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User Research? It’s a Requirement

Posted on May 8th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

Below is a blog post I wrote for Follow The UX Leader a couple of years ago. This great online resources will be retired and repurposes soon, so I’m reposting the article here. I hope you find it as useful today as when it was first published back in 2011. Thank you Jeff Parks once again for allowing me to contribute to Follow The UX Leader.

One of the hardest parts of the User Experience process to fit into a project is the up-front user research. There are many reasons for this, many unfounded, that make this the first thing to go when trying to cut down the scope or cost of a project. It seems that user research is the red headed stepchild, always being left out of all the family fun. It’s time that this changes. With the tools … Read More »


Getting Meta With Workshops

Posted on April 24th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

Next month, Russ Unger and myself will be giving a workshop at WebVisions Portland titled The Workshop Workshop. This workshop is meant for folks looking to improve their skills facilitating workshops with their teams, clients, or at industry conferences. Workshops are tricky beasts because they have to result in something, some direct outcome.


Modes of Thinking

Posted on April 12th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

This is going to be a long post, so before we get too deep I want to thank my partner in crime on this concept Andrea Mignolo (http://pnts NULL.us/) (@pnts (https://twitter NULL.com/pnts)) and the smart people from twitter Steve Baty (http://www NULL.meldstudios NULL.com NULL.au/our-team/) (@docbaty (https://twitter NULL.com/docbaty)), Henken Bean (http://www NULL.henkenbean NULL.com/) (@henken (https://twitter NULL.com/Henken)), Kevin Hoffman (http://www NULL.kevinmhoffman NULL.com/) (@kevinmhoffman (https://twitter NULL.com/kevinmhoffman)), Christopher Monnier (http://www NULL.chrismonnier NULL.com/) (@chrismonnier (https://twitter NULL.com/chrismonnier)) and Will Sansbury (http://willsansbury NULL.com/) (@willsansbury (https://twitter NULL.com/willsansbury)) for sharing their thoughts and opinions. In this post we (Andrea and I) want to explore not only where divergent and convergent modes of thinking belong in a design process, but also how a person’s natural mode of thinking impacts how they might identify within the user experience community. A quick disclaimer: This posts does run the very real risk … Read More »


DtC – Surfacing Agendas

Posted on October 8th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

I’m knee deep in the writing my assigned chapters for Designing the Conversation (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Designing-Conversation-Facilitation-Experiences-Voices/dp/0321886720). The one experience that has been the most enlightening so far is the act of editing. Not all content that gets written ends up in the final draft of the chapter. Rather than let this content simply fade away, I want to preserve it here on this blog.

The context of this section is around determining when and how to ask the golden question “Why?” over the course of a facilitated session. The “Why?” question is a great tool for any facilitator, and one way it can be used is by vetting out participants personal agendas. Below is a section that shows how you can use “Why?”-type questions to get to the meaning behind comments, suggestions, and ideas that come from the participants of a … Read More »


Moments That Make The Knees Shake

Posted on June 25th, by Brad in Blog. 1 Comment

Over the course of a person’s life, they reach numerous crossroads where they have to make a leap of faith and take on a challenge that simply scares you to death. I’ve gone through several of these crossroads in both my person and professional life. Every time this happens, I get that feeling of my knees shaking and butterflies flying. My friend Chrisitna Wodtke (http://www NULL.eleganthack NULL.com/) once told me “If you ever find yourself with shaky knees after making a decision to do something, it was probably the right thing to do.” This is a statement that has stuck with me through the years as new and fresh challenges continue to pop up.

The time has come again where I’ve made a decision that is both extremely exciting, but equally terrifying. Luckily, I’ve got a great support group both at … Read More »


Lessons by Karen McGrane of Bond Art + Science

Posted on May 9th, by Brad in Blog, Life Lessons. No Comments

One of the greatest joys I’ve had in my career is learning intriguing life lessons from my professional peers. I love hearing their stories on how they got started, and what events influenced them throughout their life that made them the person they are today. These lessons have had a huge impact on me, both personally and professionally. Because I find so much value in what life has taught people, every month I’ll  post an interview with someone who has “paid their dues” in user experience and design field. The interview will focus on what life has taught them up to this point, and what experiences they’ve had that has had a direct impact on their work and life today.  It’s my hope that you find inspiration, encouragement, and maybe a laugh or two as you read through these interviews.

I hope you … Read More »


Lessons By Eric Reiss of FatDUX- Part 2

Posted on April 17th, by Brad in Blog, Life Lessons. 1 Comment

Earlier this week I published Part 1 of Lessons by Eric Reiss of FatDUX. Below is the second half of the interview where Eric shares with us the various lessons life has taught him and how those lessons have impacted his life.
Wait, who was Eric Reiss again?
(http://www NULL.flickr NULL.com/photos/stabilo-boss/4664073520/)Eric is a well-known author (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Practical-Information-Architecture-Structuring-Successful/dp/0201725908/ref=lp_B0034QAQ0G_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334629736&sr=1-1), a former two-term president of the Information Architecture Institute (http://www NULL.iainstitute NULL.org/), Chair of the EuroIA Summit (http://www NULL.euroia NULL.org/), sits on the advisory boards of the Copenhagen Business School, Kent State University, and the Romanian Information Architecture Association, and was the Professor of Usability and Design at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.

To pay the bills, Eric is CEO of the FatDUX Group (http://www NULL.fatdux NULL.com/), a user-experience company headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, with offices, affiliates, and representatives throughout Europe and North America.
Lessons by Eric Reiss
For … Read More »


Lessons by Eric Reiss of FatDUX – Part 1

Posted on April 17th, by Brad in Blog, Life Lessons. 1 Comment

One of the greatest joys I’ve had in my career is learning intriguing life lessons from my professional peers. I love hearing their stories on how they got started, and what events influenced them throughout their life that made them the person they are today. These lessons have had a huge impact on me, both personally and professionally. Because I find so much value in what life has taught people, every month I’ll  post an interview with someone who has “paid their dues” in user experience and design field. The interview will focus on what life has taught them up to this point, and what experiences they’ve had that has had a direct impact on their work and life today.  It’s my hope that you find inspiration, encouragement, and maybe a laugh or two as you read through these interviews.

I hope you … Read More »


Cup of Coffee Research Method

Posted on April 11th, by Brad in Blog. No Comments

I’ve had several conversations lately with people getting ready to dive into the startup world. A common question that comes up with them is “What’s the best way to get feedback from my users?” Since these are startup initiatives, I know budgets are probably tight. So, I try to offer them as practical advice as possible. The best advice I’ve been able to come up with is ”Just buy someone a cup of coffee and have a conversation with them.” Sometimes, a cup of coffee is all it takes to get the feedback you need to be able to move on from a problem that has been plaguing you, or to validate an idea you’ve prototyped out.

It’s my belief that every project should incorporate some form of user research, or user involvement. Depending on the problem being solved, and the … Read More »


IA Summit 2012 Recap – Ask Better Questions

Posted on April 2nd, by Brad in Blog. 3 comments

This year I made the return to the IA Summit (http://2012 NULL.iasummit NULL.org/) as just an attendee and volunteer. Over the last year and a half I haven’t had the chance to simply attend a conference. Of the ten plus conferences I’ve been to in that time, I’ve spoken at all of them. I don’t mean this to boast, but attending a conference as a speaker puts you in a very different mindset than going as an attendee. Bottom line, it was refreshing just to sit back and enjoy the festivities and take in some needed learning.

Coming back to the IA Summit after a year off was like coming back home for me. I’ve seen several different formats used for conference scheduling, and met different types of communities. It’s only at the IA Summit where a true sense of unity … Read More »



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