The one person UX team. It’s not impossible.

The wonderful Charlotte Gainsbourg

Just because you’re a team of one doesn’t mean that you can’t work effectively and efficiently. It also doesn’t mean you’re a Jack of all trades and master of none.

Here are a few tips that I’ve picked up from NN/g Usability Week, and from a great book by Rosenfeld Media called The User Experience Team of One.

 

  • Identify a clear work process and ensure the rest of the business understands where this fits into the product lifecycle.
  • Identify and agree upon a specific measurable outcome for your project.
  • The audience and goals must be defined at the start of the project.
  • Confirm that deadline!
  • Task analysis is your BFF. Which tasks are critical to the users’ success? Which tasks are critical to the organisation’s success? Prioritise accordingly.
  • Focus your time and energy on what you do best. If it’s IA, then focus on that. Your expertise will shine!
  • Reuse! Recycle! It’s really helpful to have some basic wireframes/templates that can be called upon as and when you need them. The more prototyping you do, the more widgets you’ll build. Save them in your own widget library so that you can use them over again rather than starting from scratch every time.
  • You’re not alone! Get help from your online community. Axureland is a great resource of templates and widgets. Usability.gov has a bunch of really useful templates for user testing, displaying results, writing reports and creating personas.
  • Educate your colleagues. You’re not the only one who can organise user testing or update personas. Just make sure you establish a workflow so that you’re all singing from the same sheet! Then delegate!
  • Don’t gather data that’s already been gathered. Use other areas of your company to mine data. Speak to Marketing, Sales, Customer Service.
  • Online services can be your friend! Surveys are a great way to get a quick bit of feedback from users. Try Survey Monkey. There are also plenty of services that will conduct user testing for you. Try WhatUsersDo.
  • Build UX into the company styleguide. This will help iron out all the minor inconsistencies that can create a confusing experience. An example of this would be to have all states of buttons defined with the CSS ready to be copied and pasted when needed.
  • Learn how to say “NO”. Push back on less important work. Make colleagues aware that if something comes in sideways, something’s gotta go out the other way!

So to summarise:

  1. Confirm measurables before the project starts
  2. Delegate where you can
  3. Use online resources
  4. Don’t gather data that’s already been gathered
  5. Reuse templates & make new templates reusable
  6. Be involved with the styleguide
  7. Learn how to push back & say “No”
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NN/g London Usability Week 2015

At the beginning of this month I attended 7 intensive days training at London Usability Week held by the one and only Nielsen Norman Group. There’s more information about available on their site: nngroup.com/ux-certification 

I sat my 7 exams yesterday, passed them all first time, and I am proud to say I’m now UX Certified!

My selected areas of study were the following:

  • UX Basic Training
  • Complex Applications and Websites
  • Information Architecture: Structure
  • Information Architecture: Navigation
  • The Human Mind and Usability
  • Persuasive Web Design
  • Wireframing and Prototyping

Next year I hope to attend again. I met some incredible people working in the UX industry, not just from the UK, but from all around the world. It made me feel incredibly lucky to live here in London. We had lively conversations, shared our UX woes and learned so much from our fantastic tutors. I can’t recommend this training highly enough.

 

 

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The Imminent Return To Work

In the wake of my imminent return to work there is a new type of stress on the block: to be outstanding. Ambition has always been in my vocabulary, but never more so than now. I couldn’t possibly just ‘tick along’ now that time has become the most precious of commodities.

For 8 months now I’ve been gurgling and cooing, I’ve blown delightful raspberries on soft little bellies, I’ve spent endless days in pyjamas, wiped vomit off my face and poop off my sofa. I’ve done laps around the park to settle agonising tears. It’s not a mentally challenging job, but it is relentless. The biggest challenge for a new parent is to get your head around the fact that you’re now on call 24 hours a day, f.o.r.e.v.e.r! So rather than using any downtime constructively, I’ve used it to switch off or to sleep. Now I need to figure out how reutilise this downtime to prep me for my return to the office.

What is the password to unlock my computer? What programmes do I use? You want a usability report? A prototype? A persona? A storyboard? A process diagram? An empathy map? A user journey? Oh god. I’m having a meltdown!

So here I am blogging in my stolen moments: Making peace with the relearning that must be done. Accepting that there’ll be some catching up, but grateful that I’ve got something new to bring to the table.

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