these thick- headed people to understand how great things could be if only they would listen. But the more I thought about it, I had to start understanding things from Sal’s point of view. >> He’s cooking in a war zone, not a cafe -- the business model of this establishment is winning battles, not Michelin stars. He’s already in the middle of preparing the meal, for goodness’ sake ... how is he supposed to suddenly change his process to meet this guy’s demands? And even though Hawkeye might have some great ideas ... some wonderful innovations ... there’s no time or budget to make the happen. The problem here isn’t that Hawkeye isn’t dedicated or that Sal isn’t interested in making people happy -- it’s a bigger, systemic issue.
  23. @inkblurt Holistic View of Client/Employer Organization Holistic View of User

    UX Focus We tend to focus almost exclusively on the view of the user. But what about the organization we’re working in or for?
  24. @inkblurt Holistic View of Client/Employer Organization Holistic View of User

    UX Focus Seems to me we have to broaden our scope. Some of us have already been doing this for years, but it’s always felt peripheral, like something we’re doing on the sly. Why don’t we bake this in as an official part of what user experience design is about?
  25. @inkblurt 1. working well with (and within) organizations making stuff?

    2. really understanding user behavior? 3. fundamentally solving the right problems? THREE QUESTIONS Are we ... Another question -- do we really understand user behavior?
  26. @inkblurt Oh really? Give an example or STFU. Ok. What

    about “Goals”? You Me Fightin’ Words!!
  27. @inkblurt http://www.flickr.com/photos/epmallory3/6275268676/ GOAL! The idea of a “goal” is a

    pretty specific concept -- it’s a defined, named object that we aim for. In a goal-based sport, before everyone even gets on the field, they know what the goal is. I contend that invoking the word “goal” comes with a lot of assumptions and baggage that can misdirect our work as designers.
  28. @inkblurt There’s a deep assumption in our profession’s cultural background

    that our users have explicitly, consciously articulated goals that they’re working toward. There’s been a progression of landmark works in the profession that organize design around user goals. Now, I’m not saying these and other works that talk about goals are bad, they’re really excellent resources. I bring them up to highlight the fact that the “goal” concept is central to a lot of high-profile methods and education in our community.
  29. @inkblurt http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/ Training Goal (Pre-Defined Result) Procedure A.Do this B.Do

    that C.Do this http://www.flickr.com/photos/foenix http://www.flickr.com/photos/pearluvr It’s understandable that we would inherit this idea of user goals, given the origins of the computer-human interaction discipline. For a very long time, users worked in closed situations, where the whole system was constructed around pre-defined goals, and users were trained in procedures -- not unlike following a recipe to bake a cake.
  30. @inkblurt People Technology Process This venn diagram is in a

    million IT presentations and conference rooms. It’s like the Holy Trinity of IT. And who could disagree that these three things are both important and interdependent? It’s like saying water is wet. But if you think about it, there’s a lot of stuff buried in those terms, especially that word “Process”
  31. @inkblurt toolbox.com http://www.bai.berkeley.edu/ Technology People The way we often go

    about mapping human behavior is the same way we go about mapping system behavior. Namely: a linear, highly rational, super-efficient process. I’ve seen a lot of “customer journey” maps treat people the same way -- lots of happy paths, with very little room for people’s complexities, messiness and irrationality.
  32. @inkblurt BEHAVIOR IS ORGANIC But people don’t actually work that

    way -- they don’t behave like machines. And now that we’re making software more often for more complex situations, for more people who aren’t being paid to use it, and who have other options to turn to, we have to come to grips with the fact that people need software that helps them in the messy complexity, rather than software that assumes your life is very tidy, linear and planned.
  33. @inkblurt from Neuro Web Design, S. Weinschenk, 2009; p 3

    “Old Brain” “Mid-Brain” “New Brain” Amygdala In the last 20-30 years science has almost completely changed its mind about how our brains work and how we make decisions. And we now know that most of our actions are actually driven by the ancient parts of our evolved brain. We live in a frontal-lobe-driven illusion that we actually have defined goals, when we rarely actually do.
  34. @inkblurt Paul Dourish Lucy Suchman Dan Ariely Jonah Lehrer Marcia

    Bates There’s been a lot of work both academic and in the popular press that has been teaching us these new lessons about human behavior. Here are just some of them. Paul Dourish has been re-thinking context for years; I just learned about the Lucy Suchman book yesterday and now wish I’d read it years ago, and of course there’s Ariely & Lehrer have been writing very accessible books about how we really decide and behave.
  35. @inkblurt Physical DOING physical activity & ability, habits, preferences, sensory

    Cognitive THINKING cognitive assumptions, education, learning ability Emotional FEELING psychological state, anxiety, confidence, stress, desire A big part of user experience design is based on understanding the whole person for whom we’re creating a system. Rather than starting with “People, Process, Technology” all at once -- We start with People , their physical, cognitive and emotional characteristics, then we figure out how process and technology should meet their needs.
  36. @inkblurt Physical Cognitive Emotional Task Task Task Task Task Task

    Task Task Need Need Need Situation Goal So if we really want to apply these lessons, we may want to re-think the focus on tasks and goals. In UX design we like to think we’re considering all the dimensions of the person, and often we really do ... but we still tend to focus on tasks and goals. >> More often than not, the goal is only a fuzzy, distant possibility in the future ... and what we now know is that even if you think you have a goal, it will likely shift and change as you find your way to it. >> ... because right now the user is just trying to muddle their way through a situation that’s emerged in their life. When you get up to check the fridge, you rarely say to yourself “Self, I am hungry and therefore I need to eat” ... Your hunger may not even be a fully self-aware state just yet. >> at some point you may figure out that you have a particular need, and it may actually be one of many needs that spawn from the situation you’re in ... So, “I’m hungry” leads to “I NEED to eat something” ... and also, possibly “I NEED to get food because I don’t have any at home right now” ... or even “I NEED to ask the person next to me if they’re hungry too so I won’t be rude”. >> Only then does someone start to formulate the basic outlines of actual tasks to take care of those needs. And all of this happens in a sort of blur, before you have fully rationalized what you’re doing. So tell me ... How many requirements documents do you read that see the user this way? Or better yet, how many Agile user stories have you read that acknowledge the situational origin of the user’s activity? In waterfall or agile, or even in user testing, we normally jump straight to the task and small-bore functionality -- we break the tasks up into silos, assuming they’ll magically make sense together when we launch a product.
  37. Situation Need Need Need Situation Situation Situation @inkblurt MacObserve Situatio

    n Task Need Google Buzz Want some real-world proof of my point? When Google designed Buzz, they used an “eat your own dogfood” approach -- testing it with wider and wider circles of Google Employees. They designed lots of intricate tasks, but they were addressing the specific behaviors of people within Google -- not outside friends or family. >> When it was unleashed to the world, there was a huge clash ... the context was completely different, and the designed tasks had repercussions Google simply hadn’t foreseen ... because they were invisible to them. >> The result? Buzz was shuttered, and it earned Google 20 years of monitoring from the Federal Trade Commission. (ref: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-10454683-265.html)
  38. @inkblurt Early Adopters ... ± 75 - 80% Male ±

    60% Software Engineers & Developers So much fun to create entity-relationship diagrams of everyone you know! Did Google learn its lesson about user context & behavior? Well Google Plus has some improvements in terms of privacy, but its early adopters leaned heavily toward software engineers who evidently ENJOY organizing everyone they know into an entity-relationship diagram. http://mashable.com/2011/07/14/google-plus-male/
  39. @inkblurt 1. working well with (and within) organizations making stuff?

    2. really understanding user behavior? 3. fundamentally solving the right problems? THREE QUESTIONS Are we ...
  40. @inkblurt What if it’s impossible to map everything out anymore?

    What if we just can’t map everything out? Mapping stuff has always been big with user experience folks ... now we have service design and cross-channel customer journey maps and such. These are useful tools, but how well do they really scale for the world that’s coming at us so fast? And do the maps lock us into ways of thinking about the problem that keep us from seeing other possibilities?
  41. @inkblurt ASIMO Every use case mapped out for an artificial

    brain. Supposedly made in our image.
  42. @inkblurt Can’t handle all the possible edge cases.

  43. @inkblurt “Big Dog” Use cases not mapped out. The architecture

    of the body does most of the “thinking.” (The “brain” mainly manages sensors.)
  44. @inkblurt You can’t even kick this thing over.

  45. @inkblurt We seem to want our machines ... ... to

    love us. I think we want machines that will love us. We see faces in clouds, and we want to see them in our software. What if we’re trying too hard to make everything so human, we end up making stuff that will always disappoint us?
  46. @inkblurt What if we really don’t need machines to love

    us... ...but just to fit us? What if what we really need is things that just FIT us? I suspect we’re going to eventually find out that software works best when we think of it as an extension of ourselves for connecting with the world, and connecting with others in the world, rather than an automated version of us. I wonder what would happen if we framed more of our work that way? Would we have more success?
  47. @inkblurt Thank You.

  48. @inkblurt