I (Rich) had the recent opportunity to take the 4-Day User Experience (UX) course at Noble Desktop in NYC. Starting with the task of identifying your “It” factor and following the process all the way through client presentation, there was a lot of information about creating a fantastic product. However, there are a few key things I took away that may be of help to those in digital media.
Learn to Work with People
We spent most of the time in our training separated into groups and working on projects, most of the time with new people in the group. If you didn’t handle those group dynamics very well, you were going to either get dominated or forgotten, which it was easy to see who was what as time went on. This is the same issue when working with clients. Your creative team may butt heads, but it’s up to you as leader to balance the process so that egos come come down and creative sparks increase. When everyone feels at the end that this project was their idea, and they like it, you succeeded.
Learn to Understand People
Much of User Experience is simply understanding the psychology of people as groups and as individuals. I’m glad that I had read many of the classics in this field before arriving, the paramount being Don Norman’s “Design of Everyday Things”, but understanding people goes even deeper. Some of the books I recommend that constantly challenge me are David McRaney’s “You Are Not So Smart”, Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational”, Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, and Roger Dooley’s “Brainfluence”. Watch National Geographics “Brain Games”. Learn deception theory like METT Face Recognition from Paul Eckman. Then you’ll start to understand why people make decisions they do about tools they experience.
Learn to Make Life Easier for People
Creative thinking is the process by which we take two things that are unrelated, figure out how to bring them together, and then figure out the details by which it can happen. It’s one of the hardest things to do for people, and why we all do our best to avoid it while paying those who can do it very well. Our class teacher emphasized one major point while teaching us, which was “Simple and Efficient”. If I can keep someone from thinking with my product, it works as it’s supposed to because intuitively they already get it. It’s why 2 year olds can use iPads, and why they think magazines are iPads that don’t work.
Overall, I would highly recommend taking the Noble Desktop course if you’ve had little to intermediate exposure to the User Experience world. The group work is helpful in many ways, the process is important to know, and it is relatable to multiple fields. It was worth the money and time. Feel free to comment on your experiences below!