A user experience designer on how to leverage your FAQ page as a trust-building first-stop for your audience

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Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Imagine you are shopping online for the perfect pair of not too casual, but comfortable pants to slightly elevate your pandemic wardrobe from sweatpants. You scour your usual clothing website, then take to Google, progressively trying more specific keywords: women’s jeans, women’s denim joggers, or women’s drawstring denim joggers with pockets.

Just as a hypothetical example.

Fine, it’s my exact search history. I just can’t do tight jeans crawling around with a baby all day, OK?

You’ve finally found a pair that meets your criteria. You’re happy with what the reviewers have said and are ready to pull the trigger. But you have just one question first, a minor detail that you might otherwise take one second to ask a checkout person as you were pulling out your credit card in the store. Something about the material, fit, or return policy, for example. You scan the product page down to the footer and still can’t see a place to find your answer. …


Short courses in design can only get you so far — here’s what you need to know to build real-world experience, impress interviewers, and get your foot in the door in UX.

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Illustration by Mariana Gonzalez Vega via Blush

It’s 2020, and the pandemic has thrown a wrench in your career plans.

You’re not alone: with nearly 50 million people in the US applying for unemployment since March, and countries worldwide breaking unemployment records, workers everywhere are looking for jobs. Could that new job also be in a new career path? Business Insider recently reported that experts say it could be a good idea to switch careers during a pandemic.

“Crisis is an opportunity,” Mory Fontanez, a purpose coach and CEO, told Business Insider. “It asks us to pause and look deeply and honestly at all the things we have been doing day in and day out without really thinking about whether those things fulfilled us, played on our strengths, or aligned with our own purpose.” …


Kick your efficiency up a notch with these design and non-design tools.

Just like having dinner is not just eating, being a designer is not just designing. (As much as we wish it was.)

When a chef prepares a meal, they plan, collect ingredients, prepare, test, and plate their creations. Similarly, a designer must plan, prepare, test, and present their masterpieces. Just as a chef must utilize many tools besides their knives, designers can’t create with Sketch alone.

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https://giphy.com/gifs/Sweetbitter-STARZ-starz-season2-sweetbitter-RlHIot6ArrGeOwUNMH

There’s a lot of work to find the problem, figure out the solution, hack away at the barriers to solving it, and get the solution out the door.

This article features a collection of apps from my Chrome bookmarks that I actually use throughout my entire UX process. …


You’ve created some beautiful personas. So what?

Woman shopping with cart
Woman shopping with cart

Personas are a vital tool in the design process to humanize a user or customer. They help product teams move away from building for themselves, or worse, an anecdotal customer/nephew/friend/acquaintance of your manager.

Often a personas deliverable is underutilized: a tool for the designer that barely resonates with the rest of the team, and is quickly forgotten by stakeholders in the broader business. I have seen firsthand that this is a problem for a project.

The danger of personas getting lost in the design process is that there is no agreed-upon foundation to guide future feature and functionality decisions. …


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I’m convinced

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs (Wikipedia).

Confirmation bias is all about selectivity: selectivity in the data that you pay attention to, and how you processes that data.

This cognitive bias has gotten a lot of attention recently in terms of how we consume and share news in the world of social media. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs, which can be particularly dangerous in our current political climate. …


I’ve been officially self-employed for 6 months now, and the journey has been every bit as much of a roller coaster as many long-time pros warn about. Self-doubt about how to spend your time and energy feel as inevitable for freelancers as commuting is for employees.

I have made progress! I’ve found, won, and completed great projects. I’ve met inspiring freelancers and founders making their own path. I’ve enclosed myself in the beautiful Bondi bubble for days-on-end.

But the most satisfying wins have been completing my own creative projects.

The most recent one is my first online course. Getting Started with Customer Research (when you don’t know where to start) is for startup founders, designers, and product teams who need qualified insights without formal and expensive research. …


You’ve been working on a startup, design, or project and know that you need some customer validation to move on to the next step. If you’ve never planned and executed a research project before, it might feel like a big task. But it doesn’t have to be!

Doing research without a plan is like grocery shopping without a list — you’ll end up with a bunch of junk food that looked good at the time, but isn’t useful as a ingredients for a recipe.

I’ve been working in UX for 10 years, the first 8 as a designer. I always felt like I was designing with the user needs in mind because I spent hours gathering information from stakeholders, developing personas, and developing journey maps. But it wasn’t until I started at the UX research agency where I worked for 2 years, did I realise how much value actually talking to users can bring. …


[April 17. 6:13 pm]

Ok, welcome to the last installment of my real-time experiment, where I kickoff my freelance UX business in real time with a business strategy (part 1), a UX strategy (part 2), and now my website design.

At the end of the day yesterday, I did this first draft sketch of my site, based on the needs of the users and the goals of my business:

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First draft of my website

Pretty great right? Again, you don’t have to be a great drawer to call yourself a designer.

For some projects, I might continue on paper and sketch each page in slightly more fidelity at this stage. For this site however, I’m going to jump right into Sketch for the rest of my wireframes. …


[Monday, April 16. 5:36 pm]

In part 1 of this post, I outlined my business purpose and goals. I called it a business strategy, because it sets the direction for my business and path to how I think I will get there.

But it doesn’t yet have a key component: the user. Who specifically are my clients? What do problems do they have, and why am I the one to solve them?

This will be the focus of today’s real-time post.

[UX vs. CX: a quick definition:

Many people, including me, use the terms User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX) interchangeably. In general, if I’m building a strategy or a design for a specific website or an app, I’ll refer to the person using it as a “user”, and say UX in describing the related work. If the experience to be defined or designed is more of the full lifecycle of a person across multiple platforms, or on- and off-line channels, I’ll use “customer” and CX. …


[April 12. 2:07pm]

Welcome. Today I am developing my user experience strategy. I am just starting out as a self-employed user experience designer and strategist. My goal is to define and document how I sell and deliver my services so that I can build a website and marketing strategy.

I’m not doing this live, but I am doing in real-time, which means I’m thinking, typing, and sketching in one flow, and will time-stamp the whole journey for you.

This is an insight into my process of building a strategy, for those wanting to do something similar in your own business.

But it’s also a motivation tool for myself — I want to force myself to actually do the step that I tell clients is critical to business growth. …

About

Alissa Condra

Freelance writer, UX consultant, designer, startup founder, traveler, ultimate frisbee player. I write more like this at uxadjacent.substack.com/subscribe

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