Future of UX Education (#uxce15)

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  1. 1. Future of UX Education Vorkronor Petr tdr This is a talk for designers looking for a direction to grow. Education professionals thinking about teaching design. And other people trying to gure out how to get into UX.
  2. 2. Rules? Are you serious? (authors note) This was supposed to be a discussion with slides rather than a talk and therefore the rules were necessary to make this clear to the participants (end of note)
  3. 3. 1. There are no dumb questions. 2. No holding back. Ask away! 3. If you disagree Id be honored to know.
  4. 4. Designers? Researchers? Information Architects? To know you a little bit better, let me ask a few questions How many of you are designers of any sort. User researchers and information architects? Raise your hands.
  5. 5. What if we could make it better for others that come after us? Those of you with your hands up. You folks probably share a similar story. A story of the education system of our time. Its not a particularly sad one. But what if we could make it better for others that come after us? Wouldnt that be a project worth using our skills on?
  6. 6. Maybe you noticed it too? There arent enough good designers to hire. And this is not the problem of just our company.
  7. 7. I believe there is a systematic error that is causing this situation. ! Amassing the amount of knowledge and skills required for a user experience designer is nowadays typically achieved either through higher education at a university or over the course of multiple years of focused practice in a supporting environment on a job.
  8. 8. Its possible to take the Ill work on it long enough route. According to my personal experience it takes 30 to 50% of a senior persons time for at least a year to train a junior so he is able to start working autonomously on projects. ! In companies that are trying to build their design teams, this is a luxury that will require great sacrices. Therefore most companies look to the existing school system to produce the workforce they need.
  9. 9. In User Experience as you might have noticed the system has failed. ! Maybe the universities produce enough designers although that depends on how do you dene who is a designer. And the designers that come out do not have the right skill-set. They lack prociency with basic methods widely used in the industry.
  10. 10. You would think they would be able to prepare and moderate and evaluate a usability session, they would be able to lead an in-depth interview or put together a half-decent mobile app design. Most of them are far below our expectations even on the basic relevant dimensions ...
  11. 11. These are borrowed from a really great interaction design exercise I am using over the course of many years in interviews. https://www.gv.com/lib/how-to-interview-a-designer-with-the-perfect-design-exercise
  12. 12. Using these dimensions enabled us to better evaluate candidates after an interview.
  13. 13. Uncovering constraints Many people do not ask questions. They just take many things for granted without questioning anything. This is more of a mindset issue than a lack of a hard skill.
  14. 14. Dening tasks Some designers do not bother with thinking about people. How and when will they actually use the product. They usually dive straight into interface design.
  15. 15. Visual thinker I had people in an interview that did not lift the whiteboard marker during a 30 minutes design exercise.
  16. 16. Some of them come up with one idea and stick with it. Full of ideas
  17. 17. Critiquing their own work And last, but not least, some convince themselves that their solution is good enough without any evidence.
  18. 18. Up until one autumn day I did only think about hiring designers.
  19. 19. That changed when Berka approached me.
  20. 20. Maybe you dont know Berka, but theres a chance you know his RealUXCamp. And if theres still room, youre gladly invited to spend time with us in August in Bukovina.
  21. 21. We spent countless hours discussing this idea we called UX Academy. Looking at it from todays perspective it seems as if the goal was always this clear. But it wasnt.
  22. 22. Help the students improve to the point where I or any other lecturer from the UX Academy would want to hire them to their team." our goal Why this goal? Because many of our students want to change careers and move into UX. This is why they spent more than 3.600 Euro on it. Joining a team a year from now is the outcome they are looking forward to. Delivering anything less than that would be considered failure in my world.
  23. 23. Having the goal to guide us, we continued to explore and dene other constraints. The boundaries we would not cross. ! On most projects I was part of, there has been one single technique, that helped me get clarity on this. ! Design principles universal rules that would help me dene the boundaries of the experience
  24. 24. Straightforward, rather than clever. This was a design principle that Microsoft used in 2007 to kill Mr.Clippy during the re- design of their Ofce suite.
  25. 25. I will reveal our principles in a moment, but let me walk you through their creation. That was the really fun part. We started with dening what we DID NOT want to be like and why. ! Looking back at the school systems that created us, we found it pretty easy to dene what NOT to be.
  26. 26. 1) Stand there in front of the students preaching and hoping that they would make some sense out of it
  27. 27. 2) Give them school projects to work on.
  28. 28. 3) Leave them isolated from the UX community. Getting a job is though when you do not know anyone.
  29. 29. 4) Ask them to learn techniques that professional designers arent using in their jobs
  30. 30. 5) Last but not least use external motivators like exams, grades and similar ! These are traits that many existing university programs have in common. And exactly this negative image helped us better reect on what we thought dened a good learning experience.
  31. 31. Academy Students We divided the principles into two groups ! Academy principles focused on us and Students principles focused on the people we want to help ! Our principles were ...
  32. 32. We are pragmatic All newly acquired knowledge should be immediately usable and useful in a project.
  33. 33. Professionals and practitioners We teach what we do in our day jobs. Sharing our experiences as well as mistakes so others will not repeat them.
  34. 34. Were improving. Constantly. Because nothing is born great. Therefore we seek feedback and use it to improve going forward. ! The student focused principles were ...
  35. 35. Every student has a mentor. For an hour per week for the whole year.
  36. 36. Working on real projects. Iterating. Learning by trying and sometimes failing in a safe environment.
  37. 37. We prefer group work. We prefer to help each other. A different point of view is encouraged and respected.
  38. 38. We are pragmatic Professionals and practitioners Were improving. Constantly. ! Leading students into UX Learning by doing Sharing and working together Those 6 principles were the foundation of our efforts. Our Occams razor. As good designers we looked for other constraints.
  39. 39. We are pragmatic Professionals and practitioners Were improving. Constantly. ! Leading students into UX Learning by doing Sharing and working together W E NEED M OAR CONSTRAINTS !!! We found many more. My previous explorations of the topic of education and learning led me to believe that there are these four core elements that a person must develop for effective learning to take place.
  40. 40. Curiosity Being intellectually aroused by unknowns is a must. If you have children, you probably can observe real curiosity rsthand.
  41. 41. Intrinsic Motivation The drive to learn something new has to come from within you. There is no one else besides you who can push you as hard as you can.
  42. 42. Openness to new ideas Know your biases and avoid prejudice. New ideas are to be admired and combined not thrown away.
  43. 43. Critical Thinking There are many cargo cults and false gods in UX. You need to be able detect and avoid them. And critical thinking helps with that.
  44. 44. Now lets move on from what we built the UX Academy upon to how we built what we could in the old world call the curriculum. What topics we chose and how much time are we spending on each one. ! The course consists of 9 weekends spread over the course of one year.
  45. 45. UX as a practice in general User Research Information Architecture Interaction Design Usability Testing and working with devs Measurement and validation UX Management There are seven topics we touch during the course. User Research and Interaction Design get two weekends each.
  46. 46. warm-up mayhem party mayhem The structure of each weekend should be pretty familiar to you. ! I like to call the weekends mini-UX camps. We start with a warm-up party on Friday evening, continued by one day of an intense learning experience on Saturday. We follow up with one more party with yet another day of intense learning on Sunday.
  47. 47. Each day ends with a retrospective where we openly discuss what worked and what needs to be improved. And not everything is roses and unicorns. Were learning and improving as we go. This is what matters.
  48. 48. Weekend 1 UX Practice Weekend 2 User Research, part 1 Weekend 3 User Research, part 2 At this point in time were past three of the nine weekends. To understand another key aspect of UX Academy Ill go into little bit more detail on the opening weekend. ! The rst weekend that took place in late April wa