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 specific pieces of art.
This activity was a huge success. Sharing our findings, we were able to participate in a unique set of “experiences” at the museum. The activity served as an opportunity to practice our observation skills. It all afforded us an opportunity to step away from the stress of “regular” work. And it was a great opportunity for the team to bond during a fun “field trip.”
Image credit: Yvette Wohn
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