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The Power of the Minute & Engineering Memorable Experiences

Published 8/5/2015

On Today's episode, I talk about making a good first impression. How can we engineer memorable moments that will create a positive impact on how people will remember your product or service?

We don't have to be experts, but as developers we do need to be mindful of what it means to create a good user experience. As an example, I refer in this episode to Image Magic and their lack of good user experience.

Special thanks to today's sponsor: Hired

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Thanks for listening to today's episode and until next time,

Enjoy your Tea

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I'm going to be talking to you about the importance of the minute. Take a moment and think about three memories that you have. You can pause the podcast and just come up with these three memories that are either really strong or maybe they're very positive memories, hopefully. And just think about those for a second and I want to ask you a question about those memories. But first I want to talk a little bit about why we're talking about this. Our users experience the things that we make in the same way that we experience our life on a day to day basis. Our users experience the things that we make. Now this is obvious to most of us, but we have to think about that as developers. We have to think about that when we're creating a product because ultimately once again, as we've mentioned so many times on the show, we're creating things for humans, 90% of the time. So if a human is experiencing the thing that we're creating, we should be involved in at least understanding how that experience plays out. Now I'm not asking you to become a user experience engineer. I would never use a buzz term that blatantly on this show, but I am asking you to be mindful of what it means to have a good user experience and to think about these things because really, if you want to be a great programmer, you likely need to know about user experience. It's pretty important that the people who are using your thing have a decent user experience. Now, those three memories that you thought of, how long was each memory? Most of our memories are made up of single still shots in our mind. These kind of impressions that we get about a given situation or a given event. We have these single still shot memories. Perhaps we have smells or sounds that go along with those memories, but typically our memories are not played out in our minds like a storyline, like a movie would be. Instead, we have memories that are limited to a limited frame of reference, a minute or two minutes or perhaps really particular features of a given place, the scene. If you think about your childhood home or perhaps your childhood bedroom more specifically, then certain pieces of that bedroom are going to stick out and certain pieces will fade into the background. You will have forgotten quite a bit about those particular elements of your childhood home or your childhood bedroom. Why are we talking about these memories on today's episode? Well, the reality is, when we go through the process of experience, no matter what it is, whether it's a website or an app or anything else in our lives, we create memories that are associated with emotions about that particular thing. And to truly understand user experience, you have to understand what moments your users are taking with them. What moments are they going to remember? I'm going to take a quick sponsor rig and then we're going to come back and talk about how to architect those important moments, how to make sure that you as the developer in tandem with a designer or other developers, how you can intentionally approach this creation of the moments that your users take with them as their memories about the applications that you're building. I'm so excited to tell you about today's sponsor because there's opportunity for almost anyone with today's sponsor. And that is hired.com. On hired software engineers and designers can get five or more job offers in a given week. Now, each of these offers has salary and equity built in up front. And there are both full time and contract offers and opportunities available and hired. Users can view the offers from over 2,500 companies of all sizes from startups to large public companies. And then they can accept or reject the offers before ever talking to any company. So there's never any obligations. And it's totally free to use. It's 100% free to use. Now normally if you get a job through hired, they'll give you a $2,000 thank you bonus. But if you use the special link for Developer Teathat will be in the show notes, hired will double that bonus to $4,000 if you accept a job. That's hired.com slash Developer Tea. Now, even if you aren't looking for a job, but you know another engineer or a designer who is, you can refer them to hired. And if they accept a job on hired, you will get a $1,337 bonus. That is a huge opportunity pretty much for anyone. So go and check it out hired.com slash Developer Tea. We've been talking about the importance of the minute on this show. And by that, I mean the way that we remember things, the impressions that things leave on us that are that kind of stick with us, the things that characterize a given memory or a given object or a person, a place thing, anything that we experience in our lives, the way that we experience those things. We've been talking about how that affects user experience. So now I'm going to give you guys a few rules of thumb to follow. And a few things to think about when you're trying to actually engineer these singular moments in time, these frames of reference for people as they build their experience around the things that you are creating as they go through the process of using your application, whatever it is, website application, whatever you've built. So the first tip is very simple. The earlier things that somebody experiences are going to be typically more important than the things that they experience later. Now when I use the word important there, I mean that those are going to be the things that are more prominent in their memory, typically speaking, those are going to be the things also that they have their anchoring bias set on. We talked about this in a previous show that will include in the show notes, but the anchoring bias basically says that we judge things that we see later based on things that we've seen earlier, specifically anchoring bias has to deal with pricing strategies. When you see a high price, then you see a low price, you tend to think that that lower number is a better deal than if you were to see an even lower price followed by a higher price. In the same kind of psychology applies to this idea of a first impression, the things that we see earlier typically have more weight as to how we judge and build our memories, then the things that we see later. There's a lot of research that backs this up. Some research even says that people make a basic judgment about your website in the first couple of seconds that they've encountered it. This is part of the reason why it's so important to have a fast loading website. Some people even say under two seconds in order to make a good first impression. This is also why people focus so much time and energy on the onboarding experience. A user onboarding experience sets the tone for all future interactions that that user has with your company or with your product or with the application that you've built. We aren't even just talking about designed applications. We aren't just talking about the prompts that we show somebody in a browser. We're also talking about things like command line tools. How easy is it to install your command line tool? If it's very difficult to install it, then people may have a long term negative response to your tool. A perfect example of this is image magic. If you have not tried to install image magic yet, you should try to install it. It is not easy to do, typically speaking. Of course, it could have gotten better, but because my very first experience installing image magic was so difficult, I now have that as kind of my anchor, it's the very first thing that I experienced when trying to install image magic. In fact, that effect has been so strong that one of the sponsors of the show imagics, they actually based some of their messaging on the pain that you normally would experience when trying to install image magic. That first rule of thumb, once again, is just focus on those very first initial impressions. The second rule of thumb is to focus on the experiences that people can compare to similar experiences elsewhere. For example, the installation of image magic once again, you install a lot of things. So if yours is comparatively more difficult to install, then that moment is going to stick out. Another example is checkout. Another example is a sign up form. These experiences are easy to remember because every time they have that same experience in another scenario, they might be reminded of that experience on your thing, on your application. A third rule of thumb, and this one's probably the most controversial, is to give your users an unexpected, delightful experience when they otherwise would have experienced pain. Great customer service representatives know that when a user comes to them with a problem, they present a huge opportunity of keeping that user. People are very likely to share experiences that are unexpected. They're very likely to share experiences that are positive and that are surprising. So if your company or if your application does something that is a positive surprise or what we would call a delightful thing, then the user is very likely to share it and they're very likely to enjoy and remember that experience. Specifically because they expected to experience something painful or negative and instead they were surprised with something positive and delightful. Now this doesn't just have to do with customer experience or customer service rather, but it has everything to do with the way you make your software as well. If for example you were creating an API, then perhaps it would be a good idea to make the process of signing up and registering an application a very easy process because that is something that otherwise seems kind of painful. We've barely scratched the surface as it relates to user experience in this episode. Of course, we'll continue to talk about similar topics in the future, but I hope this gives you just kind of an idea, a way of thinking about how to engineer these memorable moments that will make up the way that people remember the thing that you're building, your application, your command line tools, your APIs, all of the things that you build, somebody is going to have some level of experience with them. So make it a positive one and make sure that you engineer the moments that they remember. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I appreciate each and every moment that you spend with me here on the show. I don't take you for granted. The audience is what makes this show what it is. So thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you or someone you know is looking for a job as a designer or a developer, go and check out today's sponsor Hired.com. Incredible opportunities from over 2,500 companies offering salary and equity, both contract and full time, just so many opportunities there. Make sure you use the special link Hired.com slash Developer Tea, which will actually double your signing bonus if you do end up getting a job through Hired. And don't forget that Hired also gives out a referral bonus if you refer somebody else. So refer them to Hired.com slash Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode and until next time, enjoy your tea.