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Senior User Experience Designer was asked...12 September 2012

Question from director: "... four people need to cross a bridge at night, there is only one flash light and only one person can walk on the bridge at a time. How do would you get them all across the bridge?"

9 Answers

If a UX director asks this question, he wants to see how much of real UX designer you are, and how methodical you approach this task. A good UX designer needs to understand the real problem first. Based on the information given we can only make broad assumptions. A hypothesis based on limited data is a good starting point, but before we jump to premature "solutions", the first task is to do more digging. We need to ask questions (and do research) to understand the actual problem before we can propose a a fitting solution - a user experience that truly solves the unique problem these four people have in their specific situation (it might even turn out that they don't need to cross a bridge at night but need something completely else, but let's not go that far here). So - based on the information given, we don't know what type of bridge it is (does it have a railing, is the bridge lit, short, long, is there even pavement or gravel and potholes, is there traffic, etc...), we need to understand WHY only one person can walk on the bridge and whether the people even need to walk (they might be able to drive, maybe there is a bus that can transport them). Where is the flash light, what type of flash light is it And who are these individuals? What is the relationship between these people? Do they all have the same motivation to cross the bridge? WHY do they need to cross the bridge? Is that really what they need, or do they have a different problem? Also, are they all on the same side? Why do they need to cross the bridge at night, do they have to cross the bridge every night or just once? Etc. etc. -You get the point. In addition: What are my resources to get them over the bridge? Which technical and business opportunities and constraints do I have? In which time duration do I have to get them cross the bridge? Fun exercise for a UX candidate. Less

Nope, only 1 person at a time, remember? just have the last person shine the flashlight on the bridge while the other people cross and then cross last. Less

Well, why do you need a flashlight to cross a bridge? A blind person can cross a bridge, no? Can you not keep a hand on the railing and feel your way across? Can you not feel the rumble of traffic passing and keep away? Sure, it feels safer with a light, so let's go with that. You need to see what's ahead, so the first three people take turns shining the light from behind as one person crosses at a time. Then the fourth person crosses with the flashlight. Less

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Suppose you come forward with a usability recommendation, and the engineers counter that with, “All the usage data we have from millions of people suggest that is not a problem.” How would you respond?

4 Answers

There's a lot of angles to take here, and they depend on the unstated context. Either way, I would probably respond by stepping back and avoiding a p*ssing match. 1. You didn't properly triangulate your qual research with quant user data before making a product recommendation. You need to understand what the data collected really means, and whether it actually counters your UX research. Did you study a more narrow audience than is represented by the quant data? Did you identify a real product problem that your users are eager to verbalize, but which isn't visible in the product metrics? 2. Your partners just don't want to make the change, and pushing back on your research validity is a very common (but evasive) way of communicating that. The obvious cliche is that your engineers should have been involved in the research from the start. If there is an issue obvious enough to you as a researcher to make a recommendation, the engineers are going to see it as well given the same interactions. They may also realize shortcomings in the metrics they've chosen to track, that prevent them from seeing these issues in their data. Less

Generally, I will invite him to have a cup of coffee together and explain my opinion. My respond will depends on the unstated context. For example, I identify a real product problem from qualitative research, which is not visible in the product metrics. First, I will explain the usage data don’t always tell the truth. We must be careful that even something is really stupid, there will still be millions of people tolerating it because Google is very strong. Just imaging will you stop using Gmail if one function of it doesn’t work well? That’s what usability research does, to find the truth behind the data by quantitative and qualitative ways. And the product metrics we used is not comprehensive, which means that some problems may be invisible in the metrics. Then I would like to explain how I get the usability recommendation. I may bring my laptop or invite him to my desk to show him the data and graph of my research and explain the logic. Data and graph is always more convinced than words, right? And I am also glad to hear his comments or questions. Less

Usage data even if big numbers does NOT indicate a great design. Simply put, think of how many times you had no option but to use a certain service although neither the design nor your experience was great! Less

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How do you design an interface for a 1000 floors elevator

4 Answers

Use a dial-pad rather than an abundant amount of buttons.

I think the best way to make 1000 floors elevator is to have manual and automatic controls. For manual control nowadays we use its best as user perspective or to make range selector like we use in android mobile for number selection like for selecting calendar we just use that navigation interface for elevator. If some new member arrive so he/she will easily navigate elevator. And for automatic process I think the fastest and best way is to use face recognition system similar to Window Hello. Before entering to lift the camera above the elevator will scan the face of persons that he/she is the owner, employee or someone else related to the plot or floor. That way restricted floor will be secure and no one can access except the owner / employee / worker (or others new person for limited period). Less

You don’t as there are too many floors. Elevator should travel in one direction only. Traditional call box used to open doors on required floors only. Less

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What is the process you would go about in spotting a fake profile

2 Answers

I would fire Josh.

I would first look at the profile picture and then try to see if it is a famous celebrity or some photo they stole from online. then i would check out their friends and profile and see if their friends and connections add up. Less


How would you write an email for a team project that will be late to your boss?

3 Answers

I made a formal email

I would apologize for missing the deadline and I would outline the steps I and my team would take to get it back on track and finished as soon as possible. Less

And I would emphasize that by examining what went wrong, we would see to it that missing a deadline wouldn’t happen again. Less


Given a linked list of characters, print the characters in reverse order.

3 Answers

reverse the linked list, iterate through it and print, reverse it back.

traverse through it using a recursive function with a printing statement after the traversal statement so when it gets to the end of the function and its returning, it will print along the way. Less

def reverse[T](seq: Seq[T]): Seq[T] = { seq match { case Nil => Seq() case head :: tail => reverse(tail) :+ head } } println(reverse(List('A', 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E'))) Less

Samsung Electronics

How can you see yourself in next 5 years?

3 Answers

I'd like to run my own business - there's no better answer.

I want to develop in my trade - I'm aiming for success and self realisation that I hope would be only to the benefit of your company. My current goals are: [give some goals from your trade that shows you have your internal ambition, self -motivation and that you're so called self-starter]. This I hope to achieve in the next years. Less

I hate this type of question.......


How old are you?

3 Answers

Are you serious about this? They asked "how old are you" and you call this "illegal question"? I'm so confused right now... Less

Yeah it's illegal in English speaking countries. The Netherlands doesn't really have laws, especially ones that protect employees and private citizens from corporations. Less

Are you supposed to be asking illegal interview questions?


What is your favourite piece of technology

3 Answers



Raspberry Pi


If you had two products and had to ask one question of users to determine which they preferred more, what would you ask?

3 Answers

This feels like a somewhat academic question. I'm actually surprised to hear they asked it. 1. I’d need to know what the product is, and what kind of a construct we’re most concerned with: ease-of-use, learnability, satisfaction over time, etc. If it’s truly just generic user preference, I would literally just ask: “Do you have a preference for either of these products? Tell me what you think.” In real life as a user researcher, I would want to know why we are asking users which they prefer more in the first place. Often this request is just a code-phrase for “we have two competing UXs and can’t decide which to ship within our team, so let's let our customers decide for us”. In that case, your job as a researcher isn’t to just go ask customers for a preference statement — customers can't make the choice for you. So your job is to articulate the goals/values/needs/tasks of your audience (and what success looks like for your product). Then, if you can’t A/B test, you qualitatively evaluate your UXs against those goals/values/needs and decide which is best. Customer preference should be part of that decision — but it’s certainly not the sole determinant. Less

My 2-cents: This seems like a question that's actually attempting to figure out if you spend too much time over-thinking and over-analyzing things. If you can only ask one question to see which of two products users prefer more, ask them this: "Which of these two products do you prefer?" You're not being asked to determine "why" they like one over the other (although this information can be helpful depending on the scope of the project as a whole. But seriously, don't over think this one! Less

Answer: I would use Sauro and Dumas "Single Ease Question" (SEQ) - "Overall, this task was ... easy ... hard" (5-pt Likert scale). It has the psychometric qualities of a more robust questionnaire but is only one question. Less

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