That’s not a gun. It’s your finger!                  Improv, play, and collaboration in UXCatharine Robertson @cathroThe B...
Tonight, we are ambitious1. Learn about improv2. Do some improv!3. Relate improv to UX (user experience)4. Relate improv t...
I            Baltimorehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/su1droot/4653717780/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/-marlith-/2533256880/ Trained to think on my feet
1996
I call myself an information architect.Some might call what I do UX design.                               http://www.flick...
Elements of user experience      Usability     Desirability     Adoptability     Value
Different products, different priorities Social                                   Onlinenetworks            Usability     ...
What I do          Clients/projects• Solve business   •   Healthcare  problems         •   Financial services• Meet       ...
Another thing I do          • Mike Subelsky            founded BIG & was            my first improv            teacher    ...
“Fail big, fail often”• Perform at Chicago Improv Festival & others• Found, direct, perform in Baltimore troupes• Produce ...
Improv in my work life•   more playful,•   more willing to try new things•   better at brainstorming•   empathy•   listeni...
What is improv?         “Strictly speaking,         improvisation is         making it up as         you go along.”       ...
Improv is a game,and it has one rule.
“Yes, and…”
“Yes, and…”Agree + add something
“Agreement” = acceptance             • Acceptance of               circumstances: who,               what, where          ...
“And” = add something   This restaurant looks   really fancy. I hope   we have enough   money.               [Yes, and] I ...
Watching“yes, and…”in action
Play = agreementestablish what/who/whereagree on premiseaccept all offers            http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrissud...
Viola Spolin on play           • “Were they acting?             Get them to play.”           • Improvise choices          ...
Game: conducted story               http://www.flickr.com/photos/glasgowamateur/7705117134/
Sound familiar?User experience (UX) work also includes:• Accepting (requirements, constraints)• Listening (to the market, ...
Similarities   Audience                                                    Users/customershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/apo...
Knowyouraudience
Knowyourusers
Collaboration in improv• “Hit the ball back”   • Listen to scene• Accept the              partners  who/what/where        ...
Collaboration in UX• Agree on premise,      • User testing is  constraints (who,        collaboration with  what, where)  ...
The best collaboration• Free of judgment (Spolin)• Failure is encouraged (Subelsky)• Inhibitions are shed• Heightening of ...
What if you don’t like the idea? Yes    Accept you can’t change the        offer given you. and…   TRUST that hitting the ...
Game reprise: Imaginary product                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/glasgowamateur/7705117134/
Game recap
http://www.flickr.com/photos/remembertobreathe/5941642275/                                                                ...
What are you saying “yes, and…” toin Baltimore?
Want more?• Steve Portigal @steveportigal• Liz Danzico @bobulate• Take a class! See a show!  bigimprov.org• Say yes, but d...
Catharine Robertson@cathro@berndtgroup@bigimprov@vauxhallshowBaltimore UX Book ClubThanks for saying yes to tonight!
That's Not A Gun, It's your Finger: It’s Your Finger! Improv, Play, and Collaboration in UX
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That's Not A Gun, It's your Finger: It’s Your Finger! Improv, Play, and Collaboration in UX

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Catharine Robertson gives an entertaining talk about incorporating playfulness into our designs and camaraderie into our working and client relationships.

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That's Not A Gun, It's your Finger: It’s Your Finger! Improv, Play, and Collaboration in UX

  1. 1. That’s not a gun. It’s your finger! Improv, play, and collaboration in UXCatharine Robertson @cathroThe Berndt Group, Baltimore Improv Group http://www.flickr.com/photos/thechanel/330300067/
  2. 2. Tonight, we are ambitious1. Learn about improv2. Do some improv!3. Relate improv to UX (user experience)4. Relate improv to team & client collaboration5. A challenge related to improv & Baltimore
  3. 3. I Baltimorehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/su1droot/4653717780/
  4. 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/-marlith-/2533256880/ Trained to think on my feet
  5. 5. 1996
  6. 6. I call myself an information architect.Some might call what I do UX design. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwdesigns/734124559/
  7. 7. Elements of user experience Usability Desirability Adoptability Value
  8. 8. Different products, different priorities Social Onlinenetworks Usability Desirability dating EnterpriseGames Adoptability Value software
  9. 9. What I do Clients/projects• Solve business • Healthcare problems • Financial services• Meet • Real estate user/customer • Nonprofits needs • Arts • Education • Technology
  10. 10. Another thing I do • Mike Subelsky founded BIG & was my first improv teacher • Mike’s zen koan: If you don’t fail at least once each rehearsal, you haven’t tried hard enough.
  11. 11. “Fail big, fail often”• Perform at Chicago Improv Festival & others• Found, direct, perform in Baltimore troupes• Produce Baltimore Improv Festival first 5 years• Write, perform in Stoop Storytelling live radio shows• Produce/direct/write/perform in Vauxhall: Postmodern Vaudeville for Baltimore• Not the best improviser, my strengths are more meta--directing, big picture, producing, audience experience
  12. 12. Improv in my work life• more playful,• more willing to try new things• better at brainstorming• empathy• listening• accept circumstances• kill my darlings• better client interaction• better team collaboration
  13. 13. What is improv? “Strictly speaking, improvisation is making it up as you go along.” Del Close & Charna Halpern Truth in Comedy
  14. 14. Improv is a game,and it has one rule.
  15. 15. “Yes, and…”
  16. 16. “Yes, and…”Agree + add something
  17. 17. “Agreement” = acceptance • Acceptance of circumstances: who, what, where • Your finger is a gun, you’re a hippo, you’re at a bullfight in Spain • Conversation showstoppers • “Hit the ball back”
  18. 18. “And” = add something This restaurant looks really fancy. I hope we have enough money. [Yes, and] I hope your boss doesn’t order the lobster. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonynewell/854258638/
  19. 19. Watching“yes, and…”in action
  20. 20. Play = agreementestablish what/who/whereagree on premiseaccept all offers http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrissuderman/858914782/
  21. 21. Viola Spolin on play • “Were they acting? Get them to play.” • Improvise choices onstage, just as in life. • Players freed to create new opportunities so rules of play are fulfilled. • Son Paul Sills founding director of Second City.
  22. 22. Game: conducted story http://www.flickr.com/photos/glasgowamateur/7705117134/
  23. 23. Sound familiar?User experience (UX) work also includes:• Accepting (requirements, constraints)• Listening (to the market, to the client)• Paying attention to the group (your team)You each contribute to building somethingfor the user.
  24. 24. Similarities Audience Users/customershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/apollonia666/391357963/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/photocapy/5628703464/ • Vital to the improviser • Vital to the UX person • Best improv shows are • Best products are for the audience, not designed with actual improvisers use in mind • No viable show without • No viable product an audience without a user/customer
  25. 25. Knowyouraudience
  26. 26. Knowyourusers
  27. 27. Collaboration in improv• “Hit the ball back” • Listen to scene• Accept the partners who/what/where • Everyone has a part, circumstances even if supporting• Add something of • Patterns emerge as value to keep story the improvised moving “game” of a scene
  28. 28. Collaboration in UX• Agree on premise, • User testing is constraints (who, collaboration with what, where) customers• “And” add • Common goals & strategy lead to something of value better product for users/customers, • When in doubt, test clients it out
  29. 29. The best collaboration• Free of judgment (Spolin)• Failure is encouraged (Subelsky)• Inhibitions are shed• Heightening of goals• Making your partner look good makes the team look great (Mick Napier)• Reduces belly fat (Tina Fey)
  30. 30. What if you don’t like the idea? Yes Accept you can’t change the offer given you. and… TRUST that hitting the ball back will end up a worthwhile game.
  31. 31. Game reprise: Imaginary product http://www.flickr.com/photos/glasgowamateur/7705117134/
  32. 32. Game recap
  33. 33. http://www.flickr.com/photos/remembertobreathe/5941642275/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/102645614/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifmuth/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/husein/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/gundamwing4132/http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/102908841/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/hillary/445637777/
  34. 34. What are you saying “yes, and…” toin Baltimore?
  35. 35. Want more?• Steve Portigal @steveportigal• Liz Danzico @bobulate• Take a class! See a show! bigimprov.org• Say yes, but don’t just say yes. Add something!
  36. 36. Catharine Robertson@cathro@berndtgroup@bigimprov@vauxhallshowBaltimore UX Book ClubThanks for saying yes to tonight!

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