Design Log: December 2016

Thursday, December 21, 2016

I just finished Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley, and I’m so glad that Amazon recommended this book to me. I don’t think I’ve learned this much from a book before. Though every chapter was loaded with fantastic information, I think my favorite part of the book was Move, which talked about all of the different design activities that IDEO utilizes. Though all the activities sounded great, the ones I think I’ll continue to use the most are…

  1. Mindmapping
    • Mindmapping is an activity that helps open the mind to new ideas as well as map an individual’s thought process and record the evolution of an idea
    • Mindmapping also facilitates divergent or unconventional thinking and idea generation
  2. Empathy Maps
    • Empathy maps are based on what people say and do, and should help you draw real and valuable insights on what they think and feel
  3. Customer Journey Mapping  
    • Customer journey maps help an individual think through each step of what they would ideally want a customer to do
    • It’s helpful to be able to “journify” the process for both customers and stakeholders alike

I’d recommend this book to everyone – it’s not meant for just “creative types.” Regardless of industry or background, anyone can apply design thinking to their jobs.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Today, I spoke with a user researcher at Microsoft to learn more about how user research is conducted in other teams. Tools they use include Survey Gizmo, MAXQDA, UserZoom, UserTesting, and others. Microsoft also has their own participant recruiting arm as well as a team that’s dedicated to recruiting test users specifically for games.

In terms of how someone could get into user researcher, the most traditional way is getting a graduate degree – Masters or PhD – in computer science, human-computer interaction, etc. Post-grad work is generally research-heavy, so you’ll be learning how to do research in one way or another. Other ways of getting into user research (though not as common) include doing a product management role that works closely with research and design, or a product design/UX role that works closely with research. It definitely depends on your team.