All Episodes

June 6, 2016

Victor Yocco, PhD (@VictorYocco) is a writer and researcher, working in the field of digital design. His background in psychology gives him unique insight into how people interact with websites and applications, which in turn helps his design team build intuitive, functional projects.

In this conversation, we discuss methods of user testing, stumbling blocks that design studies make regarding psychology, and a bit of his studio workflow and habits.


Use code pcyobusy to receive 39% off the cover price for Victor's book, Design For The Mind

Show Notes & Links
  • Victor Yocco doesn't like titles, but describes himself as a researcher for user experience and digital design

    "Academic literature is often very inaccessibly written."

    —Victor Yocco

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  • Fine Arts vs. Applied Arts
  • Paola Antonelli on The Colbert Report, 2013
  • MoMA

    "Incorporated psychology into design doesn't have to be this huge thing."

    —Victor Yocco

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  • Design For The Mind by Victor Yocco on Manning Books

  • Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug on Amazon

  • Big-Ass Buttons

  • "It's so easy a caveman can do it" campaign from Geico
    [av_video src='' format='16-9' width='16' height='9']

  • heuristics, or mental shortcuts, take the place of finding information yourself.

  • Whiteboard sessions, focus groups, interviews — other research tactics

  • Jeff Sauro, Measuring U

  • Quantifying Usability

    "You'll find 85% of potential usability issues just off 5 users."

    —Jeff Sauro

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  • Lay People, which Prescott affectionately calls "Muggles"

  • The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman on Amazon and on Audible

    "There is a point of 'Good Enough' in digital design."

    —Victor Yocco

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  • Analysis Paralysis

  • Minimum Viable Product

  • An earlier episode with Kirsten Modestow

  • Photoshop

  • Sketch

  • Full Stack Anxiety
    [av_video src='' format='16-9' width='16' height='9']

  • Spider Web Diagram

  • Distribute Strength, Dexterity, etc.
    [caption id="attachment_3409" align="alignnone" width="601"]Role-Playing Games require you distribute your skills[/caption]

    "Designers are usually people who enjoy solving problems."

    —Victor Yocco

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  • Sally Hogshead

  • Social Identity Theory

  • Contextual Inquiry, observing the user in his native habitat aka "shadowing"

  • Undercover Boss, the one where the girl puts barcode on her arm for easy scanning

  • Debuke, IA

  • How to un-jam a tractor-trailer from a highway overpass? Let some air out of the tires.

  • 90% of MS Word users only utilise 10% of the features


  • Use code pcyobusy to receive 39% off the cover price for Victor's book, Design For The Mind

  •  Victor Yocco on Twitter

  •  Victor Yocco on Facebook

  •  Victor Yocco on LinkedIn

  • Tools
  • SPSS, statistics software
  • MS Office
  • Post-Its
  • Box
  • Slack
  • Techniques
  • Layer Cake approach (low level, medium level, high level)
  • Respect the users' time by making simple interfaces, functions
  • Don't just show your designs to other designers — they think differently, which might not see what the lay person sees
  • Include additional team members, representing design, writing, project mgmt., etc.
  • Record user testing sessions to easily refer other team members to particular moments
  • Conduct a UX Assessment or heuristics Review before beginning a project
  • Habits
  • Build in heuristics (mental shortcuts) into your work
  • Look to Usability testing to reveal users' instinct or assumptions
  • Provide challenges for designers and creative staff; they naturally want to wrestle with problems and their solutions
  • Search for methods to stay with a project until the end (even if you get bored with it)
  • Set aside time in the evening to write

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