Social networks and online communities are reshaping the way people communicate, both in their personal and professional lives. What makes some succeed and others fail? What draws a user in? What makes them join? What keeps them coming back? Entrepreneurs and businesses are turning to user experience practitioners to figure this out. Though they are well-equipped to evaluate and create a variety of interfaces, social networks require a different set of design principles and ways of thinking about the user in order to be successful.
Many designers enjoy the interfaces seen in science fiction films and television shows. Freed from the rigorous constraints of designing for real users, sci-fi production designers develop blue-sky interfaces that are inspiring, humorous, and even instructive. By carefully studying these “outsider” user interfaces, designers can derive lessons that make their real-world designs more cutting edge and successful.
Make It So is available from Rosenfeld Media with a 30% discount for UX Melbourne folks; the discount code is UXBOOKMELBOURNE.
As a special treat we will have Nathan join us to talk about the book and answer your questions. Nathan Chairs the MBA in Design Strategy at Californian College of the Arts, he has been writing about Experience Design for many years and has influenced many of today’s successful interaction designers.
Nathan will stay with us for the evening to enjoy some UX Melbourne chat over dinner, so if you’d like to join in please RSVP via Eventbrite.
If you don’t get time to read the book you could listen to these podcasts
The voting is in for October’s book and the winner is ‘The Mobile Frontier’ by Rachel Hinman…with a SPECIAL OFFER from Rosenfeld Media for 30% off until the end of September, just use the discount code UXBOOKMELBOURNE.
Skill Building for Design Innovators – Talk by Steve Portigal
6PM, Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Radio Theatre, Level 1, Building 9, RMIT
How can you broaden your sphere of influence within the field of human-computer interaction? You can start by building your muscles! Steve will take a look at some fundamental skills that underlie the creation and launch of innovative goods and services. He will discuss the personal skills that he considers to be the muscles of innovators and the ways you can build these important muscles, including noticing, understanding cultural context, maintaining exposure to pop culture, synthesizing, drawing, wordsmithing, listening, and prototyping. Along the way, he will demonstrate how improving these powerful skills will equip you to lead positive change.
6:30PM, Thursday, 6 September 2012
Level 4 Lecture Theatre (Room 11), Building 80, RMIT
(The brand new Swanston Academic Building)
Designers must continually learn to survive. New technologies, new philosophies, new roles and responsibilities, new tools and methods all keep designers on their toes throughout their career. But one skill persists no matter where designer find themselves, the ability to ask Why?
Asking customers why they do what they do or believe what they believe unlocks the foundation for inspired design. Asking organizations why they follow their strategies unearths good habits or dangerous ruts. Asking our most traditional institutions why things are the way they are uncovers the potential to remake our society. Constraints, myths, assumptions and perspectives can all melt with a well-timed and well-framed Why?
Let’s apply some toddler magic to our adult careers and ask Why?
For August the book was chosen by poll and this design classic is the result. For those who have read the book this is your chance to revisit and see how much can still be applied today. For those of us who still haven’t read it, here is a great chance to find out why The Design of Everyday Things has influenced a generation of digital designers.
Anyone who designs anything to be used by humans — from physical objects to computer programs to conceptual tools — must read this book, and it is an equally tremendous read for anyone who has to use anything created by another human. It could forever change how you experience and interact with your physical surroundings, open your eyes to the perversity of bad design and the desirability of good design, and raise your expectations about how things should be designed. – Goodreads.com
Tuesday 21 August
6.00 for 6.30 start
Where is it?
267 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
For June we will be reading User Centred Agile Methods, by Hugh Beyer. This is part of a broader lecture series on Human-Centred Informatics.
The abstract of the lecture follows:
With the introduction and popularization of Agile methods of software development, existing relationships and working agreements between user experience groups and developers are being disrupted. Agile methods introduce new concepts: the Product Owner, the Customer (but not the user), short iterations, User Stories. Where do UX professionals fit in this new world? Agile methods also bring a new mindset — no big design, no specifications, minimal planning — which conflict with the needs of UX design.
This lecture discusses the key elements of Agile for the UX community and describes strategies UX people can use to contribute effectively in an Agile team, overcome key weaknesses in Agile methods as typically implemented, and produce a more robust process and more successful designs. We present a process combining the best practices of Contextual Design, a leading approach to user-centered design, with those of Agile development.
The PDF of the lecture is USD$20 to download, and can be purchased from Morgan & Claypool. You can also get a hardcopy from Amazon for USD$25.
When is it?
Tuesday 19 June
6.00 for 6.30 start
Where is it?
267 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
The April UX Book Club was jam-packed full of great people, lively conversation and interesting debate.
What made it so good?
There was a great mix, again, of old-hands and new people. Lots of UXers are coming out of the woodwork! Rue Bebelons is also a great home for UX Melbourne Book Club, we have our own space with dedicated waiter service…. although we might end up out growing it at the current rate of expansion.
How was the book?
For ‘old-hands’ Simple and Usable by Giles Colborne was a great contrast in approach from February’s classic, Envisioning Information. Giles Colborne obviously went to great lengths to make the reading experience ‘simple and usable’ with very succinct one page explanations of different usability and design principles and tools.
Colborne makes sure he covers strategic and conceptual issues as well as describing over 50 design tools for achieving simplicity. He makes sure that simplicity is not just an absence of complexity but rather “The secret to creating a simple user experience is to shift complexity into the right place, so that each moment feels simple.”
Four Parts are devoted to detailed descriptions of the four strategies for simplicity:
These strategies, and the problems they address, are neatly demonstrated in the design challenge of a TV remote control. This is a really handy illustration of the outcomes of each strategy.
It was interesting to compare such an easily digestible book with Tufte’s Envisioning Information, a book that demands a lot of mental effort from the reader. Some readers felt that the ‘easy reading’ experience actually encouraged the reader to gloss over the rich ideas that were on offer. Perhaps for knowledge to stick there needs to be a small amount of friction in the reading experience?
For those who were at the February Book Club it was nice to recognise Tufte’s principles so neatly presented in the ‘Organise’ Part.
Overall Simple and Usable is a really valuable learning tool for anyone working in a design context, and especially helpful to the practice of User Experience design.
When’s the next Book Club?
The next UX Melbourne Book Club will be Tuesday 19 June, Rue Bebelons, 6pm.