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TOWARDS A F*CK UP M@N1F3STØ

How do we incorporate f*cking up into
the user experience design process?
Grawlix

!


Typographical symbols
standing for profanities,
appearing in dialogue
balloons in place of actual
dialogue. Invented by
American cartoonist Mort
Walker.!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mort_Walker!
The Romance of Failure
Ben Huh

One Reality of Failure


Setup: Huh was a 22-year-old journalism major when he moved to
Chicago and founded software analytics firm Raydium in January
2000... he cobbled together $750,000 over two rounds.

"Uh-oh" moment: Eighteen months later, he hit a wall. "You're hopeful
to the end, but we were flat out of money and couldn't meet payroll,"
he says... For two weeks, he says, he could barely leave his room.

The way out: Six years passed before Huh decided to buy I Can Haz
Cheezburger and begin building his funny-blog empire... "You know
how painful it can be, but you do it anyway," he says. "I think you are
better prepared, mentally and financially, but you never know if it's
going to be successful. That's called maturity.”

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225204#hipswap

But ultimately, he succeeded...
Another Reality of Failure
SO"

in our world...
Failure is Fine 
For entrepreneurs & startups
When it’s a means to an ends
When overcoming an obstacle adds to a success story
When the risk of failure is assumed & accepted by the $
people
!  When the creator has longevity, endurance, and sticks
with the project
!  When you learn from it
! 
! 
! 
! 
Failure Sucks
! 
! 
! 
! 
! 
! 

For consultants & agencies 
When it’s the final word
When you can’t see see past the obstacle
When asses need to be covered 
When the designer doesn’t or can’t stick it out
When you can’t learn from it
BUT"

in the world of creativity & art...
FAILURE ROCKS!
Failure Is The Heart of Creativity
Failure is awesome/acceptable when we call it: 
•  Play
•  Experimentation
•  Fun
When it fuels us
When we don’t fear it, or fear it, but don’t shy away from it 
When it leads us to do something no one’s ever done before

When we learn from it
I RISK FAILURE"
ALL THE TIME
I Risk Failure
When I play music: 
•  Will I keep time, hit the right notes, play “right”?
When I get on stage or in front of a camera:
•  Will they laugh at me? Or not laugh with me?
When I write:
•  Will anyone read it? Do I have anything to say?
When I run workshops:
•  Will any of you really care about any of this?
BUT
Because I Risk Failure I Gain Experience
I learn new things & have new experiences
I find new joys
I meet new people
I do things I’ve never done before
I make movies, play music, act, write, run workshops
I lose fear
I take more risks—even risk the next failure

And, consequentially, I get better at creating
SO
WHY IS IT SO
HARD FOR"
ME TO FAIL AT
Hard, Yes, But I Can Do It!
Just not always in constructive/creative ways...
•  I fail because I’m afraid to take risks
•  I fail because I “show off” through over design
•  I fail because I take feedback as an indictment 

In short, I fail because I’m afraid
How Are You Afraid to Fail?
Me? 
•  I’m afraid to be wrong
•  I’m afraid to lose control

How about you? 
•  
•  
• 
F*CK UPS ANONYMOUS

Let’s change our relationship to
failure—make failure an 
accepted part of our process. 

Let’s share our F*CK UPS.
H i, I ’ m Ja s o n,

a nd I ’m a fa ilu
re

.

This is where you say: 


Hi Jason.
ESPN’s DIGITAL CONVERSION PROJECT

Can we cut through the
pleasantries, so I can tear
this piece of SH*T apart? 
My client at ESPN talking about a first draft wireframe deck.
I Actually Learned A TON From That Feedback
•  I listened to his criticisms with an open mind
•  I realized I was over designing because I was so excited
about my first time designing for touch screens
•  I went back to thinking about my users, and most
importantly their environments
•  I simplified, simplified, simplified

And helped create the interfaces that drive one of the
biggest HD digital broadcast studios in the world.
F*CK UPS ANONYMOUS

So... What’s your most
embarrassing work failure?

And how did you handle it?
F*CK UPS ANOMYMOUS RULES  REGS
• 
• 
• 
• 

Publically share our failures
Listen without judgment for similarities, and outliers
No “should haves” “could haves” or “would haves”
Capture on Post-Its
– 
– 
– 
– 

Themes
Questions
Feelings
Observations
STICKIE BREAK!
WANNA HELP ME
WRITE THE
MANIFESTO?
WHY I THINK FAILURE MATTERS IN UX DESIGN
•  Our clients want something new, innovative, different,
fun, fresh, exciting
•  Our clients want something successful
•  Our clients want something they can be proud of

Not taking risks, doing boring evolutionary
design, and simply applying best practices
doesn’t do any of this
WHY I THINK FAILURE IS HARD IN UX DESIGN
Our clients want to cover their asses
Our clients want something proven
Our clients want something they can measure
Our clients don’t want to pay for process—failure costs more
by the hour.
•  Our clients can be “risk averse”
• 
• 
• 
• 

And risk aversion is the antithesis of F*CKING
UP
WHAT DO YOU THINK? 
Is having space to F*CK UP important in the design
process? Why? Why not? 

•  
•  
• 
MY INITIAL
THOUGHTS ON
THE MANIFESTO
LET’S FORMALLY ADD FAILURE TO THE PROCESS
1. 
2. 
3. 
4. 

Show why F*CKING UP is important to our clients
Get our clients to commit to be our fail buddies
Formalize some rules for F*CKING UP 
Incorporate testing and validation into the process to
learn from our F*CK UPS

Then show how F*CKING UP can lead to
the creation of amazing things
WHAT DO YOU THINK? 
What would you add to this? What would you take out? 

•  
•  
• 
SHOW WHY
F*CKING UP
IS IMPORTANT

1
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

DANGER DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!

Idea

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

THE SAFE ZONE

I WENT TO THE DANGER ZONE!
Idea

THE FINISH LINE

Idea
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?


Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

DANGER DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!

Idea

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

THE SAFE ZONE

I WENT TO THE DANGER ZONE!
Idea

THE FINISH LINE

Idea
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

Idea

Design

Iteration	
  

THE SAFE ZONE

YAWN	
  

THE FINISH LINE

Idea
AND HERE’S WHY

Idea
Idea

Idea
Idea

Design

DANGER DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!

Idea

Iteration	
  

COOL!	
  

THE SAFE ZONE

Idea
Idea

Iteration	
  

COOL!	
  

Idea
Iteration	
  

Idea
Design

Idea
Idea

Iteration	
  

FAIL	
  
Idea

I WENT TO THE DANGER ZONE!
Iteration	
  
Idea

THE FINISH LINE

Iteration	
  

Idea
WHAT DO YOU THINK? 
Does this diagram do the trick? (Probably not.) What
would? How can we “sell in” F*CKING UP? 

•  
•  
• 
GET OUR
CLIENTS TO
FAIL WITH US

2
WILL YOU BE MY FUDDY? (F*CK-UP-BUDDY)
1.  Can we get our clients to share their fears with us? Can we
share our fears with them? Is sharing caring fer realz? 
2.  How about including them in our brainstorming sessions?
(yeah, I know, brainstorming is broken, let’s get to that too)
3.  How about lifting the hood, and showing them more of our
messy process? Would that help? 
4.  Can we get them sketching? White boarding? Stickies-ing? 

Can we get our clients to have fun with us?
FCKUPdesign
WHAT DO YOU THINK? 
How do we get our clients to partner with us? Even when
it’s FUGLY? How can we start F*CKING UP, and stop
blamestorming? 

•  
•  
• 
FORMALIZE
F*CKING UP

3
THE FIRST RULE OF F*CK UP CLUB IS... 
1.  Set the stage with a GOOFY DANCE (or Twister, or Charades, or
whatever you can think of to get the seriousness out of the
room)
2.  Try a puppet show– come up with a different way to express
the problem, or idea. 
3.  Replace brainstorming meetings with a “worst idea you can
think of” meeting
4.  Sketch, sketch, sketch, for at least ½ the design process (At
least ¼??) 

Can’t we all have some fun with this?
FCKUPdesign
WHAT DO YOU THINK? 
How can we formally add F*CKING UP into our process?
What activities can we include? What do we have to watch
out for? 

•  
•  
• 
LEARN FROM
F*CKING UP

4
THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST...
1.  Let’s incorporate user testing at all levels of the process
2.  Let’s share our early ideas—even the craziest ones
3.  Let’s listen to our user rep’s feedback, discounting most of
what they say of course, and really focus on their reactions
—are they excited, giddy, leery? 
4.  Let’s keep pursuing at least one really oddball idea for most
of the design process, test it, and determine what out of it
can be included in our final design 

Don’t take it personally. This is about F*CKING
UP, isn’t it?
WHAT DO YOU THINK? 
How can we learn from our F*CK UPS? How can our worst
ideas to inform our best ones? How do we test this stuff? 

•  
•  
• 
5

F*CK UP
AMAZING
FCKUPdesign
FCKUP


design

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FCKUPdesign

  • 1. TOWARDS A F*CK UP M@N1F3STØ How do we incorporate f*cking up into the user experience design process?
  • 2. Grawlix ! Typographical symbols standing for profanities, appearing in dialogue balloons in place of actual dialogue. Invented by American cartoonist Mort Walker.! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mort_Walker!
  • 3. The Romance of Failure
  • 4. Ben Huh One Reality of Failure Setup: Huh was a 22-year-old journalism major when he moved to Chicago and founded software analytics firm Raydium in January 2000... he cobbled together $750,000 over two rounds. "Uh-oh" moment: Eighteen months later, he hit a wall. "You're hopeful to the end, but we were flat out of money and couldn't meet payroll," he says... For two weeks, he says, he could barely leave his room. The way out: Six years passed before Huh decided to buy I Can Haz Cheezburger and begin building his funny-blog empire... "You know how painful it can be, but you do it anyway," he says. "I think you are better prepared, mentally and financially, but you never know if it's going to be successful. That's called maturity.” http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225204#hipswap But ultimately, he succeeded...
  • 7. Failure is Fine For entrepreneurs & startups When it’s a means to an ends When overcoming an obstacle adds to a success story When the risk of failure is assumed & accepted by the $ people !  When the creator has longevity, endurance, and sticks with the project !  When you learn from it !  !  !  ! 
  • 8. Failure Sucks !  !  !  !  !  !  For consultants & agencies When it’s the final word When you can’t see see past the obstacle When asses need to be covered When the designer doesn’t or can’t stick it out When you can’t learn from it
  • 9. BUT" in the world of creativity & art...
  • 11. Failure Is The Heart of Creativity Failure is awesome/acceptable when we call it: •  Play •  Experimentation •  Fun When it fuels us When we don’t fear it, or fear it, but don’t shy away from it When it leads us to do something no one’s ever done before When we learn from it
  • 13. I Risk Failure When I play music: •  Will I keep time, hit the right notes, play “right”? When I get on stage or in front of a camera: •  Will they laugh at me? Or not laugh with me? When I write: •  Will anyone read it? Do I have anything to say? When I run workshops: •  Will any of you really care about any of this?
  • 14. BUT
  • 15. Because I Risk Failure I Gain Experience I learn new things & have new experiences I find new joys I meet new people I do things I’ve never done before I make movies, play music, act, write, run workshops I lose fear I take more risks—even risk the next failure And, consequentially, I get better at creating
  • 16. SO
  • 17. WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR" ME TO FAIL AT
  • 18. Hard, Yes, But I Can Do It! Just not always in constructive/creative ways... •  I fail because I’m afraid to take risks •  I fail because I “show off” through over design •  I fail because I take feedback as an indictment In short, I fail because I’m afraid
  • 19. How Are You Afraid to Fail? Me? •  I’m afraid to be wrong •  I’m afraid to lose control How about you? •  •  • 
  • 20. F*CK UPS ANONYMOUS Let’s change our relationship to failure—make failure an accepted part of our process. Let’s share our F*CK UPS.
  • 21. H i, I ’ m Ja s o n, a nd I ’m a fa ilu re . This is where you say: 
 Hi Jason.
  • 22. ESPN’s DIGITAL CONVERSION PROJECT Can we cut through the pleasantries, so I can tear this piece of SH*T apart? My client at ESPN talking about a first draft wireframe deck.
  • 23. I Actually Learned A TON From That Feedback •  I listened to his criticisms with an open mind •  I realized I was over designing because I was so excited about my first time designing for touch screens •  I went back to thinking about my users, and most importantly their environments •  I simplified, simplified, simplified And helped create the interfaces that drive one of the biggest HD digital broadcast studios in the world.
  • 24. F*CK UPS ANONYMOUS So... What’s your most embarrassing work failure? And how did you handle it?
  • 25. F*CK UPS ANOMYMOUS RULES REGS •  •  •  •  Publically share our failures Listen without judgment for similarities, and outliers No “should haves” “could haves” or “would haves” Capture on Post-Its –  –  –  –  Themes Questions Feelings Observations
  • 27. WANNA HELP ME WRITE THE MANIFESTO?
  • 28. WHY I THINK FAILURE MATTERS IN UX DESIGN •  Our clients want something new, innovative, different, fun, fresh, exciting •  Our clients want something successful •  Our clients want something they can be proud of Not taking risks, doing boring evolutionary design, and simply applying best practices doesn’t do any of this
  • 29. WHY I THINK FAILURE IS HARD IN UX DESIGN Our clients want to cover their asses Our clients want something proven Our clients want something they can measure Our clients don’t want to pay for process—failure costs more by the hour. •  Our clients can be “risk averse” •  •  •  •  And risk aversion is the antithesis of F*CKING UP
  • 30. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is having space to F*CK UP important in the design process? Why? Why not? •  •  • 
  • 32. LET’S FORMALLY ADD FAILURE TO THE PROCESS 1.  2.  3.  4.  Show why F*CKING UP is important to our clients Get our clients to commit to be our fail buddies Formalize some rules for F*CKING UP Incorporate testing and validation into the process to learn from our F*CK UPS Then show how F*CKING UP can lead to the creation of amazing things
  • 33. WHAT DO YOU THINK? What would you add to this? What would you take out? •  •  • 
  • 34. SHOW WHY F*CKING UP IS IMPORTANT 1
  • 35. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Idea Idea Idea Idea DANGER DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea THE SAFE ZONE I WENT TO THE DANGER ZONE! Idea THE FINISH LINE Idea
  • 36. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Idea Idea Idea Idea DANGER DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea THE SAFE ZONE I WENT TO THE DANGER ZONE! Idea THE FINISH LINE Idea
  • 37. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Design Iteration   THE SAFE ZONE YAWN   THE FINISH LINE Idea
  • 38. AND HERE’S WHY Idea Idea Idea Idea Design DANGER DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! Idea Iteration   COOL!   THE SAFE ZONE Idea Idea Iteration   COOL!   Idea Iteration   Idea Design Idea Idea Iteration   FAIL   Idea I WENT TO THE DANGER ZONE! Iteration   Idea THE FINISH LINE Iteration   Idea
  • 39. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Does this diagram do the trick? (Probably not.) What would? How can we “sell in” F*CKING UP? •  •  • 
  • 41. WILL YOU BE MY FUDDY? (F*CK-UP-BUDDY) 1.  Can we get our clients to share their fears with us? Can we share our fears with them? Is sharing caring fer realz? 2.  How about including them in our brainstorming sessions? (yeah, I know, brainstorming is broken, let’s get to that too) 3.  How about lifting the hood, and showing them more of our messy process? Would that help? 4.  Can we get them sketching? White boarding? Stickies-ing? Can we get our clients to have fun with us?
  • 43. WHAT DO YOU THINK? How do we get our clients to partner with us? Even when it’s FUGLY? How can we start F*CKING UP, and stop blamestorming? •  •  • 
  • 45. THE FIRST RULE OF F*CK UP CLUB IS... 1.  Set the stage with a GOOFY DANCE (or Twister, or Charades, or whatever you can think of to get the seriousness out of the room) 2.  Try a puppet show– come up with a different way to express the problem, or idea. 3.  Replace brainstorming meetings with a “worst idea you can think of” meeting 4.  Sketch, sketch, sketch, for at least ½ the design process (At least ¼??) Can’t we all have some fun with this?
  • 47. WHAT DO YOU THINK? How can we formally add F*CKING UP into our process? What activities can we include? What do we have to watch out for? •  •  • 
  • 49. THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST... 1.  Let’s incorporate user testing at all levels of the process 2.  Let’s share our early ideas—even the craziest ones 3.  Let’s listen to our user rep’s feedback, discounting most of what they say of course, and really focus on their reactions —are they excited, giddy, leery? 4.  Let’s keep pursuing at least one really oddball idea for most of the design process, test it, and determine what out of it can be included in our final design Don’t take it personally. This is about F*CKING UP, isn’t it?
  • 50. WHAT DO YOU THINK? How can we learn from our F*CK UPS? How can our worst ideas to inform our best ones? How do we test this stuff? •  •  •