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Tools for improving the team's design/UX literacy

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  • Austin Govella
    I ve been working on tools to improve the deisgn and UX literacy of engineers I work with. These include sketch sheets to encourage sketching and rapid
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 4, 2010
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      I've been working on tools to improve the deisgn and UX literacy of
      engineers I work with.

      These include sketch sheets to encourage sketching and rapid iteration:
      * http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4026071655/

      And a worksheet with questions intended to make them focus on the
      holistic experience:
      * http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4325793678/

      So, two questions:

      1. What tools and techniques have you successfully used to improve
      your team's design literacy?

      2. How would you evangelize tools outside of your team to the larger
      organization?

      (Any comments on the worksheets or sketching sheets are welcome, too.)



      --
      Austin Govella
      User Experience

      Work: http://www.grafofini.com
      Blog: http://www.thinkingandmaking.com
      Book: http://www.blueprintsfortheweb.com

      austin@...
      215-240-1265
    • Jeremy Kriegel
      I d say that the biggest tool that I use to increase the literacy of the people I work with is collaboration and workshops. The more I work with others on
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 4, 2010
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        I'd say that the biggest tool that I use to increase the literacy of the people I work with is collaboration and workshops. The more I work with others on designs, the more they are exposed to the concepts underpinning my choices and the better they get at understanding and utilizing those concepts. 

        Engineers are typically a fairly stubborn bunch, but I've found that once you get a concept into their head, it becomes a tool for them and it sticks.

        Many years ago, in a fairly non-collaborative scenario, an engineer brought one of my wireframes back to me, questioning my decision. I explained Fitts's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitts's_law) as the basis for that particular design choice. He gave me a funny look but returned to his desk. After a later batch of wireframes, he came back again, telling me that I had 'done it wrong', and pointing out how Fitts's Law would dictate a different choice. In this case, he was right and I made the change. In other cases, such conversations give me an opportunity to explain a different concept that might be more important in that specific context.

        The more open the channel of communication, the better the literacy will be.

        -jer

        "Be well, do good work & keep in touch."
            - Garrison Keillor


        On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 2:57 PM, Austin Govella <austin.govella@...> wrote:
         

        I've been working on tools to improve the deisgn and UX literacy of
        engineers I work with.

        These include sketch sheets to encourage sketching and rapid iteration:
        * http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4026071655/

        And a worksheet with questions intended to make them focus on the
        holistic experience:
        * http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4325793678/

        So, two questions:

        1. What tools and techniques have you successfully used to improve
        your team's design literacy?

        2. How would you evangelize tools outside of your team to the larger
        organization?

        (Any comments on the worksheets or sketching sheets are welcome, too.)

        --
        Austin Govella
        User Experience

        Work: http://www.grafofini.com
        Blog: http://www.thinkingandmaking.com
        Book: http://www.blueprintsfortheweb.com

        austin@...
        215-240-1265


      • Ray Dahl
        For rapid design and iteration I love Balsamiq for early stage wireframe development. Fast and easy. Ray UX designer ARUP Laboratories Sent from my iPod On Feb
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 4, 2010
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          For rapid design and iteration I love Balsamiq for early stage wireframe development. Fast and easy.

          Ray
          UX designer
          ARUP Laboratories

          Sent from my iPod

          On Feb 4, 2010, at 12:57 PM, Austin Govella <austin.govella@...> wrote:

           

          I've been working on tools to improve the deisgn and UX literacy of
          engineers I work with.

          These include sketch sheets to encourage sketching and rapid iteration:
          * http://www.flickr. com/photos/ austingovella/ 4026071655/

          And a worksheet with questions intended to make them focus on the
          holistic experience:
          * http://www.flickr. com/photos/ austingovella/ 4325793678/

          So, two questions:

          1. What tools and techniques have you successfully used to improve
          your team's design literacy?

          2. How would you evangelize tools outside of your team to the larger
          organization?

          (Any comments on the worksheets or sketching sheets are welcome, too.)

          --
          Austin Govella
          User Experience

          Work: http://www.grafofin i.com
          Blog: http://www.thinking andmaking. com
          Book: http://www.blueprin tsfortheweb. com

          austin@grafofini. com
          215-240-1265

        • schntar
          I also love Balsamiq - it allows people a common language for discussing initial ideas (and an easy way to share the ideas with others via an image file). The
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 8, 2010
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            I also love Balsamiq - it allows people a common language for discussing initial ideas (and an easy way to share the ideas with others via an image file). The learning barrier to entry for discussion is appropriate for my teams (very minimal), who often don't have the time to learn new programs.

            I like your paper versions, although for my teams (geographically distributed) it would be more challenging than an electronic mockup.

            I've also had good luck pitching this tool to our marketing staff for "rough-draft" work.
            -Tara Schnaible

            --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Ray Dahl <ray.dahl@...> wrote:
            >
            > For rapid design and iteration I love Balsamiq for early stage
            > wireframe development. Fast and easy.
            >
            > Ray
            > UX designer
            > ARUP Laboratories
            >
            > Sent from my iPod
            >
            > On Feb 4, 2010, at 12:57 PM, Austin Govella <austin.govella@...>
            > wrote:
            >
            > > I've been working on tools to improve the deisgn and UX literacy of
            > > engineers I work with.
            > >
            > > These include sketch sheets to encourage sketching and rapid
            > > iteration:
            > > * http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4026071655/
            > >
            > > And a worksheet with questions intended to make them focus on the
            > > holistic experience:
            > > * http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4325793678/
            > >
            > > So, two questions:
            > >
            > > 1. What tools and techniques have you successfully used to improve
            > > your team's design literacy?
            > >
            > > 2. How would you evangelize tools outside of your team to the larger
            > > organization?
            > >
            > > (Any comments on the worksheets or sketching sheets are welcome, too.)
            > >
            > > --
            > > Austin Govella
            > > User Experience
            > >
            > > Work: http://www.grafofini.com
            > > Blog: http://www.thinkingandmaking.com
            > > Book: http://www.blueprintsfortheweb.com
            > >
            > > austin@...
            > > 215-240-1265
            > >
            >
          • Jon Kern
            i use balsamiq all the time, it s quick and easy. another good reason is that there is no mistaking it as a sketch. you might also want to checkout napkee.com
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 12, 2010
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              i use balsamiq all the time, it's quick and easy. another good reason is
              that there is no mistaking it as a sketch.

              you might also want to checkout napkee.com -- works with the balsamiq
              files to bring them to life so you can even exercise the mockups :-)

              jon
              blog: http://technicaldebt.wetpaint.com
              twitter: http://twitter.com/JonKernPA



              schntar said the following on 2/8/10 12:12 PM:
              >
              > I also love Balsamiq - it allows people a common language for
              > discussing initial ideas (and an easy way to share the ideas with
              > others via an image file). The learning barrier to entry for
              > discussion is appropriate for my teams (very minimal), who often don't
              > have the time to learn new programs.
              >
              > I like your paper versions, although for my teams (geographically
              > distributed) it would be more challenging than an electronic mockup.
              >
              > I've also had good luck pitching this tool to our marketing staff for
              > "rough-draft" work.
              > -Tara Schnaible
              >
              > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              > <mailto:agile-usability%40yahoogroups.com>, Ray Dahl <ray.dahl@...> wrote:
              > >
              > > For rapid design and iteration I love Balsamiq for early stage
              > > wireframe development. Fast and easy.
              > >
              > > Ray
              > > UX designer
              > > ARUP Laboratories
              > >
              > > Sent from my iPod
              > >
              > > On Feb 4, 2010, at 12:57 PM, Austin Govella <austin.govella@...>
              > > wrote:
              > >
              > > > I've been working on tools to improve the deisgn and UX literacy of
              > > > engineers I work with.
              > > >
              > > > These include sketch sheets to encourage sketching and rapid
              > > > iteration:
              > > > * http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4026071655/
              > <http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4026071655/>
              > > >
              > > > And a worksheet with questions intended to make them focus on the
              > > > holistic experience:
              > > > * http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4325793678/
              > <http://www.flickr.com/photos/austingovella/4325793678/>
              > > >
              > > > So, two questions:
              > > >
              > > > 1. What tools and techniques have you successfully used to improve
              > > > your team's design literacy?
              > > >
              > > > 2. How would you evangelize tools outside of your team to the larger
              > > > organization?
              > > >
              > > > (Any comments on the worksheets or sketching sheets are welcome, too.)
              > > >
              > > > --
              > > > Austin Govella
              > > > User Experience
              > > >
              > > > Work: http://www.grafofini.com <http://www.grafofini.com>
              > > > Blog: http://www.thinkingandmaking.com
              > <http://www.thinkingandmaking.com>
              > > > Book: http://www.blueprintsfortheweb.com
              > <http://www.blueprintsfortheweb.com>
              > > >
              > > > austin@...
              > > > 215-240-1265
              > > >
              > >
              >
              >
            • Anders Ramsay
              ... Yes, the hand-drawn quality of Balsamiq mockups is IMO **the single-most important feature of the tool.** It is a key reason why I use it instead of tools
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 12, 2010
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                On Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 1:05 PM, Jon Kern <jonkern@...> wrote:
                > i use balsamiq all the time, it's quick and easy. another good reason is
                > that there is no mistaking it as a sketch.

                Yes, the hand-drawn quality of Balsamiq mockups is IMO **the
                single-most important feature of the tool.** It is a key reason why I
                use it instead of tools such as Gliffy, where everything looks slick.

                In fact, tools that allow you to simulate a reality and make it
                actually look real (I think iRise and Serena and Axure allow for that)
                or just polished, I would say pose a great risk to the project, since
                they--in the minds of non-technical end users--create the illusion of
                something having been built when it has not. High-fidelity wireframes
                or PhotoShop mockups can, for a non-technical audience, cause similar
                damage.

                -Anders
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