Sunday, May 18, 2014

Education & training as experience strategy

Appreciation for the experience design profession is rapidly increasing, as more and more organizations are elevating and often differentiating their products and services via the user/customer experience. Now, more than ever, the world needs professionals who understand experience design and can execute on it.

Susan and I have been teaching experience design and related topics for years. Susan used to teach undergrad and graduate user experience courses at San Francisco State University, Latrobe University, and the University of New South Wales. I taught user-centered design courses via the University of California Berkeley Extension and user experience management courses via the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. We’ve both taught experience design and management workshops at a variety of conferences and companies, and we’ve both written numerous articles and made presentations at numerous professional events. I was Co-Editor-in-Chief of interactions magazine for 3 years.

We continue to make contributions of a related nature. For example, we both teach graduate level user experience courses for the Academy of Art University, and we both teach experience design courses — one of them a 10-week, 5 days/week, 8 hours/day immersive — for General Assembly.  I’m also likely to co-teach another user experience management course later this year.

Healthcare projects are one of OE Strategy’s priorities (e.g., Susan is involved in two projects seeking to improve access to healthcare in developing countries), and many of my recent writings and presentations have been about how designers can maximize their impact on healthcare design projects. Here is a partial list:
My most recent presentation took place just last month during a meeting of the Stanford School of Medicine Design for Health course (ANES 206). The topic for the evening was design with empathy, and I shared the instructor podium with IDEO’s Annie Valdez.

Susan and I will continue to teach about experience design, and I encourage you and your organization to take advantage of the increasing number of opportunities to learn more about it. Doing so would be a part of an optimal experience strategy for any individual or company.


Friday, January 10, 2014

The value of local professional events

Susan and I take the opportunity to attend lots of local events of relevance to the work we do. We are fortunate to be based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where many such events are held. Years ago, both of us contributed to the start of these local events by being on the founding committee for BayCHI, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of SIGCHI (the ACM Special Interest Group in Computer-Human Interaction). I had the privilege of serving as BayCHI's first program chair, responsible (for 12 years) for BayCHI's monthly speaker series most often held at Xerox PARC. Susan programmed events for the local chapter of the Human Factors Society.

Today, the BayCHI monthly speaker series is still going strong, but it has been joined by many others. Programs that one or both of us attend include those focused on the quantified self, lean UX, online community management, enterprise UX, design strategy and research, homeless innovation, healthcare redesign, social media, interaction design, entrepreneurship, mobile UX, health technology, creativity, service design, patient engagement, and leveraging technology for social impact.

We particularly like the programs in which we can participate. We've both led such programs, including my interview of Jon Kolko and Don Norman at the Academy of Art University (see photo above), and Susan's hosting the Stanford's crash course in design thinking in Sydney (see photo at left). And we enjoy participating in design jams -- often two day workshops in which multidisciplinary teams identify and design potential solutions to real-world wicked problems. I've participated in six design jams, one of which focused on healthy food access and preparation problems experienced in a poor and rough neighborhood of San Francisco, one of which addressed how Goodwill might repurpose textiles they collect that are currently going to waste, and one focused on redesigning the business model for Fair Trade USA. We both participated in a design jam focused on easing the challenges student immigrants face when navigating the U.S. legal system, and Susan participated on the winning team in a design jam focused on helping corporations and city management embrace the new peer-to-peer economy.

All these events help keep us fresh and current. We embrace them as an important extension of our worklife, and we encourage others to do the same. If you don't live in an area with lots of these kinds of events, consider making your contribution to the growth of the peer-to-peer economy by organizing one or more. You'll be glad you did.