Business Meetups Tampa Bay Users What I’m Up To

Scenes from the Tampa Bay UX Meetup (Thursday, October 19, 2023)

It was a packed house at Computer Coach last Thursday when the Tampa Bay User Experience meetup group gathered for Phil Doughty’s presentation, The ROI of UX.

Here’s the abstract for the event:

Are you trying to start or build a UX practice in your organization? Have you run into a brick wall when trying to get support? Are you constantly trying to “sell” UX to your executive team? Nothing speaks louder than being able to show a return on investment (ROI). In this edition from our UX Fundamentals series, Phil Doughty will show us how we can put UX into terms that make sense to the C-suite; dollars and cents.

For about an hour, Phil, a Customer Success Manager at UserTesting, led the group through his presentation showing how to speak the language of stakeholders in order to convince them of the necessity and value of UX in software and services. He was assisted by his coworker Christian Knebel (also a Customer Success Manager), who teleconferenced in from Dallas.

In the end, Phil argues, you have to account for stakeholder needs. When talking to the C-suite, that often boils down to dollars and cents. You need to convince them that good UX either…

  • Increases the money you make, or
  • Decreases the money you spend.

Phil spent a fair bit of time on Google’s HEART framework. It’s a powerful tool tailored for UX teams, empowering them to prioritize and enhance distinct facets of the user experience, while also enabling the establishment of clear objectives and user experience metrics to measure their achievements.

HEART, as the acronym suggests, is made up of five key elements, each representing a different aspect of user experience measurement:

  1. Happiness: This element gauges user satisfaction and overall happiness with the product or service. It often involves surveys or feedback mechanisms to assess user sentiment.
  2. Engagement: Engagement measures how actively users interact with the product. It can involve tracking metrics like the number of visits, time spent, or specific user actions within the application.
  3. Adoption: This aspect focuses on user acquisition and the rate at which new users are embracing the product. It assesses how effectively the product is attracting and onboarding new users.
  4. Retention: The rate at which users continue to use the product over time. It helps assess whether the product is successful in retaining its user base and preventing churn.
  5. Task Success: A measure of how efficiently users can complete specific tasks within the product. You can measure this by tracking success rates, error rates, or task completion times to identify usability issues.

HEART’s five elements collectively provide a comprehensive framework for evaluating and improving the user experience of a digital product or service. You can apply them to a single feature in your software or service — or ideally, to the whole thing.

If there was one slide that everyone should have taken a picture of, it’s the one above — Metrics vs. KPIs. This makes it clear:

  • A metric is a qualitative measurement of how your product, service, and experience, and specific initiatives are performing.
  • A KPI — short for key performance indicator — is a kind of metric that measures critical, organization-wide business outcomes that reflect that oragnization’s goals and vision, typically from a financial perspective.

For example, an ecommerce site’s conversion rate — the percentage of website visitors who take a specific action, such as making a purchase — would be a metric, but it wouldn’t be a KPI.

However, that site’s monthly revenue growth — the increase in revenue from one month to the next — is a metric that also qualifies as a KPI. It’s a KPI because it reflects the site’s core business objective: to increase revenue over time.

Typically, a free meetup will get half the people who registered to actually show up, but this one was different — we had a packed room, and it appeared that at least two thirds of the registrants were there! It looks like the result of interesting presentations and an involved, active tech scene.

The Tampa Bay User Experience group has these upcoming events:

Meetups Tampa Bay Users

Scenes from last night’s Tampa Bay UX Group’s Revival Social

I arrived a little late, after doing a startup mentoring session at University of Tampa’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center (pictured below):

Illuminated palm trees at night outside the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center.
Outside the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center at University of Tampa.
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Luckily, it was a quick drive from downtown to the Tampa Bay UX Group Revival Social’s venue, which also happens to be one of my “locals”: 7venth Sun Brewery’s Seminole Heights branch, a great space for large social gatherings:

The crowd at the Tampa Bay UX Group Revival Social.
The scene at 7venth Sun.
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It was good catching up with people I haven’t seen in a while, including Micah Overton, whom I worked with during my time at Lilypad:

A close-up of a conversation at the Tampa Bay UX Group Revival Social, with Micah Overton hamming it up for the camera.
Michael Ritchie, Micah Overton (hamming it up for the camera), and Anitra Pavka.
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More than 40 people RSVP’d for the get-together, and the “flake-out” factor was low. It’s not unusual for only half the RSVPs to show up at a meetup that doesn’t charge admission, but it looks like the number of actual attendees was pretty close to the RSVP count. The Tampa Bay techie scene isn’t just active, but it’s also eager to get together!

The crowd at the Tampa Bay UX Group Revival Social.
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The event ran from 6:30 to 8:30, but a fair number of the crowd stayed later:

The crowd at the Tampa Bay UX Group Revival Social.
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The crowd at the Tampa Bay UX Group Revival Social.
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My thanks to organizer Rob Vanasco for putting on a great event and brining back one of Tampa Bay’s key meetups! I got to chat with him briefly, and he said that this is only the start of Tampa Bay UX Group meetups for 2023. Keep an eye on their Meetup page!

I’d also like to thank 7venth Sun Brewery in Seminole Heights for continuing to be an excellent venue for meetups. In case you’re curious, here’s last night’s beer menu:

Last night’s beer menu.
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Design Humor Users

Watch this video: “What happened to text inputs?”

If you design or develop front ends, whether web, mobile, or even desktop, you really should watch the latest Web Briefs video by Heydon Pickering, What happened to text inputs?

Title card: “What happened to text inputs?", decorated with illustrations of three howling wolves and “type=‘silly’” and “type=‘pants’” tag attributes.
Tap to watch the video.

The video starts with a twist on the classic parable, Inside you are two wolves. In this twist, one of the wolves is called “Adrian”…

Adrian wolf: A wolf wearing an “AltaVista” trucker cap, captioned with these bullet points:

- A user of the web
- Wants interfaces to be easy
Tap to watch the video.

…and the other’s called “Chris”:

Chris wolf: A wolf wearing a “Macromedia” trucker cap, captioned with these bullet points:

- Designer for the web
- Wants to get ahead
- Has heard about “disruption”
Tap to watch the video.

The video covers its topic very well, and very amusingly — stop messing with text input boxes and making them less usable! They should very clearly indicate that:

  • The user should enter some text into them (i.e. they should look like text inputs, and right now, the widely-understood convention is the text box)
  • What kind of text the user is expected to enter into them (i.e. use labels)
Examples of different text box styles, with the title “Only one of these is right!”

- text box, no label, placeholder as label
- Text box and label
- Text line and label
Tap to watch the video.

The video also goes into topic such as why using text input value placeholders are a poor substitute for labels, as well as why the latest slew of aesthetic tricks are still worse than using a good ol’ text box and label.

If definitely worth checking out the video. Watch it now!


Just a reminder…

Diagram: Why technology is not neutral, created by the Center for Humane Technology.

I found this via Maria Lambert Bridge, the CCO for the Center for Human Technology. She writes:

Tech isn’t just a passive tool. Tech shapes us, and we shape technology.

Every design choice has an implication.
Every interaction has an effect.


UI developer hint: Test your apps in both light mode and dark mode!

Tap the image to see it at full size.

I recently made the mistake of not double-checking my UIs in light mode and dark mode, which left the checklist app in the book I co-wrote unusable in dark mode:

I’d set the text color to the system default text color, which becomes white in dark mode. I also set the background color for rows to white, but forgot to account for dark mode, resulting in this white-text-on-white-background mess. The fix was simple: set the background color of the rows to the system default background color, which adjusts automatically for the current mode.

My mistake didn’t produce results as demonically hilarious as the “We missed you!” message from a web hosting service. In light mode, you were greeted by this fluffy llama…

…but dark mode turned the llamas into something completely different (but oh so very METAL):

This observation was made by Rémi Parmentier:

It translates as: “Trust Gmail’s dark mode of Gmail to transform an ‘Oh, such cute little llamas’ into ‘OH MY GOD WE ARE IN HELL WHAT THEY WANT FROM ME’”.