Andy Budd gave a lecture on FFWD.PRO on web design and user experience (UX) design. He believes the web has grown in a very similar way to the filed of Architecture. Master masons did not have a master plan, they built on the work of their colleagues, a combination of skills and individuals working together. In 17th and 18th century master masons became architects and the field of Architecture was born. Modern architects co-ordinate the design process. Similary, today’s web design is a group effort. “Today’s web design is more complex – it can not be done by one person anymore, because it is a matter of skill and expertise. One person can not build Facebook“, says Budd.
What is UX design?
To explain UX design, Budd uses Dan Saffers’ UX diagram from his book Designing for Interaction (page 17): Budd is realistic about UX design, so he stressed out that one can not design experience, but one can nudge it in a certain direction: “We must set up the direction in which user experience will happen.”
How to be a Good UX Professional?
1. Be the voice of the user.
Talk to the users, visit them in their home or work environment. Talk to them on the phone during the designing process.
2. Respect the needs of the business.
Don’t forget to talk to the business: head of IT, the people in charge, marketing manager.
3. Do no harm.
Beware of the dark patterns: Dark, sneaky techniques, artiness tricking you into buying extra baggage and insurance. Similar to how doctors have an oath, UX people need to have a moral center.
4. Don’t forget the basics.
You need solid understanding of information architecture. It means that you can apply all the techniques if you were asked by your boss or client. If you forgot the basics, go back and re-learn them, maybe read a few books.
5. Pick the right tool for the job.
Pick one tool and become an expert in that tool. But do not forget to learn different tools, as different clients might want different tools. You need to understand as many tools as you can.”If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
6. There is no high or low fidelity, there is just fidelity.
Use the lowest fidelity tool you need. You need to stop being paid to produce documents and start getting paid to design.
7. Be open and transparent.
Design is a public activity. Communicate with clients and design in plain view. Talk to your clients on a daily basis or every couple of days. If you show your client your work, they can pick up the errors early and point them out. Be open and honest.
8. Work across disciplines.
Design is a team sport, not production line.
9. Be a design facilitator.
Let the client be a part of the design process. UX person still has the sense of ownership. But, an architects gets ideas from a client, but does not let the client build the building. Good designers are facilitators. Graphical facilitation can be: Book Visual Meetings, the back of the napkin, game storming, inovation games.
10. Strive for mastery.
If you come to a point in your career where you sit back and feel done, you are not a professional. One needs 10.000 hours of experience if the field to become a master (about 10 years). Repetition is the key: doing all the skills and techniques you need all over again.