Hi !
I am Alexandre Anzo
I'm a senior Director of

Individualized Recommendations: Users’ Expectations & Assumptions

Summary: Users appreciate personalized content suggestions and are willing to give up some of their privacy for quality recommendations, while accepting some inaccurate recommendations.

20 years ago, Jakob Nielsen posited that personalization was overrated , primarily because technology was not sufficiently advanced to create good predictions for what users cared about. Fast forward to today, and (as he predicted) personalization is a growing trend on the web. Individualized personalization , as opposed to role-based personalization , refers to the practice of tailoring content and functionality to a specific user, based on data gathered about that user’s preferences and behaviors.
While personalized user interfaces can include anything from command shortcuts to color schemes, a particularly useful form of individualized personalization is the use of recommendations on websites and mobile apps. Recommended products or content items are particularly common on ecommerce sites, social ..

Change Blindness in UX: Definition

Summary: Significant changes in a web page can remain unnoticed when they lack strong cues, due to the limitations of human attention.

In usability testing, we often observe users who overlook a change on the screen that the designers thought would be obvious and highly noticeable. As always in usability, if you worked on a design, then you know what to look for, where to look for it, when it will appear, and what it means . So yes, it’s obvious to you and you wouldn’t miss the appearance of an important message or data object when you review your own design. But users often do. Why? Because of change blindness, which is a million-year old fact of human (and protohuman) perception, and not likely to go away any time soon.
So what is change blindness? In Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho , one of the most famous movies of all time, detective Arbogast looks at Norman Bates’ house projected on a dark cloudless sky. The camera moves back to the detective’s face, and follows him as he starts wal..

Collaborative Agile Activities Reduce Silos and Align Perspectives

Summary: All members of an Agile team, regardless of design skills, can contribute to the design of a product or feature during the development process.

If you're working in an Agile environment, you already know that it's not easy for UX and there is a lot to get done in a short amount of time. Sometimes, you may be lucky enough to have multiple UX professionals on your team, but other times you're flying solo . If you find yourself dreading your UX to-do list, consider bringing other members of your development team into your design process . Doing so not only will lighten your workload, but it will also introduce multiple perspectives and ease further collaboration processes (for example, if you need signoff from other departments).
In this article, I discuss three go-to collaborative activities I like to use with Agile teams to brainstorm design ideas: 6-up 1-up, whiteboard session, and telephone. These activities foster ideation , collaboration, and involvement w..

The Paradox of Intelligent Assistants: Poor Usability, High Adoption

Summary: Frequent users of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant report attempting low-complexity tasks such as simple fact retrievals, weather forecast, navigation, playing music, setting timers.

When we recently tested the usability of intelligent assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, we found that interactions with these agents are plagued with problems, ranging from poor comprehension of commands to inherent limitations in verbal output.
Yet despite these problems, voice-based assistants are becoming increasingly popular. 46% of U.S. adults reported using voice-controlled digital assistants in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center. And when we recently asked 211 daily users of an intelligent assistant to recall the last time when they interacted with an assistant, most described successful experiences, and many positively gushed with enthusiasm about how great their assistant was:
“I speak to Google Assistant on a regular basis, I use it every day, all day. And I ..

Keynote for WIAD Boston

Miss me while I’m heads down working on my current book (and beginning my teaching practice at Stanford?)
Here you go! Some Wodtke wildness.
and the slides
WIAD Boston from Christina Wodtke

Norms Exercise

I learned this exercise from Andre Plaut and have used it, tweaked it, and loved it. I do a variation of it with teams to figure out what kind of team we want as well.
Studio Norms: How can we make this studio an effective place to meet our goals?
Goal: Engage students in taking responsibility for their learning environment, understand how to teach them better, and teach them everything is designed.
Ask students to visualize a great learning environment. Might be here, might be high school or elementary, or could be a extra-curricular class like yoga or music. Ask students to think about what made it good.
Ask students to share out. Scribe on whiteboard.
Note: I’ve been considering moving to a free-listing & affinity mapping approach, but haven’t tried it yet. – cw

Ask student to visualize a dreadful learning environment, one that just sucked so hard. What made it that way? Teacher things, student things, teams, environment?

Have students now suggest “rules” for cla..


What I’d Rather Talk About When You’re Talking About UX

My model of Interaction Design, or if you prefer, product design. Or even UX design. We can also discuss this diagram instead of discussing UX Design as a term.
I blame Alan Cooper. This time. In a moment of pique (or boredom, or if he’s like me, procrastination) he tweeted,
There is no such thing as UX design.
— Alan Cooper (@MrAlanCooper) May 4, 2018
“There is no such things as UX Design.” Please, for his sake and mine, do NOT reply. He apologized for it the next day.
I would like to apologize to all of my followers for my tweet yesterday about “UX design.” 1
— Alan Cooper (@MrAlanCooper) May 4, 2018
My issue with the debate that ensued is: I don’t think it’s a useful or even interesting conversation to have. Ok, UX doesn’t exist.
So what?
Ok, UX does exist.
So what?
People are designing digital products that live in a larger ecosystem, and according to Sturgeon’s law, 95% of them suck at it. Instead of discussing what to call it, let’s move on to making less suck.
I respo..


The Intuitive and the Unlearnable

Why some designs won’t ever stop sucking Again, it starts on ze twitters
I have a phrase, « Unlearnable design, » for when something is so counter-intuitive you keep making the same mistake over and over.
My example: I always click the comment icon on twitter to read comments. Does not work (if it did, might improve dialog.)
Do you have one?
— ~c (@cwodtke) May 26, 2018
Intuitive is one of the most used terms in tech. Everyone wants their app to be intuitive. It’s worth asking what intuitive means, really? Working Knowledge offers this definition
Intuition is compressed experience.
Which means for an app to be intuitive (or more correctly, intuitable) it must be consistent with the end-user’s experience. Some product folks think that means if Apple or Facebook does it, they can too. For example, the unusable hamburger menu. But your user’s world is bigger than the hottest bro-co, and even the big guys make mistakes.
To make interfaces truly intuitable, we have to understand metaph..

Working the Weekly 1:1

A better approach for the most important meeting of the week There are a lot of work “rituals” that suck so badly you want to hunt down and interrogate who ever invented them. The dreaded weekly status email is one of them. The weekly 1:1 between a boss and a direct report can be another. What should be a chance to get on the same page with the person critical to your success is often awkward, overly chummy or even skipped.
In my life I’ve been a manager, a coach and a teacher. You could argue they are all variations of management. All three share a common misconception, which is that the job is to tell people things — what to do, what to think or what to know. But it’s not. If you want to be good at any of these, you have to become a facilitator in another human’s journey to self-management.
The job of a manager is to make yourself as unnecessary as possible.
A teacher who only lectures is no more valuable than a youtube video. A teacher who asks great questions makes life-long lea..

Using OKRs to Increase Organizational Learning

This is a draft chapter from the second edition of Radical Focus. It’s coming… eventually. Hopefully soonish. Leave your wishlist for other topics you’d like it to cover, and enjoy the sneak peek!
OKRs, when done with the Radical Focus approach, are designed to create faster organization learning. To explain why, let me give you just a smidgen of learning theory from John Dewey. I promise it won’t hurt.
There are at least three ways to learn, what I’ll call instruction, action, and reflection. All three are important, but the most important is the least practiced: reflection.
Instruction Instruction is what we think when we think of teaching. Organizational leaders hire some outside person to give a talk or a series of talks about a topic. Udacity delivers online lectures. Or you buy a book on the topic! Instruction is when someone stands in front of you and talks at you, and while that has its uses, instruction is the weakest approach to education by far.
Action The second educati..