Good, Cheap or Fast? How do you like your UX Design? – Class 1

I’ve been thinking about my dream User Experience book/course/lecture that I would teach for many years now. I’d like to believe that I’ve channeled all of my regrets from my own educational experiences into something positive. And here it is…

The day where it all goes into motion. Today was Day 1 of the graduate course I’m teaching on “UX Design in the Real World” at the Masters in Digital Media.

ux for the real world

The short version of the course is that I’d like to expose students to all of those hairy “real world” things that you don’t hear about (or deal with) in school and prepare them for it. We’ll learn all about triple constraints and how to work around them with your user experience design toolkit.

We’ll talk about the good: the due diligence of deep ethnographic observation, the nitty gritty task analysis, the a-ha that usability testing so often reveals.

We’ll dig down into the cheap: whipping out physical and digital prototypes at a frenetic pace and the rapid-fire guerrilla testing on them.

And we’ll become well-versed with the fast: fly-on-the-wall in situ observation, the discount usability techniques like a heuristic review, .

Today’s class

It was very strange to have the floor for up to 3 hours if I chose to.  Normally, I’m lucky to be able to have five minutes to blab on about how important design can be!  Needless to say, I found that I had a sore throat after the class.

I thought it might be fun to document some of the things I learn and ponder about as the course proceeds. The first class was more of an introduction to product design, project management and an introduction to UX (hence the “Good, Cheap or Fast?). But I also posed a couple of “getting to know you” type questions to the students.

Here are my own responses to those questions:

Most favorite product that I own & why:

antique wedgewood range

Despite a few strange quirks, I really love our 1940s vintage Wedgewood stove (if you’re curious, yes, above is really the 3D model of it. Let’s just say I know someone crazy enough to spend a couple of hours creating a 3D rendering of it in Sketchup).  This thing was basically sold as “the Cadillac of ranges” way back when and a real thing of beauty.  Yet at the same time, it’s entirely functional as well.  Durable, elegant and well-thought out.  I can take the whole thing apart and reassemble it if I want.  Plus it’s 70+ years old and still going strong–take that, modern appliances!  And there’s something heartwarming about the fact that it has a griddle in the middle.

Least favorite product that I own & why:

range rover dashboard

I was talked into saving a 90s Range Rover from the dump.  What a mistake.  Hardly a day goes by when I don’t curse that beastly gas guzzler.  It’s like the engineers decided to throw all vehicle conventions out the window.  Want to roll down the windows while you’re driving without running off the road?  (The controls are reversed).  Trying to find the headlights switch in the dark? (Good luck finding it. It’s on a black knob near the center of the dashboard with no illumination.)  Would you like to turn on the safety blinkers when the tire traction suddenly goes AWOL? Bwahaha, that’s amusing. Just when you think the Rover can’t throw you another curve ball, it’s back at tormenting you again!

A digital product that I can’t live without & why:

outlook email

Despite despising Outlook quite a bit, I really couldn’t live without it.  In fact, it is so indispensable to my harried mind that I even have a reminder to water my plants.  Lately, I’ve recognized how integrated it’s become in my life because I don’t have it on my home laptop.  The crutch has been snatched away and I now have to hobble around with three other apps that just don’t work as I expect them to.

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