UXPA – Visualizing Data for People

consThe event featured a very interesting speaker:

Paul Derby is a Senior Experience Designer within the Honeywell User Experience design studio. Paul has a PhD in experimental psychology (human factors) from Texas Tech University. At Honeywell, Paul focuses on UX research and design within the process industry (e.g., oil/gas, petrochemical, etc.). Currently, Paul is leading multiple UX efforts to improve data visualization products within this domain.

Paul spends time talking with engineers in refineries to understand their needs and works with designers to assure that the  visual monitoring dashboards provided by the company fit the need of the end users.  Product team includes people from different disciplines: marketing , engineers, designers, UX specialists, etc.


Paul experienced a significant transformation at Honeywell: the company now has a VP of experience design, over 25 designers throughout the organization, and plenty of opportunity for UX work.  It is interesting to note that Paul is a psychologist, rather than a designer or an engineer, what makes a complete sense 🙂

Ha ha – I remember attending my first university (majoring in psychology), and during that time “industrial psychology” class did not seem appealing area of specialization for most of my class.  A couple of decades later the field seems to gain significant popularity 🙂

So….  what is a dashboard?


Dashboard design principles based on human physiology and psychology:

Designing to support how we see color:

  • Green, yellow and red should be reserved for important information
  • Use color as a redundant backup – design visualizations that work in monochrome to accommodate color blindness

Designing to support attention:

  • Redundant coding – use color/shape/motion to draw attention
  • Avoid clutter (avoid meaningless pictures and effects
  • Support visual scanning through structure – use Gestalt principles to group objects for easy scanning

Designing to support working memory

  • Place related information in close proximity
  • Avoid interpretation – express important data directly and visually (using a graph to express data that is above ore below certain point
  • Avoid excessive details (5,23742 rather than 5.2)

Good chart to support working memory – the information is easy to perceive at a glance


Design to support situation awareness

  • Single screen
  • Context (use spark lines)
  • Leading indicators (display what is likely to happen rather than what already happened) – use colors to indicate that the numbers are approaching a certain stage, etc.  Example below highlights “situation awareness” principle applied to three numbers:
    • Oranges sold – 32
    • Bananas sold – 45
    • apples lost      – 98


Below are examples of bad dashboards (what seem to be relatively easy to find).  However, if asked during the dashboard development process, many users will prefer “pretty,” more colorful dashboard, even if it won’t be as easy to use in the day to day basis for the goal of process monitoring…

If you ask the users, they will want something interesting to look at…



Why the dashboard is bad: difficult to read (black background), unnecessary graphical elements, too much space taken by a simulated gadget showing one number, etc.



Why this dashboard is bad: not clear which information is important, too busy; overlooked Gestalt principles for grouping, etc.



Why this “pretty” dashboard is bad: the dashboard is trying to replicate live equipment (adds confusion), colors used randomly rather than communicate important information.


Good dashboard


Why this dashboard is good: the process is represented symbolically in the background, colors are used to convey meaningful information; redundant coding for color and shape


bookTwo books were recommended at the end of the presentation


Paul mentioned an organization created by process industry companies and educational institutions  to prevent “abnormal situations” in the industry.


Coursera – Advanced Competitive Strategy

courseraVery interesting course – a wonderful overview with latest examples from European and American business landscape.  I also liked the questions of the quiz – questions required to pay attention rather than simply recall most relevant of multiple choice options 😉

Very organized and concise overview of strategies for growth, network effects, and international strategies.

A few interesting points from the course:

Interesting chart with customer profitability in different industries over time and also a chart indicating that “switching activity” is increasing in a particular industry.





The “browser wars” chart was used as a switching standards (network effect).




Mergers and Acquisitions chart – M&A activity occurs in waves, increases in time and deal value is also raising.





And a very comprehensive slide on M&A not achieving what was expected 🙂





Global strategy: Is in high need for global integration and favors efficiency over responsiveness to local requirements for the sake of lowering costs.  Examples: Microsoft selling the same software, P&G establishing a global brand.

Multidomestic: Is in high need for local adaptation but has only a minimal pressure to lower costs. It will thus sacrifice efficiency for the sake of responsiveness to local requirements.  Example: Adaptation of H.J. Heinz products to match local preferences (non garlic and onion ketchup is tailored to the Indian taste)

Transnational: Is in high need for both local adaptation and global integration (Middle ground). Example: McDonald’s in Europe – rely on global brand, but include some national variations.

International:  Is neither in need for local adaptation, nor does it require to react to pressures to lower costs , or “export strategy.”  Examples are export of food, clothing, etc.

Book – Decoding the New Consumer Mind

bookThe book clearly encourages marketers to perceive their audience from a more “human” perspective and understand the reason for the changes in the consumer behavior that the entire industry has been observing during last years.

As “we are generally designed for survival, not quality of life,” humanity struggles with some modern challenges.  Has technology caused it?  The general answer is no, but both the recession and technological changes that amplified some human traits, helped.

Five Psychological Shifts:

  1. Innovation optimism
  2. Consumer empowerment
  3. Faster way of thinking
  4. Symbol power
  5. New ways of connecting

Interesting psychological phenomenon:  just association with the innovation and technology itself can increase people’s desire to by a product that might look more “modern” than before.  Examples: a restaurant offered vine menu on iPad instead of a paper and sales increased.  Adidas added virtual footwear wall in some of its stored – sales in those stores where the wall was added increased.  The article includes quite interesting video of the “wall.


  • One second delay in a web page loading results in 7% purchase reduction 
  • Gen Y are the most sensitive to waiting – they are the heaviest users of same day delivery
  • Increased numbers of Facebook friends has no impact on general sense of well-being.  However, increase of real friends from 10 to 20 has a positive emotional impact similar to 50% increase in salary.
  • One third of people has feeling of dissatisfaction after using Facebook, particularly envy
  • The more people use Facebook, the more they are dissatisfied
  • College students: more mobile phone use correlated with lower grades and more anxiety
  • As our human “tribe” grows, fame is associated with survival by younger generations… Fame is the top of desires for tweens.
  • 1950 – less than 10% of Americans lived alone; now it is 28%
  • Increase in loneliness in recent years – up to 35%
  • In US trust, support and happiness are in decline
  • Social activity such as belonging to a club increases happiness comparably to doubling your income
  • Associating emotions with the brand – feeling of amazement before being introduced to a brand – extreme sheep video  – Samsung logo.  Samsung has highest emotional engagement in its category.

  • People are more isolated – 25% do not have a single confidant
  • Rising rudeness have not been created by technology, but technology is accelerating the trend allowing people to be less connected
  • Recession resulted in loss of sense of security
  • Increase of number of narcissists and narcissistic tendencies in the population
  • Narcissists like exclusive products, special service, etc.
  • Highly stressed shoppers prefer trusted brands and easier shopping
    • inertia – buying without thinking or not buying at all
    • rely on trusted experts to reduce the number of options
    • rationalize impulsive purchases
    • rely on feelings more and sensitive to complexity
  • Marketing: all channels need to be integrated and not in adversarial relationships.  Macy has an “omni-channel officer” – a senior role in the organization.

Marketing examples:

  • Old school marketer – champions the brand
  • New school marketer champions the consumer, who then champions the brand

Kleenex campaign as an example of “new marketing” approach:


  • Very old school marketing: get a list and send a free tissue sample to potential customers (who many not care)
  • Old school marketing: advertise free samples in the media and invite potential customers to the web site to request the sample (potential customers feel smart after getting a free sample)
  • New school marketing: during the flu season promote an option for potential customers to send a box of tissue to their suffering friends.  Because the tissue is send by friends, it feels softer than it is (warmth of the offer).

Ketchum motivated consumers to share one million free Kleenex products with their friends through the Kleenex “Softness Worth Sharing” program, resulting in a 925% increase in traffic to the Kleenex website and a 6.2% boost in in-store sales.


MN Search – Link Building

linkThis event happened to be more interesting than I expected (and less technical  than I feared).  Another interesting aspect – everything starts and ends with the content marketing.  Though it probably should be considered as a fact of life rather than anything to ponder.

A few notes from the event:

  • Conversions of SEO and PR “Not only ink, but also links.”  Why is it happening?  The objective is the same – reaching out and getting attention.  The main problem is that PR KPIs are not links…
  • Example of “co-marketing”: to appeal to an important industry publication (Mashable) three companies got together and ask the publication: “We are ready to cooperate to produce exclusive content for you – what content would you like?”
  • “Guest Posting” became “Contributor Journalism” – if you are a good writer, write one piece of content per week.  Find publications with contributing model, to get access to CMS (Forbs and Huffington Post are these types of publications).
  • Interesting point about what constitutes best content: an intersection of content that is interesting for the target audience and content that is interesting for the publication.  Usually, the most known value of content is the intersection between the target audience interest and company’s needs (company’s website); the content targeted to the publication is “matched” similarly to the publication.


  • Find what resonates with the audience


  • Another name for the aligning content to the stages of the buying cycle “message map”
  • HubSpot mentioned that significant portion of the content that is accessed on its site is over 6 months old
  • Content mismatch case study: an interactive “tool” has been produced “What career is right for me?”  The tool was interesting for the users, but the media did not want to link to it… Publications do not want to link to a “tool” – they want to link to the “data.”  The tool has been transformed to a more simple data-rich material, and became more popular as a link bait.
  • Paid matters!  
    • Retargeting (to keep the brand top of mind)
    • If you want to target writers in a specific publication and “encourage” them to find and notice your content, you can buy Facebook ads to target writers in this specific publication.
    • However, you can buy the eyeballs, but it is the quality of the content that will make the difference.

And a cute picture from Clear Voice Pinterest collection that is appropriate for both PR and SEO is below 😉


Eloqua Users Group – Promo Sampler

R1Relationship One is gowning…  though not in Asia yet (hint hint…  maybe one day?  🙂 )

A few useful notes:

Marketers were giving away free [something] to get Canadians to subscribe before the change in the law.

Kapost should have a free plug-in to build a calendar, but it may not be as useful for planning.  Many companies use Sharepoint calendars for planning to accommodate multiple Eloqua instances and even multiple marketing automation systems.

Conditional form is possible – but requires custom Java Script…  I wonder how it can be scaled through an organization with different level of skill sets…

Promo Sampler App

Useful for a situation when an offer expires based on a certain number of people registerePromo-samplerd or time of the promotion.  For example, requesting a free sample of […..]  with available inventory for X number of items.  Individuals can request only one sample, and the list of requests can be easily exported to send to a fulfillment house.

The app allows to set series of landing pages in advance to show based on remaining inventory, repeated requests, or time frame.

Reminding distributors to contact the customer

Interestingly, the company is finding it easier to check with the customer than multiple distributors.


The campaign can probably include additional surveys, etc.  Campaign is based on blind form submit functionality and custom objects.