Free UX design course for Rainforest Calgary

Hi, fellow Calgary Rainforesters!

My name is Martin Stares.

I’m an expert in user experience design, but more importantly, an expert in explaining it to other people. My goal is to help businesses design products and services that really do serve their users.

Many people think that user experience is about interface and layout. This will take you only so far in designing great experiences.

In my world, we focus on the big decisions you need to make throughout the entire product design cycle.

  • we get a deep understanding of users to generate many product ideas
  • from these, we choose a coherent functional subset
  • we build a successful product; this is based what success looks like to the user, but also what failure looks like

So this is my approach to user experience design. In my opinion, these are “must have” skills, not “nice to have” skills.

To help Rainforest members see if they agree, I have put up a free three part online course introducing the approach. It is a condensed version of our more intensive training. Each week covers one of the following lessons.generating-ideas

conceiving-products making-successful products

Because the material is based on understanding users rather than technology, it is suitable for anyone involved in the product design process who knows something about your users, whether “designer” or “non-designer”.

Here is the link to the course https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/30460/about.

Good designing!

Channel Your Users for Great Experience Design

We are pleased to introduce the online course “Channel Your Users for Great Experience Design”.

This material is for people involved in creating digital products who want leverage UX insights. This includes anyone with knowledge of their users, whether “designer” or “non-designer” (for example, marketing, communications, operations, etc.)

They will learn powerful ways of thinking about users and applying that knowledge in product design. The course is a balance of concepts and examples, with challenge exercises to practice and reinforce the skills.

This infographic summarizes the course content.four questions and applications

Understanding user goals lets us define functionality and the information needed to meet their goals. When this is done right, the user will say “That’s just what I need”.

Understanding backstories allow us to go beyond generic solutions to a variety of specialised extensions. When this is done right, the user will say “That was insightful”.

Understanding user strategies requires us to present the functionality and information in ways that the user would expect. When this is done right, the user will say “That was straightforward”. Sometimes we can provide a better approach than the user’s expected strategy. When this is done right, the user will say “That was really helpful”.

Understanding problems helps us prevent the user from encountering problems in the first place, or lets us mitigate unavoidable problems. When this is done right, the user will say “They really care about me”.

The course is now open for registration.  The first lesson will be available on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 and then once per week until March 6th, 2018. There is no charge for this course.

Register at https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/26590/about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year / A UX New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you all the best for 2018, personally and professionally.

I have a UX New Year’s Resolution to put some of my UX mentoring materials into an online course by the end of January 2018.

I started doing this in 2017 but stalled at the end of the year.

I got new impetus to continue by the sudden death of a dear friend and colleague, Leslie Johnson. Leslie was a UX practitioner extraordinaire, and was known for freely sharing her expertise, especially mentoring up-and-coming colleagues. She always gave her best.

In this spirit, I am making my best UX mentoring materials available on-line (no charge) for readers of my blog and anyone else who might be interested.

Stay tuned for a course announcement shortly.

Good Designing in 2018,

The Information Artichoke

Home security-system SNAFU: a UX Puzzle for the Brainy

There are unexpected interactions between elements of your home security system, with bad consequences. Would you catch them?

http://theinformationartichoke.com/wp-content/uploads/UXP-4-challenge.pdf.

There are important lessons here for designing IoT systems and their interfaces.

Good designing!


About UX Puzzles for the Brainy

These puzzles show how, by taking the user’s point of view, we can generate ideas and select the best ones, innovate, avoid pitfalls, and generally make better thought-out user experiences. You can see the full list here http://theinformationartichoke.com/the-list-of-puzzles/

They are a fun way of presenting serious ideas about designing information rich solutions. For a more serious and systematic way, see “Experiencing + Architecting Information” at www.theinformationartichoke.com.

Conversational Microwave Interfaces, a UX Puzzle for the Brainy

Your challenge this time is to make conversational interface(s) for a smart microwave, maybe stand alone or as part of a smart kitchen. A model conversation between the user and the microwave will help with the design scope, as before, but the requirement for voice interaction will force us to think hard about how to implement each conversational element
http://theinformationartichoke.com/wp-content/uploads/UXP-3-challenge.pdf.

By now, you will have designed analogue, digital, and conversational microwave interfaces, and hopefully abstracted some reusable design approaches.

Good designing!


About UX Puzzles for the Brainy

These puzzles show how, by taking the user’s point of view, we can generate ideas and select the best ones, innovate, avoid pitfalls, and generally make better thought-out user experiences. You can see the full list here http://theinformationartichoke.com/the-list-of-puzzles/

They are a fun way of presenting serious ideas about designing information rich solutions. For a more serious and systematic way, see “Experiencing + Architecting Information” at www.theinformationartichoke.com.

Answer to Digital Microwave Interfaces, a UX Puzzle for the Brainy

Here is our response to the UX Puzzle for the Brainy, about smart digital microwave interfaces.

The original puzzle statement with answer pointers can be found here.

Good designing!


About UX Puzzles for the Brainy

These puzzles show how, by taking the user’s point of view, we can generate ideas and select the best ones, innovate, avoid pitfalls, and generally make better thought-out user experiences.

They are a fun way of presenting serious ideas about designing information rich solutions.

Make sure you don’t miss any by subscribing to our feed.

For a more serious and systematic information about user experience design and arcitecture, see “Experiencing + Architecting Information” at www.theinformationartichoke.com.

Digital Microwave UIs, a UX Puzzle for the Brainy

Your challenge this week is to make digital interface(s) for a microwave, maybe an app or a smart-home interface. You will learn how to imagine the conversation between the user and the microwave to help with the challenge.
http://theinformationartichoke.com/wp-content/uploads/UXP-2-challenge.pdf.

Good designing!


About UX Puzzles for the Brainy

These puzzles show how, by taking the user’s point of view, we can generate ideas and select the best ones, innovate, avoid pitfalls, and generally make better thought-out user experiences. You can see the full list here http://theinformationartichoke.com/the-list-of-puzzles/

They are a fun way of presenting serious ideas about designing information rich solutions. For a more serious and systematic way, see “Experiencing + Architecting Information” at www.theinformationartichoke.com.

Answer to Microwave Makeover, a UX Puzzle for the Brainy

Here is our response to the UX Puzzle for the Brainy, a microwave makeover.  The original puzzle statement with answer pointers can be found here.

Good designing!


About UX Puzzles for the Brainy

These puzzles show how, by taking the user’s point of view, we can generate ideas and select the best ones, innovate, avoid pitfalls, and generally make better thought-out user experiences.

They are a fun way of presenting serious ideas about designing information rich solutions. For a more serious and systematic way, see “Experiencing + Architecting Information” at www.theinformationartichoke.com.

Starting next week: UX puzzles for the brainy

The puzzles

These puzzles are a recreational way to improve your product design chops. Once a week, you will be given a small UX challenge, with pointers on how to approach it.

A few days later, we will publish our response to the challenge. There is no such thing as the “right answer”, just more or less well-thought-out answers. If you disagree with our response, excellent. We are all participants in a design activity, with different points of view for generating and evaluating ideas.

The brainy

You may be experienced or a newbie. You may be a product manager, business analyst, information architect, user experience architect, or visual designer.

You want to grow your skills and make sure that your contribution is relevant and well thought-out from a user point of view.

The scope

We focus on structure and function. We consider users’ goals, strategies and knowledge to get the right foundations and shape for the solution. We do not cover visual treatment, typography, or copy.

These puzzles are in the spirit of the series Experiencing + Architecting Information. This will give you a good idea of our level and approach.