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Notes from Google UX Masterclass - day one

Yesterday I attended day one of the Google UX Masterclass. Here are some of the things that stood out for me.

The UX process

The introductory presentation covered UX and UCD.

  • Personas can help drive the focus to a User Centered Design process. We did an exercise where the same brief gave very different results when designed for different personas.
  • You can use UX principles to validate your assumptions, and to bring you back to simplicity. It can help you establish a clear story for your product.
  • User Centered Design is an ongoing, repeating, process. Your customer journey map is an important artefact: refer back to it frequently to help keep you on course.
  • Paper prototyping is great for idea generation. (Since there are no interactions, though, it can suffer in usability testing because it relies on what the users say they would do rather than what they actually do.)

Flow’s case studies

Philip Langley and Chris Metcalfe from Flow interactive gave a(n excellent) short talk discussing some projects they have worked on, and the UX processes and tools they’ve used.

  • Search trumps navigation on mobile. (I’m interesting in seeing where this line is crossed: how about tablets? Where do users draw the line, and how is that line moving?)
  • When doing an affinity sorting exercise, it can very useful to bring users back into your thinking. Rather than just labelling groups with a word, add “People want” or “People struggled with” to the front. Then add three “because” statements to each group. You can refer back to these later to check a proposed solution or idea.
  • “Above the fold” still matters for feature phones and BlackBerry devices because scrolling on them is hard.
  • Chris and Phil both stressed the importance of a cross-functional team that worked in close collaboration throughout the process of designing, building, and shaping a product. (One of the reasons I was sad to leave Flow was that we were starting to get this right.)