Truth and Dare - Out of the echochamber into the fire


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This is a presentation that starts to touch on the risks and issues circling the UX echochamber right now, and what we can do to battle them.

It's a presentation I gave at EuroIA on September 23rd 2011. It has been designed to be readable without presentation and also to aid comprehension by non-english speaking audiences. Hence the amount of wordy slides.

Published in: Design, Technology
  • Thanks for the wonderful slides. Wish I had listen to your talk.

    Breaking down silos is naive

    It is so true that breaking down silos is difficult. But as a designer working in big corporations, this is one of the most important things that needs to be done before designers can start working with other parties such as product managers and developers. Not every designer can work in small teams. It also echo your other point to reach out and work with other disciplines, to talk, to collaborate.
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  • Thanks for the though-provoking presentation, Jason. My response on one of your points in particular:
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  • @Jason, thanks :-) btw I'm on an iMac, ;-) Keep stirring the pot!
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  • You will learn a lot more from actually working with really good people than sitting through yet another UX conference.
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  • Hi Jason: nice presentation - here’s some feedback/critique :-)

    * Positive *

    you frame the hype well, and dig into some causes with well argued analysis the dares are a great call to action

    * Negative * You’re on the edge of doing the thing you’re criticising: appropriating the rhetoric, language and tone of the UX bullshit centipede. Slippery slope, that. To be fair: I’m not sure that there’s a clear way to avoid this, it is the nature of conferences* (in your framework, a social fact)

    * Interesting * taking us inside *your* interviewing experience. Thanks for that. I think this helps soften the rockstar rhetoric that I mentioned above :-) mapping people’s UX disciplinary biases imho these are the gold in your presentation. (personal opinion here: learning how to ’be’ a practitioner is always more useful than learning how to ’do’ things those practitioners do)

    * Missing * some context in this presentation. I heard about this on twitter, I see that you uploaded it a few days ago, but I have no idea where, when or why you presented it. In what discourse were these ideas presented? Maybe a few slides at the front to *set the scene*? Acknowledge that this set of slides aren’t doing the same job as they did when you were standing in front of them, in front of a group of conference delegates.

    ------- Thanks again!

    (added later) sorry this is so fubared wrt formatting - slideshare: wtf? linebreaks don' carry?
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Truth and Dare - Out of the echochamber into the fire

  1. 1. TRUTH AND DAREOUT OF THE ECHO-CHAMBER - INTO THE FIREJason Mesut - Head of User Experience, RMAtwitter: @jasonmesutpresentations:
  2. 2. A little story...
  3. 3. 20056 years ago
  4. 4. First Euro IA 6 years ago
  5. 5. First Euro IA 6 years ago
  6. 6. “We are european, notNorth American, we seethe world a littledifferently”
  7. 7. I’d just joined OysterPartners
  8. 8. Spent agesresearching, anddesigning the poster
  9. 9. Was going through ahouse purchase at thetime - very stressful
  10. 10. Then... as I wastweaking the file ofthe final print
  11. 11. Girlfriendfracturedher hip
  12. 12. I rushed to the hospital(after printing my poster).
  13. 13. The consultant told her:- might need regular surgery- may have birth complications- could get arthritis quicker
  14. 14. I flew toBrusselsanyway
  15. 15. The most selfish thing Ithought I had ever done
  16. 16. Gave memy voice
  17. 17. Gave meconfidence
  18. 18. 20065 years ago
  19. 19. I wrote 5 winningsubmissions that year
  20. 20. 1 2 34 out of the 410 posters,including oneI worked on
  21. 21. And onesession:‘WickedWorkshops’
  22. 22. Sorry!There were quite afew of us from LBi.It was my fault.
  23. 23. “What does LBi stand for?”Me in 5 minute madness“Leave Berlin Immediately” Response from attendee
  24. 24. Ego can be adangerous thing
  25. 25. I stepped away and letothers have the limelight
  26. 26. Senior Associate Leader Director Practitioner Leading others Managing others Mentoring others.Euro IA helpedmy career at LBi
  27. 27. Worked with around 200 UX 10 - Present 08 - 10 49 05 - 08 9 04 - 05 85 01 - 04 3098 - 0015 11 Oyster/ The Team RMA Flow Yell PA Framfab/ LBI Applications Comms Digital agenc y consultancy User-Centred agency Management Design Online consultancy consultancy business directory
  28. 28. I’ve done a lot of recruiting Past 12 months700+ 100+ 40 CVs and Interviews Hires portfolios
  29. 29. past 12 months Whole day / multi- day conferences Evening events 6 MEX, UX People, UX London, 15+ London IA (3), UPA (4) WritingInteractions, UX Lisbon, dConstruct workshops, UX Bookclub, IxDA London, + moreI’ve been to a lot of UXconferences and events
  30. 30. I’m reallyworried
  31. 31. I need to worryyou too with somebitter truths
  32. 32. Different truths- Personal- Social- Human- Universal
  33. 33. But we’re going toget through this
  34. 34. I’ve got somethings we can doto make it better
  35. 35. Some dares
  36. 36. Truth No. 1Personal truthThere is noUniversal truth in UX
  37. 37. Truth No. 2Personal truthI am here to:- help because I care- learn from practitioners- recruit real talent
  38. 38. Dare no. 1I dare you...Don’t tweet soundbitesfrom my talk
  39. 39. Truth No. 3Social + human truthSometimes thequietest people havethe best things to say
  40. 40. No Q&A, just OsOpinions at the end,and nothing else - justtry not to make itpersonal
  41. 41. Dare no. 2aI dare you to...Critique my talk, andshare your opinions atthe end
  42. 42. Positive NegativeWhat you liked What you didn’t likeWhat you agree with What you disagreed withIdeas, different What should have saidperspectives What you would sayInteresting Missing
  43. 43. Dare no. 2bI dare you to...Critique other talks youhave heard today, and willhear tomorrow - share withpeople you meet
  44. 44. Celebrity UX rockstars aresetting us up for failure
  45. 45. 2005 - 1st Euro IA
  46. 46. No gurus orsuperstars tolook up to
  47. 47. 2011 Today
  48. 48. Now we have loads ofCelebrity UX Rockstars
  49. 49. “The majority of UX work isbeing done (and done well) bypeople you and I have neverheard of.”Louise HewittCommenting on Andy Budd’s“The X-factorisation of the web”
  50. 50. Celebrity UX RockstarsUsually...Written a bookSpeak at conferencesTweet/blog a lot
  51. 51. Why do we listen to them?Have you seen their work?Do they give unique insight?Do they help you do your job?
  52. 52. Why do we listen to them?Great performersSometimes relevant topicsAspirational topicsConvincing argumentsBecause others do
  53. 53. 3 concerns:Too many silver bulletsLand grabbingMotives are not clear
  54. 54. I think they are setting us upfor failurePreach more than practiceNot enough techniquesWe are not them
  55. 55. Worst of allPeople are just regurgitatingthe same old crap
  56. 56. The human centipedeof UX dogma
  57. 57. “A dogma is something thatshould not to be disputed ordoubted. Most often, this meansthe basic beliefs and doctrinesof a religion. What a majority offollowers of an ideology or anykind of organization believe incan also be a dogma.”Wikipedia
  58. 58. Here’s a few thingsthat are worrying me
  59. 59. I need some music tohelp make my point
  60. 60. Mobile first
  62. 62. Open web
  64. 64. Service Design
  66. 66. Gamification
  68. 68. Content strategy
  70. 70. We should be like Apple
  72. 72. Responsive design
  74. 74. Gestures are the future of interfaces
  76. 76. Touch screensare the future
  78. 78. Break down silos
  85. 85. Let’s go deeper on afew of these
  86. 86. Mobile First is confused asan always use strategy
  87. 87. Mobile First is confused asan always use strategyQuotes without investigationWeb messageSometimes may be useful
  88. 88. Most Service Designand Design Thinking is alot of talk and corporateentertainment
  89. 89. “All fart and no shit”
  90. 90. “Design thinking? Do you meancommon sense? I don’t needsomeone to teach me how tobrainstorm - every process isdesigned - it’s just pretentious”Luke JohnsonFrom recent Design Business Association event Author of ‘Start ItUp’, and business brains behind Pizza Express, Strada, Giraffe
  91. 91. Breaking downsilos is naive
  92. 92. Breaking down silos is naiveOrganisations are complexPeople better in small groupsChange takes too long
  93. 93. Open source and Open webis not the only way
  94. 94. Open source and Open web isnot the only wayDev friends influencing usProprietary wins most of timeBusiness doesn’t careWe shouldn’t care that much
  95. 95. There is more to Agile UXthan Sprint 0s and Sprintsahead
  96. 96. There is more to Agile UXthan Sprint 0s and SprintsaheadThis is only one aspectDoesn’t always workNeed to work in dev sprint
  97. 97. Responsive design is an oldargument in new clothes
  98. 98. Responsive design is an oldargument in new clothesFixed vs. fluid/liquidSeparate accessible sitesTechnology changes rapidlySometimes appropriate
  99. 99. Silver bullets aredangerousWe need multipleweapons, and to knowwhen and how to use them
  100. 100. Truth No. 4SocialThere are no silverbullets in UX. Repeatingthem can weakens us.
  101. 101. Dare no. 3I dare you to...Call bullshit on CelebrityUX Rockstars who arepreaching their dogma orshallow messaging
  102. 102. UX is eating itself
  103. 103. The UX Bubble is growingand growing
  104. 104. UX developer UX designer UX architect UX consultantMore and more people aresaying they are doing UX
  105. 105. UX designer is thenew ‘web designer’
  106. 106. But most are confusedabout what UX actually is
  107. 107. User interface?Wireframes? Visual design? ?!*&%!? Usability?The people we work withare even more confused
  108. 108. I ask a tricky question ininterviewsAre you more UX or UI?
  109. 109. I also get people to mapthemselvesWhat shape are you?
  110. 110. ExS IxD Experience Interaction Strategy Design UR IA User Information Research Architecture4 key disciplines of User Experience
  111. 111. Industrial design Design Device strategy interface design ExS IxD Business SoftwareMarketing, strategy design HCIconsulting Market Web research design UR IA Design Library research science Psychology
  112. 112. ExS IxDExperience Interaction Strategy Design UR IA User InformationResearch Architecture Insight and big picture
  113. 113. ExS IxDExperience Interaction Strategy Design UR IA User InformationResearch Architecture User Interface Craft
  114. 114. ExS IxDExperience Interaction Strategy Design UR IA User InformationResearch Architecture Conceptual, design, feel
  115. 115. ExS IxDExperience Interaction Strategy Design UR IA User InformationResearch Architecture Analysis, rigour, logic
  116. 116. Truth No. 5SocialMost UX people don’tarticulate what they doand how they aredifferent from others
  117. 117. Dare no. 4I dare you to...Map your shape usingthe framework, andshow where YOU wantto grow and develop
  118. 118. Industrial design Design Device strategy interface design ExS IxD Business SoftwareMarketing, strategy design HCIconsulting Market Web research design UR IA Design Library research science Psychology
  119. 119. Industrial design Design Device strategy interface design ExS IxD Business Business Software strategy designconsulting, HCI Market WebMarketing research design UR IA Design Library research science Psychology
  120. 120. We need to focus,because the termUX dilutes us
  121. 121. Or other disciplines andindustries will claim it too
  122. 122. Marketing strategistsMarket researchersPlannersBrand consultantsManagement consultantsFront-end developersGraphic designersBusiness AnalystsIndustrial DesignersService Designers
  123. 123. Is that a bad thingor a good thing?
  124. 124. We need to reclaimdisciplines inUser Experience
  125. 125. Interaction Design &Information Architectureare different.We can do both or onlyone.
  126. 126. We need to get closer toother disciplines andunderstand them better
  127. 127. Stop trying to reinventwhat they do withoutunderstanding it
  128. 128. The Internet of UbiquitousComputing InformationAppliance Things is coming
  129. 129. We need to work together -especially with IndustrialDesigners
  130. 130. Dare no. 5aI dare you to...Go to non-UX eventsEngage with other disciplinesWork together
  131. 131. DigitalDesign HarderMarketing Better for youBusinessSector-specificScienceProduct
  132. 132. Dare no. 5bI dare you to...Read non-UX media -blogs, books,magazines
  133. 133. Not just these,
  134. 134. but these...
  135. 135. ...and these
  136. 136. Dare no. 5cI dare you to...Speak at a non-UXevent
  137. 137. We’re also underthreat from within
  138. 138. Salaries and day ratesgetting ridiculous
  139. 139. Plenty of money& demand
  140. 140. People with 1-2 yearsexperience and poorquality work cancommand rates as high assenior folk got 4 years ago
  141. 141. Charlatans
  142. 142. They can use Axure!They list personas andwireframes in their cvs
  143. 143. They use the designpatterns that are easy inAxure, rather than thinkingthrough what is best
  144. 144. Design patterns arean echo-chamberin themselves
  145. 145. Accordions, carouselsand multipledropdowns are theclip-art, and Axure isour PowerPoint
  146. 146. Rates are getting higher,quality getting lower
  147. 147. Too many people aregoing freelance
  148. 148. They choose projectsthat they think soundexciting or are goodfor their portfolios
  149. 149. As a freelancerthey can’t bondwith a team
  150. 150. They can’t bementored, andbe developedby others
  151. 151. But they can have longholidays and a lot ofmoney in their pocket
  152. 152. Truth No. 6SocialOur bubble will burstunless we stamp outthe greedy pretenders
  153. 153. Dare no. 6I dare you to...Call bullshit on pretenders.Not pay unfair rates.Give the best work topermanent staff.
  154. 154. UCD and UX is notthe only way
  155. 155. UX is like a set ofreligions
  156. 156. UX is like a set of religions- Evangelise beliefs + dogma- Criticise non-believers- Promote godly practice- Conferences, our churches- Sell on faith, not proof
  157. 157. UCD is our hammer, andevery project is a thumb
  158. 158. Don Norman
  159. 159. “In 1965 when we werestarting Pizza Express,customers wanted chips withpizza. We had the vision andwe guided the customer”Luke JohnsonFrom recent Design Business Association event Author of ‘Start ItUp’, and business brains behind Pizza Express, Strada, Giraffe
  160. 160. “Best source of innovationare ideas from staff and frombranch managers, notcustomers”Luke JohnsonFrom recent Design Business Association event Author of ‘Start ItUp’, and business brains behind Pizza Express, Strada, Giraffe
  161. 161. UCD is a way ofmitigating risk andincreasing chance ofsuccess
  162. 162. We try to invest somuch time in research,that we don’t spendenough time designing
  163. 163. And we don’t alwaysrespect the leaps thatcan be made fromcreative thought
  164. 164. Or genius designers
  165. 165. Not enough Lots in selling Too much investment in it and glossing investment crafting the over the here solution cracks Launch Research Design & Marketing & & strategy development advertisingHow my IndustrialDesigner friend sees it
  166. 166. Heavy Less devotion investment in to the solution research and crafting strategy Little to no marketing / advertising Launch Research Design Marketing & & strategy & dev advertisingHow purist UX peoplemight want it
  167. 167. Little to no Rapid Lots ofresearch & design & marketing and strategy development advertisingResearch& strategy Design Marketing & Launch & dev advertisingHow marketing andbusiness people want it
  168. 168. Rapid, low Lots of design by making Slightly less friction marketing research because the and product is so strategy good Launch Research Design Mkting & & strategy & dev advertisingHow I prefer it
  169. 169. Maybe why we use somuch UI clipart
  170. 170. Truth No. 7SocialThere are more non-UCD success storiesthan UCD successstories
  171. 171. Dare no. 7I dare you to...Spend more timedesigning and lesstime researching
  172. 172. We’re not builtfor strategy
  173. 173. Back at the first Euro IA,there was a lot of talkabout strategy
  174. 174. Getting further upstream.Getting a seat at the table.
  175. 175. More and more peopleare talking about it,but are we reallymaking progress?
  176. 176. I don’t think so
  177. 177. “Strategy. It’s not big andit’s not clever.”Jon HughesVP at Cognizant Technology Solutions. Inspiration for me when I worked at PAConsulting, a management consultancy. He was a partner there at the time.
  178. 178. “But, it’s fucking hard todo well”Jon HughesVP at Cognizant Technology Solutions. Inspiration for me when I worked at PAConsulting, a management consultancy. He was a partner there at the time.
  179. 179. Most organisationsdon’t have good orclear strategies.
  180. 180. “ 4 types of strategy:- No strategy- Unclear strategy- Bad strategy- Good strategy”Someone in UX LisbonIn Leisa Reichelt’s UX Strategy workshop
  181. 181. UX people are notbuilt for strategy
  182. 182. We can’t handle thestench upstream
  183. 183. A lot of politics,power-games
  184. 184. Visionaries and seniorpeople can beruthless assholes
  185. 185. Steve Jobs
  186. 186. Donald Trump
  187. 187. Alan Sugar
  188. 188. It takes a long time toengage with stakeholdersand have a strategicinfluence
  189. 189. Some of us can’t committo more than 3 monthsfor a project, let alone 3years+ to conceive anddeliver on strategy
  190. 190. Truth No. 8SocialMost UX people are notbuilt for strategy
  191. 191. Dare no. 8I dare you to...Commit to developingstrategies, or focus onwhat you do best
  192. 192. We’re nearly there now
  193. 193. I have only skimmed thesurface of our echo-chamber and why weneed to get out more
  194. 194. If you want fame, beprepared to sacrifice yourpersonal life and putyourself up for criticism
  195. 195. We must exposeourselves to morethinking outside ofour space
  196. 196. “A lot of people in our industry haven’thad very diverse experiences. So theydon’t have enough dots to connect, andthey end up with very linear solutionswithout a broad perspective on theproblem. The broader one’sunderstanding of the human experience,the better design we will have.”Steve JobsIn an interview for Wired, February 1996
  197. 197. We need to focusourselves to save ourbubble from bursting
  198. 198. “It is not the strongest of thespecies that survive, nor themost intelligent, but the onemost adaptable to change”Clarence Darrow (often attributed to Darwin)Amercian Defense lawyer, defending the education of Darwin’s drawings
  199. 199. We need to have moreopinions and share themwith the world
  200. 200. “The great thing abouthaving an opinion is thatyou can change it”Simon ManchippCreative Director & co-founder at progressive brand consultancy SomeOne
  201. 201. Dare no. 9I dare you to...Share your opinionson UX and this talkwith the rest of theconference
  202. 202. DaresDon’t tweet soundbitesCritique conference talksCall bullshit on celebrity UX rockstarsMap your UX shape and focus your futureGet into the heads of othersTry more designing, less researchingCommit to strategy, or focus on UXShare opinions & be prepared to change
  203. 203. Thank youRMA ConsultingMaster Your Every Daytwitter: @jasonmesutpresentations:
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