Evaluating the Experience

One of my responsibilities as the Associate Manager of User Experience Design at JSTOR is to run professional development activities for the user experience team and the graphic designers. The professional development activities can be directly related to project work we are doing or skills we need to practice. My favorite activity that I designed for the group was an exercise around practicing the evaluation of an experience. Because we work in technology, we often forget than an experience can be in person, too. To that end, I invited the entire team to spend an afternoon exploring the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, MI. The activity was open-ended. The team was encouraged to interpret “evaluate the experience” in a museum during a 2-hour time period. Each member was given a notebook to take notes and record observations. The only instruction I gave to all of them was that we would me the following day to share our experiences. The results were amazing. Almost every team member focused on a different aspect of a museum “experience.” Some of the team studied the flow of the exhibits, others looked at instructions within the museum, a few looked at […]
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Design Jams

Design Jams Will Evans’ Design Studio Methodology revolutionized how I use a design jam activity to gain stakeholder buy-in, end-user insights, and product design direction. Using the Design Studio templates, I can focus the participants during the activity around small, discrete problems to solve. The primary role I assume during the design jams is that of facilitator. Often the individuals participating in the Design Jams do not perceive themselves as “designers” and can be intimidated about the process. I spend a considerable amount of time reassuring them that if they can draw a square then they have enough skill to participate. I also spend time listening to all of the ideas that are suggested. By giving stakeholders and end-users a platform to participate in the design process, we are often able to reach buy-in and an agreed upon direction faster and more efficiently. View here: Design Jams
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Selling the Product (Before There is a Product)

How do you get the market excited about a new Product when you’re at the very beginning of the development process? You create a video of what you think the experience will be. I collaborated with Wendi Strang-Frost to create a video based on a high-fidelity prototype based on JSTOR’s vision of the new product, Books. The video needed strike a balance between the excitement of the content and the constraints of an existing platform. And because the video would be shown for the first-time in front of potential publisher partners, we could not over promise features. The result is a two-minute video to generate excitement about the new product, Books. View here: Books @ JSTOR
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