lean UX

I had the chance to attend a talk on Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf yesterday. Jeff spoke articulately about how shaving the fluff off of the design process brings back the focus on user experience rather than the production of deliverables.

Jeff’s slide deck

My notes

There were some interesting take-aways for someone some one hoping learning more about the design process.

1) Get away from the drawing board/napkin/computer as soon as you can. Make the idea public (in the org) with cheap prototypes and seek feedback early.

2) What makes a good portfolio that showcases design input? – getting rid of deliverables led to the question, what do you show case if you produce no deliverables? Which brings us back to that evergreen question – “what constitutes a good portfolio?”.  “Illustrate process” and “illustrate thinking” were the answers in Jeff’s book. Makes sense and adds up well with the fact that you may not be able to put in a lot of your best work anyways because of NDAs. Your interviewer would not like see you showcasing their assets in a future interview.

UX and design resources

I have been looking to beef up my Usability and Design experience of late. I have found several organizations in the New York area that seem to host events and have projects running that can use volunteers. Of course, this from the websites these organizations have on offer.  Some of them are:

http://www.upassoc.org/ (usability)

http://iainstitute.org/ (information architecture)

http://www.ixda.org/ (ux)

This page was particularly helpful in finding some amazing people to talk to for guidance. Luckily some of them could make time to exchange emails with me. The information they gave was quite useful in terms of:

1) The kind of concepts to familiarize myself with to be able to contribute to the design of products:

  • Research Methods – comes with experience. try volunteering/ pro-bono.
  • Best Practices – comes with experience. try volunteering/ pro-bono.
  • Psychological principles – classes in cog. psyc, statistics, perception, info processing
  • Technical skills – html, css, flash .. general web dev and design skills

2) relevant part time classes that can help. For instance website usability and information architecture. I found these in the continuing ed departments of sva and nyu.