Random thoughts about design, empathy, and probably food.

Maintaining team alignment with experience briefs

When it comes down to it, being a good designer requires much more than pushing pixels or learning the next interesting prototyping tool. You have to help your teams prioritize, reframe their problems, and stay aligned through the messy, thrilling process of creating something new. This makes the creative brief a small but incredibly powerful tool in your design arsenal.

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The persona character sheet

As with any good role-playing game, the character sheet helps to frame the main characteristics, motivations and intentions of your personas, in a way that's meaningful to the rest of the team. As my husband (a longtime D&D player) says, the character sheet "gives you all the information you need to know to act that character out… and tells the game master how they should treat your character."

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Reflections on making vs. managing

When you're a maker, the things you make are visible. You can see them, maybe even touch them. Your achievements, such as they are, belong to you. When you're a manager, you have to get used to your achievements being the result of other people. Your job is to get things done through those people. That requires a different set of skills. Relationship building, conversation, influence vs. persuasion. Hell, you can't even boss people around the way you thought you would be able to when you became "the boss."

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Usable vs. Poetic Interactions

The dichotomy of usable vs. “poetic” interactions is something I’ve often come across as a designer, before and after the transition to UX. Whether we want them to or not, the interactions that designers create can help shape behavior, for better or worse.

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Reflections on "the tone conversation"

As almost any woman in technology will tell you, our “tone” gets discussed a lot. If we’re assertive, we’re called bossy; if we aren’t assertive enough, we’re told we need to speak up more. It’s exhausting at times trying to figure out which version of ourselves we should be in any given meeting. The trouble with all of this advice, though, is that none of it seems to relate to the outcome you want to achieve. And as a result, we come out of meetings feeling like we either won the day but lost friends, or that our ideas will always be overlooked.

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Talking about Web Type with Jason Pamental

Rifling through my research files, I came across this great interview with Jason Pamental on working with web type in Drupal 7. Hope you enjoy!

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5 questions on Customer Experience and Strategic UX

I participated in a panel for IEEE's Boston Entrepreneur Network (ENET) on how UX impacts customer experience. Also on the panel were Josh Porter of Hubspot, and Eric Hansen of SiteSpect. We talked about a bunch of things surrounding UX for tech entrepreneurs, from what metrics to look at to what type of qualitative research to include in your project, to a discussion of the challenges integrating strategic UX into Agile/Lean teams (something I'm starting to become quite familiar with). Below are my answers to a couple of the questions I was given beforehand by the session moderator.

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Book Review: Influence

Some books you read because you are obligated to—they are required reading in a class, or they are considered the “gold standard” of knowledge in a particular subject. Others you read because they’re interesting, or they bring new light to a subject that the reader has found mystifying in the past. For those whose jobs ever require getting another person to say “yes,” Influence, by Dr. Robert Cialdini, fulfills both roles exceptionally well.

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