The Reluctant Design Strategist: The Story of a UX Team of 1.5 Failing Forward


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In a nonprofit organization like mine, resources are often sparse. My team is one and half people strong. We do more with less every day. And despite our best efforts, sometimes we fail.

While reflecting on our successes and failures a theme has emerged: our successes occurred when we spent time developing a clear strategy with our clients. And if we couldn’t work with them directly, we made one up.

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The Reluctant Design Strategist: The Story of a UX Team of 1.5 Failing Forward

  1. 1. The Reluctant Design Strategist: Megan Ellinger @mkellinger National Academy of Sciences <ul><li>The Story of a UX Team of 1.5 Failing Forward </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by jezarnold </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by afagen </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by francistoms </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Sea Frost </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Jeff Youngstrom </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by david_shankbone </li></ul>
  8. 8. STARLET OR STREETWALKER <ul><li>Some rights reserved by tranchis </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by mondopanno </li></ul>
  10. 10. WIN? OR BIN? <ul><li>Some rights reserved by tranchis </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Rafa from Brazil </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by makelessnoise </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Mark Strozier </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  14. 14. INTRANET REDESIGN: THE LEMONS I ASKED FOR. <ul><li>Win? Or Bin? </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Aaron Edwards </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  16. 16. WIN? OR BIN? <ul><li>Some rights reserved by ....Tim </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by clurr </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by John&Fish </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Tayrawr Fortune </li></ul>
  20. 20. I WAS NOT FAILING FORWARD. <ul><li>The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure. </li></ul><ul><li>-John C. Maxwell </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by absolutezer0 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Kate Rutter, Sticky Note Ninja </li></ul>You can buy a LOT of sticky notes before anyone notices.
  23. 23. WHAT DO YOU DO (OR TRY TO DO) ON THE INTRANET? <ul><li>Some rights reserved by angelamaphone </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  24. 24. I am one SPECIFIC task Speling duz not kount Handwriting DOES count Cluster similar tasks
  25. 25. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Abllo™ </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by .imelda </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  27. 27. 40
  28. 28. TELL ME! WHY DID IT FAIL?!?!
  29. 29. IS IT OUR NONPROFIT CULTURE? <ul><li>The Academies appoint a group of distinguished scientists with varying expertise who meet to review research on a particular topic. These scientists, who often have diverse backgrounds and ideas, work together to reach consensus on timely, often controversial, topics. </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by fotogail </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  31. 31. WE ARE NOT ALONE <ul><li>In my experience, nonprofits have considerable difficulty in clearly defining their strategy…. Accustomed to reaching conclusions by consensus, they fail to accept some suggestions while rejecting others. </li></ul><ul><li>- Robert S. Kaplan </li></ul>
  32. 32. WHO SAYS, “NO?” <ul><li>The essence of strategy is in the activities— choosing to perform activities differently or to perform different activities than rivals. </li></ul><ul><li>- Michael Porter, What is Strategy </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by San Diego Shooter </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  34. 34. I AM JUST THE “USER EXPERIENCE ANALYST” <ul><li>Some rights reserved by tranchis </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Isaac Singleton Photography </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Architect Researcher Designer
  36. 36. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Brad Gillette </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  37. 37. STRATEGY: GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW <ul><li>What’s worth doing? </li></ul><ul><li>What are we creating? </li></ul><ul><li>What value does it provide? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we deliver it? </li></ul><ul><li>- Brandon Schauer, Henning Fischer </li></ul>
  38. 38. HOMEPAGE REDESIGN: ANGRY MOB <ul><li>Win? Or Bin? </li></ul><ul><li>Some rights reserved by stuant63 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  39. 39. I FIGURED IT OUT WEEK BY WEEK <ul><li>What’s worth doing? </li></ul><ul><li>What are we creating? </li></ul><ul><li>What value does it provide? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we deliver it? </li></ul><ul><li>Some rights reserved by CRASH:candy </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  40. 40. WIN OR BIN?
  41. 41. WIN! <ul><li>Some rights reserved by tsuacctnt </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  42. 42. GET MOVING! PIN THE DOT ON THE WALL. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Chris Garrison </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  43. 43. SILENCE IS GOLDEN (ESPECIALLY DURING A CRITIQUE) <ul><li>What concerns you about the design? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you enjoy? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there anything missing? </li></ul><ul><li>Some rights reserved by tranchis </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  44. 44. MY NEW DUCK: MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES <ul><li>What’s worth doing? </li></ul><ul><li>What are we creating? </li></ul><ul><li>What value does it provide? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we deliver it? </li></ul><ul><li>How will we know if we got it right? </li></ul><ul><li>Some rights reserved by zoomar </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  45. 45. VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT: THE B.O.T. (BOSS ORDERED THIS) <ul><li>Win? Or Bin? </li></ul><ul><li>Some rights reserved by FlySi </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  46. 46. A BIT OF BOTH! <ul><li>Some rights reserved by jurvetson </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  47. 47. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by spinster </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  48. 48. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by v1ctory_1s_m1ne </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  49. 49. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Greg Miles </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  50. 50. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by Vitó </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  51. 51. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by San Diego Shooter </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  52. 52. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by *~Dawn~* </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Architect Researcher Designer Strategist
  53. 53. GET OUT THERE AND FAIL FORWARD. <ul><li>Some rights reserved by tranchis </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  54. 54. THANK YOU! Megan Ellinger [email_address]
  55. 55. RECOMMENDED READING <ul><li>Michael E. Porter, What is Strategy? </li></ul><ul><li>Robert S. Kaplan, Strategic Performance Measurement and Management in Nonprofit Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, Philanthropy’s New Agenda: Creating Value </li></ul><ul><li>John C. Maxwell, Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success </li></ul><ul><li>Kate Rutter, Become a Stickynote Ninja (available on Slideshare) </li></ul><ul><li>David Straker, Rapid Problem Solving with Post-It Notes </li></ul><ul><li>Jared Spool, What Goes into a Well-Done Critique </li></ul>