What you missed at UX London: part two

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Following from my last post about the great time we had at UX London, we’ve put together a short list of the top five tips and tricks we’ve come away with. And, we thought we’d share them with you

The top 5 tips and tricks we learnt at UX London

1. When working with a new person, ask them about how they like to work

Find out:

  • How they prefer to receive feedback
  • When do they like to do deep work and be left alone
  • At which points do they like to ideate together
  • What has and hasn’t worked well for them when working with others in the past?

Photo of presentation slide with 6 questions to ask people you work with: 1. How do you like to work with other designers? 2. How do you prefer to receive feedback? 3. At which points do you prefer to do deep work and be left alone? 4. At which points do you feel more comfortable ideating together? 5. Have you worked with content/product designers before? 6. What worked well and what didn’t for you working with other designers in the past?
Heldiney Pereira’s slide from UX London

How we’re going to put this tip into action

As an agency that embeds ourselves into other organisations — we get stuck in and work closely with our clients — we work with new people all of the time. Finding out how each member of our new teams likes to work will allow everyone to play to their strengths and empower each other.

Tip from Heldiney Pereira.

2. Add “by monkeys” to the end of your sentences

That’s it. That’s the tip… ok, so there is a bit more to it. When you’re writing, you want to avoid using a passive voice. If a sentence makes sense when you add “by monkeys” to the end of it, then it’s in the passive voice and you’ll need to change it up a bit.

Photo of monkey typing on a computer

How we’re going to use this

While our copywriters are used to avoiding passive voice, for those of us in our team that don’t write all the time it’s an easy trap to fall into! This tip is definitely going to make it easier for me to check if I’m writing in a passive voice. If you hear me muttering “by monkeys” to myself you’ll know why!

Tip from Sophie Koonin.

3. Redesign the design process to include evaluate, forecast, and monitor

The idea behind this tip is to ensure that whatever is being designed is ethical.

Image is split into two sections. First section has the heading Intents and the stages empathise, define,and evaluate. Second section has the heading Results and the stages ideate, forecast, prototype, test, ship, and monitor.
Kat Zhou’s slide from UX London

How we’re going to use this

We’re going to embed this tip right into our design and research process. Starting from the beginning, after we’ve gone through our empathise and define stages, we’ll add in the evaluate stage and look into whether or not the problem is ethically worthy of being addressed.

After we’ve ideated on some ideas and settled on one, we’ll start to think about whether any ethical violations can occur if we implement the idea we’ve chosen. If there are, well it’s back to the ideation stage for us! We’ll “design around potential consequences” (Kat Zhou).

And finally, when the product has been released we’ll monitor it (and advocate for our clients to do the same), checking to see if any ethical issues are cropping up.

Tip from Kat Zhou.

4. Make your first draft bad.

When you’re not too precious about what you’re writing, it’s easier to put something down on paper. Suddenly you’re no longer staring into an abyss where all dreams go to die…just me? Getting something down on paper, means that you can iterate and improve what you’ve written, because you’ve got something you can improve. When the first draft is bad and less effort has been put in, you’re less invested in the work, meaning that when you get someone to check your work, you’re less likely to take their feedback to heart.

Photo of a notepad with HELP! written on it surrounded by balled up paper

How we’re going to use this

This is a great tip for non-writers who write at Ah Um. Personally, I struggle to get my creative juices flowing when I’m staring at a blank screen, having something down on paper — even if it’s bad — helps a lot.

This tip can also apply to digital design, where a bad draft can equal a quick sketch or a rough wireframe. Again, the less ‘serious’ effort put in means it’s easier to iterate, criticism is taken less to heart, and we can discover earlier on if we’re all on the same page.

Tip from Giles Turnball.

5. If you get stuck when writing, apply a ridiculous constraint.

Write exactly 57 words, ban words starting with the letter B, have it written by 14:23, or write in an unusual colour. The idea behind this tip is, I think, that you end up focusing more on the constraint and less on what you are actually writing, allowing you to get something down on paper (or screen) which can then be iterated on.

How we’re going to use this

I think this one may be fairly obvious, but when we’re writing and are stuck on what to write next, we’re going to make up a ridiculous constraint and just get writing.

Tip from Giles Turnball.

Check out What you missed at UX London: part one

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