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I went all international! Taught Branding and a UX Workshop at General Assembly London 06.28.12 and 06.29.12

My core purpose for going to London end of June was to teach two courses at General Assembly London, a tech-incubator and knowledge space. They’re located down on Back Hill Rd in the Clerkenwell section of London. I taught Branding & Visual Literacy the day I arrived and the next day I taught a three-hour long UX Basics Workshop.

The first task on my agenda after checking in with my job back in NYC was prepping for the user experience workshop I was going to be teaching at General Assembly. The point of the course was to give attendees an overview of different user experience strategies and concepts as well as some hands-on exercises. During the last portion of the class, I had them mindmap out different existing web sites to identify possible user personas, problems addressing those users, features to be added to the front page and menus, and to remove features if unnecessary.

Check out the pictures below to see their work and progress. Interested in getting your designy hands dirty? Register for my next UX workshop held Saturday, 9/15 from 12pm – 4pm.





Notes on the first Agile UX NYC Conference 02.25.2012

Agile UX NYC 2012

Agile UX NYC 2012About a week and a half ago, I attended the very first (seemingly) conference held in New York City specifically addressing UX (user experience) and integrating Agile project management methods: Agile UX NYC Conference 2012.

Overall, the conference itself was extremely useful in reinforcing quite a bit of the knowledge I already have. I’m one of those people that learns as I go, picking up bits of knowledge here and there. Eventually, when it feels necessary, I’ll return to some structured methodology to understand how concepts fit together in the “traditional” way. This also helps to refresh buzzwords or other malarkey.  So, below is a round up of sorts; posts genereated from my Evernote scratchings from each of the sessions.

Sometime after lunch, my conference companion and I cut out because at a certain point, the material began feeling too familiar. A note to conference organizers next time: you can combine or cut the number of sessions and start about 1 hour later at a more godly hour than 8am registration. Really.

Presentation Notes

Want to Win with Agile? Pivot Your Culture First – Eric Burd

Replacing Requirements with Hypotheses – Josh Seiden

4 Keys to Success in a Design Driven Company – Phin Barnes

Quick, Visual, Collaborative and Continuous – Lane Halley

Lessons Learned: Managing Your Malkovich Bias – Andres Glusman

Learning to Play UX Rugby – Anders Ramsay

Code Literacy for Lean Teams – Jonathan Berger

Speaker Presentations:

I made notes on seven presentations but there are about four more I missed or didn’t attend. Please find all the presentations here: http://agileuxnyc.com/presentations/


Agile UX NYC Conference Session: Code Literacy for Lean Teams – Jonathan Berger


I have to say, this was favourite session out of all of them that day. Jonathan was funny, cogent, realistic while opening up doors in my mind as far as tools and methodologies. It was a good a reinforcement of what I already knew and do, with good thoughts for the future. Scattered notes and photos below. There’s a link to his presentation (done in code) below.

Literacy != Fluency

It’s okay to be conversational vs. fluent
Getting technical doesn’t have to be a full time commitment
  • most of the resources are for people who want to be hard core,
  • but it’s okay to just know enough to mockup HTML prototypes

Agile UX NYC Conference Session: Learning to Play UX Rugby – Anders Ramsay


For this session, I mostly relaxed and let the audio recording in Evernote do the work.  A few notes and revelations below, along with audio from this session.

  • Seminal paper in product design and development: The New New Product Development Game by Hiroko Takeuchi and Ikujiro – download the PDF of the paper here
  • I’m still designing or fall back into the “Waterfall” method, depending on my clients.
  • I’m currently moving more towards taking on a project from different angles simultaneously but still in an organized manner

Continue Reading →

Agile UX NYC Conference Session: Quick, Visual, Collaborative and Continuous – Lane Halley


I’m still having a hard time deciding whether Jonathan Berger’s session on Code as Literacy or this one was my favourite. Both sessions gave extremely practical information with a good dose of theory mixed in.

The changing role of design
  • Design as team responsibility
  • Cross fictional pairing
  • Designer as facilitator
  • Team as product owner

Agile UX NYC Conference Session: Lessons Learned: Managing Your Malkovich Bias – Andres Glusman

  1. Agile development with multiple pushes per day
  2. Extensive customer development
  3. Experiment then double down
Meetup is on pace to do 600-800 usability tests per year
  • Test 2-3 days per day
  • Setup tests prior to mowing what will be tested
  • Recruit participants from community and through a recruiter (compensate for time)
  • Use gotomeeting to broadcast sessions to developers
  • Use Silveback to record
  • Follow up each session with light notes

Agile UX NYC Conference Session: Replacing Requirements with Hypotheses – Josh Seiden

The horrible internet mouse
Business owners express “problems” and then the design and dev teams become ticket takers instead creative people
  • Every design decision you make is a hypothesis
  • Reduce the test time from 3 months to 3 weeks or 3 days to 3 hours. And test.

Agile UX NYC: Phin Barnes – 4 Keys to Success in a Design Driven Company

Unicorns and assholes
  • Future reference: RPM – releases per month
  • How you differentiate is by the design. That will propel you
  • Building blocks of the web are being operated more and more by people with clunkier hands and not necessarily by the elite builders of the web – Amazon, Twitter, etc
  • This design mindset / process has been done since the beginning, it just wasn’t called agile – Proctor & Gamble, car designers etc
  • To max RPMs, mindset > skillsets
  • No unicorns and no assholes – the unicorn knows everything, how to build it, strict visions and doesn’t listen
  • Value the option value

Continue Reading →

Agile UX NYC Conference Session: Eric Burd – Want to Win with Agile? Pivot Your Culture First

  • To win at Agile, you have to bring in: dev/product teams and biz/marketing
  • Agile is about risk mitigation – not so much about the technology stack and risk, it’s about the market risk.
  • Waterfall is about risk mitigation – finance and marketing depts run on events that depend on oths down the line
  • – but the waterfall doesn’t actually devise a way to accomplish these events

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