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Aggressive inclusivity 
a truly team approach to empathetic design 
Kevin Fitzsimons - October 2014
Icebreaker
Adversarial relations… 
“Fight your corner… 
never let up or they’ll 
crush you” 
“Stand your ground…” 
“Make sure you kee...
What did we want the team to be like? 
• All about: 
– Avoiding assumed consensus 
– Gelling the team from Day One 
– Rapi...
Bad old days 
• PM Spoke to ‘the customer’ 
• This meant the person who signed the cheques 
• Resulted in us building a ma...
Empathy with users… 
Engineer – Product Manager – Account Manager – Buyer – Supervisor – User 
• Don’t just ‘study’ or ‘un...
Personas…
Use their key touchpoints 
Definition of done…
The WHOLE team goes into the field 
• Working with the real users on real jobs
And we do mean the WHOLE team… 
• Left to right: 
– Graphic Designer 
– Software Dev Lead 
– User 
– Technical Architect 
...
Some context 
• What is Confirm? 
– Highways asset maintenance management 
– Manages over $1bn of infrastructure assets gl...
Existing Confirm Mobile 
• Some deeply horrible UX 
issues 
• Runs only on specialised 
devices
Field research - in
Field research - out
Up close and personal…
TRULY understand the task…
Field context - empathies
Empathy in action: once I see it…
The empathy thing writ large
Gathering artefacts
Empathy-driven development 
• …the team’s workspace lived and breathed the 
customer… photos of real users (not personas),...
Making it real 
• JEDUF© 
– Just Enough Design Up Front to make a start 
• Prototyping was key 
• Prototype had several ro...
Full-team design
Lo-fi prototyping 
24
…and we iterated from there
The secret sauce 
• We empathise with users 
• And we trust each other 
• And we make decisions together 
• And all this a...
Final result… 
• Standing start to market leader in 9 months 
• 18 months ahead of the competition 
• Users of competitors...
Side benefits… 
• Huge PR side benefits 
• Customers see the process happening 
• Industry perception of activity and prog...
Inclusivity learning points 
• Understand the culture 
• Speak the language 
• Be subversive; bottom up not top down 
• Fi...
Developer quote 
• “This has really opened my eyes… I can’t believe I’ve 
been developing for seven years without doing th...
Take a bow… the team 
• John Castle 
• Kevin Fitzsimons 
• John Gomersall 
• David Haynes 
• Keith Manning 
• Liz McKenzie...
•Questions? 
•kevin.fitzsimons@pb.com
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UCD14 Talk - Kevin Fitzsimons - Aggressive Inclusivity: A Truly Team Approach to Empathetic Design

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Kevin Fitzsimons - Aggressive Inclusivity: A Truly Team Approach to Empathetic Design

Reaping the full benefits of user-centred design requires deep involvement from the entire team, including technical people, stakeholders, and users. Revolving around a couple of notable case studies, this talk describes how a truly integrated team – one where stakeholders are team members, not adversaries, and customers are partners in design, not anthropological specimens – can drive product success through not just understanding the user, but by building empathetic relationships and feedback loops.

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UCD14 Talk - Kevin Fitzsimons - Aggressive Inclusivity: A Truly Team Approach to Empathetic Design

  1. 1. Aggressive inclusivity a truly team approach to empathetic design Kevin Fitzsimons - October 2014
  2. 2. Icebreaker
  3. 3. Adversarial relations… “Fight your corner… never let up or they’ll crush you” “Stand your ground…” “Make sure you keep arguing the UX case… don’t let them browbeat you…” “Daily struggle… keep on the front foot…” “They might get it eventually…”
  4. 4. What did we want the team to be like? • All about: – Avoiding assumed consensus – Gelling the team from Day One – Rapidly moving in the right direction – Establishing empathy with users • It’s NOT about: – Specs – Requirements docs – Detailed plans – Detailed designs – Documentation is risk, not risk management
  5. 5. Bad old days • PM Spoke to ‘the customer’ • This meant the person who signed the cheques • Resulted in us building a major new feature • How many users actually used this feature when it was delivered?
  6. 6. Empathy with users… Engineer – Product Manager – Account Manager – Buyer – Supervisor – User • Don’t just ‘study’ or ‘understand’ customers – Need to really EMPATHISE – Real user input NOT ‘user proxies’ or buyers or personas – Engineers talk DIRECTLY to the users – Engineers ALWAYS attend field visits
  7. 7. Personas…
  8. 8. Use their key touchpoints Definition of done…
  9. 9. The WHOLE team goes into the field • Working with the real users on real jobs
  10. 10. And we do mean the WHOLE team… • Left to right: – Graphic Designer – Software Dev Lead – User – Technical Architect • …on a freezing morning in Chatham, England
  11. 11. Some context • What is Confirm? – Highways asset maintenance management – Manages over $1bn of infrastructure assets globally – Over 20 years old • Existing Confirm Mobile – Field based extension of Confirm desktop • What we were doing – Replacing Confirm Mobile – Being first to market with a smartphone and tablet offering – Expanding the customer base
  12. 12. Existing Confirm Mobile • Some deeply horrible UX issues • Runs only on specialised devices
  13. 13. Field research - in
  14. 14. Field research - out
  15. 15. Up close and personal…
  16. 16. TRULY understand the task…
  17. 17. Field context - empathies
  18. 18. Empathy in action: once I see it…
  19. 19. The empathy thing writ large
  20. 20. Gathering artefacts
  21. 21. Empathy-driven development • …the team’s workspace lived and breathed the customer… photos of real users (not personas), their artefacts… their desks…
  22. 22. Making it real • JEDUF© – Just Enough Design Up Front to make a start • Prototyping was key • Prototype had several roles: – UX validation – User research – Demos – Sales briefings – Communication shared understanding of vision – ‘Spec’ – supports on-going discussion with Product Manager
  23. 23. Full-team design
  24. 24. Lo-fi prototyping 24
  25. 25. …and we iterated from there
  26. 26. The secret sauce • We empathise with users • And we trust each other • And we make decisions together • And all this allows us to be truly lean (as in eliminating waste, for example, personas and throwaway prototypes) • And that’s it, really
  27. 27. Final result… • Standing start to market leader in 9 months • 18 months ahead of the competition • Users of competitors’ products requesting demos • Significant pull-through sales of desktop solution • Confirm business grew 25%+ in 2013
  28. 28. Side benefits… • Huge PR side benefits • Customers see the process happening • Industry perception of activity and progression – Clients see progress rather than early announcement followed by radio silence for 18 months • See responsiveness • Engenders trust • Feel valued • They spread the word • Happier to take the product earlier • Discussions about features fade away
  29. 29. Inclusivity learning points • Understand the culture • Speak the language • Be subversive; bottom up not top down • Find the hot buttons • Don’t try to change development practice • Evangelise by doing • Be visible • Make allies • Be inclusive • Share ownership of artefacts • Explain & accommodate… don’t dictate • They want to learn • Have ground rules
  30. 30. Developer quote • “This has really opened my eyes… I can’t believe I’ve been developing for seven years without doing this… this is the first time I’ve really understood why I’m coding something… previously if I hit a problem and needed guidance, I’d ask the product owner and he’d tell me how to solve it but I still wouldn’t understand why it had to be done like that… now I’ve been part of this I can’t imagine how we ever managed to build anything useful before…”
  31. 31. Take a bow… the team • John Castle • Kevin Fitzsimons • John Gomersall • David Haynes • Keith Manning • Liz McKenzie • Paul Miller • Rob Savage • Vaughn Stanworth • Adam Taroni
  32. 32. •Questions? •kevin.fitzsimons@pb.com

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