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Finally, some thoughts out of UX Intensive Berlin – Adaptive Path

by Ana Roji

I was counting down the days to attend the UX Intensive Berlin, expecting it to be the best representation of UX workshops in Europe. The Adaptive Path team is almost a “legend” within the field, and they managed to cover those promises with a very competent and receptive team. While I was trying to distill the main positive outcomes out of those days,  I realised I was already applying some of the techniques provided on the sessions.

My first impressions on the fullfour days workshop were mixed with excitement, working hand by handwith great creative people, and enjoying a city that I absolutelylove… This along with a solid structure of workshops ordered by theflow of a project; Design Strategy, Design Research, Information Architecture and Interaction Design made it more than worth it.
Thesessions felt nicely tied up together, finding special interest in theDesign Strategy and Interaction Design days. Maybe due to the clearvalue I found on the exercises proposed, those two sessions made muchmore sense to me.

Getting some fresh air out of the UK sphereis always worthwhile, in an scenario with a wide presence from Germany and theScandinavian countries one can observe how people experience andconsider UX in slightly diverse ways…A couple of interestingobservations are the spread use of Linked In to keep in touch, which Ifind mainly professionally focused and sort of conservative compared tothe use of Facebook in the UK. As well as a low representation oftwitter users…

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So what are the “juicy” outcomes?

The four sessions were connected by the use case of a Boutique Hotel.Having a tangible example to work with on the different sessions helpedbringing a sense of focus. But on the other hand, the particular hotelmodel as the ideal representation of an experience that grows andevolves, has been already used many times before. By the last day I wasnot quite sure whether I wanted to hear of any new developments of the”Hotel Ganache”…

Design Strategy Day – mainly focused on four key elements;
Focused, Definition, Customer Value and Scope.
It was mainly about howto find the focus and definition of a project.
Detecting insights for business opportunities, prioritizing them and defining what to create -  hence producing an articulatedproposition that everybody shares and creates customervalue. Even though it sounds pretty straightforward it never is in real life, we worked on a variety of techniques to make this happen.

Fromdoing storyboards sketching first ideas, to polish them into an”elevator pitch”, we were working towards a solid strategy that wouldguide the future stages of a project.
In this way, planning forfuture releases as well as being able to say “NO” to ideas that woulddissolve the focus of the product, were relevant steps to achieve so.

Interaction Design Day - inspiring and fun day that combined exercises from research and models to ideation and prototyping.
Themodeling exercise capturing the experience of us all arriving at thehotel was brilliant. Each of the groups took different approaches andit was very handy to get those as examples for future personal projects.
Modelscan be quite time consuming to get right but offer a great overview ofthe whole experience as it is. They should show pain points,opportunities and calls to action.

The concept of DesignPrinciples was just so valuable, helping wrap the evaluation of ideasand moving the project forward. They combine the structure findings ofresearch with the best ideas of ideation. They should be catchy andfocused, unique to the product. Using analogies helps making themstickier.

pic3.jpgOther bits & pieces

I guess I was expecting a bit more of “innovation” on the Design Research dayeven though they provided us with useful hints & tips. There arenot many new methodologies in the field, is a matter of how to approachthem, but I was certainly surprised when they focused so much in the”personas technique”. There was a bit of noise and conversationaround it but it did not take us much further than the odd discussionof being in favor or against them…

The IA dayblew me away with terms that I was not very familiar with. I wasdefinitely expecting a different “shape” but got some skills on how toclassify information so it becomes easier to find in searchresults….you learn something new everyday.

There was the shadow of a doubton whether one can actually apply all these techniques and stages on areal project far from “The hotel Ganache”, one with tight budget anddeadlines. I guess the answer would be “No”… You need to be savvy onhow to pick the methods that best suit your project, as well as possiblyadapting them towards a more agile approach? that was one of the main questions left unanswered…and that’s what I am trying to inspire for the Headshifters around here.

Trying to conclude, I would say that even though I was expecting to be shaken by new resources and methodologies, I am realising everyday more that the secret is in the detailsThe devil is in the details.
Thefour sessions reinforced a solid base with inspiring and very valuabletechniques. Drawing a line of ideas for process and strategy…can youask for more out of a conference? certainly not.

…UX Berlin flickr pictures borrowed from Simon Doggett

One Response to Finally, some thoughts out of UX Intensive Berlin – Adaptive Path

  1. By johnstevens on June 23, 2009 at 6:57 am

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    This is funny. A good distraction from the days work.