Almost destiny

Old scribbled note
Found this little scrap in a pocket of a coat I rarely wear. Something I scribbled a long time ago when I was figuring out how best to transition to experience design.

It’s a list of things I enjoyed doing and wanted to spend more time doing: “Presentation, Conceptualizing, Communication: drawing, motion/video/animation, writing, Structure, architecture, env design” (Pretty certain I meant “environment” for “env”.)

Today, many years later, how much experience design fun am I having? Not enough! Hardly any video, no animation, very little drawing. Nothing but numbers buried in reports. It’s easy to blame the usual things: tight project schedules, disengaged clients, budgets, complacency, etc. Bah—lame. Really, there’s no good excuse.

Recently, in the design world there’s been a discussion regarding a research technique, the persona, and how they’re used and misused. For background read these: Persona Non Grata, Personas 99% Bad? and Personas are NOT a Document.

Couldn’t come at a better time for me. As I sit here fretting about research, along comes
Dave Robertson with all the answers. His article, “What would we do if they banned personas?“, laid it all out for me and presented a very clear direction. Ultimately, personas are a tool to communicate and whether you use them or not, you still need to communicate. That’s my problem! Communicating through reports isn’t particularly satisfying or effective.

Even though Dave’s article was really focused on persona use, my takeaway was a reminder of the truly inspirational communication tools available:

  • Steal ideas from great creative briefs by our friends, the account planners who know how to talk to creatives and convey emotion
  • Get a lot better at telling stories from the field research
  • Create an animation or film that explains the customer and their needs
  • Create a briefing that uses the video and audio recordings to impart key learnings
  • Hold a workshop to convey and discuss the key findings with the team and our client
  • Have real customers participate in ideation sessions to help brainstorm solutions
  • Use other participatory design techniques like paper-prototyping
  • Post large images of research participants, artifacts and environments on a wall in the work space with explanations of key learnings
  • Post diagrams explaining the customers’ key processes or thinking patterns

Go read the whole thing; lots of wisdom in it.

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