Sunday, 2 January 2011

My UX roots

Just a quick post for now :) I've started a mentorship with Ian Fenn, the award-winning veteran UX specialist and Director of the The Information Architecture Institute and very kind person who has taken me on as part of the IA mentorship scheme.

Here's Ian's bio:

I'm not sure I could have been anything other than an information architect. Even the first two letters of my given name correspond with the initials of the role. My first career was in computer support at the sharp end of HCI. A second career in radio journalism taught me how to organise and prioritise information. Work as a comedy producer gave me an insight into everything else.

I've worked in the field for thirteen years now, and have been a freelance consultant for six. Past employers and clients include the BBC, BT plc, LexisNexis, Virgin Media, Sapient, M&C Saatchi, and others. I am co-founder of AXLIB, an open source library of design components for the prototyping tool Axure RP.

A regular contributor to local events in London and former UK Country Ambassador for EuroIA, I've also travelled long distances to conferences elsewhere, particularly in the USA, where I'm a regular attendee of the IA Summit. This year I attended the inaugural UX LX in Lisbon, and will shortly be at IDEA in Philadelphia. Next year I'm down for the first UX Hong Kong and hope to finally participate in UX Australia.

For more on my career and UX community involvement to date, please visit

We met just before the Christmas break and amongst other things Ian recommended that we kick things off by me reading the book Undercover User Experience Design. I've just had a look at my email and it looks like the book will be arriving on Tuesday. I am very excited and happy that Ian has agreed to mentor me. I'll share more details about it soon, but for now I'll leave you with the manifesto from the book :) I mean who doesn't love a good manifesto?

The undercover manifesto

Excerpt from Chapter 1: Going undercover.

“We believe in going undercover. We don’t mean you should skulk around in the dark. As an undercover user experience designer, your mission is to get people excited about UX without them realizing what you’ve done. Unless you’re an expensive consultant or a senior manager, you won’t do this by knocking on the CEO’s door and demanding change. User experience design is disruptive. It asks difficult questions. Good-enough managers in good-enough companies don’t want you to rock the boat; they’re busy worrying about meeting next month’s targets.

We believe in introducing UX from the ground up. Sneak UX into your daily work, prove its value, and spread the message. Results are more persuasive than plans.

We believe change comes through small victories. Putting users at the heart of a business is a huge cultural change. It takes years. But you’ll be surprised what you can achieve with focus, patience, and persistence.

We believe in delivery, not deliverables. Some people practice user-scented design, not user-centered design. They churn out documents—sitemaps, wireframes, specifications—but they’re not interested in what happens next. UX is a mindset, not a process—it lasts all the way until the site is live, and after.
We believe good design today is better than great design next year. There’s no such thing as perfection in design, particularly on a medium as fluid as the web. You’re not here to impress other designers; your job is to make your users’ lives better.

We believe in working with people, not against them. Just as we empathize with users, we must respect and understand our colleagues. We reject elitism and accept that compromise is healthy. Passion is fine; zealotry is not.

We believe in action, not words. Introducing UX into your company is a lot of work. No one will do it for you, so you’d better get cracking. Remember, it’s often easier to get forgiveness than permission.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Real Time Web Analytics