UXPA 2017 — Notes from Day 1 (June 6)

As inspired by Scott Berkun’s Min / Max Note Taking for Conferences, I’d like to summarize a few key learnings from today’s excellent speakers at the User Experience Professional Association (UXPA) Conference — currently taking place in Toronto, ON (June 5–8).

In the sections below, you’ll find a 5-point summary of each talk, along with any pictures of slides or internet references that I found particularly useful. I may come back and update this post, if the speakers decide to put their slides online.

Opening Keynote — Creative Clarity: Finding Focus in the Midst of Ambiguity

Presented by: Jon Kolko

Give your team a reason to go to work

  • Creative direction is less about doing the work and more about setting a trajectory for those who are.
  • Build trust within a team by holding group critiques and sharing artifacts.
  • Constraints enable creativity as they frame the problem and provide a basis from which you can measure and iterate.
  • Rules tell your team that “ is not okay.” They should be broken by all and the team lead should own the consequences.
  • Substantiate a problem’s framing with real data to explain why we are doing the work that we’re doing.

Obligatory keynote summary slide ;)
Obligatory keynote summary slide ;)

Experience Streams in Cross-Channel Service Design: Leveraging Stats and Insights

Presented By: Alberto Ferreira

Engagement = mode x context x need

  • Users navigate experiences in two modes:
  1. Telic (or, as <em>Levitin calls it</em>, task-positive)
  2. Paratelic (AKA task-negative)
  • These modes can be broken up further into:
  1. Guided vs. Directed
  2. Motivated vs. Unmotivated
  • Depending on the user’s affective state, they are more or less likely to make particular decisions.
  • These decisions can be mapped into a decision tree, where different affectors inform every decision.
  • User affection can be measured by affective mapping to Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions — asking the user (and groups of users) what emotion a particular experience makes them feel

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions
Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions

More info on this methodology can be found on a blog post by Ferreira, “But how do you feel? The role of emotion in travel purchasing decisions”

How we (sort of) made UX and agile work — A case study

Presented by: Yael Keren

UX is a part of QA

  • UX needs to always be 1–2 sprints ahead of the development team(s) sprints
  • The UX team’s tasks during a given sprint can be broken up as follows:
  1. Validating the previous sprint
  2. Designing for the next sprint
  3. Supporting and QAing the current sprint
  • By grouping sprints in “Product Increments” (a la SAFe), which is 3 “Sprints” + 1 “Planning Phase”, UX and Development is given time to review the progress made in the last 6 weeks as well as reorganize.
  • UX is a part of QA! Convince the dev-team lead to dedicate at least one developer for at least one day to fix bugs and usability issues that were found within a given sprint, so that the release can be prepared with those problems accounted for and fixed.
  • Attend the development team’s standup/scrum/daily meeting and sit next to them, so that you can be available to answer questions. This will catch problems early before they become a bug filed during QA.

Takeaways slide (for easy reference)
Takeaways slide (for easy reference)

Experience mapping: Your roadmap to successful applications

Presented by: Chris Hass (Jim Williams could not make it)

Everybody has a piece of the elephant, but nobody has the whole thing

  • As people become more and more connected to various channels of B2C/B2B interaction, the line between products and services are blurred.
  • A Journey Map can help explain the complete story of a particular user/customer/consumer/human within a given context
  • Good Journey Maps bridge the chasms between teams, by aiding them in:
  1. Understanding and Communicating
  2. Identifying and Exploring
  3. Discussion and Prioritizing
  • Insights from User Research provide the Goals, Needs, Behaviors, Motivations, and Passions of your Personas. These personas should be light on ambiguous details and demographics and heavy on behavior.
  • Provide a map of the current experience and a map of the ideal. This will help codify your research, get everyone on the same page, and transition the conversation into designing solutions.

The meta-slide
The meta-slide

For examples and detailed instructions, see Mad*Pow’s UX Mastery Article: How to Create a Customer Journey Map

But wait… there’s more!

Tomorrow is another day, with much more learnings to come from it. I hope this post was helpful for reference (or learning, if you missed these talks)!

If you think I missed something important, summarized something wrong, or just want to start a relevant conversation… feel free to leave a comment, below!