UX Architecture for the Small Guy


Me (Gary Barber) delivering at EotWPhoto: Richard Giles

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Edge of the Web conference in Perth on UX Architecture for the Small Guy.   I will do a brief write up on the conference shortly, so standby on that one, but for now on with the talk.

Why this Topic

Too often I have been to various conferences and I have heard from some very experienced UX people discussing numerous case studies of projects.   All of them have one thing in common – large budgets or large teams.   Frankly these are not the projects that happen from day to day in Perth.  But they appear to be the mainstay of the UX designer, one gets the impression they are the general bread and butter in some parts of the world.

It is from this frustration and the lack of direct application of IA or UX in general for smaller business projects that made me rethink my design approach a number of years ago.   Why couldn’t we apply UX principles to SME projects or was it just for the larger projects?

I asked around the UX community, no one seemed to be willing to discuss applying UX to smaller projects.    I did have one amusing conversation in which the other party considered a small project being our gross income for the year.

Hence talk was born from this lack of a reality check and the need for information that could be applied on day to day basis in the real world.

So what was Covered

This presentation is aimed at people not familiar with UX Design and UX practitioners who have not considered using User Experience Design tools and techniques on smaller projects.  In a way this talk was also a lead-in for the other UX based talks that where on throughout the conference.

The talk itself dealt with the way we are still using a simple waterfall based process for SME projects, and why we are doing it – suggesting that maybe an Agile UX approach would be a better way to work.

Based on my years of experience of designing user experiences for small business I presented a dramatically shortened list of tools and techniques, for a UXD process focused on smaller projects, down from the 50 odd usually available.    Some of the tools I have discounted you maybe surprised as to why I have cut them from the process

I also discuss what happens when we go with our “gut instinct” and ignore any user research, the outcome is very interesting indeed.  Finally I look at selling user experience, be it to your boss, a boardroom or just a SME business owner.   Without knowing how to sell UX any change in the way we do things is just going to be a waste of time.   So in a way this aspect is the critical element of this presentation.

I touch on a fair number of different topics in this talk.  To really do each topic justice I’m going to present then here over the next few weeks in a lot more detail than I presented at the Edge of the Web.

Also if you were fortunate enough to be in the audience of my presentation any feedback is most welcome.

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