Recap of recent Portland, OR F2F

28 Jun 2006 - 1:35pm
455 reads
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Hello list,

This is a recap of the engaging IxDA F2F meeting held in Portland, Oregon on
July 20th. We addressed the general topic of "how to make others do our IxD
bidding". It was pointed out that this is pretty a vague statement, and that
ways to convince people about the appropriateness of specific IxD solutions
are different from those that convince organizations to adopt IxD methods &
processes. This clarification made, a whole interesting range of thoughts on
both topics were shared, which I jotted down as follows:
a.. establish credibility by demonstrating respect for others
b.. practice active listening
c.. use your design strenghts (e.g., draw things instead of making lists;
conjure up pictures and scenarios to help people grasp problems & solutions)
d.. exhibit sheer force of will (e.g., practice unceasing & vocal
committment to improvements in the area of IxD; call people on any
violations of their verbal contracts with you)
e.. re-educate others
f.. contribute helpful design solutions wherever possible and be sure to
claim credit (e.g., consider ideas for internal purposes as well as external
customers)
g.. publish a newsletter (e.g., IxD projects of the moment; general news
of interest; include humor where appropriate)
h.. quantify the benefits provided for a problem you solved
i.. find early wins and seize those opportunities
j.. obtain management buy-in (note that quantifying your benefits helps
solidify their support...)
k.. commit publicly to a goal and follow through
l.. ensure you turn to users as experts (e.g., represent yourself as the
translator of their needs, always work in service of users' needs; advocate
usability testing; employ participatory design techniques; involve other
user-oriented constituencies such as tech support)
m.. sell your processes & methods (very interesting sidebar conversation
here about how disciplines like software development tend to just deliver
their solutions & answers, and don't have to prove their processes &
methods...)
n.. discover and obtain buy-in about the specific problems which you can
solve (i.e., it's not enough to sell your work if you can't convince others
they have an actual need to buy it...)
o.. pick your battles
p.. control design specifications (e.g., write them; at least review them)
q.. be vigilant for sabotage
r.. develop materials demonstrating the textbook argument that [x]% of
software development is bug-fixing, and that fixing bugs later in the
product development cycle always costs more than eliminating them up front
s.. just kick ass and wait for positive results ;)
t.. flip design criticism from non-designers on its head (e.g., respond to
electrical engineers' comments about GUIs by suggesting that some chipsets
get moved from one corner of the circuit board to another; respond to web
developers' issues about information architecture by suggesting that their
code be more XML-compliant...)
u.. collaborate (e.g., consider how relatively easy it is for one to
sabotage a project when one is outside the team; consider the axiom "keep
your friends close and your enemies closer")
v.. adjudicate: eliminate design by consensus (e.g., keep your skin in the
game by making final design decisions; accept & model ultimate
responsibility for product satisfaction)
w.. humanize your users (e.g., develop personas; define user goals and
scenarios; conduct "IxD marketing")
The Portland IxDA group continues to blossom! Our chosen venue provided a
wide range of affordable microbrews, appetizers and food which helped as
always to grease the conversational wheels. :) Hope everybody's having as
much fun at F2F events as we are...

Cheers,
Liz

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