July 7, 2013
User Experience Team of One Available 7/9


On July 4th, I found myself sitting at my kitchen table watching fireworks explode.  They were meant to celebrate independence day here in the United States, but somehow it feels like they’re special ordered just for me. Why? Because the first printed copies of my book arrived a few days ago. At long last, The User Experience Team of One is real! From the stunning, psychedelic cover to the easy-on-the-eyes interior, it looks fantastic.

The book will officially be available for sale on July 9th. To celebrate its release  and kick it off right, I’ll be hosting a User Interface Engineering virtual seminar on July 11th, where I’ll be attempting to cram as much of the book as possible into a brisk 90 minutes. 

I hope you’ll consider you’ll consider joining me for the virtual seminar and checking out the book. It’s the first book to address this topic head on, and I couldn’t be more proud.

December 28, 2012
"My advice for aspiring writers is to go to New York,” Mr. Kirn said. “And if you can’t go to New York, go to the place that represents New York to you, where the standards for writing are high, there are other people who share your dreams, and where you can talk, talk, talk about your interests. Writing books begins in talking about it, like most human projects, and in being close to those who have already done what you propose to do."

Walter Kirn’s advice for an aspiring writer also describes perfectly what I love about plying the user experience trade in San Francisco. Found in the article A Critic’s Tour of Literary Manhattan - NYTimes.com

November 23, 2012
"If you look at the way successful founders have had their ideas, it’s generally the result of some external stimulus hitting a prepared mind."

Love this article on how to get startup ideas. The answer? In a nutshell, be interesting, engaged, and observant.

I love this quote, too: “Since what you need to do here is loosen up your own mind, it may be best not to make too much of a direct frontal attack on the problem—i.e. to sit down and try to think of ideas. The best plan may be just to keep a background process running, looking for things that seem to be missing.”

This quote is a good reminder for me that brute force design thinking exercises are just one approach to innovation work — and often not the most effective. Of equal importance: the tickler file! In other words, keep a running list of the things that inspire you, the things you notice, the weird ideas that pass through your head. Have faith and curiosity about what you notice. Write it down, and revisit it often.

October 26, 2011
Great Forrester Article on Customer Experience Strategy

A really nice summary of what constitutes a good customer experience strategy (or user experience strategy, if you will). Timely. I will be using this at work asap.

October 26, 2011
New gestural icon set from my former co-worker and all around good guy, PJ Onori…
somerandomdude:

Cue is a public domain gestural icon system which focuses on legibility and symbolic representation.
It’s intended to be a foundational set of icons to build a standard visual language of touch-based interactions. Each gesture is distilled to its core action to exhibit a more figurative, iconic aesthetic.
Download the icon set or learn more about the thinking behind the design.

New gestural icon set from my former co-worker and all around good guy, PJ Onori…

somerandomdude:

Cue is a public domain gestural icon system which focuses on legibility and symbolic representation.

It’s intended to be a foundational set of icons to build a standard visual language of touch-based interactions. Each gesture is distilled to its core action to exhibit a more figurative, iconic aesthetic.

Download the icon set or learn more about the thinking behind the design.

October 5, 2011
What the heck is orthographic sketching?

Really great post on sketching the design process over on Core 77. Kind of makes me want to go back to school and become and industrial designer. The author (Paul Backett at Ziba design) suggests some interesting techniques, including design themes (think, Mood Boards Lite) and orthographic sketching, which I’ve never heard of before, but seems to produce some pretty lovely renderings.

March 30, 2011
User Exposure Hours

Interesting article from Jared Spool this week. He’s claiming that quality designs directly correlate to the number of hours the team spends watching users: “Over the years, there has been plenty of debate over how many participants are enough for a study. It turns out we were looking in the wrong direction. When you focus on the hours of exposure, the number of participants disappears as an important discussion. We found 2 hours of direct exposure with one participant could be as valuable (if not more valuable) than eight participants at 15-minutes each. The two hours with that one participant, seeing the detailed subtleties and nuances of their interactions with the design, can drive a tremendous amount of actionable value to the team, when done well.” http://www.uie.com/articles/user_exposure_hours/

March 11, 2011
I dare you all, test your strength: Open a book.

December 31, 2010
peace.

peace.

December 25, 2010
Dressed for weather (Taken with instagram)

Dressed for weather (Taken with instagram)

December 16, 2010
"None of the answers I gave were precise. Quite a few of them were guesses or "close-enoughs." If the statisticians are using the data from 55,000 U.S. households to calculate the official, important, complete, and accurate final results, and 55,000 real-live, human, unique participants are approximating numbers and shrugging their shoulders about which radio button to select, then how helpful is that information?"

Really great writeup from Indi Young on her own experience as a survey respondent for the Census Bureau. Entertaining, insightful, and thought-provoking.

Read the whole thing here: Who Can Believe the U.S. Unemployment Figures?

December 8, 2010
I love this diagram from jasonfurnell.files.wordpress.com. A great illustration of the relationship between experience strategy and experience visioning.
Guess what? They’re not the same thing.

I love this diagram from jasonfurnell.files.wordpress.com. A great illustration of the relationship between experience strategy and experience visioning.

Guess what? They’re not the same thing.

December 8, 2010
My virtual seminar is tomorrow.

Hi everyone,

It’s a bit last minute, but I wanted to let you all know that I’m resting my vocal chords cords and drinking lots of tea with honey in preparation for my UIE virtual seminar tomorrow,  Lean Methods for the UX Team of One. It’s tomorrow at 1:30pm ET.

If you’re interested in getting in on the action, here’s a promo code that you can use when you register. At no additional cost, it’ll get you lifetime access to all other UIE virtual seminars. The promo code is “LEAH”.

Look at me, I’m such a salesman.

Cheers & love,
Leah

November 24, 2010

Glide 2 (via StraylightUK). Watching this video actually slowed my heart rate, I think. It’s like a modern form of meditation.

June 17, 2010
"[A proposal from Scott Brown over at Wired:] A Facebook app we’ll call the Fade Utility. Untended Friends would gradually display a sepia cast on the picture, a blurring of the neglected profile—perhaps a coffee stain might appear on it or an unrelated phone number or grocery list. The individual’s status updates might fade and get smaller. The user may then choose to notice and reach out to the person in some meaningful way—no pokes! Or they might pretend not to notice. Without making a choice, they could simply let that person go. Would that really be so awful?"

Scott Brown on Facebook Friendonomics

(Thanks to Jen for the link, which — yes, I admit it! — sums up my feelings about Facebook perfectly.)