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Confessions of a former UCD devotee How I managed to kick the UCD habit and learn to love lean UXSo this is my storyWill be looking at user-centred design, my own experiences with user-centred design and why I eventually kicked the habit2

I want to take you back to 1986


The year of Maradonas infamous hand of god (was never a goal)4

The year that Tom Cruise was being dangerous as Maverick in Top Gun5

And the year that Europe was rocking to the final countdown by er, Europe6

It was also the year that the ZX Spectrum 2+ 128k was released, 128k memory can you imagine!The ZX Spectrum 2+ 128k happened to be the first proper computer in the Turner household (incidentally this isnt it)Fondly remember trying to load a game, getting about 80% there before the cassette gets corrupted7

The start of a love affair with computers and technology


From the Spectrum I graduated to Windows PCYou might recognised this as Windows 3.1 Really not progressed that far to Windows 10


And decided that I wanted to be a programmerI mean, why wouldnt you?10

So I enrolled in a Computer Science degree at the University of Warwick11

And it was here that I first became aware of UX, or Human-Computer Interaction as it was called at the time as the term UX hadnt been popularised yet12

I graduated and my first job was as a web developerLearnt 2 things from being a web developerIt didnt matter how well something was coded it the design sucks, if website or application doesnt actually do what users need it to doIm a lousy coder and enjoyed designing the front-end much more than coding it


Started to learn more about the world of UXThis magical world people try to make technology work in perfect harmony with humans14

I had found my calling as a UX Jedi15

Decided that Id rather be designing websites, than coding themSo I enrolled in an HCI MSc at University College London16

It was here that I first learnt about user-centred design17

User-centered design (UCD) is a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product, service or process are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process.Wikipedia

Wikipedia defines UCD as18

But I almost think of it as a form of worshipOf worshipping the mythical usersPutting users at the centre of the UniverseMaking the entire design process revolve around them19

Learnt all about the importance of user-centred designImportance of extensive user researchImportance of including users in the design processImportance of getting user feedback at each stepImportance of always user testing designs and design changesImportance of a laser beam focus on The user


Ready to fight the good UCD crusadeTo bring order, where there was once chaosTo bring usability, where there was once bad designAnd to bring joy to users, where there was once frustration and miseryBut I found that working on real project, was quite different from the theory21

I would carry out user researchI would find out about users, who they are, what they need, what their requirements areI would create personas and relay information about users22

And this research would often just gather dust somewhereIt would rarely if ever get used23

I would be told to ask the usersThat wed have to let the users decide 24

But of course the users never knewAnd their insights were not always that insightful25

When I did have the opportunity to carry out usability testing26

It was invariably too late to fix anything but the most minor of problems27

When I was asked to estimate the cost of carrying out all the UCD work that would ideally take place for a project28

Id get this reaction from project managers and from clients29

If only others would see that UCD is the right path they would see the lightIf only others would see the ROI that UCD delivers, they would see the lightIf only others would realise the competitive advantage that UCD delivers, they would see the light


So I thoughtI need to do a better job of selling UCD31

And got the world out about UCD32

Spending about 10% of a project's budget on usability activities doubles usabilityJakob Nielsen

I quoted good old Jakob NielsenThe original poster boy of UX33

I even helped to create this awesome video to help explain the UCD processI mean who couldnt help but be persuaded by this piece of cinematic gold34

Of course everyone noddedOn the face of it user-centred design sounds fantastic35

Flogging a dead UCD horse?

I saw an awful lot of effort for very little returnA lot of work that never amounted to anythingAnd this nagging feeling that a lot of this stuff wasnt really all that necessary a lot of the timeBut it still felt like I was flogging a dead horse


My enlightening came in the form of Lean and Agile thinkingLean thinking has come out of lean manufacturingPioneered by Toyota Motor CompanyEverything is lean these days lean manufacturing, lean UX, lead design, lean start-ups, lean cuisineGoal is to avoid wasted time and effortAgile becoming the defacto way to code and build stuff


Made me think about how much of user-centred design is absolutely necessaryUCD is like a big heavy truckBig heavy, cumbersome process that involves a lot of work and takes a lot of effort to get goingBut how much waste is there?How many outputs are necessary e.g. personas, specs, wireframes?How many projects really require in-depth user-centred design?


When what you want is something more like thisSomething quick, nimble and lightweight


Simplify, then add lightness Colin Chapman

The famous racing car designer, engineer and founder of Lotus carsColin Chapman said that to make a car go faster you should simplify then add lightnessOf course adding lightness doesnt really make sense, surely you should be taking weight away, but the theory also makes sense for UCDUCD is still the right approach but has a tendency to become too bloatedWhat we need to do is make it more lightweightMake it more like a racing car, and less like a big cumbersome truck40

How do you make UCD more lean?

Can you simplify UCD, make it more lightweight?If you do this will you still get the right sort of user experience at the end?41

How do we get from this


To this?


But before I talk about making UCD more lean I have another question for youHands up who still buys CDsCDs have obviously been eclipsed by MP3sWhich is funny in a way because in terms of sound quality CDs beat MP3s hands down44

00100101 00111011 00010110 10011111 11010111 10101101 00101111 00101011 10100010 10011010 01111111 11010100 11110010 10001101 10110101 00000011 00111110 11110001 00001101 10010101 10001010 00101011 00011111 11101011 10011101 00000110 11001000 00010110 01000110 00000000 01011001 11001001 00001011 00010011 00101100 00110110 00101011 11110001 01001100 10100011 11100011 00100100 11101010 11000111 10110000 00111100 10110000 10001110 10010100 11010100 10001011 11110011 00111101 01101001 00101100 00111101 10011010 00111101 00110011 01010100 10011111 00000010 01110000 01111110 10010100 00001101 01110001 11101010 01011011 10101101 11101001 10100110 10110100 00011000 00011111 00100100 10110111 01100111 11001100 11111000 00100110 11001101 10010100 11000000 01011101 11000010 00001010 10100001 00010010 01111110 11100101 00001110 00101111 01110110 00100000 01100111 00110111 00111001 10111001 00100110 00100001 00100010 10110000 00110101 11001001 10011110 00101010 00001010 00010010 00001011 01000010 10111100 10000101 00000001 10010001 10001011 01101011 01100110 00101001 10010000 11000100 11101101 00011110 01100011 10001111 00010001 11010000 00001110 00101001 11001111 00111110 10001001 10111000 00110011 00110011 00100001 11001011 11100110 00110111 10011001 01000110 01001111 00001100 10110101 01001001 11001001 11100111 01100110 00101111 11011110 10001001 11111111 10001011 00010101 11011111 00010000 00010010 11100101 01100010 01010101 11111110 11011100 00100111 00011111 01110101 01011010 01111100 01110100 11011000 01111000 01010010 10110010 11110110 00011011 01100010 01111110 11111101 10101101 01010111 00011000 00001001 00010010 01000011 01110111 10110101 00001110 10010011 00011000 01101101 01001100 10010011 00111001 01111101 10100110 01111011 10010111 10010101 01101001 01001011 10000111 00101110 11010010 11111110 10111010 01010110 10000101 11111101 00010111 00000100 01111110 00111100 11110010 11010110 11010011 11110100 10100011 10010110 00111110 10000010 10000011 CDMP301001010 00011011 01010010 10010111 00101100 00100011 00111111 10111000 10100011 00100001 01001010 00011011 01010010 10010111 00101100 00100011 00111111 10111000 10100011 00100001

This is the amount of sound information that you get back from a CD compared to an MP3CDs are lossless, you get all the sound, where as MP3s obviously use compression to reduce the amount of dataId like to see if you can notice the lost MP3 sound45

Interviewing UX strategy Business analysis Usability testing User-centred design Information architecture Scenario mapping User story writing Accessibility Wireframing Persuasion design Mentoring Agile UX UX training Observation Workshops Content mapping Responsive design Expert evaluating Presenting Graphic design Interaction design Sitemapping User journey mapping Surveys UX research Remote UX research Competitor benchmarking Prototyping Experience mapping Storyboarding UX design Interviewing UX strategy Business analysis Usability testing User-centred design Information architecture Scenario mapping User story writing Accessibility Wirefr