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Describing the elephant: Moving beyond professional silos when defining UX

Professional factions have made it impossible for the business community to make educated decisions – or even understand what UX is. Content strategists scream “Content is King”. The information architects yell “Structure the kingdom”. The SEO folks say “There is no data without metadata”.

And the business community is frustrated. Who should they hire?

The answer is simple: the agency that tells them: “No worries. We’ll get it done for you and you will love it.”

I’d like to see these professional barriers broken down. We ALL bring something valuable to the table – if we’re ever allowed to sit at that table. And I’d like to share a model for UX that respects our differences, but provides an easy-to-understand framework on which businesses can build their UX strategies.

Describing the elephant: Moving beyond professional silos when defining UX

  1. 1. Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong Under the shade of a coolibah tree, And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled: "Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?" Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda You'll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled: "You'll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me."
  2. 2. Describing the elephant Moving beyond professional silos Eric Reiss @elreiss UX Australia August 29, 2014 Sydney, Australia
  3. 3. My goals, your take-aways I hope to dispell some myths: UX is only something that happens on a screen UX was invented in the ‘80s UX can be accomplished by a team of one I also want to: Give you an actionable definition of UX Provide tips that can help promote our talents to the business community
  4. 4. What is “Australia”?
  5. 5. From a Danish perspective…
  6. 6. Let’s look at movies…
  7. 7. Australian football rules…
  8. 8. And all those damned clichés…
  9. 9. And all them beasties…
  10. 10. Putting Australia on the map…
  11. 11. So, what IS “Australia”?
  12. 12. Clients know what they want But we know what they need
  13. 13. Clients know what they want But we know what they need This is the fatal disconnect
  14. 14. Accessibility Mental models Personas SSSSeeeeaaaarrrrcccchhhhaaaabbbbiiiilllliiiittttyyyy Usability Knowledge management Sensemaking Experience design Scenaria Findability Storytelling Information architecture Content management Content strategy User-centered design
  15. 15. “Creativity varies inversely with the number of cooks involved in the broth.” Bernice Fitz-Gibbon 1967
  16. 16. 1995 1998 2000 2014 Webmaster Webmaster Visual designer Copywriter Developer Visual designer Information architect Copywriter Front-end engineer Full-stack developer Visual designer UI designer Interaction designer Content strategist Information architect Content providers SEO consultant Social media guru Product manager Project manager Token baby boomer
  17. 17. It’s all Greek to me....
  18. 18. “He hears only that which he understands” Goethe
  19. 19. CMS UX CM UCD UxD CSS “He hears only that which he understands” XMLG oethe
  20. 20. User Experience IA SD CS IxD GD PM DEV KM SEO SM MKT IT
  21. 21. What does this mean for us as UX professionals? No single person can truly be a “UX Designer” No single discipline can truly take ownership of UX
  22. 22. Can we define UX in simple, understandable terms? Can we embrace all these disciplines without taking ownership?
  23. 23. Eric’s 1st Law of UX: If a solution does not solve your user’s problems, it will not solve your company’s either.
  24. 24. So, let’s start by looking at a “user”
  25. 25. us·er noun 1: a person who makes use of a thing; someone who uses or employs something 2: a person who uses something or someone selfishly or unethically 3: a person who takes drugs
  26. 26. When would you use (simultaneously): An ergonomic seat designed for one person Optical lenses invented by Benjamin Franklin Alcoholic mixture invented by Dr. Iain Marshall Incandescent device invented by Thomas Edison Fabric made on a loom invented by JM Jacquard Rouge Royale (marble) Baskerville Light (typography) Domesticated mammal (This is often how our clients look at their content)
  27. 27. When would you use (in simpler terms): Armchair Bifocal eyeglasses Manhattan Cocktail Lightbulb Wool jumper Tabletop Book Cat (This is an easier way to look at content)
  28. 28. Eyeglasses Wool pullover Lightbulb Marble tabletop Armchair Book Gus the Cat Manhattan Cocktail
  29. 29. Sensory assistance Warmth/comfort Sensory assistance Convenience/aethetics Convenience/comfort Education/information Companionship Chemical stimuli
  30. 30. The experience of a touchpoint is always situational
  31. 31. The touchpoints are cumulative
  32. 32. What do your users need? What are the scenarios? How many touchpoints are touched?
  33. 33. How can anyone truly be a “UX Designer” without controlling all the touchpoints? UX design certainly exists... ...but are there truly UX designers?
  34. 34. Perhaps we need a more useful definition of UX!
  35. 35. ex·per·i·ence noun 1: having been affected by or learned through observation or participation 2: the length of such participation
  36. 36. Eric’s 2nd Law of UX: User experience is the sum of a series of interactions between people, devices, and events.
  37. 37. Eric’s 3rd Law of UX: UX design represents the conscious act of : • coordinating interactions we can control • acknowledging interactions we cannot control • reducing negative interactions
  38. 38. Three types of interaction: Active (things we control) Passive (things we don’t control) Secondary (things that have indirect influence)
  39. 39. Active interaction
  40. 40. Active interaction
  41. 41. Passive interaction (partly)
  42. 42. Passive interaction
  43. 43. Secondary interaction
  44. 44. Secondary interaction
  45. 45. UX involves all three interaction types Coordinating interactions that we can control Acknowledging interactions beyond our control Reducing negative interactions
  46. 46. Coordinating interactions
  47. 47. Coordinating interactions
  48. 48. Coordinating interactions
  49. 49. Reducing negative interactions
  50. 50. Reducing negative interactions
  51. 51. Reducing negative interactions
  52. 52. Reducing negative interactions
  53. 53. Can influence Cannot influence Business critical Screw it
  54. 54. So, where does that leave us? How do we get business to understand the value we can provide? Five things to consider if you want to succeed in UX
  55. 55. Don’t speak geek Don’t speak geek!
  56. 56. Don’t attack other disciplines Don’t attack other disciplines!
  57. 57. Solve problems, don’t create them Solve problems. Don’t create them.
  58. 58. Think beyond your own self-interest Think beyond your own self-interest.
  59. 59. And finally, my personal mantra...
  60. 60. Sell crackers, not crumbs!
  61. 61. Cheers mates! Have a good one!
  62. 62. Eric Reiss can (usually) be found at: The FatDUX Group ApS Strandøre 15 2100 Copenhagen Denmark Office: (+45) 39 29 67 77 Mobil: (+45) 20 12 88 44 Twitter: @elreiss