I'll occasionally publish my personal notes from reading a new book, attending an industry conference or something similar on this blog. I personally refer back to my own posts frequently, revisiting technical skills or refreshing myself on the highlights for a new project.
This is one of those posts. I just completed reading Practical SVG by Chris Coyier from the A Book Apart series. As usual, it was a fantastic read and brought me up to speed on the current state of SVGs for the web! My notes follow.
You’re convinced, some folks within your team are convinced but there’s still a few hold-outs to incorporating user feedback sessions into your product’s development cycle. Over my years as a designer on various software teams, here are some methods I’ve found to be successful in gaining larger buy-in for the UX processes within an agile environment.
In a nutshell I recommend that you clarify any misconceptions of UX testing, iterate in public and then stay consistent with your processes.
In last week’s edition of my Product Design Newsletter, I wrote in detail about conducting regular benchmark usability tests. The described process worked quite well within my agile software development team to ensure the ongoing high quality of our software. If you haven’t read that article just yet, go here and read about the process behind monthly benchmark user testing.
As the data from months of these benchmark tests accumulated, my team realized there were some additional positive, though unintended, consequences of the new testing schedule. Once these were realized, we were able to leverage these and attain even more results from the regular testing schedule. These results included:
- 01 — Internal User Experience Training
- 02 — User Testing Awareness
- 03 — Increased Team Empathy Read more
Benchmark Usability Testing A baseline strategy for core user flows Paul, an early supporter of my product design mailing list recently reached out to ask me about the specifics of my process & strategy surrounding new features. Simply put, how did I get new feature ideas ranked, validated and built?
A fantastic question and one that led to some introspection about my validation process from past projects. What worked and didn’t work? What could I recommend to a fellow product designer to save him time? In short, the answer is to talk with your product’s target users. Then talk with them some more.
The development of each skill set is equally important
Let’s first discuss the hard skills, as these are the more commonly talked about and taught in the design industry and thus easier to define. I’m defining hard skills are those of a more technical nature. This is what you need to do your job as a digital product designer. These can be learned in both formal training via schooling as well as self-taught through tutorials and dedicated practice.
What a newbie learned by falling down the mountain
New friends and first-time snowboarders at the Montues event in Tahoe.
I’ve just returned from the stunning mountains of Tahoe where I was lucky enough to participate in the first ever Epicurrence Montues event. Epicurrence is a design non-conference by Dann Petty aimed at getting creative folks out of their offices and into inspiring situations in nature.
Designers are makers. As tinkerers and craftspeople, we’re always hungry to try out the next and newest tools that enable our work. While this can be a driving force for good and continuous personal improvement, the constant pressure to understand tools can get in the way of the bigger picture. Read more
Showing unfinished work and demystifying the design process is a trust-building exercise that designers can use as a tool to their advantage.
The more often you are able to show your unpolished, incomplete work to a client alongside the rest of your team, the more trust everyone involved is able to build with one another. Trust is good. Trust me. This is especially true in the professional design world, where audience subjectivity can sometimes be difficult to remove from the equation of criticism.
While titles in the digital design space continue to be a hot topic of debate, some things remain constant. Designer’s primary disciplines are less and less clear cut as our industry shifts and there is increasing demand for those who can spread themselves thin and touch many aspects of the creative cycle.
As a professional designer, you are a key asset of the team – not simply a tool for last-minute polish.
The term Creative has long plagued the professional designer. When we speak of a designer in this light, one conjures the image of a whacky, unkempt “creative-type” that comes in late to work and skips meetings. ThisCreative slacks lazily at their desk, pushing pixels around until inspiration strikes, or some combination of colors and typography happens to click.
Today’s thriving professional designer is anything but this. Today’s designer is an analytical problem solver who can explain clearly how and why she got to the design solution she is defending. How does she do it? Reason.