DIY UX: Give Your Users an Upgrade (without calling in a pro)

Whitney Hess, a shining star at the Web 2.0 Expo, talks about UX.

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Shining star at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York
Whitney Hess

The last 3 sessions were a bust, so it was great to go into a session and actually get really good information.  Cue Whitney Hess, an independent user experience designer.  The highest level of success for her isn’t making money or making an impact.  It’s making the experience great for users.

She insists every single person is a user experience designer, whether it is your job or not.   There are some people who are doing extraordinary things things for their end users without having a professional UX designer in their company or even any experience in this area.

Whitney takes us through several examples of UX heroes who are doing this all over the world.  There are four primary techniques that are very common to UX designers that she shares:

  • Design research – can be done in an informal and organic way using common tools
  • Web analytics and testing – understand your traffic cycles and search patters,   use analytics tools to uncover usage patterns so you can test design variations and explore you
  • Usability testing – not functional testing, but real testing with real users where you’re asking for people to challenge you and feeling the pain of your poor design
  • Experimentation and Iteration – answers the question “How are we always getting better?”

Books she recommends:

Recommended tools:

Author: Ynema Mangum

Ynema Mangum is an experienced, data-driven principal product manager of mission-critical composable infrastructure at HP Enterprise. Constantly curious, her passions draw her to emerging technologies. She joined HP 6 years ago as a solutions architect for private IT cloud computing. She then served as owner of the enterprise social collaboration domain at HP, responsible for its future direction. Prior to her current position, she was a senior product manager for the massive HP ConvergedSystem 900 for SAP HANA. At SUN, she was a product line manager for cloud computing, responsible for the requirements for common subsystems of the Sun Cloud, as well as user personas, industry analysis, and competitive research. Her product experience also includes building web based database management systems at BMC Software targeted at Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, DB2 and DB2 UDB. Y provides an invaluable hybrid mix of strategist, architect, product manager and product marketer with an unbendable passion for the user experience. Her entrepreneurial experience allows her to understand business as a whole and drives her to make decisions and execute quickly. As an added bonus, she is certified in ITIL v3 best practices for IT and Pragmatic Product Management. Ynema is a change agent. She considers herself a determined influencer and a connector whose collaborative nature ensures success in introducing new concepts and services into the mainstream -- even in the most complex environments. She thrives on doing what seems to be impossible, and enjoys taking calculated risks in her personal life -- snowboarding, skiing, SCUBA diving or wake boarding when the season is right.

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