Ladies that UX: A Humble Co-Creation
Last night myself and Julie Dawson (UX Resourcer) attended UX meet-up group ‘Ladies that UX’ at the fabulous Seren Penthouse event apartment, sipping vino on the roof terrace with a bunch of… well…Ladies that UX.
The evening was a refreshing breath of fresh air from other events we have attended; being quickly welcomed to the group by joyous co-founder Georgie and then venturing out to the roof terrace to enjoy the last of the evening sun and make introductions. We were then beckoned back inside to be taken through two presentations from female industry leaders Meg Porter, UX Designer @ Albion and Patrizia Bertin from Foolproof. It was great to see everyone engaged with the talks, not just interacting with the speaker, embarking on Q&A style debate, but also engaging with one another and offering up advice or counter arguments in a collaborative sharing of ideas.
I have therefore pulled together some of the ideas shared by both speakers and attendees to give you some insight into the topics discussed on the evening…
Kicking off the talks was Meg Porter – Senior UX Designer @ Albion with a scintillating presentation on ‘Humble UX: Let go of pride to build good products together,’
We all have different definitions of what humble means and therefore it is a UX’ers job to find that balance.
“Do you even UX?
Much project, much uninformed.
I am overwhelmed”
The overriding factors of the talk were Fear, Pride and Humility. What does a good designer need to be?
Pictured abouve are two extremes, the Diva and the Pushover. A good UX’er finds a balance of the two.
Myth:- Move to better job where stakeholders will get it
‘But could it be that our collective frustration says more about us than those who are supposedly holding us back?’
David Gillis – Book: Humble product design
We should all work on our humility, a hyper awareness that someone else knows better than you. It is not helpful to pull a face and fight against your team; be humble and help your team by trusting and believing in them.
Collaboration is not just a concept and in reality it is a really hard thing to do. Listen before you speak!
If at the end of the day if we are not making ourselves valuable to the business then we’re not valuable. It doesn’t matter how much research or theory we have if we are not reaching our objective goals.
This leads us to Curiosity over EGO!
Often UX’ers have preconceived judgments of the outcomes to user testing and rush to get the answer they want. Though then what is the point in testing? You need to be open to being wrong. You are only as empathetic as you are curious.
To finish up the talk Meg asked the audience the question;
Q; What role have fear and humility played in your projects?
A; “That’s a great idea of mine you just had.” You need to let go of your ego and often convince someone that your idea is their idea.
A; There’s something between Humility and Arrogance. It depends on your environment. You couldn’t be 100% humble within a company of egotistical sharks as you’d never get your voice hears. The right balance is what makes you good at your job but still able to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.
A; Defend your ideas though don’t be pretentious. Defend user needs though be willing to listen. Don’t defend for defending sake.
A; There are many negative connotations around the word defend, it being associated with going to war and battling. Rather than defend, back up. When you defend you shut down and are not open to feedback.
A; Be confident in admitting what you don’t know and that you will find the answer. Don’t dig holes pretending you know the answer though also don’t back down due to not knowing. It will reflect well on you to show that you are confident in yourself that if you do not know the answer you will find it out and will be able to report back later.
A; UX designers are often seen as police of the internet “no you can’t do that!” Bullish UXers go into testing to intend not to change anything after. Good UXers are open to change and curious about ‘what’s next’. Arrogant UXers are a nightmare!
A; When Uxers tell designers they got it right there’s all cheers. Though when it doesn’t work the response isn’t often so forthcoming ‘this is bullshit!’ This is where we need to practice humility, resist our urge to get egotistical and instead concentrate on the strengths of the design whilst feeding in parts that don’t necessary work.
Conclusion; collaborate/co-create. It is not just one persons work but the collaborative effort of a team.
This leads us nicely into the next talk with Patrizia Bertini – UX Consultant & Researcher @ Foolproof who did a talk on ‘What is co-creation and how can it be beneficial to UX practitioners?’
UX research today is about understanding People and the relations between organisations and the user. The thing is, they don’t talk anymore.
We need to work with people and not against them.
There are multiple methods of gaining insight for user needs and behaviours. Though are the users actually engaged?
In testing sessions are the participants/users actually engaged with the product or are they solely here for the incentive… MONEY!
You need to engage users, not just use them.
What is the input we are looking for from these sessions? If it’s creative input then shouldn’t we be doing this earlier?
We should understand the future of the product through the user.
We are not talking about needs, nobody needs an iPhone, they need the meanings behind the phone. If you lose your phone and get it replaced with the same model, the same colour etc. it is still not your phone. It is the information, the numbers, the texts, the pictures, the applications you’ve downloaded that makes it your phone. It is the meanings and experiences that user’s need.
Values shift to experiences as the market is becoming a forum for conversations and interactions. It is from talking to users that we can understand what they need.
‘Markets are conversations, talk is cheap, silence is fatal.’
We need to work through conversations rather than instructions. We need to co-create.
So… what is co-creation?
Co – Preflex
Together, joint or jointly; mutual or mutually; coproduction
Creation – Noun
The act of producing or causing to exist; the act of creating; engendering.
‘Creating is as much cultural and social as it is psychological’
With this new method, dictated in the picture above, everyone engages and can co-create a product that adds value to all. Co-Creating is about creating with the brand not for the brand.
So what are the key benefits?
Time; saves time through co-creating workshops instead of having separate meetings with separate groups.
Money; naturally this saves you money as you reduce the time it takes to produce the product that adds value.
Results; you get results. As everyone shares their view you learn mutual needs, expectations and desires and can then construct a product together that reflects these.
Again to conclude the talk Patrizia asked the audience a question
to generate discussion;
Q; So have you ever used co-creation in UX?
A; Want not need. It’s about experiences and brilliant ideas that can come from co-creation.
Q; What if your users and client are based in different countries?
A; You need a representative from each party to get across their values, desires and expectations and therefore you would need to get them into the same room somehow.
Q; People often come to a meeting with their own agenda. How do you push this out of the room?
A; You need to change the rules of the game. You can do this by changing situation identities. Strip away their title and get them to introduce themselves by their super human power. The CEO of the company will therefore no longer be the CEO and instead addressed as the guy that can eat 100 burgers in 2 minutes. You need to use child play not serious play to get people playing with ideas.
A; You need to force trust. Kids and dogs won’t play with you unless they trust you. And it is the same for adults. By forcing trust onto the group you can get people to play and experiment with ideas and in turn you may come out with something brilliant.
Conclusion; Users have ideas so don’t discard these, use them! Strip away egos and co-create. This takes us back to the humble UX from earlier; Play and share desires between all groups from client, designers, project managers and users in order to create something that is valuable to all parties.
I hope this was enjoyable and gives you the general gist of the evening. Please let me know your thoughts on the evening or the topics discussed in the comment section below 🙂
Looking forward to the next event; 16th August Regents Park #LTUXLondon