On the edge of NYC in a sleeting-cold January storm, two colleagues and I arrived at a home visit with instructions to ‘go round back’.
Without going into detail, ‘round back’ did not look like a safe place to visit, and we made the joint call to bail out.
This was the first time I’ve abandoned a user research session, and I was so pleased not to be alone. In fact, had I been alone, I’m fairly sure I would have gone ahead out of duty to the client and the project, brushing off any safety concerns, despite what my instinct was telling me.
Film directors use a term to describe zooming out from the scene to deliberately demystify the production process.
This reveals backstage activity usually out of the frame, like the edges of the studio set, sound crew, equipment etc..
They call this ‘breaking the wall’.
Thanks to an ambitious client, and a two minute edit from a mountain of footage, I feel like I can do something similar, at least trying to answer some design research FAQs I’m often asked. In particular the approaches and practicalities of fieldwork. Continue reading →
A few weeks back at our very own UX Homegrown conference, I shared my story of how I combined visual communication styles from two former careers into a way to make research insights visual, and generate conversations that matter.
Here’s the video:
It was the first time I’ve spoken at an event in NZ for over three years, but it’s a story I love telling.
The story plays out over years as confidence grew, and clients encouraged me to put down the bullet points, and pick up a sharpie.
You’ll see what a slow learner I was, but I share my ‘how to’ techniques to help you get there quicker. And it seems to be working – since I first shared this story and these techniques, I’ve had some great emails from people who wouldn’t consider themselves a ‘visual person’ attaching their ‘first stabs’ – examples of visual artefacts, explaining the impact they noticed in how their team responded etc.
If you’re tired from the insights from your work gathering digital dust, and you’re feeling sketchy after the video, I go step by step through my approach in an article ‘Visualising Design Research‘ from a couple of years back.
Now go sharpen your pencil, and send me some shots!
How packing for fieldwork made me unpack my biases
There’s a good reason for the saying to ‘check your biases at the door’ – carrying assumptions and your own worldview into any situation will influence the way you experience it, even how you behave. But these viewpoints can work in our favour, too.
It’s a masterpiece of over-simplicity and an idealised vision of the human centred design process, but now there’s proof this blueprint for breakthroughs is a long way from reality… At least in New Zealand. (But we’re probably not alone)
Yes, I’m talking about the well-accepted Double Diamond model with its four stages of discover, define, develop and deliver.
It rolls off the tongue nicely, but what follows is a sobering view of how lop-sided it may be…
There was a time I was comfortable being the expert.
I was asked to do an ‘expert’ experience review recently. Ever since it’s been playing on my mind – surfacing internal conflicts and self-doubt around how comfortable I am taking the role of ‘expert’ in this field.
It’s a feeling that’s changed with time, so I mapped it.