Understanding the big picture to improve decision-making in UX

UX Designer at RBS Digital Studio Claudia Loch was our guest speaker this month. We celebrated the return of UCD Bristol after our break in August with an interactive talk on the topic of ‘UX Design: See the big picture & get better at decision-making’.

Claudia shared some stories with the audience and asked people to discuss their meaning and how the lesson learnt from each narrative could be translated into the context of UX design and research. Here are some of the conclusions from the discussion:

📖 Story #1 👉 About a health emergency, and how in some scenarios you need to focus on one priority at a time and always have a workable option ready to apply to each problem.

📖 Story #2 👉 About an anomaly and how essential is to understand the subject and be passionate about it. If you follow this motto in UX design, you will be able to detect something is wrong/needs to be fixed when an anomaly happens.

📖 Story #3 👉 A war story, an example of something that goes terribly wrong because of people working together without knowing their team members, which leads to people not understanding the message being relayed. In UX design, “ everyone needs to be on the same wave length”.

These stories related to the power of intuition, mental stimulation, metaphor (comparing the current situation to a previous situation) and storytelling (replaying the memory, reactivating it) — and how important these skills are for UX designers looking to understand the bigger picture and make more informed decisions within a team.

To wrap up, Claudia shared her top four tips to improve the decision-making process, as well as this useful pre-work checklist to help you identify the big picture.

Pre-work checklist: 1) Who are the stakeholders? 2) What was done before? 3) What are we trying to achieve? 4) What data do we need to collect? 5) Agree on deliverables! 6) What is the schedule?

Discuss your ideas often, but make it fast.

You can use techniques like ‘4 minutes, 4 ideas, 1 minute to present, 1 minute to critique’, dot voting, etc. Sharing, discussing and critiquing design within a team will boost your ‘mind-reading’ power, which leads to shared understanding.

Map the user flow

“Nobody has the brain capacity to figure out everything,” says Claudia, so map the user flow and help yourself and your colleagues by creating simulations, mockups, high-fidelity prototypes, etc.

Collect and share data every day

This relates to story #2 and the power of knowing your subject (a.k.a. your users and their needs). Besides collecting data by asking users the right questions, it’s also important to share it on a regular basis with your team members.

Have you tried the crystal ball technique?

If you have made decisions and you are confident, do this exercise (maybe with a colleague?): you have seen the future and, in the future, your idea doesn’t work. Other great suggestions involve running group discussions and retrospectives.

The video of Claudia’s talk will soon be available online and added to this blog. A big thank you to our sponsors Rocketmakers for making UCD Bristol 21 possible!

UCD Bristol is back on Wednesday 16th October with a talk by Mark Hicks, Experience Strategy Director at cxpartners, about ‘Delivering Experience Design (XD) in Developing Economies’. More information will soon be shared on our Meetup page.

We are currently accepting talk submissions, so if you would like to feature in one of our next meetups as a speaker, complete this short form. We can’t wait to hear about your awesome ideas!



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UCD Bristol

UCD Bristol

If you're interested in the fields of UX, Product and Service Design, Customer Research and beyond, this hands-on monthly meetup in Bristol is the one for you.