Triangles, Hula Hoops, and Chopsticks Exploring Rhetorical Focus Thom Haller [email_address] Presentation to UPA-DC.  Sept...
Tonight thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Time Chunk 2:  Triangles Time Chunk 3:  Hula Hoops Time Chunk 4:  ...
Time Chunk #1: Overview (and Exigence) thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
<ul><li>Meet Thom…Person most likely  to get lost in information </li></ul>
<ul><li>Help!  I need structure. </li></ul>
From which passion arose…
<ul><li>How can we  make the complex clear? </li></ul>
My pursuit began in the 1980s thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
As a student of rhetoric thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
Rhetoric does not mean “meaningless bombast” thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com chopsticks
Rhetoric = Information  directed toward action thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
I liked that… thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
But what does this  mean to you? thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
Useful rhetorical word:  EXIGENCE thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
Exigence  <ul><li>“ An imperfection marked by urgency; a deficit; a need”  (Lloyd Bitzer, 68) </li></ul><ul><li>“ That whi...
In other words:  Why are we doing this? thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
Thom story:  In the early days, I often built “communication products” nobody wanted to use 1990s now 1976 1980s Working f...
Hmmmm… This makes me grumpy Thom in a mauve cubicle. Young(er). Moustached.  And  Grumpy . This made me grumpy.
So I asked…. “Why are we doing this?” Deliverable Use of product/site Why do we  focus on  the deliverable?
I wondered…. How can we help people use information? Deliverable Use of product/site How can we keep our  focus on  what p...
And  YOU  asked… What does this have to do with triangles,  hula hoops,  chopsticks, and agile thinking?
Time Chunk #2: Triangles
Envision a triangle.  thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
You can use a triangle to frame your thinking. thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Celebrity endorsement: Jay-z
thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Your turn: Make a triangle with your hands.
thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Your turn: Make a triangle with your hands. Envision your exigency..  Why ...
thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Your turn: Make a triangle with your hands. Look at the corners of the tri...
Ask three focusing questions thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com How do they/we measure success? What do they ...
thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Now look through your triangle… Inside the triangle Outside the  triangle
Rhetorical exigency thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com You now have a framework for deciding what to leave in...
Time Chunk #3: Hula Hoops
Audience. Purpose. Context. thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Example: www.plainlanguage.gov
Tip: Try this on paper thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
Time Chunk #4: Chopsticks
Look at your chopsticks thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Note: For special guests – like you
Envision an hourglass thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com
How much background info do you need to support a claim? thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011  www.thomhaller.com Less background c...
Time Chunk #5: Applying ideas
Develop Quick Personas to Help You Focus thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011   www.thomhaller.com Step One. Find a Human Images vi...
Develop Quick Personas to Help You Focus thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011   www.thomhaller.com Step 3. What is this person sayi...
Develop Quick Personas to Help You Focus thom@thomhaller.com  © 2011   www.thomhaller.com Step 5 Optional: Develop these i...
Why Rhetorical Focus Matters <ul><ul><ul><li>You can structure information so people can find information, use it, and  ap...
Thanks. Thanks. Together we can make  the complex clear. Thom Haller  [email_address] © 2011  www.thomhaller.com email: th...
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Thomhaller upa dc presentation - triangles hula hoops chopsticks

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No matter what problem you are working on, you need a foundation that envisions others using the product you create.

In this session, you will build triangles with your hands,

look through the triangles and ask: Who is my audience? What is their purpose, and what is their context?


With this framing, you will be able to see patterns and make decisions.


You will also use hula hoops to explore strategic relationships and

maneuver chopsticks to envision the structure of an argument.

The session will conclude by drafting agile personas and seeing how this unique approach can serve as the basis for any UX project.

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Thomhaller upa dc presentation - triangles hula hoops chopsticks

  1. 1. Triangles, Hula Hoops, and Chopsticks Exploring Rhetorical Focus Thom Haller [email_address] Presentation to UPA-DC. September 16, 2011 thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  2. 2. Tonight thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Time Chunk 2: Triangles Time Chunk 3: Hula Hoops Time Chunk 4: Chopsticks Time Chunk 5: Try this at Home Time Chunk 1: Overview … Exigence
  3. 3. Time Chunk #1: Overview (and Exigence) thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  4. 4. <ul><li>Meet Thom…Person most likely to get lost in information </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Help! I need structure. </li></ul>
  6. 6. From which passion arose…
  7. 7. <ul><li>How can we make the complex clear? </li></ul>
  8. 8. My pursuit began in the 1980s thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  9. 9. As a student of rhetoric thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  10. 10. Rhetoric does not mean “meaningless bombast” thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com chopsticks
  11. 11. Rhetoric = Information directed toward action thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  12. 12. I liked that… thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  13. 13. But what does this mean to you? thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  14. 14. Useful rhetorical word: EXIGENCE thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  15. 15. Exigence <ul><li>“ An imperfection marked by urgency; a deficit; a need” (Lloyd Bitzer, 68) </li></ul><ul><li>“ That which prompts the author to write in the first place” (M. Jimmie Killingsworth, 95) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>respond to a problem that requires attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a need that must be met </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a concept that must be understood before the audience can move to a next step. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Etymology:From the Latin, &quot;demand.&quot; </li></ul>thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  16. 16. In other words: Why are we doing this? thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  17. 17. Thom story: In the early days, I often built “communication products” nobody wanted to use 1990s now 1976 1980s Working for 3-letter acronym firms
  18. 18. Hmmmm… This makes me grumpy Thom in a mauve cubicle. Young(er). Moustached. And Grumpy . This made me grumpy.
  19. 19. So I asked…. “Why are we doing this?” Deliverable Use of product/site Why do we focus on the deliverable?
  20. 20. I wondered…. How can we help people use information? Deliverable Use of product/site How can we keep our focus on what people want to DO?
  21. 21. And YOU asked… What does this have to do with triangles, hula hoops, chopsticks, and agile thinking?
  22. 22. Time Chunk #2: Triangles
  23. 23. Envision a triangle. thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  24. 24. You can use a triangle to frame your thinking. thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Celebrity endorsement: Jay-z
  25. 25. thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Your turn: Make a triangle with your hands.
  26. 26. thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Your turn: Make a triangle with your hands. Envision your exigency.. Why are you building the products you are building?
  27. 27. thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Your turn: Make a triangle with your hands. Look at the corners of the triangle and ask three questions
  28. 28. Ask three focusing questions thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com How do they/we measure success? What do they want to DO with the information? Who’s the audience?
  29. 29. thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Now look through your triangle… Inside the triangle Outside the triangle
  30. 30. Rhetorical exigency thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com You now have a framework for deciding what to leave in and what to take out. Content: what we leave in
  31. 31. Time Chunk #3: Hula Hoops
  32. 32. Audience. Purpose. Context. thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Example: www.plainlanguage.gov
  33. 33. Tip: Try this on paper thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  34. 34. Time Chunk #4: Chopsticks
  35. 35. Look at your chopsticks thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Note: For special guests – like you
  36. 36. Envision an hourglass thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  37. 37. How much background info do you need to support a claim? thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Less background content More background content
  38. 38. Time Chunk #5: Applying ideas
  39. 39. Develop Quick Personas to Help You Focus thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Step One. Find a Human Images via Google Images (Burt)
  40. 40. Develop Quick Personas to Help You Focus thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Step 3. What is this person saying as he reads your document/ content? Step 2 Draw Triangle Add Content for AUDIENCE PURPOSE CONTEXT
  41. 41. Develop Quick Personas to Help You Focus thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com Step 5 Optional: Develop these into consistent products for the entire team. Step 4 Use these rough personas to support your thinking (agile approach)
  42. 42. Why Rhetorical Focus Matters <ul><ul><ul><li>You can structure information so people can find information, use it, and appreciate the experience. </li></ul></ul></ul>thom@thomhaller.com © 2011 www.thomhaller.com
  43. 43. Thanks. Thanks. Together we can make the complex clear. Thom Haller [email_address] © 2011 www.thomhaller.com email: thom@thomhaller.com News : IA/UX class begins next Wednesday. Year #14 at the Graduate School in DC And I need test volunteers for www.plainlanguage.gov Hit me up for details.
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