One person: usable design?

So my boss asks me to take a look at the incomplete beginnings of a product and improve the user experience, and I’ve been struggling with it for a few days now. “What do you think of it?” I asked him. Then I asked myself “What does the competitive landscape look like?” so I went out and looked at our competitors to see what they’re doing. Now back to us. What do we want to be? What should the user experience be? I start reading industry blogs, looking for others who also struggle with usability in this arena.

I’ve got visions for this thing, but how do I tranform it into something really meaningful, innovative, and industry-compelling? Something people will see and want and have to have. Hmmmmm.

And then I ran across this blog entry on User Pathways: James Kelway summarized Leah Buley’s presentation from the IA Summit 2008: How to be a UX team of One. The title called out to me because since I began the usability path, I’ve found myself being the User Experience team of One more often than not–the one person who everyone comes to for usability advice, the only one doing usability testing, the one designing the user experience.
Now that I’m working from home it’s become harder. I used to call out to the people around me, who were not user experience professionals, and my good friend Sue, who was very usability oriented, to bounce my ideas off of. Now it’s just me and the cats most of the day–and my husband who’s way downstairs in his corner office (we both work from home, for the same company), seemingly ages away. I’m too lazy to walk the stairs down into the cold basement to pull him from his work and help me think.

But this presentation helped remind me that I need to do that more. I need to get more people involved in the design. I don’t have to sit in my ivory tower and come out with the best design all by myself. What a refreshing thought. Thank you, Leah and James, for reminding me of that!

(Not to mention, the hand-drawn graphics are awesome and remind me of a couple of my favorite things: the Moosewood cookbook and the Story of Stuff).

Watch the presentation. If you’re a user experience professional, I’m sure you’ve found yourself in this boat. It’s well worth the time invested! 


1 Response to “One person: usable design?”

  1. 1 Carla May 12, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Great slide presentation. This is just what I need in my job too!

    I recommend picking up a copy of “On the Back of a Napkin”. It’s the best way to generate and communicate ideas. It looks like some of the methods in that book are repeated in this presentation.


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