A Human-Centered Design Process

Lauren Cramer

August 12th, 2014

Better collaboration skills matter

If you think you might find yourself on a team planning UX strategy—or on a team planning anything, really—this workshop is brimming with information that will turn you into a skilled collaborator.

A human-centered design process

  • Focus: Conducting research with the right people within budget and time constraints
  • Buy-in: Participate in and facilitate discussions in a way that moves things forward
  • Results: Design for the customer to create effective products and happier teams

Leah Buley

Leah Buley
has insights that will leave you inspired to tackle even the trickiest parts of being on a team. She’ll share these game-changers in UX as a Team Sport, her full-day workshop at the User Interface 19 Conference, October 29 in Boston.

In Leah’s workshop, you’ll learn to:

  • Establish a realistic strategy
  • Get buy-in from upper management on human-centered design approach
  • See the touchpoints your customers experience

If you’ve ever heard Leah talk, you know how intoxicating her presentation style is and how well she understands this topic. Leah’s workshop will transform how you see collaboration.

Register for UI19 by August 31 with promotion code BLOGUI19 and you’ll get $300 off the 3-day conference price.

Explore Leah’s and 7 other workshops

Kim Goodwin – Silo-busting, Scenario-driven Design

Sean Carmichael

August 8th, 2014


[ Transcript Available ]

Kim Goodwin

Lately, Jared Spool has been mulling over what he defines as deliverables and artifacts in the design process. The idea is that deliverables are more authoritative and complete, whereas artifacts are more conversational and exploratory. Scenarios are an important part of the design process and Jared was curious where they might fit in. So he enlisted Kim Goodwin to chat about it in this podcast.

Kim is the VP of User Experience at PatientsLikeMe. She’s also an author and expert on personas and scenarios. She believes that where you are in the design process defines whether scenarios are a deliverable or an artifact. The size and culture of your team is also a factor. A smaller team has less of a need for formal deliverables.

However, in larger organizations scenarios and personas serve as a great way to get everyone involved in the same frame of mind. Bringing stakeholders to interviews with users at the start of the design research helps solidify that the personas used to inform the design are shorthand versions of real people. This gives you a solid foundation to move forward with the design.

Attend a daylong workshop with Kim at UI19

Kim’s UI19 workshop, Using Scenarios to Solve Design Problems, in Boston October 29 will delve into journey mapping, then create scenarios that identify and help resolve design issues.

Register with promotion code KIMCAST and get $300 off the current conference price.

Explore Kim’s workshop

Recorded: June, 2014
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Defining a UX Design Strategy – Our August 28 Virtual Seminar

Adam Churchill

August 8th, 2014

Establishing a realistic strategy is a creative endeavor based on analysis and results in a practical plan. Of course, it also can be a frustrating, ambiguous process fueled by pipe dreams and personal opinions. So what characteristics lead to concrete elements that will actually work for your team?

In our August 28 virtual seminar, Defining a UX Design Strategy, Jim Kalbach shows you how to remove fuzziness from design discussions and inspire consistent action from diverse personalities.

You’ll learn to:

  • Define what strategy is and isn’t
  • Use the UX Strategy Blueprint
  • Develop a repeatable framework for decision‑making
  • Pitch your UX strategy to others

If your strategy discussions feel more like political battles than progressive team-building, join us on August 28.



Leah Buley – UX as a Team Sport

Sean Carmichael

August 7th, 2014


[ Transcript Available ]

Leah Buley

User experience is rarely something you do completely alone. Even if people on the team don’t necessarily focus on UX, they could be indirectly acting in favor of it. Sometimes it comes from a lack of understanding exactly what user experience is or means. People with different approaches and skillsets can be valuable assets when incorporated into the larger human centered design focus.

Though Leah Buley is the author of UX Team of One, she believes it’s uncommon that there is a superhero UX professional who flies into the room and saves a project. More often it’s a collaborative endeavor. You have to get the entire team involved in the process. Once the value of UX is apparent, you can exercise the collective skills and intelligence of the group and all work toward a better experience for a customer or user.

Part of the responsibility of the UX professional on the team is to constantly frame decisions made in the context of what will be best for the users. Facilitation is an important skill in general for the user experience field. Introducing the theories and practices into the larger team will get everyone moving in the same direction and working collaboratively.

Attend a daylong workshop with Leah at UI19

Leah’s UI19 workshop, UX as a Team Sport, in Boston October 29 will orient your team to customer needs so you can build the “right thing at the right time.”

Register with promotion code LEAHCAST and get $300 off the current conference price.

Explore Leah’s workshop

Recorded: June, 2014
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UIEtips: Introduction to Design Studio Methodology

Jared Spool

August 5th, 2014

In this week’s UIEtips, Will Evans outlines how a Design Studio works and why it’s a critical component to collaborative design.

If your team has been practicing some form of Agile or Scrum, it likely has a very loose definition of an MVP, a Minimal Viable Product. Fortunately, Will is also presenting a seminar on this Thursday, August 14. Learn more about his seminar, Minimizing Design Risk with The Minimal Viable Product.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Design Studio is conducted in a highly interactive, fast-paced team setting following a methodology commonly used in architecture and industrial design, but with some important twists. It has been called the “Iron Chef,” of ideation. It can be intense, focused, and chaotic at times, but those lucky enough to have participated understand the power and effectiveness of this tool.

Read the article: Introduction to Design Studio Methodology.

How has collaborative design helped you and your team accomplish your goals? Leave us a note below.

Dan Saffer – Big Considerations from Microinteractions

Sean Carmichael

August 1st, 2014


[ Transcript Available ]

Dan Saffer

User Experience is really all about delighting your users. You want them to accomplish tasks with ease and not encounter any roadblocks that are a direct result of your design. Many of the delightful things about an app or interface go unnoticed because they are the tiniest of features. These microinteractions can set the tone for your users and dictate the feel and performance of your design.

Dan Saffer is an expert on microinteractions. In fact, he wrote the book on it. He says that microinteractions essentially operate based on triggers, rules, feedback, loops, and modes. For example, when you engage a scrollbar, how fast does it scroll? Or when you click a volume up button, what percent increase is each click?

Just think of a car. In the broadest terms, a car is a car. But the styling of the interior, leather seats, placement of cupholders, and how the in car stereo system works all help differentiate one car from another. These are often subtle differences, but as with microinteractions, these small differences are crucial to the overall feel and experience.

Attend a daylong workshop with Dan at UI19

Dan’s UI19 workshop, Designing Microinteractions, in Boston October 29 will help you design those often-overlooked UX elements—like microcopy, form controls, and system defaults—to increase your user engagement.

Register with promotion code DANCAST and get $300 off the current conference price.

Explore Dan’s workshop


Recorded: June, 2014
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UIEtips: Developing a Right Feeling for Designing with Type

Jared Spool

July 30th, 2014

You know that feeling when you look at a web site and think everything looks just right? It flows well, there’s a nice balance of white space, and it’s pleasing on the eyes. Perhaps you may not realize it but it’s likely that the type plays the dominant role in this. Today’s article looks at three steps to make you more comfortable when designing with type.

If you struggle with determining the right type to design with, then Tim Brown’s UI19 workshop Designing with Type is perfect for you.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

There are lots of creative activities that are refined using feel as the guide. Master chefs combine ingredients, not in exact amounts, but because they have a feel for what will taste great together. Seasoned musicians can play the right notes at the right time for the right length, because they know what will sound right.

Interestingly, anyone can develop these feelings. It takes study and practice because it’s a learned skill. The experienced designers we talked to didn’t always know how to design with type. But how do you learn it?

Read the article: Developing a Right Feeling for Designing with Type.

How did you learn typography? Leave us a note below.

Laying out the costs to your boss to attend the User Interface 19 Conference

Lauren Cramer

July 29th, 2014

There are likely two main pieces of information your boss needs to decide whether or not to send you to the User Interface 19 Conference (in Boston, MA October 27-29). Costs and benefits.

In this second post of our 2 part series, we’ll cover the costs. The first post covers the benefits of attending.

There’s no way around it, conferences can be expensive. You need to consider more than just the registration fee when presenting the costs to your boss.

Breakdown of costs

We summarize this information in a table at the bottom.

Registration – The current price is $1,995. But if you use the promotion code BLOGUI19 by August 15, you’ll get a $300 discount. The next price jump goes to $2,289 starting Sept. 12 (Depending on the circumstance, we’ve been known to give greater discounts. Contact us at events@uie.com)

Hotel arrangements – We’ve secured a special group rate of $269.00/night plus tax at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. This is the conference hotel, so by staying here, you’ll avoid daily transportation costs.

There are other hotels in the surrounding area at various prices. Explore additional options at Hotels.com or Orbitz.com. Be aware that hotel rooms booked on these sites may not refund you if you cancel. To keep your cost down, you’ll want to find a hotel within walking distance of the Renaissance.

Flights – Flight cost varies depending on day of week, location, and number of stops. Flying out of a major hub typically gives you more airlines, times, and non-stop options. However, non-stop flights are often more expensive.

Save yourself money by looking into flights that have a stop. If possible, look at flights that have you leaving on a Saturday. Often flights and hotels are cheaper when there’s a Saturday night stay involved. You may actually save yourself money by coming a day early, and Boston is a fun city to explore.

Do your homework and use sites like Hipmunk or Kayak to compare flights.

Transportation to and from Boston’s Logan airport – There are a number of ways to get to the hotel. Taxi will be your most expensive option being about $30 each way. The least expensive option is the T (Boston’s subway system) at $2.65 and it drops you off 1/2 block from the hotel.

Food – Your conference registration includes breakfast all three days, mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack and beverage breaks, lunch on Tuesday, and a reception with food on Tuesday evening. You’re on your own for lunch on Monday and Wednesday plus all your dinners during the conference.

Expect to spend an average of $8-12 for lunch and $12-20 for dinner.

Time out of the office
This is the most difficult cost to calculate. Though there’s a cost for you being out of the office, you need to think about the costs to the company of not going to the conference. Does the current team have the skill set to complete the project? Will the conference provide you the skills needed to move a project forward with less labor? Can you finish the project sooner with these skills? As they saying goes, “be careful not to be penny wise, pound foolish.”

Summary of expenses

Here’s a chart with your average expenses. The hotel cost is for the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.

West Coast Mid-West East Coast
Conference Fee (with promo code BLOGUI19 and sign up by 8/5) $1,695 $1,695 $1,695
Hotel Cost (3 nights and tax) $920 $920 $920
Flight (average) $500 $300 $275
T ride to and from the airport $5.30 $5.30 $5.30
Food $80 $80 $80
Total $3,200 $3,000 $2,975


Ideas to save on some expenses

There are a few ways to save some money.

1. Book your flight ASAP. The closer you get to the date of the conference, the higher the flight costs. Look for one stop options to lower the cost.

2. Be sure to take the T instead of a taxi.

3. Share a hotel room

4. Register by August 15 with the promotion code BLOGUI19 and save the $300.00.

Read part 1 - Convincing your boss to send you to UI19. It covers the benefits of attending.

Convincing your boss to send you to UI19

Lauren Cramer

July 29th, 2014

Convincing your boss to spend more than $1,700 to send you to the User Interface 19 Conference is no easy task. Your boss wants to understand how it benefits the organization, team, and you.

In part 1 of of our 2 part series, you’ll learn how to explain the benefits of attending the User Interface 19 Conference to your boss. Part 2 – Laying Out the Costs to Your Boss to Attend the User Interface 19 Conference details the costs (including time) associated with the conference.

Understand what your boss wants

Before you present anything, find out what information your boss needs to say, “yes, you must go to this conference.” Often at the top of the list is cost and benefits to the company. Dive deeper – ask what they mean by benefiting the company. Is your boss asking to see:

  1. How you’ll solve a specific pain point within your organization?
  2. How the material you learn will help finish up a current project?
  3. How this new information is shared with the rest of the team?
  4. How your new-found UX knowledge saves the company from hiring someone to do a specific task or skill?
  5. Will you bring in a new skill set that the company is lacking?
  6. How are you adding to the basic UX knowledge of the team?

Addressing your design needs

Only you know which workshops will address your most pressing design needs. The UI19 workshop descriptions lay out what you’ll learn during the day, the practical take-aways you’ll get, and how to implement the new processes and techniques you’ll learn.

Explore the workshops that fit your training and design needs. Find 3-5 points within the workshop description that addresses the 6 questions above.

For example, after attending Dan Saffer’s workshop on Designing Microinteractions you’ll:

  1. Choose the right microinteractions based on context and device.
  2. Write microcopy that people can relate to
  3. Determine which elements to spend time on and which to ignore.
  4. Integrate microinteraction design in your existing process

Each workshop description has a section on what you’ll learn and you can copy the bullets from there.

Also once you register for UI19, you’ll get immediate access to All You Can Learn by UIE where you’ll enjoy an abundance of virtual seminars and past conference recordings on all things UX.

Training others

One of the best methods to reinforce a new skill is to train someone else. We call it the “watch one, do one, show one method.”

In the daylong workshops, you’ll learn by “watching” and “doing.” Then, once you’re back in the office, you’ll “show one” by teaching the rest of the team the fabulous material from the workshops.

Increasing your value to the organization

Most organizations care about and invest in their employees. They look for ways to increase your skills and provide the tools necessary to succeed. Amping up your UX knowledge makes you a better designer and a more valuable and productive employee.

Conferences are an opportunity for you to glean best practices and network with others facing the same challenges. You’ll gain more than you can get from simply reading articles or books.

In summary, provide a benefits worksheet

It’s difficult to put an exact figure on the ROI for attending the User Interface 19 Conference. Your boss will want something that quickly quantifies benefits and shows what the costs are. Here’s an example.

Conference Expenses
Conference fee with promo code BLOGUI19 $1,695
Hotel costs $920
Flight $300
Transportation to and from airport $40
Food $90
Total $3,045
Organization’s Benefits Specific need and how the conference addresses that need
Get the latest UX techniques Through the two workshops and 5 talks I attend, I’ll hear about the latest trends, research, methods, and techniques around UX design
Learn what others are doing in the UX field This conference has several opportunities to network with peers and the speakers. It’s a great environment to find out how others have addressed similar issues we’ve come across. The speakers are known for spending time with the attendees and giving advice.
Improve individual and team design skills I’ll do a lunch and learn on the various workshops and sessions I attend so the team gets the key take-aways I acquired at the conference. I’ll also have access to a library of over 170 UX virtual seminars and past UIE conferences.
Solve a current design problem We’ve talked about how to incorporate scenarios into our design process and a need to simplify interfaces and validate user inputs when it comes to mobile. There are 2 workshops that directly cover these areas. With this information we can move forward at a quicker pace to complete the projects.
Eliminate the need to hire outside UX personnel Many of the sessions and workshops address the missing skills needed to solve some of the issues we’re having. By boosting our skill set it may eliminate the need to hire outside to fulfill these needs.

As an added incentive, tell your boss you can save $300 if you register by August 15 with the promotion code BLOGUI19.

9 Glowing Remarks You’d Like Your Boss to Say About You

Jared Spool

July 28th, 2014

Wow! You just significantly enhanced the user experience of our site. You did an amazing job facilitating discussions around our goals, roles, and responsibilities. Creating those scenarios helped identify and resolve many of our design issues. And mapping out the conversation we want with our customers and designing around that was brilliant.

The way the site now shows data is very impressive. It is clear, concise, and easy to understand. You really captured the nuances of the microinteractions with our users.

Some how you conveyed the right importance and hierarchies for the site through typography. You really nailed it.

As you know, mobile design was critical for us. I’m impressed with the layouts and navigation you implemented to make the mobile experience exceptional.

The User Interface 19 Conference was an amazing learning opportunity. I’m so glad we sent the entire team!

Want to make this type of impression?

It is no easy task to achieve the skills that lead you to these types of rave reviews. That’s why the format of the User Interface 19 Conference is built around hands-on, full day workshops so you become proficient at that topic.

Make yourself the most valuable UX person possible by attending UI19 in Boston October 27-29. Use the promotion code BLOGUI19 and get $300 off the current price. Send a team of four or more and get $500 off each person (make sure you use the code BLOGUI19 for the full discount).

Now go figure out which amazing workshops is right for you.