Saturday, June 28, 2008

Workshop ideas - which would you prefer

Planning ahead for a few conferences that are coming up in the next 6-9 months and I'm looking to develop a half or full-day workshop...

I have two ideas and I'm curious what people think:
i) Creating research-based personas - from surveys& analytics to finished product; or
ii) UX Strategy - defining & aligning UX strategy to meet corporate goals.

Which would you prefer to see at your next UX conference?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Busy times for Meld; busy times for me.

The past month has been a really jammed-pack one over here at Meld.

You probably already know that I was invited to speak at the Web Direction UX '08 conference down in Melbourne in May. The conference went off really well, and a lot of kudos is deserved by the organizers and the other speakers. And of course, presenting at a conference like that is pretty flat without an appreciative audience, which was a biggie. I was happy to receive some very positive feedback after the talk, including this nice piece from Matt Magain over at Site Point.

Personal stand-outs from the event were Andy Budd's opening keynote, and Jackie Moyes presentation on creating design deliverables for your internal stakeholders. Unfortunately, my own presentation meant I was unable to watch Lisa Herrod (from Scenario Seven) or Donna Maurer (from Maadmob) - two of my favourite UX pros in this country.

The conference came hard on the back of a quick trip to Vancouver for a meeting - it went all day, but yikes! - on a project to integrate 10 global legacy systems into a single customer service interface. I was fortunate to be able to have my wife along for the journey, since she's the lead developer on the project, which made the travel itinerary that much easier to handle.

Since then I've been working on four projects: two for clients; one for the business; and one personal.

The two client projects are both very interesting, but very different. The first was to produce a UX strategy for an online resource, and included a set of recommendations around the adoption of social media inside a large government department as a way of increasing engagement with one of its constituent groups (read 'audience'). That was tricky, since it involved balancing current organizational capabilities with a very distinct need for progress in this direction. The final report - which was only completed earlier today - now goes through some internal reviews before we move on to the implementation stages. But that's all for me on that one for a little bit.

The second client project can be described in a few words: 'massive', 'complex', and 'political'. I'm leading up the redesign effort on a large government intranet, and so far we have undertaken our initial planning and are three weeks in to a 6-week program of stakeholder research. We're holding one-on-one interviews (of around an hour), although sometimes with two or three people; or 3-hour workshops with up to 10 people at a time. I think so far we've fronted about 75 people, and will at least double that before we're done with this stage.

Unfortunately, I can't say too much more about this one for now, but it will make for an awesome case study in about a year.

On the business front I've just finalised the design of a logo for the company (!!) and am getting business cards printed this week. You can see the logo and design style over at the Meld site. I'd love to know what you think. A very big thank you to the folks over at Boomworks for their patience and expertise in dealing with such a noob client. In all my years in business, this is the first time I've gone through this exercise, so I needed a fair degree of hand-holding :)

And finally, my personal project. I'm in the process of developing what I hope will become an interesting workshop for people who'd like to learn step-by-step how to develop research-based personas or audience segments. I'm doing some reading of fairly heavy-duty statistical modelling and analysis texts, with the aim of translating that knowledge into some fairly simple, actionable steps starting with surveys and finishing up with either audience segmentation or fleshed-out personas. I'm not sure yet how it's going to go, but I'm aiming to be in a position to deliver it in late September at the next Oz-IA conference.

Of course, at some point I'd also like to get an actual presentation written for Oz-IA on something other than statistics! I have an idea, which I think might be appropriate, but more on that another time.

Don't forget - tell me what you think of the new logo!