UIEtips: Misconceptions about Collaboration

In today’s UIEtips, Dan Brown of EightShapes discusses the three ways in which people misunderstand collaboration. You’ll be much more successful encouraging collaboration with an understanding of these misconceptions. Want more of Dan’s thinking about design teams and collaboration? Join us on May 15 when he presents our next virtual seminar, Make Collaboration Happen, Even with Stubborn People. Here’s an excerpt from the article: Sometimes, people think of collaboration in very simple terms, ignoring the planning, structure, and organization it requires. There are three common misconceptions that oversimplify collaboration, as discussed next: Throw smart people together. Suffice it to say that working with smart people is satisfying and challenging. But collaboration isn’t just about smarts. It’s about providing a framework for working together. Just as important as intelligence is a willingness to work within the framework. Read the article Misconceptions about Collaboration. How do you encourage collaboration in your team? Tell us about it...

UIEtips: Announcing our Favorite Articles of 2013

Over the past year we published more than 35 articles. Here are 6 of our favorites in no particular order: What Makes an Experience Seem Innovative? There are so many better things we could be doing with our time than standing in line. But if we step out of the line, we lose our opportunity to get the service we want. Who would’ve thought you could innovate around something as simple as waiting in line? Here’s an excerpt from the article: Since customers think standing and waiting is a necessary evil without alternatives, they may not complain about it. Organizations that focus on the specific activities to resolve their perceived customer objective, may overlook the deep frustration from tool time that’s happening in the gaps between those activities. Teams that study the entire experience look into those gaps to see from where the deep frustration emerges. Addressing that frustration, when no other product or service has done so, will look innovative to the customer. Read the article What Makes an Experience Seem Innovative   Feedback Illuminates the Rules In this article, Dan Saffer discusses how a good microinteraction immediately shares a result with a user. It lets them know the next steps to take or if they’re going in the right direction. Here’s an excerpt from the article: Let’s take a microinteraction appliance like a dishwasher as an example. The dishwasher process goes something like this: a user selects a setting, turns the dishwasher on, the dishwasher washes the dishes and stops. If someone opens the dishwasher midprocess, it complains. Now, if the dishwasher has a screen, each of...

UIEtips: LiRPPS – Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios – Part 1

In this week’s UIEtips, I look at key parts of the creative brief – personas, scenarios, and design principles. I explore what gets us bogged down in obtaining information needed for these three key parts, the consequences that occur when we ignore certain steps, and an approach to follow to get the necessary information to make good design decisions. Here’s an excerpt from the article: The brief consists of four simple components: the objective, 1-2 personas, 1-2 scenarios, and 1-2 design principles. The objective is what we’re working on (such as, “The billing information form”). The personas describe who the users are (“Nancy, our frequent purchaser”). The scenarios are the stories that describe how the personas will use our design and why (“using a new credit card for the first time because of an identity theft issue”). And the design principles are the tests we’ll use to tell if our design is great (“Only tell us something once”). Personas, scenarios, and design principles are reference tools for the work we’re doing. They act like razors that cut through passable designs, so we can focus on what could make the user experience great. Making them explicit helps everyone on the team understand the ‘why’ behind our decisions. When we’re creating our brief, we know where the objective comes from. It comes from where we are in the design of our project. But, where do the personas, scenarios, and design principles come from? Read the article: LiRPPS – Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios – Part 1 How do you go about involving your design team in the key parts of...

UIEtips: Meetings – The Canary in the Culture Coal Mine

Kevin Hoffman’s most recent writing suggests the culture of a group or a project team plays a significant role in what is and is not possible. Kevin also says that understanding or changing any aspect of a culture requires immense focused effort and luck. In this exclusive article for UIEtips by Kevin Hoffman, Kevin focuses on both culture mapping and the simple feedback loop as essential tools for quickly understanding the culture of a group or a project team. In less than one week, Kevin will lead a full-day workshop at the User Interface 18 Conference in Boston. His workshop, Leading Super Productive Meetings will show you how to develop empathy, trust, and collaboration in order to run effective design discussions. Plus, you’ll learn all about the visual listening and “who-do” frameworks to better understand and communicate with your teams — and manage conflict, too. Learn more about Kevin’s workshop. Here’s an excerpt from the article: Understanding the effects of an organization’s culture on its processes and outcomes can be challenging. The culture of a group or a project team is like water to fish: it is invisible yet everywhere, and it defines what is and is not possible to accomplish. Understanding or changing any aspect of a culture requires immense focused effort and luck. Equally fascinating is the fact that organizations actually have two cultures. Their espoused culture is the one they claim to have, and the one which is promoted to customers and employees. They also have an actual culture, which governs how things truly go down and may contradict the former. For example, nearly all design...

Conduct Better Meetings

Are you struggling with getting your design team organized on a project? Or do you want to make your kick-off meetings more effective and productive? Well we’re here to help you. In preparing for Kevin Hoffman’s full-day workshop, Leading Super Productive Meetings at the UI18 Conference in Boston on October 21, we gathered up a slew of free resources to share with you on this topic. But these resources are just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll get the rest of the iceberg at Kevin’s workshop where he’ll provide helpful content, eye-opening hands-on exercises, and valuable one to one interactions. You’ll leave the workshop excited to schedule and conduct your next meeting. Go look at Kevin’s workshop description and you’ll see what we mean. Here’s some reading about meetings Perspectives over Power: Habits of Collaborative Team Meetings – Jared M. Spool Jared discusses what makes meetings more effective than others. What Good Teaching and Meetings Share – Kevin Hoffman Kevin shares four simple, easy-to-remember guidelines about how to convey information. Kick Ass Kick Off Meetings: Part 1 – Kevin Hoffman Kevin explains the advance work that should take place prior to the kickoff meeting, and the type of questions you should ask your stakeholders. Kick Ass Kickoff Meetings: Part 2 – Kevin Hoffman In part 2, Kevin dives deep into a plethora of exercises to use in kickoff meetings including a design studio activity. Listen to what the experts say about meetings Leading Super Productive Meetings – Kevin Hoffman Kevin Hoffman believes that the culture of an organization, not whether the team is remote or not, is the biggest...