newsletter #19  |  13-Dec-2016

For a few years, Christina Wodtke has been speaking and writing about using stories in your work. When she says “story,” she means stories with characters and a setting and conflict and resolution. She says stories that develop your concern for the character’s outcome are memorable. And she compares stories with a climax to a typical product decision-making process where the focus is on what can be created or fixed–not why.

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newsletter #12  |  07-Jun-2016

Winners Announced!

Congratulations to Danny Spitzberg of Peak Agency and Ben Judy of Intuit, who each win a print copy of Mental Models.

I received 15 entries, most with good stories about understanding other people’s mental models and how it helped clarify what to design and what to leave off. Read More

In this interview posted on Medium Artur Kurasinski asks about UX, my second book, and my workshop at UX Poland 2014. (Photo by Florian Klauer)

In this 5-question interview, with Marcin Treder of UXPin I share my thoughts about inspiration, social change, and what one thing I’d like to redesign. What would your five answers be? Read More

journeys, experiences, & mental spaces

The other day a university student named Maria Hernando wrote to ask me my opinion about the relationship between User Journey Maps, Customer Journey Maps, and User Experience Maps … and how a mental model diagram might relate to any one of them.

I told Maria that I think of the maps as the same, or similar enough. The maps try to represent an actual example of how a person (or persona) went through and did something they wanted to do. The maps are generally chronological, moving forward through the hours of the persona’s actions one stage at a time. I told her that I think the phrase “experience map” came about because we want to be agnostic of whether the persona was using digital tools or not, or a combination of tools. The map represents the journey a person takes from the idea of accomplishing something to having accomplished that thing in the end. We want to see how it all hangs together from the persona’s perspective.

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the cast of personas

Behavioral audience segments can become personas if you assign a name and a face. However, they are not necessarily one-to-one. You might want to make a couple of personas to represent different demographic or purchasing aspects of one behavioral audience segment. In this JohnnyHolland post, The Cast of Personas, I describe how some of those characters can be the same across different scopes.

At the end of a workshop about person-focused research, someone asked “So, why do people decide to buy an iPhone versus an Android phone?” Smiling, I turned to the rest of the people in the room and asked them to answer. Silence ensued. This post, first published as How to Keep Designers from Defaulting, tries to remind JohnnyHolland readers of the perennial design research assumption: evaluation.

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Many products are still technology driven. Your organization invents something no one else does. The rest of the process goes like this: I have this tail. I put it on the donkey. I spend money testing and fixing the tail to get it closer to what the donkey wants it to do. In Most Products Are Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, first published in JohnnyHolland, I write about trying to design with a person’s real situation in mind rather than a solution. Read More

Leaders don’t want to waste resources. They want to know the organization has done everything possible to ensure success and done everything possible to discover concealed opportunities. Notice the focus on the organization, almost forgetting about the people the organization serves. Originally published as a JohnnyHolland post, Bosses Seek Confidence and Avoid Risks, suggests taking a minute to see from the viewpoint of your boss.

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For the most part, people I run across have a strictly evaluative understanding of user research. Finding Empathy Through Generative Research, originally published on JohnnyHolland,  seeks to introduce an additional way of framing the research you do for your organization, without the “user” or the “service” involved. Read More