Thursday, 21 June 2012

My UCD workshop at IWMW 2012 Edinburgh

I ran a workshop this week at IWMW 2012 which was hosted here at the University of Edinburgh. In it I went through some user centred design techniques I've used on a range of projects.

I tried to pick on projects, experiences and techniques that had gone particularly well and also to reference a few things that hadn't been successful too. The presentation was filled with links to resources on this blog for those unfamiliar with the methods I was talking about. I also tried to reflect on what I've learned to give a few hints and tips which I think the group found useful.

To be fair, I owe a lot to Nielsen, Krug, Rosenfeld, Garrett and many others. But then, so does pretty much everyone trying to integrate user experience research into our day-to-day work. And this blog would be pretty empty without them...

It was great to be able to share my work with colleagues from across the UK, and the 40 minutes of questions that followed highlighted the level of interest in the things I've been doing. Seems like many struggle to fit user testing into their work which is a shame, and it makes me realise how lucky I am to have the time and resources to do what I do.

And more importantly, the research that I do informs activity. Colleagues shared experiences of their research not getting very far while external consultants were brought in. Buying in usability expertise can be great (there have been times when I wished we'd had some), but in the end it's limited in impact and not good value for money if it doesn't contribute to a culture of user focus.

Here are my slides, hosted on Slideshare:
Experiences in user centred design at the University of Edinburgh (IWMW2012 workshop A2)
More on Slideshare from Neil Allison

One of the attendees made some fantastic sketchnotes:

Sketchnotes of my user centred design workshop by Kevin Mears
Sketchnotes by Kevin Mears (@mearso)

I had some lovely feedback via Twitter too.

Feedback on the session from Twitter #iwmw12 #a2
Twitter feedback #iwmw12 #a2

IWMW 2102 (Institutional Web Managers Workshop) website

Follow up (7 July)

I got a summary of the feedback received by the conference organisers. They conducted an anonymous survey of attendees.

Scores: 4, 5, 5, 4, 4, 5. (1 = poor to 5 =excellent) Average= 4.5

"Fantastic session by Neil that gave a great insight into what they are doing and some best practice."

“Really good workshop, very useful”

“Very thorough coverage of what seems like a very nice setup where UX principles have really been taken to heart and used appropriately.”

“Excellent, really useful to to hear the worries of other people. I love these 'open' sessions as they throw you in at the deep end and I think you get a lot more out of them that way.”

“Very good, very practical.”

“Excellent presentation and good group discussion.”
IWMW 2012 feedback summary - Bryan Kelly's blog post 

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