In UX, there isn’t an everything

By Tim Caynes @timcaynes

At the Lightning UX event in London a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to share the stage with some very clever people talking about designing for mobile.

Except that I wasn’t talking about designing for mobile. I happened to be the speaker who forgot to read the brief. So I talked, lightning style, about something completely different.

I chose to speak about the hopelessness of trying to keep up with new and re-invented user experience methods and practices. As UX further develops and evolves, it can sometimes seem that every week it attempts to eat itself.

As a UX professional with a relatively long service, this can be difficult to keep up with, especially when you’re just trying to do some work. For any relative newcomer to the profession, this must be like trying to herd cats blindfolded, whilst everyone in your Twitter timeline is riding around on fixed-gear bicycles, shouting at you about which cat you should herd.

UX Method Interpolation Theory

So to help me make appropriate decisions about what to do and when, I’ve developed by own UX Method Interpolation Theory.

In short, in UX, there are too many methods and too little time. Simply choosing the right methods at the right times is a reasonable strategy. In practice, if I’m feeling left behind with new methods or practices that I’m expected to know, I tell myself this:

  • You don’t have to know everything
  • You’ll never know everything
  • And actually, as far as UX goes, there isn’t, and probably never will be, an everything

Thankfully, I don’t have to go into great detail here, because, as usual, the Lightning UX folks recorded the whole thing and, if you’re inclined, you can give up 6:45 minutes of your time to see what I had to say.

Without giving too much away, I won’t be able to give this presentation again. Which is a shame, since I hoped to see some hands go up.

If you are having problems viewing this video, try watching it on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV8saqe18pY&list=PL6F3213F615597428&index=2

Tim Caynes

I’m a Principal Designer at Foolproof which means I’m responsible for the integrity of the design thinking that shapes the work that we do.

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