I attended the Fluxible conference this past weekend, one of my first official design conferences, and I had a blast! Here are my takeaways from a few of the talks:
Data, Go Home You’re Drunk
Data is problematic:
- Data is not neutral — Data is biased because we, as humans, are biased in what data we collect and how we analyze it. This bias is typically unconscious but what can result is data that is incomplete, data that’s read in isolation, or data that only illustrates one moment in time.
- Data is a master of misdirection — Usually data is narrowly focused on a subset, which means we can miss things happening in the periphery. We need to watch the whole ecosystem.
- Data has no heart — Not everything can be measured (such as emotions), and the data can only tell part of the story.
- Data has no conscience — Another way to look at this is that data has no “taboos”.
Designing with data:
- Don’t confuse data with insight — Data is raw material and needs to be analyzed properly. Data shows is the “what” not the “why”. We need to ask “why” to discover the reason behind what the data is telling us.
- Design your data — Design to avoid biases and establish clear goals of what you’re trying to test.
- Support your values — Define the values for your company and product and make sure the data supports those. Sometimes you need to consciously decline collecting data to support your values.
- Define quality — Quality is something you can’t quantify and is hard to measure. But this will help you stay focused and will ensure your product meets your standards.
- Don’t be exclusive — Data should only be one tool that you use to make decisions.
Takeaway: Data can be very useful and powerful if collected, analyzed, and used correctly. However, it does not always tell the whole story, you have to keep in mind that there are biases.
Don’t have a UX Career
- Life is short, careers are long, therefore it’s difficult to plan for the future in design/UX.
- It’s not just tech that’s changing, but also the problems that we face.
- The world needs different leaders that have different skills — the skills we’re learning via UX will prime us for the future.
- UX is just a starting place. It’s a good starting place, but you shouldn’t make it your career. Instead, make UX your philosophy, approach, skill; a way to solve problems that you care about.
You learn universal skills when working in UX:
- Learn about people in their worlds
- Approach a problem with an open mind
- How to dig deep and understand what the real problem is
- Hot to distill, frame, and explain the problem
- How to experiment with solutions
So what skills do you need to learn next? Learn how to make your solutions survive out in the world. Here’s how to get started:
- Recognize your strengths (and your weaknesses to strengthen them)
- Practice clarity
- Notice when design problems are really business problems
- Learn a company’s business model
- Uncover barriers to customer adoption
- Learn how an industry works
- Practice on every project
Takeaway: It’s not a career in UX, but rather a career for solving problems and fostering solutions.
The Unintuitive Nature of Creative Intuitive Design
What is Intuitive Design? When the user is focused on their objective.
Intuitive design is:
- Invisible — You take no notice of it when it’s working. You only notice when it doesn’t work.
- Personal — Depends on individual’s expertise and experience.
- Current = Target Knowledge — When the user’s current knowledge is the same as the knowledge that is required to use the product.
- Focuses on Experience — The focus is on the user’s experience when interacting with the product.
- When Users Don’t Attend to Change — Users don’t notice changes happening in the product (such as updates).