Founder / UX Junkie
Pioneering Design’s Evolution from ‘Make it Pretty’ to ‘Make it an Unforgettable Experience’
Eris graduated from Brandeis University in 2005 in Fine Arts and Political Economy. A week after graduation she moved to Northern California and worked at a few galleries in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey, while taking classes in web design and coding (HTML and CSS) at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. A few years later she moved to San Diego and continued her design studies at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, CA. At the same time she launched her freelance web and graphic design services under the moniker Lose The Box Design, that eventually became Chatter Studios.
Her freelance web and graphic company grew over time to focus on custom business websites that increased conversion – the hype word at the time that meant ‘increasing sales’ by using visual tricks that influence user behavior (i.e. increasing the size of the ‘buy’ button, or moving the phone number to the header so it can be seen on every page. This change from a website being an open expression of an individual or business to an online marketing machine was largely shepherded by the User Experience movement that began less than 8 years ago. Around this time current studies in CHI (computer human interaction) began to connect the substantial influence of visual design over human interaction with computers (including websites and apps).
Eris joined the User Experience (UX) movement in its infancy and played a major role in cultivating and educating other designers and clients on its importance and application. She began learning about ‘user’ behavior while living in Northern California’s Bay Area as a member of BayCHI (http://www.baychi.org/). Then she moved to San Diego and joined UX Speakeasy (http://www.meetup.com/UXSpeakeasy/), one of the largest and fastest growing social UX meetup groups in California, and most likely anywhere. The group currently has over 1,600 with over 300 active members. She was member back when they had less than 20 members and UX was hardly familiar among techies, designers, or businesses. In 2014 – 2016 she moved her business to San Francisco. The UX community there wasn’t nearly as fledging as it was in San Diego (strange, I KNOW!), but still active and growing. Today, Eris lives in Los Angeles, CA working with a remote team and trusted group of contractors. She focuses her personal expertise on Chatter’s Web Reports and Marketing Consulting.
What is ‘Good Design’ and ‘User Experience (UX)’? Good Question…
The term User Experience and UX designer has carelessly replaced the terms ‘design’ and ‘designer.’ But not all designers or graphic artists are UX designers and most, frankly, know very little about it. To clarify, User Experience is the study of the psychological and behavioral influence of visuals and interaction on humans. Then using knowledge to influence and manipulate web and app audiences to perform preferred functions (click a button, sign up for a newsletter, buy something, click on an ad, etc.).
The importance of the placement of visual elements over human behavior on websites and apps is amplified today with the advent of drag and drop website creation tools and sites. Anyone can essentially create a website that ‘looks good,’ but it may not necessarily work well, create leads, or make sales. It is important that more people are aware of the true meaning and implication of User Experience. Ultimately everything we do is influenced by our experience. If we had a great experience somewhere we’ll want to return. If it was a poor experience and we didn’t find what we were looking for then we won’t return. The same rule applies to websites. That’s why it’s essential to learn what’s considered ‘good design’ and what visual elements placed where attract the right audience and influence desired user behavior.