I would say we’re teenagers of the IT world. And just as rebellious teenagers, we have strange tendency to defend strongholds of our views in a nonsense manner. Who never has a fight with unbelieving in a power of user testing programmer, vintage project manager, or client who knows what is the best for his users, though he has never checked it, can throw a rock.
There are dozens of articles about selling User Experience ideas to reluctant teammates, old fashioned bosses and unenthusiastic (to say the least…) clients. Some of them consider real problems, most are focused on basic and enormously trivial issues in interhuman communication, which has nothing to do with UX itself. „Respecting other point of view” is way too universal to be an interesting statement.
Working in quite huge and vastly important (in central Europe) eCommerce company gave me painful, though amazingly fruitful, insight into implementing User Centered Design in demanding environment. And yes, by demanding I mean company where UCD didn’t existed before and most of folks rather liked it that way.
After more than one year of UCD adventures (yop, that’s the nice word for a fight) I came up with the conclusion that I found worth spreading. Here it comes:
User Experience is highly immature field.
I would say we’re teenagers of the IT world. And just as rebelious teenagers, we have strange tendancy to defend strongholds of our views in a nonsense manner. Who never has a fight with unbelieving in a power of user testing programmer, vintage project manager, or client who knows what is the best for his users, though he has never checked it, can throw a rock.
Probably you’re wandering what the immaturity of UX field has to do with Co-working. Well… a lot. There’s one way of selling UCD and all related stuff: by engaging people into the process. How? That’s a good question. I believe in multidisciplinary teams working on the idea since the beginning. I’ve even checked it in mentioned eCommerce company that I work in and it went surprisingly well.
I’m regularly organizing co-working sessions with people from different departments (UX, programmers, marketing, content-guys) on which we’re working arm in arm on the best possible interfaces, using paper prototyping as a main method of expressing our ideas. Guess what? They love it. They listen carefully to my user testing results and analytical findings, they really enjoy paper prototyping and talking about their experiences. No fights. Crystal clear creativity at its best. User Centered Design sold.
And this is not the end. I thought I can take the idea of co-working in UCD even further. Imagine 50 people from different parts of IT field, that know nothing about themselves, paper prototyping websites in 4 groups and than user testing designs. Got it? You’ve just imagined my last workshop.
The workshop was quite simple:
- People splitted into 4 teams got project tasks (example: create user interface of a shop that sells one kind of pen)
- There’s only 25 minutes for creating the user interface using UXPin paper prototyping kit
- There’s 15 minutes for user testing with one of the folks from different team
- Teams are not informed about tasks of other teams
People went easily into their roles, had fun (at least they told me so) and created quite good interfaces. The most important thing though was the fact that they’ve learned how to quickly check their interface ideas with users. I assure you they were extremely surprised by the results.
To sum up: Cure for UX immaturity is co-working in multidisciplinary teams.
Here are some pictures from the workshop: