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As designers working in a team with others, we know that a fair chunk of our time will be spent with other people – gathering information, generating ideas and debating problems – in forums like meetings, workshops or sprints. 

With that in mind, I always think it’s crazy how we spend so much time learning about our design craft, yet when it comes to learning about how to negotiate the often tricky world of meetings, workshops, sprints or even informal catchups with our colleagues, we are often left firmly in the dark, and having to just ‘learn on the job’. 

This is a guest post by the lovely Anja Mayr, senior UX Researcher for smart Helios, a digital innovation lab for Europe’s biggest private hospital group. She has been working as Service & UX Designer/Researcher and Innovation Consultant in digital product development & agencies for the past 7+ years. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Hopes and Fears, as described by Yaël in her post, is a great exercise for kicking off workshops and design sprints. It sets the stage by bringing out everyone’s expectations – aspirations and concerns alike, and helps us address and keep in mind these points throughout the journey.

One fun way to make this exercise more memorable and establish even better understanding among participants, is using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) facilitation method. Yes, this means playing with Lego bricks, or, more precisely: thinking with your hands!

Picture the scene. I’m sitting at my kitchen table at home, trying to unenthusiastically spear a piece of chicken with my fork. I’m mid-impassioned rant to my girlfriend, fork now waving wildly in the air;

“And I didn’t even get a thank you!! Not even a tiny, measly thank you, after all the work I put into that. They just don’t care at all. I can’t take this anymore.”

Rewind a few hours. I had worked like crazy all week to deliver designs for an important presentation. I had poured every ounce of effort into making sure we hit the deadline, suffered through numerous changes as strategies leading up to the presentation shifted, and had one unhappy girlfriend who had been forced into living with a extremely grumpy zombie.

The presentation was now over, and though it had gone well, I was left feeling pretty upset. We’d delivered, well against the odds, a really important, time-intensive piece of work, yet nobody at work took the time to thank us for our efforts. In fact, the converse had happened – our manager had gotten all the credit and didn’t bat an eyelid.

The sad thing is, that I bet most of you can relate to this story. Feeling under-appreciated or not recognised for your efforts by your team, manager or wider company is a common theme that I hear again and again, and that I’ve personally experienced in multiple companies.

This is a guest post from Jessica Robbins, Associate Creative Director, UX at Saxum. Recently named as one of Adobe’s UX designers to follow, Jessica Robbins leads organizations through brand visioning, strategy and the creation of integrated brand experiences. Her eclectic background includes identity, video, motion, print and UX/UI design, all of which she leverages to build experiences that are authentic, engaging and relevant. Her work over the past 10 years largely focuses on building sustainable processes, products and custom design solutions for clients that are human-centered and empathy-driven. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Are you GDPR ready?

Unless you have lived under a rock the past few months, you are probably familiar with GDPR.

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation which is a regulation intending to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU).

You might ask, “Why is an American UXer so interested in GDPR?” Well, not only is this EU-specific precedent also enforceable by international law, GDPR also impacts something that has allowed me, as an experience designer and strategist, to create more meaningful, context-driven experiences. That something is data.

We can forget that personalisation capability is directly attributable to data that is shared either implicitly or explicitly by each user at some point in time on their journey

Joni Mitchell once said, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”

There is no doubt a personalized experience is a better experience. In an age where we are trying to personalize as many facets of a digital experience as possible (because it is so damn effective), we can forget that this personalization capability is directly attributable to data that is shared either implicitly or explicitly by each user at some point in time on their journey. Chances are that as a UX designer, you help craft part of that journey where data is exchanged or you use data provided to you to inform your decisions.

So how does GDPR impact this?

  1. One of the big points about GDPR is that there is no grandfather clause for data. That means data gathered to inform your experience and/or the experience you designed to gather data (like a form) prior to GDPR, will be impacted. You should be thinking “Am I currently using data that is clean?”
  2. GDPR allows “right to erasure” meaning, if a person decides they do not want their data stored or used, they can require it be erased. You should be thinking “How can a user control their data access at any time?”
  3. Data will become siloed yet again because GDPR will require consent before you use information gathered for one purpose to inform other marketing, automation or personalization platforms.
  4. GDPR is going to make it harder for organizations in general to gather and track data due to requirements, disclosures and red tape. Data flow will be pinched and scrutinized. You need to think “what happens to our experiences when the data is gone?”
Who? Me? Yes, you.

Think about all the data we gather, touch or share to help validate design and UX decisions or guide something even as simple a persona development. Even the smallest of agencies or businesses likely touch data in some way (even if you freelance). Before, we likely did not question where the data came from or where it went, we just made plans to acquire it, use it and then pass it on. With GDPR, our access to data makes us implicit in the use of that data whether the data is clean (compliant) or not. We cannot stand idle and ignorant any longer, no matter the quality or quantity of the data and no matter our “bacon degree” to that data.

Here are 11 questions that will get you thinking.
  1. Are you working on a product that could have a user or collect identifying data on a user or person that is a citizen of the UK – either in the UK or abroad?
  2. Are you working on a product that could have a user or collect identifying data on a user or person that is a NON-UK citizen that could use it while in the UK?
  3. Are you working for an organization or company that has operations in the UK?
  4. Are you working for an organization or company that does any business with the UK?
  5. Are you using data to inform decisions?
  6. Are you using data to personalize an experience?
  7. Are you gathering data in the background of an experience?
  8. Are you designing interfaces or systems that facilitate the exchange of data?
  9. Are you sharing gathered data with another party or is data shared with you?
  10. Are you using data from one experience to guide a separate (even offline) experience?

If you answered yes to any of these questions above, then you should take some time to understand the implications of data on your work, company or organization.

As a UXer, you hold a lot of power to craft post-GDPR experiences

On the frontlines of data

International companies will likely prefer not to have duplicate data, processes or methodologies. That means that international companies impacted by GDPR will be taking steps to ensure compliance, and that those steps will trickle down to their non-UK counterparts regardless of whether GDPR is enforceable. That means UXers have a big chance to set some new best practice standards for how data is gathered and handled for the entire world. You are on the frontlines of this data renaissance and placed in a position of influence with a great opportunity to impart a meaningful, but compliant, experience.

Here are just a few top-level impacts in the UX World:
  1. Opt-In and Opt-out processes
  2. API integration Standards and Access
  3. Automation & Personalization
  4. Cross-platform Data Use (using one data pool for direct mail and email)
  5. User Preferences/Account Management (granularity)
  6. Dark Patterns on Consent Forms (pre-checked boxes)
  7. Privacy Policies & Notices (including cookie usage)
  8. Forms Clarity
  9. Analytics & Tracking
  10. Design Clarity

The New UX Paradigm: Privacy, Transparency and Security

The New UX Paradigm

The GDPR zeitgeist is one thing, but what everyone should understand during this specific time in the digital transformation, are the larger themes at work. GDPR is just one of the results of consumers demanding more security, privacy and transparency in their interactions. This is another reason GDPR and any future copycats will not be limited to the UK alone. This triad  of security, privacy and transparency will need to form the basis of any experience moving forward. It will become the rule, not the exception. Experience designers have been training their whole careers to thrive in an environment where technology, people and trust-building are the winning combination.

TL;DR

Don’t let the GDPR “happen” to you (or your organization). Understand the broad-sweeping implications GDPR can have – even at an experience design level. Know that experience designers are primed and positioned to help bring meaningful solutions to the table (yay job security) and there are plenty of opportunities to make an impact.

Remember that security, privacy and transparency are the new currency in which consumers will trade in and that their data is worth its weight in gold – especially for an effective, personalized experience. Creating an experience that builds trust is key now more than ever before – how will you do it? Is your experience GDPR-ready? Start practicing privacy by design now.

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Resources

You cannot throw a rock without hitting some sort of GDPR info-session or information out there. Look at IAPP, Hubspot, Salesforce, Marketo, Gartner, IBM and Brandwatch for some great resources and webinars.

This is a guest post from Zoe Coultan, an alumna of the second batch of I Am Not My Pixels interns! Each intern writes a blog post as part of their internship, on a UX and Design subject that particularly interests them. Thanks Zoe!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been with a client or colleague looking at a site with low colour contrast, and they say “Well I can read that text perfectly!”. When I ask them whether they have visual impairments, they usually reply, “Well no, I have good vision”.

Even after I explain that we should ensure that everyone can use our site because some people  have visual impairments or other conditions that impact their ability to use our services, I’ve heard responses like:

  • Is it really worth the time and money for only 5% of our audience!?
  • Don’t they have screen readers for that sort of stuff, or people to do it for them?
  • Surely they could just call up to place an order instead of using the website!

No matter the argument, the answer is never to forget about accessibility. Good designers and developers don’t isolate their audience, any of them. You wouldn’t make it difficult for someone with a disability to get around the physical world so why should the virtual world be any different?.

The good news is, it’s pretty easy to make a website more accessible. Whether you’re a designer or developer, there are a few quick checks that you can do to design and develop more inclusively.

Here are my top seven tips for quickly and simply making your website more accessible for every reader: