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ux themes in ‘Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love’

Marty Cagan ran a product management workshop for us yesterday and I spent some of this morning reading Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love. The workshop was based around his top product mistakes.

My background has often blurred the line between product manager and UX person, and I was interested to hear some tension(?) at London IA last month about IAs being perceived as claiming product management territory.

Inspired is mostly a practical, sane book exploring familiar (to me!) problems. It deals with UX a lot and is definitely worth reading if you are working in an environment that has both UX and product manager roles.

Marty suggests (p6) that the right ratio of roles to have is one product with:

  • one product manager
  • ½ interaction designer/information architect
  • ⅛ visual designer
  • 5-10 developers

He sees 4 ux roles, which maybe be separate individuals or not (p18)

  • interaction design (deep understanding of users, tasks, flows, navigation, wireframes)
  • visual design (precise layouts, colours, fonts, emotions)
  • rapid prototyping
  • usability testing

There’s some supportive stuff about the timing of UX work (p117)

  • UX work should be done before implementation,
  • using a sprint zero approach, maybe one or two sprints ahead for an agile team.
  • need to give UX team some (but not loads) of time and space to research and design

Some good advice for working in large organisations (p170) and with your manager (p63)

  • measure and plan for changes in plans
  • conduct the real meeting before the official meeting
  • be low-maintenance to your manager (use someone else as your mentor)
  • learn how decisions are actually made in your organisation
  • do skunk works projects/seek forgiveness not permission
  • build relationships before you need them

Other interesting points

  • doesn’t recommend outsourcing interaction design because it takes time to develop the deep understanding of the users, they need to be on hand throughout the project and UX is just too core to the business. (p19)
  • recommends that Product should be “organizationally on par with engineering and marketing” and that ideally Product should include the UX team (p53)
  • recommends high fidelity prototypes as the product spec (p113)
  • product manager should attend every usability test (p133)

Written by Karen

March 30th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Posted in ucd,work