Doing UX:
A Workflow for Teaching and Training
Guiseppe Getto
Assistant Professor of Technical
and Professional Communicat...
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Doing UX: A Workflow for Teaching and Training

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A poster I presented at the Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (http://sigdoc.acm.org/). The poster depicts a workflow for teaching and training students and professionals in user experience design.

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Doing UX: A Workflow for Teaching and Training

  1. 1. Doing UX: A Workflow for Teaching and Training Guiseppe Getto Assistant Professor of Technical and Professional Communication http://guiseppegetto.com gettog@ecu.edu Introduction This poster is a depiction of a workflow for developing sound practices in user experience design (UX) within any organization sufficiently invested in such work. Specifically, I present methods for introducing professionals from any background to key UX knowledge-making practices (ways); deliverables and concepts that professionals new to UX should be able to create (things); and means of sustaining this work within organizations (impact). The ultimate goal of this workflow is to create small, sustainable improvements in the way an organization approaches UX by utilizing best practices developed by thought leaders in both industry and academia. Ways As both a teacher and consultant, my job is usually to take someone who has little to no direct experience with UX, to introduce them to UX best practices, and to get them working on an actual UX project. Below are some ways I’ve done this. Key resource for UX ways: Leah Buley’s User Experience Team of One. Team strategy sessions – get everyone in a room together who will be working on a given project, introduce some main project elements (e.g. people, workflow, deadlines, goals/outcomes, deliverables), and have them discuss until a plan emerges. Messy, but effective when dealing with collaborative projects. Workshops – if everyone keeps coming to you in your organization asking the same questions, why not turn those questions into a workshop on the main topics arising? The more hands-on you can make it, the better. You could introduce a series of workshops that rotate so everyone is sure to get served the knowledge they need. Research expeditions – having a hard time getting people to understand the UX process or other concepts? Why not organize an expedition of willing souls to a UX conference, meet up, or to talk to some users they don’t usually encounter? In my experience, the more people do UX, the more they start to like it and respect it as a legitimate form of design practice. And sometimes you just need someone else echoing what you’ve been saying in meetings. Collaborative projects – is a there a group of people (or multiple groups) who are really struggling to do UX? Why not get in there with them and help them? Make sure you define your role, though! There’s nothing worse than people not understanding why you’re in the room with them and questioning your every suggestion. . References As an academic with no industry background in UX, I use the blogs, books, and conference presentations of industry thought leaders to help me. Here’s a list of resources I consult on a regular basis: http://guiseppegetto.com/ux-library. Looking for a model for a UX class? Try this one: http://guiseppegetto.com/engl7766ux. Impact A concept borrowed from the field of instructional design, impactful teaching and training works on two levels: the instructor learns by teaching, and students and trainees learn best when the instructor focuses on where they’re at as learners. Below are some best practices I’ve adopted to ensure I’m having a positive impact on the people I’m working with. Key resource for UX impact: Tomer Sharon’s It’s Our Research. Thinking Like Researchers and Problem Solvers – If professionals see UX as an add-on to work they’re already doing, they won’t invest in it. They have to see it as a way to solve problems they’re facing. And again: the best way to ensure this is to get them doing it. Once they begin to solve problems with UX, the utility of the practice speaks for itself. Sustainability First and Last (Start Small) – People don’t become UX experts over night. It’s better to have a small, sustainable impact, than a big one that won’t ever happen again once the consultant isn’t around. Besides getting buy-in by introducing UX as a problem-solving strategy, talking about the next project and how permanent resources within the organization will be devoted to UX is key. Things I’ve found that there are certain concepts that are essential for professionals without direct UX experience to understand if they’re going to begin to actually do UX. Key resource for UX things: Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla’s The UX Book. UX Process – A lot of professionals who encounter UX for the first start from the idea that UX is something you do after you’ve built something to make sure it works. Introducing the idea that UX is a process that starts as soon as product development starts is key. I typically introduce UX as the following discrete, but overlapping, design stages: 1.Preliminary research 2.Prototyping 3.Usability Testing 4.Maintenance UX Is More Than Usability – A lot of UX newbies also consider UX to be a simple rebranding of usability. Introducing them to other elements of UX besides usability, like information architecture, user research, and visual design, is key to dispelling this notion. I like to use infographics to do this, such as UX 101: What Is UX? by Homestead: http://www.youthedesigner.com/2013/07/16/infographic-ux- 101-what-is-user-experience/. Methods and Deliverables – I’ve also found that getting students and trainees working with actual methods (e.g. card sorting, usability testing, contextual inquiry, wireframing, etc.) helps them understand what UX is much more than just talking about it.

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