Jimmy Chandler, UX designer and researcher and instructor at New York Code + Design Academy, will present the workshop Design Sprints for Learning at edUi 2018. We wanted to get to know him a little better, so we asked him a few questions.
edUi 2018 is our tenth conference! Thinking back to 2009, what has changed and what’s still true in our industry?
Compare 2009 to today…
- Apple sold approximately 23 million iPhones
- Facebook (which would still be a private company until 2012) had 300 million users
- Instagram didn’t exist yet (it would launch in 2010)
- Apple sold 216 million iPhones in 2017
- Facebook had 2.19 billion active users as of January 2018
- Instagram reached 1 billion active users in June, up from 800 million just last September
User expectations have changed. People today expect to have a mobile app to help in almost any situation: shopping, navigation, find a restaurant, check the weather, etc. An app should be easy to use the first time I open it, it should know my location, have access to my phone’s camera and photo album, allow me to share content with others with just a few taps, notify me of important activity (like an email or text from someone I trust), and allow me to log in using my thumb or my face. In 2009 smartphone apps were in their infancy; almost none of what we expect as baseline today existed at all then.
Finally, and more relevant to the workshop I’ll be facilitating at edUi, among the most important changes in UX is the understanding of the value of and the best techniques for collaboration.
If designers don’t work collaboratively with everyone—stakeholders, clients, developers, managers, customers, QA, etc.—and know how to effectively facilitate those collaborations, they will almost always fail to deliver a successful product. This was also true in 2009, but I don’t think many people in our field understood it very well; I know I didn’t.
It just so happens that one of the best ways to collaborate is a time boxed, structured, interactive workshop, like…a design sprint. Imagine that.
Second, what’s still true in UX?
- We still get stuck dealing with and designing for and around legacy systems. Fax machines! On multiple occasions in my career I’ve worked on a project to replace systems that were decades old, or paper based.
- The core UX design processes and principles are the same as in 2009. They’ve become more widely practiced, we’ve refined our techniques, and our tools are much more powerful. But in 2009, leading designers had already been advocating user-centered design, accessibility, usability testing, etc. for over a decade.
If your professional life was a movie title, what would it be and why?
The Akira Kurosawa film Ran, which means chaos in Japanese.
Not so much that my career has been chaotic (OK, at times it has been), but chaos is a great description of many projects I’ve worked on and teams I’ve worked with. I don’t mean that in a pejorative way; projects are often chaotic because they have to be. We have to sort through the chaos and messiness in order to discover the real problem so we can design the right solution.
And because Ran (aka Chaos) is such an amazing, unforgettable film.
In only three words or phrases, what is your worst UX story?
- Public relations
- Inflexible and defensive
- Lost the battle, won the war
I’m happy to tell the full story to anyone who asks me at edUi.
What are you going to discuss at your workshop at edUi 2018?
We’re going to learn how to conduct a design sprint by actually conducting a design sprint.
A design sprint is a collaborative workshop where a team:
- agrees on a problem they need to solve and a strategy for creating the solution,
- designs a prototype, and
- tests that prototype with real users to see what works and what doesn’t.
This hands-on workshop will demonstrate how you can use design sprints both to build and test product ideas, and also how to use this technique to facilitate learning. I use design sprints as an educator to teach UX design to product teams, to startup founders, and to my UX students. So I will be sharing what I’ve learned about design sprints and similar workshops over the past decade.
What is the biggest misconception about design sprints?
Too many people think you need to be a designer or have experience in product in order to be an effective contributor to a design sprint.
If you are an intelligent professional (or student!), can express your ideas, work collaboratively, and you understand the industry you work in or your customers, you can contribute to a design sprint team.
Heck, if you have those attributes and take this workshop, with just a bit of practice and preparation, you will be able to facilitate an effective design sprint!
One last thing: if you’re thinking “I can’t sketch” therefore I can’t help design a prototype: if you can draw nothing more than a line and a circle, you can sketch. Come to my workshop and learn; I have a 100% success rate at teaching anyone to sketch an interface.
About Jimmy Chandler
Jimmy Chandler is a UX designer and researcher who collaborates with enterprises, startups, and non-profits to create better digital experiences and rethink their UX processes. He developed the UX/UI curriculum for New York Code + Design Academy, where he is also an instructor.
Jimmy lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is a frequent mentor, speaker, and organizer for events and organizations such as Startup Weekend, UX Camp, IXDA, and UXPA.
Jimmy will present the workshop Design Sprints for Learning at edUi 2018.
You can hear Jimmy and more than 50 other inspiring speakers talking all things UI and UX at the tenth annual edUi 2018, Oct. 8-10 in Charlottesville.