UX training was a good idea

example of a user persona

We had UX (user experience) training at work this week. Here is a photo of our workgroup’s persona card: Margie the Hipster Cat Lady, based on a roleplayed customer interview. Three guesses who got to be interviewed. ^__^

The material was quite basic, but I got a lot out of going through the motions. Mainly from doing the initiation, discovery and design activities back to back, start to finish. In the 5 odd years I’ve been a UX designer, I’d never gotten to experience the continuity – it’s always been disjoint bits and pieces, early then taken away, or work landing in my lap too late.

What I know comes from exploring and playing, which I enjoy but do find messy. I don’t want to diminish the ‘dive in’ approach cos it’s my favourite one, and I feel I learn practical skills quickly this way. But I think it comes with the risk of getting stuck in expert beginner mode if you can’t reflect on or frame your thoughts nicely.

identifying users and how we might research them

card sorting exercise

We did an exercise on identifying users (we focused on customers), appreciating their demographics, and thinking how we might get to know them on a limited budget. This led to the roleplay and persona development. Then we went through a card sorting exercise, which fed into (content) wireframing (showing where the content goes), which fed into prototyping (showing what bits and bobs sit where).

paper prototype with voting dots

However, it seems like the ‘proper’ method is simply what makes sense at the time, with an appreciation for factors outside your immediate awareness. Sounds airy fairy, doesn’t it? But I think I’m okay with this. Even scientists feel like they’re farting around, so why not UX designers too.

"the designer works in a certain haze or fog - both lost within the trees but always aware, on some unconscious level, of the forest"

Training was run by Peak Usability, who offer another course on Interaction Design. I’m super keen on that one, as it goes through some of the behaviour models and psychological factors of how people experience computers. Sometimes I dream of working in the Fogg lab, farting around with interesting science in human-computer interaction, and human-human interaction via computers.

While on the topic of UXy things, sandy’s front end hasn’t been updated in pretty much forever because there’s some work happening on it. It’s just happening slowly because I am a slow slow. :)