Archives for category: Starting in Digital

Slides from a class I put together for college kids on understanding the roles and results of user experience. Enjoy!

I just had the great pleasure of delivering this talk on systems based thinking at The Wharton Web Conference. I am leaving Philly with lots of ideas about what I want to write and speak about next based on the comments and questions from the audience.

Oh yea, and I got to meet Steve Wozniak!

Below are links to the materials from the workshop I just taught at General Assembly called “Understanding Information Architecture”

Also here were my favorite 3 questions:

Q: How do you deal with drastic lack of consensus between stakeholders after interviewing them about what they want?

A: First, make sure you aren’t focusing on asking what they want. Make sure you are asking questions that get at what they need. I like to talk about fears, hopes and clear goals. Also try to highlight those differences in person and use tools like collaborative design to work through the problem until clarity is reached and consensus can occur.

Q: What about organizational silos getting in the way, any ideas for combating that?

A: Try identifying people who have similar roles but in different silos and interview them together in prep for group work. Then make sure in a group setting that people from the same silos don’t just sit and work together. Also make sure strategic and design work coming from the process is not presented in silos.

Q: How is IA different than UX? Where does one start and the other stop?

A: User Experience isn’t a thing you do; it’s the result of making a lot of decisions about what to invest in and how things should work. Great user experiences are best enabled by making deliberate decisions about what is being designed and built and why.

Information Architecture is a useful lens to use in the process of deciding what should be designed and built and why. Information Architecture is about making things clear. Information Architecture is a set of tools and techniques to not only help make those decisions, but also to communicate them efficiently to those producing the elements of the potential user experience.

Like other fields there are a lot of shared tools, so it is fruitless to discuss which disciplines own which deliverables. Many of the tools I use are borrowed from Improv Comedy, Behavioral Psychology and Industrial Design. And I expect that set of tools to keep changing while my goal as an IA will not. I make the unclear, clear.

I look forward to your feedback as I continue to develop this class.

findable, accessible, clear, communicative, useful, credible, controllable, valuable, learnable and delightfulIt is late spring 2011 and I am sitting in Dan Klyn’s kitchen. It smells like blueberry pie and startup rollercoaster tracks. Dan and Bob are three months into their new company, The Understanding Group. It is my first week full time; I am living out of a suitcase on my way to New York City. We have a client that we recently started to work with and we are excitedly discussing the heuristic assessment that we are about to start for them.

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Here are the slides from my talk at Interaction 12 in Dublin. If this content resonates with you, feel free to download and use my deck to teach these principles to others (and please drop me a tweet to tell me how it went)
Also, for those interested: I plan to have the matching poster out by IA Summit time. So stay tuned for news on that.

“Oh, what a void there is in things.” – Aulus Persius Flaccus

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I was recently asked to give a talk to the students of the Miami Ad School who are spending their semester at Draftfcb. My aim with my hour with them was to explain how user experience planning made it into the agency world and why creatives should care.

Design Systems, Not Stuff

“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s” – William Blake

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Separate the Needles from the Haystack

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

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Giving personal information should result in a gift to users

Experts often possess more data than judgment.
– Colin Powell

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