Getting to know us

1. What does the name “Experience Dynamics” mean?

Experience Dynamics refers to the mechanics of user interaction and the quality of the experience users have with your design. Like group dynamics, which refers to how groups of people relate and interact in social situations, the dynamics of your user experience are observable, measurable and changeable—with the right intervention. 

2. What does Experience Dynamics do?

We take products like software, web applications, websites and mobile apps and find out why they are frustrating and difficult to use and make them simple, intuitive and easy to use. That has a knock on effect to customer value, satisfaction, loyalty and revenue enhancement.

We do this by providing design services and strategic research—used to guide new and more compelling designs. Our methodology for achieving this is called User Centered Design

3. What are you consider to be experts in?

All things User Experience and design but specifically in the field of Usability engineering; with the methodology of User Centered Design.

4. How do you do it?

We start each project ideally by conducting user research or usability testing. This gives us a window into the world of your user. This design research is used to inform changes to your design. Design research provides user validation, design guidance and strategy insights to help you improve your user experience.

5. What industries do you cater to?

We cater to many industries.  Including, but not limted to:

  • Automotive
  • Banking
  • E-commerce / Retail
  • Education / E-Learning
  • Entertainment
  • Financial Services
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Human Resources
  • Insurance
  • Media & Publishing
  • Non-profit
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Software
  • Services
  • Telecoms
  • Travel & Leisure
6. How long does a typical engagement take?

3-4 weeks on the shorter side.

3-4 months on the longer side.

7. What else does Experience Dynamics do that I should know about?

Since 2008 we have been providing Visual Design (graphic design) for many projects.While we use research to inform design, we are designers at heart (Interaction Design, that is).

Need CSS, XAML or WPF to help kick start your front-end user interface development? We can help there too.

We also provide web development on select projects.

 

8. How big is Experience Dynamics?

We are a small UX consulting firm with a global reach. We have 22 consultants currently working in three continents (US/Europe/Asia).

One secret to our success is to provide clients with detailed attention from our senior team. No junior UX resource, no outsourcing, no generic ‘one size fits all’ UX consulting.

Oh, and we compete all the time with huge companies: global ad and digital agencies, huge human factors consultants and the ‘been around the block for decades’ usability guys. 

9. Why should we hire you?

First, we are leading edge user experience experts. Experience Dynamics is recognized internationally for being experts in User Centered Design. There’s a reason leading companies seek us out. We provide UX training to Apple, Amazon.com, MetLife, American Express, Citigroup and others.

Next, we move fast with our proven processes. We’ve been providing Agile UX consulting solutions since 2002. In a hurry? Don’t worry, we can provide tremendous value in half the time.

Finally, we have the highest amount of customer contact than any other user experience consultancy in the industry (Source: Forrester research).  Spending more time with our customers is smart; leads to higher quality software and helps you outperform competitors by a 10:1 margin (Peer Insight 2007). 

10. What kind of products do you help redesign?
  • Complex web applications
  • Mobile apps and sites (iOS and Android)
  • Websites
  • Ecommerce sites
  • Social interfaces and community sites
  • Intranets
  • Portals
  • Desktop software (PC, Mac, Linux)
11. How long have you been in business?

Since 2001. Read a recap from the 10th anniversary of Experience Dynamics.

Hiring a Usability Consultant

1. How do I know what kind of usability I need?

In terms of service options, there are three general paths.
You need to:

  1. Understand your user needs: Do a Field Study.
  2. Understand how your design actually performs today: Do a Usability Test.
  3. Redesign or get help with a design: Get Interaction Design help. 

 

2. Why hire an outside usability or design consultant?

Hiring a usability consultant gives you a number of advantages:

  1. Gives you an objective look at your design.
  2. Gives you new ideas to consider. With no agenda, bias or being too familiar with the status quo, we can often see what you can’t.
  3. Gives you credibility- the voice of a qualified and skilled usability consultant can lend validity to internal political battles.
3. What if I have only a very small budget or only a short amount of time to do anything?

We can help you gain insights in several weeks. If you are in a real hurry, we can get an expert usability review to you in 24 hours. We can have a full redesign too and user research in six weeks or less. If you have a tight budget, we can help you with your options. Either way, get in touch- delay no further! 

4. What if there is a lack of consensus among departments about the design direction?

This is a very common problem. We recommend usability testing as it is the most common technique to gain shared consensus. Do-it-yourself usability testing is fine if you are a mature team. If you are new to usability testing however, you might want to avoid bias in the perceptions of your overzealous team and hire a “mediator” to help you ‘see what you saw’.

5. How do I figure out who the user is?

We can help you determine who your users are (for recruiting purposes) and who they are (for design purposes). User roles are extracted from field studies and are called personas. Personas help guide your design by representing user needs and desires, roles and goals. They are essential to help you define your Interaction Design strategy.

6. How much of a budget do I need to “do it right”?

Estimates in the industry show that 10%-11% of your total development budget should be allocated for usability alone. We believe it depends what you need, where you are at and what will have the most impact for your organization.

7. Is there a guarantee on products and services?

Yes, 360 day satisfaction guarantee on all our products and services. Applies to completed projects only. See full details.

8. How do I take the next step?

1. Drop us a note.

2. Call us or have us call you. 

  • Toll Free:  1-800-978-9183  
  • Portland:  +1 (503) 978-9183
  • Seattle:  +1 (425) 336-7055
  • Los Angeles:  +1 (657) 622-2473
  • Boston:  +1 (857) 243-2784

We’ll have a discussion, listen to your ideas and review your options. Next with your permission, we’ll prepare a proposal. If it meets your needs, generate a purchase order or set us up as a vendor and we can get started on your project.

9. Why do companies hire Experience Dynamics?

Experience Dynamics has a successful track record across multiple industries, devices and platforms. From our inception we were trusted by and worked for half of the Fortune 10 and many more Fortune 500 companies. We have a deep understanding of usability, UX and user interface design. Our interface design recommendations touch 400 million users globally!

Defining Key Terms

1. What is Usability?

Usability is a scientific term describing how easy a design is to use and learn. Usability uses cognitive science to understand why users get confused, frustrated or make mistakes with an interface. The user's overall experience across all channels (the brand, marketing messages, unboxing the product to interacting with the interface) is called the user experience

We are user experience experts, with backgrounds in cognitive science. We analyze designs, understand why they don’t meet your business goals, and provide proven solutions to improve or rework them to increase user success dramatically.

2. What is Interface Design or Interaction Design?

Interfaces are the way a user manipulates a design. How a user interacts with specific elements of a design is called the Interaction Design. Interfaces include things like buttons, menus, links and icons—but they also include cognitive structures like metaphors, conceptual models and navigational flow. Interaction design focuses on providing intuitive pathways for users to easy figure out and learn how to use an interface to get something done, for example in banking: login to an account and transfer a balance. 

3. What is user experience?

User experience (UX) describes the holistic interaction with an interface design but also the brand or product from start to finish. This can include contact with the interface through advertising, packaging or customer service. The quality of this experience is referred to as the "user experience".

User experience is also used to describe the result of a design effort. For example, we say: “We want to use this design to offer a good user experience". Obsessing over the details fo this user experience, validating our hunches specifically with your customers and gaining empathy with your customers, gives us the design tools to help you deliver exceptional user experiences.

4. Why is usability important?

Usability engineering is the de facto standard for creating or improving easy to use designs. The dot com of the early 2000’s was a wake up to website designers and developers. Usability today is embraced globally by software development teams to minimize risk. Instead of catching flaws after a release, usability can find them before users do. Ignore usability and user satisfaction can be impacted. Worse. If you are in ecommerce or an ROI intensive vertical- you need usability as much as SEO or brand experience. 

Better yet, organizations with usability maturity (measured with our UX maturity audit) show three noticeable benefits: 1) They avoid “inside-out” design or designs that reflect technology or business culture and not customer needs. 2) They improve their speed and accuracy in coding (up to 45% by some accounts), and in nailing requirements and user involvement (two keys to software project success). 3) They make better design decisions and are therefore get smarter with each launch, avoid redesign crisis or the risk of putting the wrong thing out in the market.

Check out this seminar on the ROI of Usability.

5. What is User Centered Design?

A proven methodology we have mastered for designing usable and pleasurable interfaces. It has three primary characteristics, as outlined by ISO standards:

  1. User Research:  Field Studies or spending time with users in the field, observing and listening. Conducting needs analysis, workflow analysis, understanding user expectations and desires- based on what people DO not what they SAY.  What people do is key to designing user experience, that’s why we call this ‘behavioral research’.
  2. Interaction Design:  Creating rapid user interface prototypes or Information Architecture (IA) of the website or application; Creating the underlying design structure, placement of navigation, layout, buttons, menus and screen flows (interactions). Also called “Interaction Design” because it is a design of user interactions with the screen. Think of it as design blueprints.
  3. User Testing:  Having users assess the usability of the product concepts during Usability Testing. Sitting users (customers) down in front of the design and having them walk through the design to determine problems, errors, issues and opportunities for improvement. Comes with design recommendations--Our UX research is always and only used to inform design improvements.

A fourth common technique is the Expert Review. This entails an expert analysis of your design to determine usability issues. Follows checklist and known issues, also called a “heuristic evaluation”. Sometimes a good way to start a project is to discover what are your issues and opportunities.