Presenting Design Work by Donna Spencer captures everything I’ve learned about that harrowing process of presenting a web design for review and turned it into a six chapter book you can read over two lunch hours.
I am thrilled that this book emphasizes rigor in the craft of creating and presenting designs.
So many times I’ve sat through reviews where the designer couldn’t tell me what the business problem was, why the user needed the changes, how the user would get from place to place, or what the unhappy paths looked like. They failed to take notes (sometimes showing up without even a note-taking device, like, say, a pencil or a laptop), gave me a tour of our components on the page instead of telling me how someone would use it, and thanked everyone when done — but never followed up to let us know what they’d decided. Then, later, they complained that the product manager steamrolled their input on designs or ignored their feedback.
This book demands a lot of the person who wants to be successful. You have to think about your audience, practice presenting, take notes (or find someone who will), understand the problem you’re building against, understand the feedback you’re given, and be rigorous in your feedback decision-making process.
It also works. It works so very well. And it garners trust between us and our business and engineering peers way better than any less-rigorous process is capable of doing.
As soon as I started reading it, I started messaging people I know mentoring designers and said “yeah this book? this is the one you want.”
In about a month, I’ll be presenting my talk, What Letter Are You? An Alphabet of Accessibility, to the IA Summit. It’s in Chicago this year, and looks to be a fantastic conference.
Here’s the synopsis:
Every one of us needs the internet to be accessible. Our needs may not surface today, but they will in the future. Do we know enough about what accessibility needs look like — beyond the stereotypes of people with disabilities that we’re all too aware of? And how do we get from “I know my site has problems” to “I know how to approach them?”
This talk, based on Anne’s 2014 articles “An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues” and “Reframing Accessibility for the Web” will frame accessibility through the lens of 26 people who need accessibility considerations. It will cover:
- Four broad categories of accessibility needs that we must be aware of: visual, auditory, physical, and cognitive and neurological.
- Twenty-six people who need us to design accessibly. Some of them you’ll recognize as being disabled, and some of them may come as a surprise.
- An approach for designing accessibly by concentrating on the functional changes we can bring to our project work.
- Emphasis on keyboard use, images, and forms.
Attendees will learn about accessibility issues, both common and surprising, and leave with a framework for approaching accessibility problems based on what websites need to do instead of based on what people can’t do.
It’s the same talk I presented at World IA Day on February 20th, so if you didn’t get a chance to see it locally and you’ll be in Chicago, I’d be honored if you’d attend.
You can use the discount code ‘IAS18SPEAKER’ to take $50 off the final registration cost, and register at http://www.iasummit.org/registration/
On the 17th, I gave my first structured talk outside of the walls of whatever company I was working for. (I’ve talked quite a bit in the course of my career, but it was mostly for in-company presentations, projects, training, etc.)
It made me think about the question of exposure — that is, the things we do to make sure that other people notice us and our careers and what we’re capable of. For someone who works in-house their entire life, the sphere of influence is pretty much confined to the in-house work… but for those working in agencies or freelancing, the sphere of influence is necessarily much larger.
Donna Spenser wrote a great post on the UX Australia conference site about writing excellent conference proposals and how proposals are different from presentation descriptions. It’s a must-read if (like me) you’re thinking of getting a talk together, and you have no clue where to start.
Source: @maadonna via @docbaty.