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Friday, October 22, 2010

Looking for a talented user experience researcher

I am looking for a user experience researcher to join the UX team at HP.

As part of the Digital Strategy team at HP we are embarking on a variety of ambitious and exciting projects including the re-launch of HP.com. Our goal is to create a world-class HP digital presence and we are looking for only the best talent to help us make it happen. So, if you want to join a fast-paced organization where your contribution will make an immediate impact and you will gain exposure to one of the highest profile projects at HP, apply today.

Job Description:

In this role, you will be a key member of HP’s user experience team reporting to the head of user experience research. Your key responsibility will be to integrate user experience research into the design cycle and you will work with stakeholders inside and outside the user experience team to determine and prioritize strategic and tactical questions that can be properly informed by primary or secondary research. You will plan and execute user experience research projects for multiple areas of HP.com and you will help drive product vision, product requirements and UI design based on insights from user experience research, as well as market research and analytics. It is important that you have a good understanding of a wide variety of user experience research methods so as to properly match methods with questions, rigor with risk and speed with reliability. In a fast-paced environment, you will also continuously apply your extensive knowledge of usability principles to help create designs that are innovative, market-leading and usable.

Qualifications:


- A Masters or Ph.D. degree in a relevant field, such as HCI, Information Science or Psychology.
- A minimum of 3 years experience as a user experience researcher on large-scale web applications.
- Excellent analytical ability, especially with regard to observation of user behavior.
- Knowledge of a wide range of user experience research methods, including strong knowledge of experimental designs and both formative and summative usability testing. Experience with eye-tracking is a plus.
- Proven ability to turn research insights into actionable product- and design recommendations.
- Strong oral and written communication skills, including the ability to explain complex data and findings in a clear, relevant and impactful way.
- Ability to coordinate and guide vendor relationships when necessary.
- A team-player with the desire and ability to stand up for what you believe in.

Apply here:
Feel free to contact me directly if you have questions.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Moving Back To Silicon Valley

No, I don't blog much any longer, but need to update the post below. After 15 months I am leaving Telstra in late July and moving back to Silicon Valley in August.

We have launched important products over the past months with great customer feedback and reviews, showing that change is coming to Telstra and that there is a renewed focus on user experience.


For example, in April we launched the T-Hub: http://www.telstra.com.au/latest_offers/thub/index.html. The T-hub received great reviews, e.g.:
"The unit is well designed, and not just aesthetically, but also conceptually" - http://www.cnet.com.au/telstra-t-hub-339302375.htm.

In June we launched the T-Box, Telstra's first IPTV offering. Example of press:
"..struck by the ease of use and ‘flow’", "it's really quite impressive" - http://apcmag.com/video-watch-telstras-t-box-in-action.htm

Over the past year we have also made significant changes to "The Telstra Development Process", which incorporates important user-centred design activities previously omitted from Telstra's official development process. These changes have driven more focus on user experience across the business and across functions.

I wish everyone at Telstra well, I will be cheering from the sidelines. But now I'm looking forward to going back home to the San Francisco Bay Area and to once again work amongst the world's sharpest innovators and entrepreneurs
.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Klaus Accepts Position at Telstra (Sydney)

It is about time I update you all about my plans for the immediate future.

As most of you know I recently left Yahoo! after almost 6 1/2 years. I will no doubt miss all the great people I worked with there - especially all of you in the (former) customer insights team of course, none mentioned, none forgotten - and I will be cheering from the side lines. Yahoo! is a great brand and has good products (look at the innovation in Search over the past year for example, and note that for the first time Y! has gained market share in the past 5 months according to Comscore numbers).

Since I left Yahoo! I have spent my time looking into many different opportunities. I ended up grabbing the one opportunity that is both a great challenge work-wise and a great, new experience for my whole family. I have accepted a position as Executive Director of Service Enablers and Customer Experience at Telstra in Sydney, Australia. Telstra is Australia's leading telecommunications and information services company. They offer a full range of products and services and compete in all telecommunications markets throughout Australia, as well as in media / information services through Bigpond and Sensis as well as other media properties. Under the leadership of CEO, Sol Trujillo, Telstra mapped out a transformation program 3 years ago that covered a series of parallel paths with an emphasis on establishing a World leading media-comms company that offers truly differentiated and integrated services.

What initially attracted me to Telstra was that the company so explicitly and vocally focuses on customer experience as a key lever in their business transformation. The customer and the customer experience is front and center in Telstra's vision and mission, as it is stated on the web site:

"Our vision

To know our customers and meet their needs better than anyone else.

Our mission

To do for customers what no one else has done: create a world of 1 click, 1 touch, 1 button, 1 screen, 1 step solutions that are simple, easy and valued by individuals, businesses, enterprises and government.

Customer experience

To give customers a personalised, seamless experience that makes it easy for them to do what they want, when they want to."


In February I visited Telstra in Sydney and Melbourne and met with a lot of great people across the business. They all impressed me with their dedication to the company's vision, but also by the honesty and candidness with which they viewed Telstra's current position and future challenges and opportunities.

SO - to make a long story short, I am convinced that the skills and experience I have built up over my career will be a great fit with Telstra. I have taken this position to make a real difference and to keep them ("us" I should say now) honest when it comes to the goal of creating the best, seamless, personalized experiences across multiple devices and "channels".

We are now in the process of moving to Sydney. Everyone is excited, including the kids. You can follow updates on this new experience here, but (as I find I write less and less) more likely on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Eclectisism of Twittering

Binge drinking, disney world, IA semantics, and web 2.0 - all in a few minutes of twittering (thanks, or sorry, tara, christina, and john).

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Soft" skills

I never liked the terminology around "soft" skills and "hard" skills, but everyone with a little bit of practical experience knows that both types of skills are necessary to succeed, probably always have been, probably always will be. It seems that his issue came up several times independent of each other during Richard Anderson's "user experience executives speak" courses.

My colleague at Yahoo! Jim Nieters brought up communication and advocacy skills and Richard quotes me for saying:

"'It is all about getting people on your side. Researchers won't get an SVP of business to act just by presenting their insights. One needs to build momentum to get people behind you in order to convince them, which is a long process. You have to wear 2 hats -- your scientist hat and your strategy and business hat, which is like becoming a different person. This is difficult for all of us to learn.'"

In many ways it is harder for researchers (this is true for many professions I'm sure) to learn to be effective communicators, advocates, strategists, than it is to learn the "hard skills" of research. Of course it also has to do with the mere fact that it is often a lot harder to determine what to do with certain insights in a given business context, than it is to execute research projects following the rules and guidelines of research methodology. That is why research should really be viewed as a collaborative endeavour that includes creative thinkers and business thinkers alongside researchers. When cross-functional groups work well together, then that's when research can spark real and "doable" innovation. Insights in a report or a in presentation is in itself little more than a wish-list.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Soeren on his Harley.....

....somewhere around Apalachicola, Florida.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gulf MC tour


DSC00197
Originally uploaded by Klaus Kaasgaard
Yeah, time really IS an invention........my old friend Soeren and I spent two weeks in the gulf coast area on two harley's. Life doesn't get much better than that.....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The End of Theory? I hope not!

Another good and provocative article by Chris Anderson in Wired this month (long version in print magazine) - and a surprisingly well thought through commentary on Valleywag (what's up with that level of journalistic quality on Valleywag?).

A central quote from Anderson's article:

"This is a world where massive amounts of data and applied mathematics replace every other tool that might be brought to bear. Out with every theory of human behavior, from linguistics to sociology. Forget taxonomy, ontology, and psychology. Who knows why people do what they do? The point is they do it, and we can track and measure it with unprecedented fidelity. With enough data, the numbers speak for themselves."

Scary stuff in my mind. Massive computation can be, and is, extremely useful to scientific endeavours, but to throw the baby out with the bath water is just plain wrong - even dangerous. Why? Because unlike what Anderson seems to argue, data never speak for themselves; as a matter of fact the mere act of collecting data tends to change the nature of what we are observing. This has been convincingly proven in Physics (The Heisenberg uncertainty principle) - and resulted in new models in quantum theory, notably Niels Bohr's principle of complementarity. Consider the extent to which the observer effect is even larger in the social sciences. If we do not interpret data in a context of hypotheses, models and theories we risk not only abandoning the cumulative nature of science, but opening up for a much more "politizised" version of science ruled by - most likely - commercial and religious interests. It's the equivalent of claiming that the syllogism is a way to arrive at truth, when in fact syllogistic reasoning bears no connection to the truth value of the argument (only to the logical "mechanics" of the argument). That is powerful in itself, obviously but would we want to assign a positive truth value (or any truth value for that matter) to the assertion that "my mother is a stone" (as in the play "Erasmus Montanus" by Ludvig Holberg) based on the mechanics of the argument alone? Of course not.

The fact that models and theories often fall short of explaining empirical phenomena - whether in biology, physics or the social sciences - should not make us abandon the quest for understanding and explaining. It would bring out the dogmatists and the fanatics, and it's not like we don't have enough dogmatism and fanaticism already.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

CHALLENGE: The Song You Never Want Written About You

Driving to work this morning, I was listening to Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street" thinking "Man, I'm glad he didn't write that song about me" (lyrics below). I always think the same thing when listening to the Danish Artist CV Joergensen's song "The Entertainer" (Danish lyrics here - click the link "Entertaineren" in the right pane).

Anyway, here is a fun challenge: List at least one song that you would NOT like to have been written about yourself, because it portrays personality traits that you would not like to be associated with: weakness, cowardice, falseness, selfishness, vainness - the list goes on.

Here is my contribution:

Positively 4th Street:

You got a lotta nerve
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that's winning

You say I let you down
You know it's not like that
If you're so hurt
Why then don't you show it

You say you lost your faith
But that's not where it's at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it

I know the reason
That you talk behind my back
I used to be among the crowd
You're in with

Do you take me for such a fool
To think I'd make contact
With the one who tries to hide
What he don't know to begin with

You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, "How are you?" "Good luck"
But you don't mean it

When you know as well as me
You'd rather see me paralyzed
Why don't you just come out once
And scream it

No, I do not feel that good
When I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief
Perhaps I'd rob them

And now I know you're dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don't you understand
It's not my problem

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You'd know what a drag it is
To see you

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On "Unscientific surveys"......

I have often wondered what people mean when they show you data that has been collected in various ways, often polls by media, and add the note: "This is not a scientific poll". I have heard journalists refer to "unscientific surveys" as another example. So what does that really mean? If it is not a scientific poll, I assume it means that we have no idea what it really represents, and therefore we should not pay attention to it. But that is contradictory because it is published on valuable "real estate" (as in the example below). So they want me to pay attention to it but not believe it? I'm confused....

I think it's because people have a tendency to believe that scientific principles and methods can be graduated, so it might not adhere to strict scientific method but you can still partly believe it, maybe half of it, maybe a third - it's a "gut feel" as many like to say (when did we start thinking with our guts). But that is actually only true if you have strictly adhered to scientific method, it's called confidence intervals, confidence levels and margins of error. But in cases such as below it is meaningless to speak in terms of graduation of "the truth". But of course if people are interacting with your brand, who cares about the truth. We can't handle it anyway.

Monday, March 31, 2008

A bit of IT history

Back when I was in College, the book "Understanding Computers and Cognition" by Fernando Flores and Terry Winograd was one of the most important books I read. In fact it may be one of the most important books on the development and uses of information technology in the past 30 years, in that it helped re-shape the thinking and the discourse around IT and it's optimal use in organizations and society as a whole.

So I was interested to read this story on Mr. Flores' part in early experiments on how to use IT to help run production in a quasi-socialist system in Chile under Salvador Allende. Mr. Flores was both economy and finance minister in the Allende government and left for California after spending three years in Pinochet's concentration camps, received his Ph.D in philosophy and in 1987 co-wrote the above mentioned book. But back in 1971 Fernando Flores was 28-year-old government technocrat, who foresaw how IT and cybernetic concepts could help manage work-flows. I wonder how his thinking changed incrementally between 1971 and 1987, the story doesn't go into that level of detail, but obviously there is a stretch between cybernetics a la '71 and hermeneutics a la '87. NYT story here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The future of Web 2.0: Cool is out; utility is in

Forester research analyst, Charlene Li, is right on here: Time to focus less on "cool" and more on bringing real utility to people with Web 2.0 apps.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Google's chef discovers/invents Pi

Google's PR department is by far the best I have ever seen in action. They make drooling Google admirers out of hard-core business reporters and they somehow manage to make connections between the Google brand and any positively perceived idea, process or attribute known to the public, such as this recent story on innovation (it appeared in Fast Company but was obviously written by Google PR - the magazine just forgot to disclose it). But the latest proof of the Google PR genius is evident in this comment related to a post about the nerdiest day of all - Pi day (3/14):

"Google not only served organic pie today but the pies were custom-made so that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter was exactly pi. Bon apetit."

I thought pi was defined as the ratio of......oh never mind.........although if anyone were to convince us all that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is anything but Pi (at least in Euclidean geometry), it would have to be Google's PR department. And I'm sure they'd be succesful.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My colleague at Yahoo!, Amr Awadallah, created a ten minute short called Yahoo 300 (over Zack Snyder's "300" obviously. Simple stuff, just slapping some sub-titles on, but for those of us who bleed purple, it's....what should I say.....if not entertaining then meaningful.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Comscore explains or backtracks

Following Comscore's recent release of January 2008 paid click report, which showed a 7% M/M decline in paid clicks, some commentators explained the decline by referencing a softened economy resulting in weaker buying appetite and therefore less clicks on search ads. This, of course, led to a flurry of "The sky is falling" announcements in the media/blogosphere. However, some people close to the Search market realized that there is a more straight-forward explanation: Google reduced the clickable area on Adsense text ads. Before, a user could click anywhere on the ad and be brought to the destination. After the changes, users have to click on something that looks like a hyperlink. Obviously, this is not a casual decision and goes hand in hand with other search-quality related decisions: Google may be betting that increased quality of clicks will result in increased cost per click. In theory at least that's how a free marketplace environment works. Comscore released a statement this morning explaining their numbers in this way, which is all fine although it seems they have been heavily incentivized to do so. They are almost scraping the floor when trying to gracefully bow out by saying that "the evidence points to a trend caused by another Google clever design, leveraging Adam Smith’s enduring ‘invisible hand’."
That's lame. I wonder how much Google were actually surprised and caught off guard by the decline as a result of the changes?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lessons from the food industry

Christina Wodtke pointed me to this wonderful short talk by Malcolm Gladwell in which he relates a story of a food industry consultant who uncovered a key secret to what eaters like. Through the story Gladwell touches on a number of points that everyone in product and market research struggle with, including the fallacious yet widely held belief that consumers can and will verbally articulate their desires and needs. He also touches on something even more important, namely that research is considered to be essentially a quest for universal rules that govern behavior and attitudes when in fact we have seen a major shift in the philosophy of science away from universality and essences towards particulars and variability (as well as in specific fields of study such as genetics and psychology). The Gladwell story might as well have been phrased in the context of the different notions of human knowledge expressed by Plato and Aristotle. There is no perfect (enter item: tomato sauce, car, search engine etc.) - there are clusters of products within each area that will serve different needs of different segments. Problem is, if we spend our time searching for universals we will miss those different needs and their particular instantiations in peoples' lives and we will also miss great product ideas and business opportunities hiding right under our noses. Anyways, I'm already taking the fun and insights out of talk, watch it yourself.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Facebook: Myspace with ADD?

By way of Techcrunch, this funny video from wallstrip found its way to my video-player. A waste of time, yeah, somewhat, but that's what it is all about. Claim to fame: "What is Facebook but Myspace with ADD - and without the boobs?"

Friday, June 29, 2007

iphone parody ads

The iPhone is out today. Here is a parody ad making fun of the phone's ability to listen to voice messages in any order you wish. Pretty funny......They may have more of these up later over at College humor.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Internet in 2050

Read/Write web reports on this video about the future of media, call it a vision, a fantasy or a nightmare. The core media concept is the agent avatar which connects you with information, people and virtual worlds. Lots of speculation about who acquires who, but it is an interesting story about where the web and media could be headed.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What is reCAPTCHA?

Bryce Glass, Interaction Designer at Yahoo!, pointed me to this brilliant way of extracting value from the seamingly "meaningless" and unproductive work done by millions of people everyday. About 60 Million Capthas are solved by humans everyday. Each transaction takes about 10 seconds, so these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day. What if we could make positive use of this human effort? reCAPTCHA does exactly that by channeling the effort spent solving CAPTCHAs online into "reading" books. It harnesses the power of the 60 million daily CAPTCHA transactions to digitize old books that confound OCR conversion.

I love this thinking. In general there is so much work done online and so much value created - in meaningful intellectual and social activity obviously but also in "meaningless" activities such as solving CAPTCHAs. A lot of this value is not harnessed beyond the individuals or small groups who create it, and we are still in the very early stages of understanding how business value and broader social value can be extracted from different types of online activities.