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Presenter's blog

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This blog is for updates on my presentations and how to download them (look for "attachments"). Also, I am slowly adding presentations to Slideshare - the darling of the IA world.


Visual Literacy & User Experience

I will be presenting "Visual literacy: Expanding how we practice UX" at UX Thursday in Detroit on June 26th. The official blurb about the talk:

Visual literacy, traditionally applied to educational settings, has become important for users to make sense of digital media. Keith Instone will share the how and why behind his research and the ways he applies what he’s learning about visual literacy to UX. You'll hear how this exploration is making him a better UX practitioner.

Keith hopes to inspire UX practitioners to embark on their own discipline-crashing journeys to help strengthen the future value of UX.

Leave Keith’s session with:

  • A process for expanding your UX expertise by "crashing" other disciplines
  • Examples from visual literacy that apply to UX
  • An invitation to participate in the next virtual literacy conference

I will add the slides and other information here as I make progress.

User Experience Research-Practice Interaction

Here is the presentation that I did at the Connecting Dots conference on Saturday, March 15th.

The presentation was based on the paper that I wrote for the conference, plus what I learned during the first day+ of the conference. I added and deleted things once I was there.

Blog topics: 

Integrating User Interface Design Specifications

It is time for another Internet User Experience conference in Ann Arbor. Next week!

In addition to Eight Years of IUE: Reflection and Perspective, I am doing a talk about Integrating User Interface Design Specifications.

At the 2006 IUE conference, Keith Instone presented "ibm.com re-design and standards", where he talked about how they managed the user interface specifications for IBM's public web presence. This talk will be an update on what has happened since then:
  • Advancements in the type of UI specifications covered, such as interaction patterns, mobile, tablets (and the challenges in organizing this information)
  • Changes in governance approach, from less compliance to more community leadership and innovation
  • Broadening of scope and engagement within IBM: merging intranet and internet specs and collaborating with IBM product groups
  • A re-design to celebrate IBM's 100th anniversary, which included building a business case for the UI design system

Because he has left IBM, he can share a more honest assessment of what things worked in that culture and what did not.

One of his first freelance projects has a cross-business unit UI design system aspect, so he can relate some early experiences "out in the real world".

If you have the feeling that there is a better way than drawing the same wireframes over and over again for each project, then you will want to hear some of my stories about how you can document a design system to speed up the design process, create more consistent experiences, save your company money, and still leave room for innovation.

I will use this blog entry to post links to background information, share the deck afterwards, and give people a chance to comment. A few links for starters:

Eight Years of IUE: Reflection and Perspective

It is time for another Internet User Experience conference in Ann Arbor. Next week!

I get the honor of helping kick-off the conference on Tuesday with "Eight Years of IUE: Reflection and Perspective", a short talk to give you some of the history of this great event (hoping this will help you enjoy the 2012 conference even more).

To do my research about the first 8 years of IUE, I compiled a set of links to older versions of the conference web site and a few other things. Here is my list, in case you want to re-live some of the past experiences.

I will update this blog posting after the talk, including the slides. If you have links to other things about IUE, leave a comment or contact me.

WUD Research-Practice Interaction pre-work

On November 11th - World Usability Day - I will have the honor of giving a keynote "talk" at the Dayton-area event. I say "talk" in quotes because I really want it to be a more interactive session, where I provide enough background to get the discussion going, then the audience (participants, really) take over from there.

In the spirit of trying to make it easier for attendees to become participants, Douglas Gardner, the awesome organizer of the event at LexisNexis, has asked me to compile some pre-work / questions that he can distribute to people who have signed up to attend the Dayton event. I feel like a teacher giving students homework to do, but here goes!

Issues to consider, questions to ask yourself

  • If you are a user experience practitioner, what types of challenges do you face often that you wish you had a "scientific" answer to? Have you tried to find answers in the research literature? What roadblocks did you encounter when looking for answers? What successes have you had in taking research findings and improving your practice?
  • If you are a researcher, what is the value in engaging with practitioners? What is in it for you? Do you have any examples of success stories, where your research got better because of interactions you had with practitioners?
  • What should students of HCI, interaction design and other user experience disciplines be taught about research to better prepare themselves for the practitioner world?

Things to read

Things to do

  • If you are on Twitter, tweet something about the research-practitioner interaction topic with the #uxrpi hashtag.
  • Get a napkin (or some scrap of paper) and sketch something. Bring it to the session, you will have a chance to share this with every one else. (Even better, post your sketch to Flickr.)
  • Brainstorm a list of possible solutions to what you think are the most important research-practitioner challenges. Or make a list of solutions you know about from other fields. Bring it to the session.

Also, I have not quite figured out how to handle the interactiveness with a session in Ottawa who is planning on listening in remotely. My IBM/Cognos colleagues are hosting their own WUD event and will be joining both IBM's Social Media in the Workplace session (at noon ET USA) and mine (at 3:30).

And we might have others joining us remotely. We will have a LiveMeeting and call in: (800) 963-3556 / Conf ID: 266.4656. 3:30pm ET USA, November 11.

I hope I can make the session worthwhile for everyone who joins us.

November 21 update: I finally got around to posting the slides (as presented) on SlideShare.

So you wanna be on our UX team? (BGSU ARTD 4050)

I did an intro to user experience for members of the BGSU ARTD 4050 Interactive Graphic Design classes this morning. The instructors, Amy Fidler and Jenn Stucker, also had guest speakers on kiosk design and social media. Sort of a "mini conference" of talks from practitioners for the students. Always happy to help out like this!

PDF of my slides

I tried something different this time, putting it all in the context of the student applying for a job on my fictional user experience team, and giving them questions they should ask of their potential employer. Sometimes I answered the question from the point of view of a "good" company to work for; sometimes what you might get from a "bad" company.

Below are the set of questions I prepared to seed the discussion. As usual, the class asked better questions than I prepared. The one that I think generated the best discussion was how they, as graphic designers on a user experience team, would work with the technical folks. Good: an integrated team where the developers worked hand-in-hand with the graphic designers. Bad: where designs were thrown "over the fence" and then ignored.

I ran out of time and did not get to do a quick overview of things to stay in touch with to help the students learn more, so let me list those here for the students:

A couple of people (on Twitter, Facebook) thought the idea of using a job interview as the setting for an intro to UX for students was interesting. It seemed to work OK here. But this was my first time trying it, so I already have some ideas on how to do it better next time. I will definitely prepare several "company" scenarios ahead of time - typical company/team profiles that match the types of places the students want to work. I used personal experience at IBM as one profile, of course, but talking with the students, they mentioned "print firms getting into digital" as a more likely company they would be applying to. Procter & Gamble (with its branding focus) was another. Small design agencies, Large design agencies: two more settings that I think would expose interesting answers about UX.

But it was fun trying something different. Getting out of the house. Hanging out with the students.

Finally, here are my prepared set of questions. (If you want my set of good and bad answers for each, sorry, I made up most of those answers up on the spot, only a few are covered in the slides.)

Basics

  • What is your definition of user experience?
  • Within the company, who "owns" the experience with the customer (consumer, citizen, constituent, partner, …) Does anyone think they own it?
  • Which channels does the team focus on – only web? Is mobile "hot" or "huh"?

About the team

  • Who else is on the UX team? What are their backgrounds? Who specializes in what things, which activities are shared?
  • What would my role on the team be? Would I specialize in the graphic design work? How much technical work would I do? Would there be an opportunity for me to branch out into other UX activities?

How the team works

  • How does the UX team collaborate with other parts of the business (such as stakeholders and technical teams)? Tell me a story of a typical engagement for the UX team.
  • Is this a single, centralized UX team, or is it one of several UX teams distributed throughout the company? Is this a "project" team or a "manager" team (which works on many projects)?
  • What UX methods does the team use? Do you have a "methodology" or just "methods"? Agile or waterfall? How would you compare your idea of the "complete method" (all of the steps needed to design for a good experience) compare with the actual methods the team has time/resources to do in practice?

Work atmosphere, culture

  • What professional development opportunities are there? Does our team participate in any local UX communities?
  • What does the team read (together)? Do team members write/contribute regularly?
  • Do we have time to "innovate" (try out new ideas)? Or just heads down and do the basics? Are we rewarded for failing?

The business

  • Who are the users? What are their goals? What specific tasks does the team design for? What is an example of some recent user research you did? Was it focus groups, a survey, ethnographic, remote usability testing?
  • What are some of the specific business goals that the UX team is designing for? How does the team UX strategy support the strategic direction of the company?
  • How is the team measured?

Panel: Effective user experience professionals and teams

I am honored to be one of the panelists at tonight's Michigan UPA / MOCHI meeting: What makes an effective user experience professional and team (UX management perspectives). Here is an outline of what I will cover in my 5-10 minute introduction.

A few related conference sessions I have been to:

Possible debate topics:

  • Methods and deliverables for individuals and teams. Personas, usability test analysis, how many users, … Does any of it even matter today? Which methods and skills will stand the test of time? Which will not?
  • Engagement models for "the UX team" (and org chart concerns). Part of the organization, Loaned to the team, Part of the project, Consultant, Reviewer, Enforcer, Ignoring. Should there even such thing as a "UX team"? When short on resources, it is OK to "teach and deputize" UX responsibilities?
  • Agile vs. Waterfall. Is Agile evil or what "UCD" has meant all along? Or both? Are you a Newtonian or a Quantum mechanic? Is there a unified field theory for UX? Do the UX skills transfer between Agile & Waterfall? What else may need to change?
  • Individual UX skills. Jack-of-all trades/generalist, T-shaped, Specialist. Should you be an "Interaction designer/IA/etc.", a "UX person" or a "person who does good work, including planning good experiences"?

Looking forward to hanging out. Hope we get good participation from the audience and a lively debate.

Keynote at SIG USE research symposium

I had the honor of presenting one of the keynotes at yesterday's SIG USE annual research symposium (part of the 2008 ASIS&T annual meeting in Columbus). The theme was "Future Directions: Information Behavior in Design & the Making of Relevant Research."

I took on the task of giving SIG USE feedback "from the outside" with these two perspectives:

  • Human-computer interaction, information architecture and general user experience professional. What is this thing called "human information behavior (HIB) research" and how does it relate to the research disciplines I am familiar with?
  • Practitioner. What can practitioners learn from HIB and apply to their challenges? How do we bridge the research/practice gaps?

I broke my talk down into 3 sections:

  • About me and my journey to gain an initial understanding of HIB
  • An analysis of the symposium position papers, where I tried to distill them down into both "how do we connect with designers" and the specific research they are doing which I might be able to apply to my "finding information" challenges
  • Stories about things I work on for ibm.com, with the hope that they could spur some ideas for some research topics

Download a PDF of my slides (2 meg). I deleted / cleaned up a few things for the public archive. And usual disclaimer: slides geared for the presentation. If you were not there, they may not be very interesting.

I sped through the slides and talked too fast, but I think (hope) that I put forth some good questions for the SIG USE community to debate going forward. The individual discussions and small group work after my talk were very valuable to me. I have some more reading to do (such as information encountering) and contacts of "SIG USE people" who I can stay in touch with. Looking forward to it!

One final note: I can see why SIG USE wins awards from ASIS&T. Very well run.

Blog topics: 

UXDesignCast 13 - Panel podcast

I was a panelist on the latest UXDesignCast. Karel, Eliane and I have done similar podcasts within IBM, but this was our first external one. It was nice to have Valerie Fox join us - see her interview with Karel to learn more about her.

I have not listened to it yet, hope I did not say anything stupid.

We plan on doing more panel podcasts and are using the UXDesignCast tag on delicious to keep track of things to talk about. Feel free to add things to the list for us to consider.

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