CUA of the Month – February, 2016

Jason Marcus
“I love sharing my usability knowledge with colleagues. The CUA/CXA training has given me the ability to speak clearly and with authority on the value of UX. Moving forward as a team to achieve our goals has been very exciting because the test results have been remarkable.”
Jason Marcus

Senior Associate – Website Conversion Optimization
Bed Bath & Beyond

UX Turbocharged

by Jim Garrett

Jason Marcus started out at Verizon Wireless and moved into ecommerce while getting his MBA. He then took the CUA and CXA in succession this past year and joined Bed Bath & Beyond. He is in a senior associate position in website optimization, essentially product management and usability.

Can you give some details on your role there?

I interpret the voice of the customer data to come up with online A/B and multi-variate test plans. We come up with theories about what we test and then I work on getting those test plans prioritized. What is really great is that I get to handle the prospects of managing the project from analysis of enhancement requests to prioritization to kick off to post launch to scaling up to all traffic. It gives me a really good view of all the different projects and the different nooks and crannies of the websites that we are managing, in addition to where the current technological boundaries are and where we feel they should be.

The teams I collaborate with often are the development team, the design team, the merchant team, and IT to make sure that we are bringing everybody’s perspective to the table. By clearly defining the enhancement requirements, I am taking different stakeholders’ perspectives into account and ensuring resources are used effectively as we sprint toward our launches. Using the concepts from my CUA/CXA trainings helps me clarify what’s needed to build impactful UX improvements.

Are you championing different products or just different processes on the web?

I would say that it is the combination of both. Definitely managing a very rigid and collaborative process, or whatever it takes to get an enhancement up on our sites because it is not just, it is also I project manage every enhancement that launches on the testing platform, so every day I am learning new things about the sites we manage.

How do you test?

First thing is to analyze the data, find out what our customers are doing online and what the traffic looks like. The marriage of those pieces together is our sweet spot. Then we prioritize the test and we have a kick off to get everyone on the same page. We define the requirements, metrics, risks, and next steps. Then we get it designed and developed, which is when I really get to use the expertise I built up from experience and training from HFI. Once I finish collaborating with the designers and developers on what the optimal UX is, I build the campaign and focus on quality assurance to make sure the experience is free of bugs. Then we notify all stakeholders that the test launched—so they don’t think there is a problem with the site—and share the results with everyone.

Are you working on any particular product or projects that you are allowed to talk about at this time?

A really good one that I am leading is a holistic test of content in new places on the site. It’s so important to ensure we are communicating the right message at the right time and in the right place to our customers. That is a major project I am driving the strategy for, and so far we are getting very interesting results which will drive our content strategy for years to come.

As you are involved with this process from beginning to end? What do you feel is the most critical part?

Yes, I am involved with the process from beginning to end, and I believe the most critical component of the process is collecting the voice of the customer data. The reason I say that is because it really allows me to use the usability knowledge I have about being able to understand how customers are using the website. I collect the voice of the customer data, analyze it, and drill down to find out what the customers actually think when they are giving these surveys. Part of the challenge, and I learned this from CUA training, is that these surveys can be really up for interpretation. So it’s important to have the skills to deeply understand users to effectively investigate what is noise, and what is actual useful information for us to help enhance the website.

Have you found anything from data that has really surprised you, that is different from what you thought it would be?

We had this one project where I was gathering information about what customers were talking about as we were offering a certain type of coupon that did not make sense to the customers from a UX perspective. It was sort of a challenge for customers to use this certain type of coupon that we were offering. When I went into the customer data, I was able to quantify what the ROI would be for making this enhancement and I managed that project from start to finish. We saw an improvement in our voice of the customer dashboard, so the team was really proud of that project.

Is there anything you carried over from the CUA and CXA into your work?

Yes, absolutely. CUA training in institutionalizing omni-channel strategies, online UX strategy, and accessibility challenges really helped me to understand how customers interact with our different channels. In thinking about omni-channel strategy and thinking about mega trends and micro trends was especially helpful for me because it puts things like social, mobile, and video into trend categories to help us understand how impactful they can be. The shift towards mobile specifically is a major trend, but then we also have all these relatively small micro trends like integration of social networks and user generated content (UGC). The merging of digital and physical experiences is being driven by the ubiquity of smart phones. We need to make sure that we are empowering our customers to have great digital and physical experiences by reminding customers of all the rich choices they have. We partner with the store channel team a lot to ensure we never lose sight of the importance of choice in the modern day buying process.

Where do you derive the most satisfaction in your work?

I love sharing my usability knowledge with colleagues. The CUA/CXA training has given me the ability to speak clearly and with authority on the value of UX. Moving forward as a team to achieve our goals has been very exciting because the test results have been remarkable. The future for our team is very bright.

CUA of the Month

Each month we highlight the successes and achievements of a different member of our CUA community. If you are a Certified Usability Analyst and would like to be considered for CUA of the Month recognition, please send a brief professional bio to

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