Author Archives: Catriona Cornett

Methods to Achieve User Delight

Methods to Achieve User Delight

Designers like to talk about achieving the ultimate goal of “user delight.” In fact, it’s one of our primary goals where I work at RelateIQ. It’s not enough to just provide information and functionality anymore. Successful product teams go one step further and aim to delight their users. But, what exactly does that mean? Below are some ways of thinking about user delight and what you can do to create more delightful experiences.

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How to Find a UX Job in the San Francisco Bay Area

How to Find a UX Job in the San Francisco Bay Area

3 months ago, I relocated to San Francisco from Philadelphia. Finding a job in the San Francisco Bay Area proved to be harder than I originally anticipated. After all, San Francisco is known as one of, if not the, largest tech centers of the world, right? Surely, there is an over abundance of UX and Design jobs and you can essentially have your pick, right? Well, not exactly. For sure there are tons of opportunities here, and the variety of companies to choose from is unmatched anywhere else in the country (New York is close behind). However, finding a job that’s the right mutual fit can still be tricky. I learned a lot along the way and want to share some advice based on my experience.

This advice is not necessarily exclusive to San Francisco. Much of this advice could apply to any job search. However, there are some elements of job searching in the Bay Area that are particularly important to pay attention to.
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Closing out 2013: My Move to San Francisco

Closing out 2013: My Move to San Francisco

Things have been quiet on this site recently, and that’s because I’ve been incredibly busy making some pretty major life changes in the later half of 2013. I’ve relocated to San Francisco and have joined the amazing team at RelateIQ.

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Tips for Structuring Better Brainstorming Sessions

Tips for Structuring Better Brainstorming Sessions

Brainstorming is widely used by teams as a method to generate ideas and solve problems. However, many brainstorming activities are flawed and can end up hurting creativity rather than helping spur ideas. It has been well documented that traditional brainstorming, where groups come together and toss out ideas one by one, is often a flawed process. Issues with brainstorming include:

  • Lack of preparation: If participants in a brainstorming session don’t understand the goals of the session in advance, they will come to the session unprepared and significant time will need to be spent ensuring all participants understand the problem before any ideation can take place.
  • Limited creativity: Many brainstorming activities focus on generating unique ideas or unconnected solutions to a problem. Creativity, however, is often achieved by elaborating on individual ideas by taking them apart and improving or changing one part at a time.
  • Group-think: It’s easy for groups to fixate on the first dominant idea that is expressed, reducing the production of additional ideas.
  • Unequal contributions: Traditional brainstorming tends to favor outgoing, extroverted personalities. Without effective facilitation, the group may end up deferring to the most outspoken and animated participants while other participants contribute less to the discussion.
  • Fear of judgement: Even with the guidance that “all ideas are valid”, participants may feel the need to “perform” and only contribute ideas that they feel will be well perceived. The fear of contributing “bad ideas” can result in a counterproductive session. Studies have shown that critique and conflict can result in better and more imaginative ideas.
  • Confusing next steps: Often, teams will come up with many ideas during a brainstorming session, but struggle with what to do with those ideas.

However, brainstorming doesn’t have to be flawed. It’s possible to structure brainstorming activities to maximize the value that you can get from both individual and group thinking. The following 5 step process can help you conduct better brainstorming sessions:

  1. Define Goals & State the Problem
  2. Stimulate Creativity
  3. Ideate Individually
  4. Share, Expand, and Critique
  5. Categorize and Synthesize

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How to Gain Support for UX Through the Mind, Heart, and Environment

How to Gain Support for UX Through the Mind, Heart, and Environment

When I talk to people who work in the User Experience field, I often hear a common refrain:

  •  “It’s hard to make my organization value UX.”
  •  “I can’t convince my clients that we need to do user research.”
  •  “My organization constantly cuts the amount of user experience work we should be doing.”
  •  “I feel trumped by the business and technology teams. How can I make them invest more in user experience?”

Getting an organization to invest in user-centered design and user experience can be challenging. Politics, organizational structures, past experiences, and ingrained processes can make change difficult.

However, many UX professionals approach this challenge ineffectively by trying to push their own UX agenda without considering the mindset and viewpoints of their clients and co-workers. Only by understanding the needs of others and reducing friction between UX and the organization can you successfully increase user experience’s influence.

In the book Switch: How to Change When Change Is Hard, authors Chip and Dan Heath describe that in order for change to occur, one has to consider 3 interrelated factors: rational, emotional, and environmental factors.
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iOS 7 Experience Design Concept

iOS 7 Experience Design Concept

The blogosphere has been inundated with commentary around the anticipation of iOS 7. While not necessarily representative of the general public, tech writers are clamoring for iOS to evolve rather significantly. I was asked by Fortune Magazine to explore a design concept of what iOS 7 might be like (see: 9 ideas for a radical redesign of iOS 7) . While no one is going to be able to accurately design the real iOS 7 experience, I thought it was an interesting exercise to see how iOS might start to address the needs of today’s mobile user. Below is the result of this concepting exercise.

iOS 7 Experience Design Concept

iOS 7 Experience Design Concept

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