What is User Experience? at BCA4

Saturday, 21 August 2010

One of my favourite talks from Barcamp Auckland 4 was What is User Experience? by Haunani Pao (@haunanipao). She described UX from the point of view of a practitioner and gave a lot of insights into how she approaches UX work. I made a (very) few notes, and you can also see her presentation slides. I liked the use of graphics in the presentation: they clarified the talk rather than distracting from it.

So here are some of my notes and thoughts on the talk.

User Experience is all a user’s touch points with your organisation. UX is both an art and a science.

iRise is a powerful prototyping tool. (It better be, at that price. They don’t even list prices for the Enterprise Edition — if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.)

There was a discussion of User-Centred Design. I mentioned the distinction between human-centred design and activity-centred design (see Donald Norman’s Human-Centered Design Considered Harmful).

UCD consists of a number of activities:

  • Contextual Inquiry
  • Task Analysis
  • Expert Review
  • Usability Testing
  • Affinity Diagramming

Haunani runs UX workshops with about 3 users, where one at a time uses the system under test with the others observing. After all have done this there is a group discussion. Interesting insights come out.

Accreditation from Human Factors Inc. is very very useful and opens doors for the UX professional. Unfortunately it’s expensive, and they courses aren’t offered here in New Zealand 🙁 . I also worry about their new emphasis on designing for Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust (PET design – sorry, I mean “PET design™”). It seems to me to be moving away from User-Centred Design towards Manipulative Design — see Dark Patterns and Usability For Evil for examples of UX principles applied to manipulate users rather than benefit them.

Usability is 10% visual, 30% interaction, 60% conceptual. That’s pretty important, and not obvious to most people; even those who have heard of usability.

I enjoyed the talk and look forward to hearing more!

Meanwhile, in another room… I was missing Rob (@amatix) and Glen (@barnaclebarnes) talking about “Open Data in NZ -– where we’re at, and where to next”. It’s a topic that is getting more mindshare here in New Zealand in recent times, and that’s a good good thing.

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