I just finished watching Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview and I wanted to share an excerpt that is particularly relevant to product designers. The interview was filmed in 1995, 18 months before Steve Jobs returned to Apple and well, you know the rest. In this excerpt, Steve Jobs shares his views on product design team culture and dynamics.
If you like the excerpt, I suggest buying the DVD.


This excerpt had additional meaning for me. A few years ago I had created some polished stone icons for OSX under the GNU public license. Apple contacted me about using the icons and I donated the set to their product development team.

I never understood their interest but interesting coincidence nonetheless.

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From http://guidelines.usability.gov and a few other sources…

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

-William Strunk Jr., in Elements of Style

Guidelines…

Continue reading Writing for Web: Research-Based Guidelines

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user story asteroids

In an agile organization, the User Story replaces traditional requirement documentation. While traditional requirements like functional or user interface specifications try to be as detailed as possible, User Stories break down the business requirements into the smallest piece of business value that a development team can deliver within an iteration.

That said, there is an art to writing effective user stories and UX designers cannot simply rename their User Interface Specifications to User Stories. Use the following guidelines to consistently deliver requirements that can be easily understood by your development teams. Continue reading A guide to Writing Effective User Stories

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Last Import - 04

“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” That was the advice of Arthur BrisbaneEditor The Syracuse Post Standard March 28, 1911. Despite originally referring to newsprint, the adage still holds true in the digital age.

Sketching for understanding” is an efficient and effective way to gather tons of ideas in a short period of time while cultivating shared understanding across agile teams.With the right structure and active participation, sketching with Scrum teams can really pay dividends throughout the release life cycle.

Use the following guide to help plan and facilitate your next agile sketching session. Continue reading Agile UX – Sketching and Scrum

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charter

Although many businesses follow agile practices, they don’t realize the true benefits of an agile culture and unwittingly fall into routine at the expense of collaboration.

A good UX Designer can help get a team back on track by establishing a shared vision or “Collaborative Charter”. Created with any agile team, the charter can do the following:

  • Identify direction and purpose
  • Build loyalty through involvement
  • Inspire enthusiasm and encourage commitment
  • Set standards of excellence that reflects high ideals and a sense of integrity
  • Bring meaning to the work
  • Mobilize the team to action

Use the following guide to plan and run effective Collaborative Charter workshops…
Continue reading Agile UX – Collaborative Chartering

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The role of product owner was born of the scaled agile framework. Product owner is a role, not a title, and the responsibilities for the role vary.

In “The Scrum Papers: Nut, Bolts, and Origins of an Agile Framework“, author Jeff Sutherland emphasizes the product owners’ main responsibility of ensuring Return on Investment (ROI) for a given product feature:

“The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing return on investment (ROI) by identifying product features, translating these into a prioritized list, deciding which should be at the top of the list for the next Sprint, and continually re-prioritizing and refining the list.”

Continue reading The Agile Product Owner

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Listening

Do you ever find yourself drifting off while conducting interviews? Are you having trouble remembering what an interviewee said during a conversation? Are you busy thinking of your response or opinion before the other person has finished speaking?

If this describes you, your hearing may be fine but your listening needs work. To get more out of  interviews and conversations, you’ll need to work on becoming an “active listener”.

Guidelines

To be an active listener, you’ll need to clear your mind, focus, ask questions, reflect, and paraphrase throughout the conversation. Here are 12 helpful tips to follow the next time you have important feedback to collect. Continue reading Listen up!…and have better interviews

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