Top 5 Takeaways: The UX Team of One

I swear, I’ve got to be the slowest reader ever. Or maybe I just have too many things to read.

ANYWAY, I finally finished Leah Buley’s User Experience Team of One and I finally finally took the time to write down how I feel about the whole thing. In all honesty, the theme of her book was absolutely surprise.

I was surprised how close I already felt to the field of User Experience.

I was surprised how she UX’ed her own work.

I was surprised by what she articulated that was new to me in terms of process and what I  started integrating into my day-to-day.

I was surprised how many different ways there are to skin a cat.

I was surprised how the book ended — with something every reader already knows.

So here are my top 5 takeaways from The User Experience Team of One, go forth and prosper, my friends.

  1. Page 50: People Love Stories
    1. This counts for both storytelling of why UX is an essential piece of any product’s lifecycle but also for the UX’er’s portfolio. Instead of speaking to deliverables, speaking to the story — the problem, the process and the solution — is something people can relate to. This includes the good and the bad of the project; what went well and what still needs to be fixed.
  2. Page 90: The UX Project Plan
    1. It would take too many characters to recap this whole segment so I’ll leave it with Buley to encapsulate:
    2. “If the project goal is to produce inbound sales leads, you’ll need to make it easier for customers to understand and be excited by your services and request more information. To do that, you’ll need to redesign your landing pages. But before that, you’ll need to understand users’ perceptions of the landing pages now, why they’re going there and in what ways the site does and doesn’t currently meet their needs,” Buley wrote. All I can say is WHOA.
  3. Page 108: Strategy Workshops
    1. I loved this section because Buley offered 6 different ways to do strategy workshops. Strategy is crucial to any product’s success as it’s often the WHAT about the WHY of the product. Without a strategy, you’re just stabbing in the dark. These workshops were fun, interesting and certainly livelier than my average meeting.
  4. Page 126: Guerilla Research
    1. It sounds obvious, but it’s pretty easy to ignore users when you’re surrounded by your coworkers all day. One of the early points Buley makes is to make sure you invite people in and talk to your users. Just taking the time to reach out to people who voice complaints, who follow your brand on social media and clearly interact with it can help you see the things you’re so used to seeing you don’t even see anymore. Just do it!
  5. Page 206: The UX Health Check
    1. Deadlines. Everything in the working world is structured around deadlines. But UX is a deadline horse of a different color. Parts of the project and specific iterations will be completed but nothing is ever completely finished. The UX Health Check is essentially a tool that requires you to get nice n’ cozy with your coworkers to make sure you’re not losing your edge.

The short read (although I seem to have really relished it) is absolutely time well spent and full of immediately useful strategies if you’re freelance or fulltime. I’ll leave the surprise at the end to you!

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