Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UXPA - Leading as Listeners

This week UXPA kicked off the year with their first event of 2021 - Leading as Listeners.

Jasyln English from Fullscript and Caitlin Goodale from Drest were the speakers. Jasyln spoke to us all the way from Canada!

Jasyln spoke first on ‘Using research to secure alignment’. It is very easy for big companies to have several big ideas that they want to focus on, but it can be hard to make sure they are aligned.

Jasyln talked about how to bring that alignment to the business with research. She suggested four steps to take.

  • Speak to stakeholders. What are their questions and their concerns. Turn these into hypotheses that you can test to create insights.
  • What do you already know? Look at research that has already been done. Find out the details of the full company vision.
  • New research. What gaps do you need to fill? You cannot answer all the questions so focus on the scope.
  • Create a story. You need something you can share that really pulls together what you have learnt in an easy to understand way. And make sure you use an appropriate level of granularity depending on who you are speaking to.

My key takeaway from Jasyln was the importance of having someone to own the project, that you can turn to for support and answers.

Caitlin then spoke on ‘Fashion, Games and UX’.

Although I am not that bothered by fashion I found Caitlin’s talk fascinating, as she explained the lessons she's learnt working for a company that combines fashion and gaming. Her lessons include:

  • creating a shared language as different disciplines will have different understanding of different terms.
  • Ineffective design comes from a bad UX process. This one really resonated for me. You need to know things like, how you know when the design is good enough and what the sign off process is, before you start.
  • Your design team must evolve with the company - Caitlin was really enthusiastic about growing the people in her team, helping them to do their best work while working on things that interest them. We could all do with more managers like this.
  • Enthusiasm is infectious - set the tone for the team and believe in the vision.

She also spoke about understanding that different cultures view business and work differently and you need to understand these differences when working for a company with people across the globe.

It was a really great event, full of useful takeaways. After all you don’t need to have Lead or Head in your job title to be a leader.

Thanks to everyone who worked to organise such an interesting event.

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