Founder Myopia

My friend Ben Yoskovitz, author of Lean Analytics invited me to present at the AB InBEv ZXlerator program on June 21, 2016.

This talk was a new direction for me. Instead of talking “to” founders about what they should do, I’m now able to speak “with” founders and share my own direct experience. In this talk I discuss a common error of perspective founders can succumb to, illustrated with examples from my own company, Brooklyn Copper Cookware.

Balanced Craft

How can we shape our skillsets to be effective participants in Balanced Teams? Complex software projects require a wide range of skills. As an individual who seeks meaningful work, you understand the need for cross-team communication and collaboration, but the skillset is overwhelming. What do you need to know? How deeply must you know it?

First presented at the Balanced Team Summit 2015, Grand Rapids MI.

Video

Slides

Structured UX Design Critique

I was invited to speak at the Downtown LA UX Study Group on the topic of UX Design Critique. You can look at the slides here, or download the deck from SlideShare.

Here’s the list of resources I reference at the end of the deck.

Make an animated GIF with Keynote and Photoshop

I enjoy the InVision newsletter because it includes great interviews with designers and useful tips, like this article from Andy Orsow called 7 tips for designing awesome animated GIFs.

I learned how to make animated GIFs with Photoshop at Shillington, but found the process unwieldy. I didn’t realize you could give yourself a huge head start by doing your animations as a video first. I didn’t have ScreenFlow or After Effects, so I was intrigued by Andy’s suggestion that I could use something considerably more low-tech (and probably already on YOUR computer too.)

Pro tip: If ScreenFlow or After Effects aren’t in your budget, create your animation in Keynote, and export it as a video. Yep, there’s finally a use for that setting. —@andyorsow

Here is the result of my little experiment. I made this animated GIF with Keynote and Photoshop. It was a pretty straightforward process and it was a fun way to learn something new. If you want to try it out yourself, please read on for a few more tips you might find helpful.

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Set up your Keynote workspace

You can change the size of the “canvas” in Keynote by setting the slide size in the inspector. I choose 600×200 because that’s the width of graphics for my blog. You can pick any size that makes sense for your project.

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.32.34 PM

Turn on the rulers and drag some guides so you can orient yourself as you’re working.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.38.43 PM

Create your animation in Keynote

The Keynote animation settings are a little fussy to get used to but there’s a lot already built in. Everything you’ll need us under the “Build” tab of the inspector. You “group” actions by using the “Start Build” drop down, which allows you to run actions at the same time. For example, the circle rotates and moves at the same time, that’s TWO actions)

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.40.26 PM

Export to Quicktime

When you’re ready, export the file to Quicktime format. I only had one slide in my deck with the animation, so I kept all the defaults (Playback Uses: Manual Advance), 24 frames per second. I just turned off Audio (not sure that was actually necessary)

Finish it up in Photoshop

Importing the .mov file into Photoshop was pretty straightforward. File > Import > Video Frames to Layers. As Andy suggested, I chose the option “Limit To Every 2 Frames”

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.46.12 PM

Once I imported the file into Photoshop, I immediately tried to Save for Web, but the GIF didn’t animate. I wasn’t sure what was wrong so the second time I imported it, I opened the animation panel (Window > Animation) and verified the playback was working before I exported.

It was better to do it that way anyhow because I could tune the animation by extending time and removing frames. I found that I needed to extend the last frame to 1 second to make the animation look like there’s a little pause before it starts.

What will YOU make?

Please leave a comment if you found this helpful or leave a link to your animated GIF project. I’d love to hear from you.

My favorite hand-drawing resources

fear-pencil

I’m on a quest to be better at hand-drawn visual communication. I think of the subject as “chunks” I need to master:

  • Communicating abstract concepts visually
  • Hand lettering
  • People and objects in context
  • UI sketching

Here are some resources I’ve found fun/memorable/useful. Several of them cover more than one of the areas of mastery I mention above, so I have not categorized them.

Sketching Across the Design Process, Ray DeLaPena

Ray’s workshop at Lean UX NYC 2013 strongly influenced the way I think about the different contexts of sketching: “thinking,” “talking,” and “showing.”

Kate Rutter, Strategic Sketcher at Intelleto

My friend Kate Rutter creates and shares amazing resources. If you get a chance to attend a workshop or hear hear speak at an event, do it!

Hand Lettering Ledger, Mary Kate McDevitt

Although you might think that hand-lettering is just the territory of graphic designers and illustrators, I think it’s great for any hand-sketcher to have a couple different hand-printed fonts in their toolkit. The book has great examples and loads of different worksheets, so buy it on paper and practice, practice, practice!

The Sketchnote Handbook, Mike Rohde

This book is worth getting on paper. It’s printed on nice paper and bound well so it’s a pleasure to read. The electronic version is not as satisfying.

The “Back of the Napkin” series from Dan Roam

I first saw Dan Roam at SxSW 2010 when he launched “The Back of the Napkin.” He now has a several books and tons more resources on his site.

VizThink

The VizThink folks are an international community. They have interesting events and good resources.

Quick, Useful UI Sketches, Lane Halley (that’s me!)

I’ve pulled together my current thinking about UI sketching in a workshop. I use a technique I call “reverse wireframing” to teach you to see the structure of UIs and through a series of exercises, you’ll create your personal shorthand to draw UI elements.

Good luck, and please leave comments with your favorite resources!

The Collaborative UX Designer’s Toolbox

Slides

From my half-day workshop at UX London May 30, 2014

Class materials

Class description

Are you challenged by unclear, conflicting and changeable product mandates? Frustrated by other team members who just don’t seem to “get it?” Do you struggle to find a sustainable pace where you can deliver what your team needs to move forward and still have a little time to think ahead?

The increasing popularity of Agile development and Lean Startup have created an expectation of shorter cycles and iterative delivery, yet our teams still ask for for pixel perfect deliverables. At the same time, we are asked to deliver great experiences, advocate for the business value of good design and facilitate a more inclusive ux process with our teams.

This presents us with an interesting set of challenges. How can we develop and support a shared vision while moving forward in small, validated steps? How can we find the right level of fidelity for the artifacts we create? How can we engage with the rest of the team without getting bogged down in “design by committee?”

I believe we can thrive and do good work in this environment of continual change if we reconsider our UX workflow as a framework of tools and activities that can adapt to the needs of our products and teams.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Adapt familiar UX activities to be more quick, visual, collaborative and continuous
  • Diagnose when to apply different UX techniques
  • Help your team move away from opinion-based design
  • Create cooperative relationships with product managers and developers
  • Productively engage with team members who do not have a design background

Click here to visit the conference site

 

LeanUX14 Presentations and Speakers

I attended Lean UX 2014 in New Jersey April 10-12, 2014. Below, please find the schedule with with links to the videos, slides, materials and information about the speakers. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please check back later. I am adding links as I can find them and will continue to update this post. If you have found something I don’t have yet, please feel free to add missing info in the comments – thanks!

UPDATE April 28, 2014: Will has started to post the videos, I’m adding links here as they are added to the LeanUX site.

Thursday

Conference Opening – Will Evans
Keynote: We Are What We Repeatedly Do: Idealized Design & Beginner’s MindJabe BloomSlideshare
Tilting at Windmills: Innovation in Large Organizations  | SlidesAlistair Croll
6 Ways Results-Driven Learning Can Transform Work Culture  – Carmen Scheidel
LeanUX Wins: Design Thinking in Large EnterprisesSlidesAriadna Font Llitjos
Keynote: Lean Change: It’s Organizational and Personal – John Shook Lean Global Network
Lean UX: Agility Through Cross-Functional Collaboration | SlidesJeff Gothelf
Philosophy of Lean: A Phenomenological Understanding of Product Innovation | SlidesThomas Wendt
Optimizing Organizational Frameworks for Applied Design | SlidesLynn Teo
Keynote: Roadmap to the Lean Enterprise | SlidesTrevor Owens
Is Bad Research Better Than No Research: Doing LeanUX Right | SlidesDr. Deidre Kolarick
The Lean Agency | SlidesMona Patel
Eating Our Own Dog-food: A Story of Customer-Led Product Innovation – Jodie Moule | Slideshare
The Values Gap – Jen Guarino, Shinola
Safe-Fail, NOT Fail-Safe – Alicia Juarrero
Branding Moments | SlidesBill Beard
So You Want To Get Lean: Integrating Lean Startup | Slides Melissa Perri
The Balanced Team Movement | SlidesLane Halley
Keynote: It’s the Process, Jim, But Not As We Know ItDave Snowden

Friday

Workshop Descriptions .pdf

Morning Workshops

Effective Customer InterviewingAdrian Howard
Show Me What You’re Thinking – Ray DeLaPena | Slideshare
Facilitating Meetings That Don’t Suck – Virginia Cagwin | Slideshare & Jacklyn Burgan | Slideshare
How To Do Lean Research Right – Dr. Deidre Kolarick
Being a Successful User-Centred Product ManagerAndrew Mayfield
Validate Before Code – Steven Cohn
Managing to Learn Using A3Joshua Howell & John Shook
Communicating the Business Value and Getting Buy-in for UX Research – Christine Perfetti & Ezra Gildesgame

Afternoon Workshops

Deeper Understanding: Stories, Observations, Insights – Dan Szuc | Slideshare
Recruit Participants for Customer ResearchTomer Sharon | Speakerdeck
Design Research Methods – Thomas Wendt
Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Business FasterAlistair Croll
Lean Fundamentals: Value Stream Mapping for N00bs – Adam Yuret & Jabe Bloom
Lean Branding: Developing Powerful Brands in Lean Environments – Bill Beard
Applying Service Design to Your Agencies’ Delivery – Markus Andrezak / Christian Becker
Designing to Learn: Creating Effective MVP ExperimentsMelissa Perri

Friday General Sessions

Design Resonance: Making Sense of Cynefin and User Experience – Michael Cheveldave | blog post
UX + BA Working Together in Harmony – Jacklyn Burgan with Aaron Majcher
Towards a Theory and Method of Test Driven Design – Jonathan Berger | blog
WWE Ethnography: Let’s Get Ready to RumbleTomer Sharon | Speakerdeck
From Dinner to Dining: The Evolving Role of the DesignerZaana Howard
Creation & Production Combined: The Power of Connected WorldsMarkus Andrezak

Saturday

Morning Workshops

Applying the Cynefin Framework for Improving Speed, Agility, and Innovation – Michael Cheveldave
Inclusive Design & Lean UX – Kel Smith, Elle Waters & Sophie Hwang
Designing an MVP that Works for Your Users – Ariadna Font Llitjos
Story-mapping the User Experience – Donna Lichaw
Design Thinking for Designing and Delivering Services – Zaana Howard
How to Draw Quick, Useful UI SketchesLane Halley
Mapping the Customer Journey – Jodie Moule & Stephen Moule
Overcoming Analysis Paralysis – A Case Study in Ethnographic Methods – Lynn Teo

Afternoon Workshops

Decision-Focussing – How to clarify Decisions and Get Information required for Decision-Making – Kim Ballestrin handout 1 | handout 2
Capturing Product Vision with the Idea Stack – Eli Bozeman
Making Sense of Messy Problems: Systems Thinking for Complex Business Models Johanna Kollmann
Mapping Your Minimum Viable ExperienceCourtney Hemphill
Introduction to Design Studio Methodology – Oonie Chase & Will Evans
Visual Problem Solving & Facilitation – Dean Meyers
Enhancing Proto-Personas With CharacterizationsChelsey Delaney & Taren Sterry

Closing Sessions

Restarting the Enterprise (Why Innovation Teams Suck)Adrian Howard
Conditions for Success: People, Skills, Spaces for Healthier Design – Dan Szuc | Slideshare
Management, Alignment, and Collaboration Done Differently – Arne Rook & Fridtjof Detzner | Jimdo
Designing For Services and Long-Term Innovation – Shelley Evenson, Fjord

How to make quick, useful UI sketches

Click here for an updated version of this class.

As I’ve embraced Agile and Lean Startup methods, I’ve learned to adapt my UX practice so it is more QUICK, VISUAL, COLLABORATIVE and CONTINUOUS. Learning how to quickly sketch screen layouts and user interface (UI) elements helps me think through design problems, communicate ideas to other people, collaborate, and reduce the need for pixel-perfect deliverables.

In this workshop, I’ll lead you through a series of exercises which help you learn to draw good-looking, quick, useful, user interface sketches, followed by a discussion about how and when we can use sketching in our own projects.

No prior sketching or UX experience required, everyone can draw. Just grab some paper, a pencil and an eraser and follow along. This brief tutorial should take you about 1 hour.