Designer Games - Creative Exercises to Enhance Your Work

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Ultimately we’re all fighting for users, but which ideas will win their favor? Sometimes, in the battle arena of meetings, requirements and design reviews, the loudest voice gets heard but not necessarily the best. Sometimes design sensibilities and user feedback take a backseat to politics, short-term goals or decisions by committee. In this talk you’ll learn more about a few useful weapons, such as gamestorming and design critiques, to make sure the best ideas win.

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Designer Games - Creative Exercises to Enhance Your Work

  1. 1. DESIGNER John Douglass Google SharePoint Conference 2012
  2. 2. Battle of Ideas
  3. 3. Few Win
  4. 4. How can we work together to find the best ideas?
  5. 5. %@!
  6. 6. MIT Building 20 Nuclear science, linguistics, machine shop, particle accelerator, R.O.T.C., piano repair facility, & cell-culture lab.
  7. 7. But working through differences is hard.
  8. 8. Traditional methods are broken
  9. 9. About more than meetings...
  10. 10. About more than meetings... Communication Channels
  11. 11. About more than meetings... Communication Channels Right People at the Right Time
  12. 12. About more than meetings... Communication Channels Right People at the Right Time Aligning Visions
  13. 13. We can create better products, stronger ideas and more informed decisions.
  14. 14. But need creative thinking techniques and structured play in our arsenals.
  15. 15. Who is “we”?
  16. 16. Who is “we”? Everyone. In three ways:
  17. 17. Who is “we”? Everyone. In three ways: Defining
  18. 18. Who is “we”? Everyone. In three ways: Defining Exploring
  19. 19. Who is “we”? Everyone. In three ways: Defining Exploring Honing
  20. 20. Define Explore Hone
  21. 21. We See Differently how many cubes? ThinkerToys: http://goo.gl/Kpq2J
  22. 22. What’s Your Problem?
  23. 23. 3 Ways to Define Squeeze Stretch State
  24. 24. Squeeze
  25. 25. In What Ways...
  26. 26. In What Ways... In what ways can we increase user engagement?
  27. 27. In What Ways... In what ways can we increase user engagement? In what ways can we improve sharing on G+?
  28. 28. In What Ways... In what ways can we increase user engagement? In what ways can we improve sharing on G+? In what ways can we improve our sharing tools?
  29. 29. In What Ways... In what ways can we increase user engagement? In what ways can we improve sharing on G+? In what ways can we improve our sharing tools? In what ways can we improve personal connections?
  30. 30. In What Ways... In what ways can we increase user engagement? In what ways can we improve sharing on G+? In what ways can we improve our sharing tools? In what ways can we improve personal connections? In what ways can we make our users’ lives better?
  31. 31. Stretch
  32. 32. Cover Story • Getting rid of logical constraints • Revealing shared hopes & plant seeds for real possibilities • Artifacts for continued ideas and inspiration • Any number of participants • 60 minutes Grove Consultants: http://www.gogamestorm.com/?p=365
  33. 33. Cover Story • Envision the ideal state of your organization. • You’ve wound up on the cover of a major magazine. • Story has already happened and been reported by mainstream media. • Break into groups of 4-6 and tell the story.
  34. 34. SharePoint Example “FinCorp search promotes knowledge sharing with other departments thus driving down costs” “FinCorp search reduces the time to find experts and allowing greater customer satisfaction” “FinCorp search allows users to find what they need and allow them to express the opinions on search” SharePoint Analyst HQ: http://goo.gl/nv1ca
  35. 35. State
  36. 36. Create Fodder Document what you’ve learned squeezing and stretching. Keep a problem journal. • What business problems do you want to work on? • What business relationships do you want to improve? • What is too complicated? • How can we become more user-centric?
  37. 37. Explore Define Hone
  38. 38. How do we explore ideas effectively?
  39. 39. We need a better balance
  40. 40. We need a better balance Group interaction Individual meditation
  41. 41. We need a better balance Group interaction Individual meditation Creating ideas Critical discussion
  42. 42. We need a better balance Group interaction Individual meditation Creating ideas Critical discussion Spontaneity Preparation
  43. 43. Brainwriting • Periods of mediation within group discussion • Less vocal participants are heard • 5 - 20 participants • 30 - 45 minutes ThinkerToys: http://goo.gl/Kpq2J
  44. 44. Brainwriting • Discuss problem and write it on a board • 3x5 index cards, each person writes one idea • Pass silently to the right • Each idea is stimulation for next person • Tape ideas to the wall • With different categories • Participants put adhesive dots on the ideas they like
  45. 45. Challenge Cards Solution Challenge • To identify and think through challenges, problems and potential pitfalls in a product, service or strategy. • 5 - 10 participants • 45 - 60 minutes Gamestorming: http:// www.gogamestorm.com/?p=572
  46. 46. Challenge Cards • One team writes a strength of the product or solution on each card • Other team brainstorms potential challenges • Challenge team pulls out one of their cards • If they have a solution, solution team gets a point. if they don’t challenge team gets a point. • Then both teams think of a solution. • Continues until story reaches conclusion.
  47. 47. • Avoid developing just the first good idea • Explore complementary approaches. • Generates lots of ideas in a short time. • Repeatable to hone and flesh out a few of the best ideas. • 2+ players, 30 - 60 minutes 6-8-5 Gamestorming: http://goo.gl/MU38W
  48. 48. • Before meeting, prepare grids. • Generate between 6 - 8 ideas in 5 minutes. • Silently sketch out as many ideas as possible. • Intentionally very rough • Share their sketches with the rest of the group. • Everyone presents! 6-8-5
  49. 49. Preparation
  50. 50. Preparation
  51. 51. Define Explore Hone
  52. 52. How do we effectively eliminate ideas?
  53. 53. Smashing Magazine: http://goo.gl/kGBw When is the right time to hone?
  54. 54. Smashing Magazine: http://goo.gl/kGBw When is the right time to hone?
  55. 55. When is the right time to hone?
  56. 56. • Creates a single list of ranked items. • Obligates the group to make difficult decisions, and each item is ranked relative to the others. • 3 - 10 participants • 30 - 60 minutes Forced Ranking Gamestorming: http://www.gogamestorm.com/?p=350
  57. 57. • Creates a single list of ranked items. • Obligates the group to make difficult decisions, and each item is ranked relative to the others. • 3 - 10 participants • 30 - 60 minutes Forced Ranking
  58. 58. • 2-10 players • Unranked list of items • Several different criteria, such as • Most important features for User X • Most potential impact over the next year • Least amount of effort over over the next six months • Discuss and finalize next steps Forced Ranking
  59. 59. What about honing sketches, mocks and prototypes?
  60. 60. Not Proofing Design Critique
  61. 61. Not Proofing Design Critique "What is it we're really trying to do here?"
  62. 62. Not Proofing Design Critique "What is it we're really trying to do here?" "How close are we to doing it?"
  63. 63. Art of Critique • All about the right intent • Everyone is an equal • Design owner decides what to act upon • Problem solving and design decisions avoided during session Art of Critique (Aaron Irizarry, Adam Connor): http://goo.gl/mgwZx
  64. 64. Giving Critique • What did I enjoy about this design and why? • What concerns me about this design and why? • What does this design remind me of and why?
  65. 65. Receiving Critique • Listen. Focus to understand the critics • Think before taking a position • Refer to design goals
  66. 66. Summary DefineExploreHone
  67. 67. Summary • Stretch and squeeze the problem • Get it out of your head - state it! DefineExploreHone
  68. 68. Summary • Stretch and squeeze the problem • Get it out of your head - state it! • Encourage individual meditation • Embrace “No, because...” • Get creative in your preparation DefineExploreHone
  69. 69. Summary • Stretch and squeeze the problem • Get it out of your head - state it! • Encourage individual meditation • Embrace “No, because...” • Get creative in your preparation • Refine and iterate from beginning to end • Critique with the right intent • Practice often, both giving and receiving DefineExploreHone
  70. 70. We can create better products, stronger ideas and more informed decisions.
  71. 71. But need creative thinking techniques and structured play in our arsenals.
  72. 72. References Gamestorming: http://www.gogamestorm.com/ Thinkertoys http://goo.gl/Kpq2J Art of Critique: http://goo.gl/mgwZx UIE - What goes into a Well Done Critique: http://goo.gl/qPncg NYT - In Pursuit of the Perfect Brainstorm: http://goo.gl/JvWxn
  73. 73. Thank You! John Douglass UX Researcher Google+ gplus.to/jhdouglass @jdouglass jhdouglass@gmail.com
  74. 74. Thank You! John Douglass UX Researcher Google+ gplus.to/jhdouglass @jdouglass jhdouglass@gmail.com

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