User-experience trading cards

Series 3 of the user-experience trading cards debuted at the 2009 IA Summit this week. Five Sketches™ is included in this set:

Five Sketches™ is one of the trading cards

The trading cards are a growing set—each card lists one method or technique useful to our industry—and are provided as a perk wherever one of nForm‘s speakers presents. The whole set is useful to:

  • help provide consistent terms.
  • illustrate the range of services UX practitioners can offer.
  • help clients understand the options with a simple, brief explanation.
  • kick-start our ideas when we’re facing an unusual problem.
  • inspire our business-development efforts.
  • … and more.

Not at IA Summit? Look for nForm at the WebStrategy Summit, the annual CanUX conference, and elsewhere.

Rigid UCD methodology fails?

I received an e-mail from someone at the 2008 IA Summit about Jared Spool’s declaration that UCD is dead:

——Forwarded message——
From: P
Date: Sun 13/04/2008, 2:54 PM

Hi Jerome,

I’m at the iA Summit in Miami right now, and hearing about all of the things that are going on makes me think of you. One of the interesting sessions was Jared Spool’s keynote speech. He conducted research into what makes certain companies better able to produce effective designs. He used this model to talk about the various approaches departments do to facilitate design:

Things that facilitate design

He said all design involves a process, whether it’s been formalized or not. Interesting, though not surprising: companies that have dogmatic UCD leadership or use a rigid UCD methodology are unlikely to create anything innovative. To innovate, you want to apply techniques in sometimes surprising ways to solve problems that they were not intended for (those are the “tricks”.)

OK, I’m going back out in the warm (hot!) weather.

– P

Of course, the lack of process doesn’t guarantee innovation, either, nor does it guarantee you’ll be able to repeat your (accidental) successes. I believe a successful design process must involve some form of generative design—as Five Sketches™ does—that’s based on knowledge of user condition. I also beleive that, once you’ve internalised those two things, you can use almost any form of facilitation to design good products.