Intro to UX: Part 1

Recapping Leah Buley‘s awesome webcast on a UX Team of One from O’Reilly Media last Thursday I have to say opening with Tina Fey’s “Imposter Syndrome” pretty much summed up my whole career so far.

Self-high-five, happens all the time.

My current job has taught me so much about life. About business in general; about SEO and ROI and P&L’s and banner ads and SOW’s and SOP’s. It’s taught me how to navigate a lot of personalities in the room and by proxy, I’ve definitely had my moments of total egomania, “God, I am SO good at this! What would you people do without me!?” and complete fear of being found out I’m not an expert, “Holy crap, what if they find out I didn’t send that follow up email!?” 

It was comforting to know that someone I admire a great deal *cough* Buley *cough* started her career in much of the same way. She spoke about coming from the front-end development side of the tracks and moving into UX, how she had to convince an organization to change how it worked for the overall betterment of the whole.

Money quote: “It made me feel nervous a lot of the time.” she said. Pushing pixels around, she wasn’t completely confident that she had the knowledge base to be influencing something like UX.

But the fact remains she was liberated by technology. Coupled with lots of ambition, her strategy and career in UX was born.

UX Secret #1: UX Requires you to invite people in

Boy howdy, did this really mesh with me. I’ve been casually reading IDEO‘s (HELLO! DREAM JOB!) Ten Faces of Innovation for some time now and I’m some parts Anthropologist and some parts Cross-Pollenator but I’m far and away the Collaborator.

Ten Faces of Innovation, IDEO

IDEO’s Ten Faces of Innovation

I jibe with others naturally, must be that Gemini gift of gab, but I’ve always found things get done better, smarter and faster in teams. I like working with people that are experts in areas I’m not, picking up knowledge along the way but relying on the true experts to come together and create something completely awesome. This is The Collaborator, and this is something UX people do really well, according to Buley.

UX folks create project briefs! (Man, if I had a dollar every time somebody gave me an eyeroll when I asked for one of these…) UX folks address: What are the outcomes we’re trying to create? and drill down into the vision, requirements and overall tone of the project. But beyond that, they drill down into what exists, what works, what’s great and what’s not so great to make it better. Finally, UX folks take the time to do the research to make sure what they’re making actually resonates with the audience they’re creating for.

In the simplest terms: creating something beautiful that serves a real need on a lean, efficient team of go-getters and do-ers.

Objectified, Gary Hustwit

Objectified by Gary Hustwit

My one regret: not knowing about Industrial Design in college. Especially after seeing Gary Hustwit‘s Objectified (it’s been in my Netflix queue for 4 years now…swoon…). UX is the side of ID that you can’t touch. You’re not making a physical object, but the principals remain the same. I feel like this is my second chance to help build better mousetraps. Mousetraps that you want to stick your fingers in and doodle on for hours and hours and hours.


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