Midwest UX 2014 Recap: Communicating Design to Others

Creative Destruction: Design as an Agent for Change

Sketchnotes for Creative Destruction

Sketchnotes for Creative Destruction

Lorna Ross lent an outside perspective on experience design. Working at the Mayo Clinic, her job at the Center for Innovation requires her to improve spaces in a way that would be familiar to many user researchers and user experience designers. In the course of her presentation she covered many ways that design can be used to encourage positive change within an organization.

There's really not much to say about this talk that isn't covered in the slides other than a few personal takeaways. Many of them were variations of themes that emerged other times throughout the week including


  • All artifacts have a context
  • We need empathy
  • Stories can be highly effective in communicating our point of view to others

Video provided by the Midwest UX volunteers

Articulating Design Decisions

Sketchnotes for Articulating Design Decisions

Tom Greever's presentation wound up pairing nicely with the talk given at the other location the previous session. Fifteen minutes to process my thoughts before settling down meant I could jump right in to his key points. Put together the two sessions make a persuasive argument for what user experience designers, researchers, and anyone who handles design decisions can do to advocate for better experiences.

Focusing on actionable suggestions, Tom Greever (@tomgreever) led the audience through tips and tricks that he has learned in his own practice. Some of them were familiar to me from my own experiences over the year but to have them reaffirmed by somebody with more experience gave them even more credibility. For me one problem with articulating my design choices is having the patience to listen rather than immediately attempting to defend the why's and how's. These strategies below are ones that I plan to integrate not only when doing professional work but also work just as well in many other situations.

  • Let people talk
  • "Read" between the lines to hear what people are not saying
  • Uncover the real problem
  • Ask for examples

When the talk finished I found myself wishing there had been time for a few more questions and answers. Hopefully this presentation continues to evolve as its core message is one that all novice and intermediate people in the user experience community could benefit from hearing.

Video provided by the Midwest UX volunteers