Back to School this Fall – UX Education

This year, September and October were for learning. I had some free time and money in my Education budget, so these are the workshops and conferences I attended:

  • In September I started with the Lean UX Workshop given by Jeff Gothelf , author of the book Lean UX.
  • A couple of weeks later in October, I attended a UX Masterclass conference on UX and Market Research.
  • Near the end of October I attended Measuring the User Experience: A Workshop on Usability Metrics, which was sponsored by the NYC UXPA and given by Bill Albert.

Though the methods varied, all the speakers stressed the importance of research and testing in creating a viable, usable product. However, first you need to decide what you are creating, who you are creating it for, what it is supposed to accomplish and how you will measure the success of the outcome.

Now that it’s been a while since I attended the above sessions, two things stand out to me from my experience as mid-level working towards senior UX designer:

  • The information about project goals. is often not clearly communicated to the more junior members of the team, especially when the team is spread out over different departments.
  • Good research will update information about user needs, the market, etc.. and goals will have to change to accommodate that; not an easy task within a large corporation.

I haven’t had the chance yet to work on a Lean/Agile type project, but I would really like to as the approach appears to prevent those issues.

All the Drawings

There are a whole bunch of drawings in my Flickr feed! What are they doing there?

Perhaps you have already heard of NaNoWriMo, when people sign up to write an entire novel in November? NaNoDrawMo is like that, except with drawing and a smaller group of participants. I’ve been going on about sketching for UX lately, so this looked like a good opportunity to practice my own rusty drawing skills. All the ones I’ve posted are in this Flickr set.

Using Style Tiles

I’m currently working on what will be a responsive WordPress website for a theater incubator and have noticed for a while that Photoshop comps are really limited when it comes to designing responsive websites. How many screen sizes should you design for? What about accommodating a CMS?

Instead of comping every screen size, I’m going to create Style Tiles which were introduced on A List Apart by Samantha Warrren. If you have never heard of Styles Tiles before, go now and read the A List Apart article. I’m serious – read it!

The concept is still making its way around the Internet and now other people are sharing their own methods and templates. Samantha offers a Photoshop template, Adrian Gould collected templates in Illustrator, Fireworks, InDesign and Keynote as well. Namanyay Goel created Webstiles for a HTML/CSS version. I also found a WordPress theme called WP Style Tiles created by Steve Fisher and Jesse Friedman.

I’m going to try out both the WordPress theme and the Photoshop template to see which one is more helpful to my workflow and presentation.