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.)
- 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?
- 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?