Madison+UX 2014 - With Notes
Post on 15-Jul-2015
Give brief overview My background - Currently UX Designer at Trek Bicycle - Found UX through a very circular path - Ive always had varied academic interests - Choosing a college major was hard
- Started out in the hard sciences biochemistry rst of my majors - At one point that I wanted to go to med school, I took all my pre-reqs for
that - I became very interested in psychology aMer taking a few courses, and was
always fascinated by understanding behavior and cogniNon - So I ended up with a B.S. in psychology from UW-Madison
- AMer graduaNon, I started out working on SaaS soMware for hospital pharmacies. - Part of my job was training new admins and helping them setup and implement
the systems - AMer seeing and observing how people learned and used these applicaNons,
where they struggled and what could be done beRer - I became interested and started pursuing UX
I menNoned having varied interests. One of my other passions is the ow arts, which Ill explain a bit more in a moment Flow arts are represented in the circus arts. Other Circus arts include: Aerial arts German Wheel Juggling Uni-cycling SNlt walkers ContorNon and balance GymnasNcs based movement Dance based movement And more! Picture = Madison Circus Space
As I menNoned my personal pracNce involves the ow arts I am a hoop dancer, poi spinner and re dancer What are the ow arts? RelaNvely new discipline (also read from slide)
- Poi are weights at the ends of tethers - Sta essenNally is a heavier and elongated baton that is weighted at the
ends Flow arts were named because many arNsts found that their pracNce was a way that they could achieve a state of consciousness called ow. My journey in the ow arts was something that was happening in parallel with my UX journey. While I was learning poi and hoop I wanted to learn more about what ow really meant Picked up a copy of a book by Mee-hy Cheek-sent-me-hi called Flow: The Psychology of opNmal experience
So what is ow? (Quote) Basis for the book Studied what made people feel happy Started by studying scienNsts and arNsts since they were doing things that wouldnt necessarily make them rich and famous, but gave their life meaning He found that the common factor when people describe these experiences of happiness was the state of consciousness that he named ow He later expanded his studies and found the same thing across all sorts of variables, such as income levels, cultures, age, educaNon, country, etc. Flow can be experienced by musicians, athletes, gamers, arNsts. Looking back, once I understood the meaning, I realized I had even experienced ow during my college days when waiNng tables and bartending on parNcularly busy nights, when things just seemed to click What I learned is that ow wasnt just something that related to the arts, it was much broader than that
What is it like to experience ow? (See slide) We dont get bored, we dont worry about the past or the future It can be described as being in the zone We feel in control Time ies by Self esteem grows through ow experiences Mee-hy has called ow The secret to happiness So why care about ow for UX design? Flow is at the center of experiences that bring happiness UX design is trying to create posiNve experiences So if we can understand ow and how to achieve it Then we can create the condiNons that allow for ow (or at least try to avoid creaNng the opposite) And create more engaging posiNve experiences for people
Where does ow come from? How do we get there? The interesNng part about this chart is that ow is achieved when skills are high and challenges are high. Contrary to what people may believe Its not the passive and relaxing Nmes that bring true happiness. The best moments occur when accomplishing something dicult and worthwhile When I am pracNcing landing a trick that Ive been working hard on brings me a huge saNsfacNon The implicaNon here is that something that is too challenging can create anxiety. Something that is not challenging enough creates boredom. This is something that I have seen in my experiences training on soMware, and in teaching poi. This also helps to explain why many people in their pracNce of a chosen discipline experience plateaus as skill level and level of challenge fall out of balance. This is why we have mentors and coaches, to help us know what challenge to tackle next.
As skills increase (A1 to A2), the level of challenge must then increase (A2 to A4) to maintain ow state and avoid boredom OR If challenges are increasing (A1 to A3), one skills must increase (A3 to A4) to maintain ow and avoid anxiety (learning occurs) Since ow is the underlying state of consciousness that brings us happiness, this also helps to illustrate how our happiness is not an end point, its a conNnual journey.
Some of these may seem very similar to design principles we try to follow. As I learned about ow, I saw many parallels, the most obvious being that Knowing how well you are doing is very similar to the concept of feedback Freedom from distracNons could mean from unnecessary features, or interface cluRer, or from workow disrupNons or dialogs. Knowing what to do and how to do it speaks to having clear aordances and matching mental models to the users world. High perceived challenges might seem a liRle counter-intuiNve. If we are trying to make things easier for people to use, why would we want to make them more challenging? The way to think about this is that it isnt necessarily the soMware/website that needs to be perceived as challenging. In most cases, the user has an acNvity or challenge they are working to complete, and the website/soMware is just a tool to aid in compleNng that acNvity. The excepNon here would be game design, since the game is both the acNvity and the interface.
Read quote then: The interface supports the acNvity So its not the interface that needs to be challenging.
Recap: Flow is the underlying state of consciousness that leads to true happiness The more you experience ow in your life, the beRer you will be able to understand it, and to help create it for others. And If you are looking for new challenges and ways to nd your ow check out the MCS Clubs, classes, workshops, performances and more