Tag Archives: UX

Intentional Environments: Designing a Culture of Co-creation

Just gave this talk with Kate Rutter at Adaptive Path’s UX Week Conference.

SYNOPSIS

Design doesn’t happen inside a vacuum. It happens inside teams, inside the context of relationships, inside physical spaces, inside organizations with very particular cultures. Ignore that intricate ecosystem, and you might as well give your project a death sentence.

Teresa Brazen and Kate Rutter draw from their experience bringing this holistic outlook to the design process. Pulling from methods used in filmmaking, fine art, design research, facilitation, improv, and UX design, they craft “intentional environments” for their teams and clients. These literal and figurative environments cultivate work that is actionable, co-created, co-owned, and much more likely to succeed in the world.
They discuss the benefits of intentional environments and walk you through how to design them and methods for keeping them activated throughout the design process. You’ll walk away understanding how to cultivate intentionality, co-create without compromising output, and inspire teams and clients along the way. But more importantly, you’ll have a powerful new framework that will enrich your entire design process.


SLIDE DECK FOR DOWNLOAD


VIDEO OF THE PRESENTATION

Explaining User Experience Design to High Schoolers (and Other New Audiences)

How do user experience designers tell their story in a relevant, meaningful way, to audiences who have no exposure to user experience design (UX)? UX practitioners are keenly aware that everything we use in our lives was designed by someone. But, outside of our industry (and related ones), most people aren’t aware of the many decisions that were made (or not made) on their behalf when a product or service was designed.

I starting exploring this issue about communicating the value of UX a little over a year ago in my podcast, Tea with Teresa. One of the highlights from my show was a conversation with Jesse James Garrett called “What the Heck Is User Experience Design??!! (And Why Should I Care?)“. That podcast laid a great foundation for explaining UX to new audiences. But, I decided I wanted to push the challenge of communication even further and see if I could explain user experience design to a particularly difficult audience: high schoolers. I figured if I could make UX meaningful and relevant to these kids, I could probably explain it to anyone.

So, I approached my friend Ben Chun about doing a presentation to his Introduction to Programming class at Galileo High School in San Francisco, CA. He thought this would be a great start to a project they’d embark upon this year: designing an educational computer game for 5th graders. My goal was to prepare them for that project by communicating two key things:

1. Make things for people.
2. Those people aren’t you.

Before the class, Ben warned me about the attention span of his students, and boy was he right. The thing about high school kids is they won’t pretend to be interested if you’ve lost them. Adults at a conference will gaze forward in your general direction, but high school kids will just put their head on the table and go to sleep. If you ever want to get a real gauge of how interesting a speaker you are (or how well you’re really communicating), I highly recommend it, humbling as it is.

Not everything I tried worked (I got some heads on the table a few times), but a few tactics and explanations seemed to strike a chord with them, and I thought I’d share them here with you:

1. Funny examples of design failing out in the world (from FailBlog.com)

2. Interacting with a product or service should feel like a good conversation.
Who wants to deal with a person or thing that acts like this when you interact with it:

(Ignores you)

(Is self-absorbed)

For an adult audience I would have used a date as an example — an idea I got from Jesse James Garrett – but since high school kids don’t really go on formal dates (or so their teacher told me!), I changed it to a conversation.

3. Before you make something, learn about the people who will use it.
Otherwise, it’ll feel and turn out like:

Trying to buy a present for someone you don’t know (like your uncle’s boss).

Making dinner for someone you don’t know (What if they are vegetarian but you made steak?).

4. People like and need different things.
So it’s important to find out what those wants and needs are. For example, during Rachel Hinman’s project “90 Mobiles in 90 Days”, her niece designed a mobile phone with the features she really wanted, like:

1. Snail button that turns into Barbie when pushed
2. Screen with swimming pool inside
3. Snow White always attached by golden string
4. A red button that when pushed, makes the phone turn into anything
5. Snow White store and candy store attached

Key point: Not everyone wants a snail button that turns into Barbie!

5. The user is not you, so don’t design for yourself.
Activity to show how different we are:
1. Three people are asked to leave the room and are not told why.
2. One at a time they are invited back in, asked to sit and close their eyes, then asked to describe the room in detail.
3. The rest of the class takes note of how each person values/pays attention to very different things.

6. Finding out what the user really wants or needs (user research)
Sticky note activity:
1. Everyone gets a sticky note pad and has 5 minutes to write as many questions as they can for the potential users of a pretend product they are making.
2. Post all questions on a wall together, cluster questions that are about the same topic, discuss, and agree upon a key set of 10 questions.

Turns out the kids loved the race to write as many questions as they could in a time limit. Ben said you almost never have a room of focused, quiet teenagers like we had during that activity. He also wrote about this exercise on his blog, And It Moves: Adventures In Teaching and Technology.

Those are some of the highlights from my attempt to make the complex simple for an audience that had never heard of user experience before. I learned a lot about which of my explanations really make sense to others. And as I continue in this exploration of communicating UX, I’d love to expand my tool kit by hearing about exercises, analogies, and other approaches any of you have had success with! Please share here!

Tools and Methods for Learning, Navigating and Making A Name for Yourself in the User Experience Design Landscape

If you missed my webinar, it’s now available on Event Brite.

And here’s the gist:

This 60 minute online seminar provides aspiring UX professionals and those already embedded in the field with approaches to increase your value and impact within the User Experience Design community.

Who is this workshop for?

Are you new to the world of user experience and find yourself grappling with terms and jargon? Or are you a more seasoned UX professional who is looking for ways to increase the impact you have within your organization and the UX community at large? This talk offers some simple, creative approaches to understanding and navigating the sea of methods and concepts that make up the UX practice, while embedding yourself as a player in the UX industry.

A podcaster, filmmaker, painter and one of Adaptive Path’s project managers, Teresa talks about how she came to find herself a fish out of water at Adaptive Path and the creative approach she took to understanding a new industry and her place in it. She shares the three things that have helped her thrive in her new environment:

+ Knowledge Mapping

Learn how to create diagrams that allow you to visualize what you know about the industry, what you don’t know, and the areas where you can supplement what you already know.

+ Community-Building

Building a community of influential friends is as simple as paying attention to the people around you. Teresa will share how her idea to start a podcast (TeaWithTeresa.com) has allowed her to learn about UX methods and practice from the people who have helped grow the field or who have made huge waves in the industry. She will also share key things you can do to build authentic, rich relationships with others in the field. And networking is not one of them!

+ Using Your Own Voice

Whether you’re a student or an experienced UX professional, finding and using your voice will make a difference for your career. Teresa will provide you with tools to help you uncover what you have to offer, create a mantra (everyone needs one!) and will share videos from others who have created strong personal brands within the UX community.

Tools and Methods for Learning, Navigating and Making a Name for Yourself in the User Experience Design Landscape

MY UPCOMING VIRTUAL SEMINAR!
Hosted by Adaptive Path
Wednesday, August 12
10:00 – 11:15 AM Pacific Time
Only $125

REGISTER on AdaptivePath.com

Who is this workshop for?

Are you new to the world of user experience (UX) and find yourself grappling with terms and jargon? Or are you a more seasoned UX professional who is looking for ways to increase the impact you have within your organization and the UX community at large? This talk offers some simple, creative approaches to understanding and navigating the sea of methods and concepts that make up the UX practice, while embedding yourself as a player in the UX industry.

A painter, filmmaker and one of Adaptive Path’s project managers, Teresa talks about how she came to find herself a fish out of water at Adaptive Path and the creative approach she took to understanding a new industry and her place in it. She shares the three things that have helped her thrive in her new environment:

Knowledge Mapping

Learn how to create diagrams that allow you to visualize what you know about the industry, what you don’t know, and the areas where you can supplement what you already know.

Community-Building

Building a community of influential friends is as simple as paying attention to the people around you. Teresa will share how her idea to start a podcast (TeaWithTeresa.com) has allowed her to learn about UX methods and practice from the people who have helped grow the field or who have made huge waves in the industry. She will also share key things you can do to build authentic, rich relationships with others in the field. And networking is not one of them!

Using Your Own Voice

Whether you’re a student or an experienced UX professional, finding and using your voice will make a difference for your career. Teresa will provide you with tools to help you uncover what you have to offer and create a mantra (everyone needs one!). The seminar includes guest appearances (and advice!) from Scott Berkun, Whitney Hess, Merlin Mann and Rachel Hinman – who have all created strong personal brands within the UX community.

How does a Virtual Seminar work?

You’ll participate in the seminar through an online presentation on your web browser. The technology works on both PCs and Macs. We encourage you to share the seminar with your colleagues on a big screen. Feel free to wear your pajamas if you’re at home (we can’t see you!). Detailed instructions for attending the seminar will be sent out a few days before the seminar, including audio information, system requirements and a few technical tips.

I’ll Be Speaking at the Big (D)esign Conference on May 30

Tools and Methods to Learn, Navigate, & Make A Name for Yourself in the UX Landscape

(Here’s a short synopsis of what I’ll talk about….)

Coming from outside the user experience (UX) industry and landing smack in the belly of the beast, Teresa knows fresh eyes can be an asset. In her talk, she will present three creative approaches to understanding and navigating through the sea of methods and concepts that make up the User Experience practice, while embedding yourself as a key player in the UX industry. She comes from the perspective that “It’s okay not to know everything about User Experience” (most people don’t know what it is, anyway!) and reveals some simple, creative ways to learn about the interesting processes, methods and practices that make up the field.

Big (D)esign Conference
May 30, 2009 | 9am-6pm (My talk is at 1PM)
SMU Campus | Hughes Trigg Student Center | 3140 Dyer St, Dallas, TX 75205

What the Heck is User Experience Design??!!

(And Why Should I Care?)

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Download podcast here

An interview with Jesse James Garrett, President and co-founder of Adaptive Path.
Show Length: 21 minutes

Some describe it as making things easy and enjoyable to use. Others describe it as all the elements that impact someone’s perception of a product or system. Jesse James Garrett says it’s a lot like going on a great first date.

For those who haven’t heard of it before: You’ll be surprise by how much it impacts your life.

For those who know it well: Believe it or not, the complexity made simple. You’ll finally know what to say in the elevator when someone asks you what you do for a living.

Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

Design Research Is A Messy Process

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Download podcast here

An Interview with Designer, Phil Robinson
Show length: 18 minutes

When companies want to understand how to design or improve the design of a product so that it works better for real people, they often turn to design research. Rooted in the study of anthropology and ethnography, design researchers use a variety of methods and techniques that help them better understand human behavior. From low-fidelity methods like collage making to more eccentric techniques like simulating a machine with the body, Phil Robinson sheds light on how researchers tailor those techniques to each research challenge.