My focus is on making software, coaching Agile/Scrum teams, and being a husband and father--definitely not on blogging--so please do not expect very frequent posts here.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Billy Hollis on interaction design

Image result for billy hollisI just finished attending NDC Minnesota 2019.  One of the highlights of the conference was Billy Hollis’s session on UX Principles, as well as his workshop on practical steps to tackle a design task.

Big takeaways:

  • Users have much Inattentional blindness--they shut out anything other than the things we want to see or expect to see.  Don’t fight this.
  • When trying to improve or iterate upon a app’s design, first make observations about the user’s experience and write them down in short, simple, English sentences.  (These sentences do not go onto the product backlog yet—they are unactionable observations, not user stories.)  Then sort by importance, filter, and dedupe them, and then discuss as a team, and only 6-10 design tasks (or stories) to go onto the product backlog.
  • Know what is most important to the users.  Most experiences suffer for lack of emphasis or visual cues of relative importance.
  • Sketch/mockup designs.  Use a low-fidelity tool or just pencil or whiteboard. 
    • Sketch 3 or 4 designs, not just one.  One sketch usually results in very particular, nitpicking feedback, but 3 or 4 sketches gives the opportunity for a range of reactions on the things that matter most
    • Shoot for a “traditional” sketch, an “innovative” sketch, and a pushing-the-envelope sketch.  Often this gets the stakeholders pushing themselves in the right direction.  Don’t pigeonhole yourself to a
  • The point of good aesthetics is to give impression of high-quality software; always focus on actually having high-quality software without putting lipstick on a pig.

Hollis is one of my favorite presenters; if you get a chance to see him, I highly recommend it.  He has a Pluralsight course on UX principles and speaks around the country. 

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