Ideas for acitivities for users at our annual conference.

2 Oct 2008 - 12:57pm
5 years ago
11 replies
1119 reads
Benjamin Ho
2007

Hi All,

We're having our annual user conference very soon and we're looking to have an interactive component to our presentation at the end where our users are asked to do something.

As for that certain something, we're not sure yet what to do.

We had thought of a design workshop but thought that wouldn't be too useful to have 20 some odd people argue about the merits of the design - it's better left to testing.

So I'm coming to you fine folks for ideas.  What kind of activity we can offer our users that make it entertaining and engaging?

Any help is appreciated.

Ben

Comments

2 Oct 2008 - 1:55pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Oct 2, 2008, at 1:57 PM, Benjamin Ho wrote:

> We're having our annual user conference very soon and we're looking
> to have an interactive component to our presentation at the end
> where our users are asked to do something.
>
> As for that certain something, we're not sure yet what to do.
>
> We had thought of a design workshop but thought that wouldn't be too
> useful to have 20 some odd people argue about the merits of the
> design - it's better left to testing.
>
> So I'm coming to you fine folks for ideas. What kind of activity we
> can offer our users that make it entertaining and engaging?

I have ideas. Want to give a little more background on your company,
the users, and your presentation? I bet one of the ideas I have might
match.

Jared

2 Oct 2008 - 2:11pm
Loren Baxter
2007

Rather than have a 20-person "design by committee" session, which no one
likes, maybe split them all into smaller groups of three and have each group
do its own design? They could present them at the end and vote on the best
solution.

I guess I'm biased but designing is FUN :) And social activities where
people can work as a group have many benefits - including the joy of meeting
new people.

-Loren

-----
http://acleandesign.com

On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 10:57 AM, Benjamin Ho <benoh2 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> We're having our annual user conference very soon and we're looking to have
> an interactive component to our presentation at the end where our users are
> asked to do something.
>
> As for that certain something, we're not sure yet what to do.
>
> We had thought of a design workshop but thought that wouldn't be too useful
> to have 20 some odd people argue about the merits of the design - it's
> better left to testing.
>
> So I'm coming to you fine folks for ideas. What kind of activity we can
> offer our users that make it entertaining and engaging?
>
> Any help is appreciated.
>
> Ben
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

2 Oct 2008 - 2:25pm
Benjamin Ho
2007

Sorry for being so vague..

I work for Tyler Technologies - developing software for the public
sector. Our users are financial, operations, HR, payroll etc.

We're presenting a session on how usability and UCD/UXD influence
the design of our products and hence, how our users work better
because of it.

To top it off, we thought an interactive component would help them
understand what this means through [their own] experience.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33794

2 Oct 2008 - 3:26pm
dmitryn
2004

Ben,

+1 for Loren's idea. I am actually in the process of planning a
similar kind of session at my company's annual user conference.

Searching for "design interactionary" should give you plenty of ideas
on how to organize this.

Dmitry

On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 3:11 PM, Loren Baxter <loren.baxter at gmail.com> wrote:
> Rather than have a 20-person "design by committee" session, which no one
> likes, maybe split them all into smaller groups of three and have each group
> do its own design? They could present them at the end and vote on the best
> solution.
>
> I guess I'm biased but designing is FUN :) And social activities where
> people can work as a group have many benefits - including the joy of meeting
> new people.
>
> -Loren
>
> -----
> http://acleandesign.com
>
> On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 10:57 AM, Benjamin Ho <benoh2 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> Hi All,
>>
>> We're having our annual user conference very soon and we're looking to have
>> an interactive component to our presentation at the end where our users are
>> asked to do something.
>>
>> As for that certain something, we're not sure yet what to do.
>>
>> We had thought of a design workshop but thought that wouldn't be too useful
>> to have 20 some odd people argue about the merits of the design - it's
>> better left to testing.
>>
>> So I'm coming to you fine folks for ideas. What kind of activity we can
>> offer our users that make it entertaining and engaging?
>>
>> Any help is appreciated.
>>
>> Ben
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

2 Oct 2008 - 5:20pm
johnwromano
2008

I was recently at a prototyping session where we broke into small
groups and did paper prototyping. They handed out markers, paper,
scissors, clear plastic, and tape. Cut-y paste-y fun! A welcome break
from the computer screen.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33794

3 Oct 2008 - 2:56am
sudhindra
2004

+1 for Loren's idea as well..
We implemented this successfully in 2 events - World Usability Day 2007 and
at a DCamp conference a couple of months ago. In both cases, it involved us
giving problem statements such as "in emerging markets, where the
infrastructure is a challenge, how would you provide a solution for patients
and their doctors to access health records"... The design challenge itself
was an expanded version of this statement. We provided constraints as well
as some clues that would help the participants in designing an effective
solution. We provided the markers, sheets etc.

All participants were given a goody bag when they entered the auditorium
that had these challenges in them. During the event, at a specified time, we
requested the audience to view these challenges and our volunteers helped
them organize themselves in a team of 4 (max was 8).

Each team was given a 2 minute time slot to present their ideas. An expert
panel adjudged the best 3 and were given prizes.

Hope this helps!!! :)

On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 3:50 AM, romano <jromano at capstrat.com> wrote:

> I was recently at a prototyping session where we broke into small
> groups and did paper prototyping. They handed out markers, paper,
> scissors, clear plastic, and tape. Cut-y paste-y fun! A welcome break
> from the computer screen.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33794
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

3 Oct 2008 - 7:58am
Benjamin Ho
2007

I'd consider a design workshop like Loren suggested. It's just that
there are a couple of issues:

1. Not all users are in the same domain - meaning that Financial
users are separate from those in HR and Payroll. So the diversity of
users is quite vast as are each of their own domain issues.

2. Not everyone is able to design. So perhaps because of this,
they'd experience how difficult it can be? (Put themselves in our
shoes?) I also understand that we may get feedback we wouldn't
normally get, though as to the usefulness of it, I'm not certain.

I need more convincing or perhaps other ideas. :)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33794

4 Oct 2008 - 7:26pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Oct 2, 2008, at 12:25 PM, Benjamin Ho wrote:

> I work for Tyler Technologies - developing software for the public
> sector. Our users are financial, operations, HR, payroll etc.
>
> We're presenting a session on how usability and UCD/UXD influence
> the design of our products and hence, how our users work better
> because of it.
>
> To top it off, we thought an interactive component would help them
> understand what this means through [their own] experience.

Hi Benjamin,

I think I have a good idea of what you're trying to do right now.
There's a bunch of activities you could do.

I didn't know how much time you wanted to allocate to this portion of
your presentation, so I've included some time estimates to help
decide. Also, you weren't clear for what you wanted the attendees to
get out of the exercise, so I've the potential goal.

Activity Option #1: Making a PB&J Sandwich
Minimum Time: 20 minutes
Goal: To enforce the importance of clear user assistance

This is a classic. (I first saw it demonstrated in 1972 by my sixth
grade english teacher and I think it's the only thing about her class
I retained.) You ask each attendee to write down instructions for
assembling a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Then, taking the raw
materials (bread, peanut butter, jelly, a knife) and a randomly chosen
set of instructions, you proceed to follow the directions LITERALLY.

For example, if the author never mentions removing the bread from the
package, you proceed with to assemble it with the bread still in the
bag. "Put the jelly on the bread" is funny in that context. The more
literal you interpret the instructions, the funnier it gets. Make the
point that this is what real people do when they don't realize it.

Activity Option #2: Testing Lego Construction
Minimum Time: 40 minutes
Goal: To enforce the benefits of usability testing

We use this for training people on simple observation and moderator
skills. We purchase inexpensive Lego sets (well, as inexpensive as it
gets, like this one: http://is.gd/3x0B) and have small teams conduct a
sample usability test, with one person assembling the kit and two
others acting as observers (or one as moderator, if we've done the
training).

If you can't get the budget for Lego sets, it also works with origami
sets (and there's a ton of origami instructions on the web).

Activity Option #3: What's Changed?
Minimum Time: 10 minutes
Goal: To help participants see the impact of the work you've done

This is a good way for people to see how you've had an impact on their
work. Show before and after screen shots of designs you've worked on,
without explaining the differences. (Ideally, you can display them
simultaneously on two screens or have high-res printouts they can
compare side-by-side.)

Have the audience suggest differences. Then, ask them to provide
reasons why you might've made them. You can compare their rationale to
yours. It's a good opportunity to explain the research you've done and
how it has influenced your approach to design.

Activity Option #4: The Focus Quiz
Minimum Time: 15 minutes
Goal: To demonstrate how focus can change during observation

We use this to train teams on how to observe during field studies. (I
wrote about it here: http://is.gd/3wZL) You give each person a
different criteria to observe in the room (such as "all the round
items") and ask them to write them down.

Then, you have the people with the same criteria to name objects they
observed without naming the criteria. Everyone else tries to guess the
criteria. It's a demonstration of how you notice some things only when
you're trying.

Activity Option #5: Guess the Reason
Minimum Time: 15 minutes
Goal: To show the differences between observations and inferences

We use this to train teams on the difference between an observation
and an inference (which I wrote about here: http://is.gd/3x2e). You
display a screen shot and cite a specific observation from testing or
analytics, such as "6 out of 8 participants we observed didn't scroll
beyond the first screen."

Then you ask the audience to suggest reasons why this might've
happened. What was it that made the users behave that way? We use the
different answers to show that different inferences could result in
different changes to the design. We then talk about how we'd construct
research to identify which inference is the one we should design for.

Activity Option #6: Human Bar Charts
Minimum Time: 15 minutes
Goal: To demonstrate the range of individual differences and to
collect data on audience diversity

This is a new exercise we just started doing. It has the benefit of
demonstrating how people are different, while giving us some data on
our audience. We pass out a survey with scales, such as "On a scale of
1 to 5, rate how important these features are to your work" (and then
we list 5-10 features that the audience would use).

We've placed the numbers 1 through 5 on the wall. We ask the audience
stand next to the numbers that represent their rating for each
question. It's fun to see people move around, plus it helps you see
the areas where everyone agrees and where people are diverse.

Jeff Patton told me he's done this with two dimensions simultaneously.
He created two 1-to-10 axis on the floor, then had attendees in his
workshop stand at the intersection of "How well their organization
implemented Agile techniques" and "How well their organization
implemented UCD techniques". It gave him a great snapshot of how many
folks were well versed in both issues. (During the exercise, he used
the mic to have some of the "outliers" explain what their
organizations were or weren't doing.)

Activity Option #7: KJ Analysis
Minimum Time: 40 minutes
Goal: To identify top issues surrounding a focus question

If you've got 40 minutes and a good wall for post-its, you can do a KJ
analysis (http://is.gd/3x32). Posing a focus question (such as "What's
the most important change you'd like to see in our product?"), you
have groups of 8-10 folks walk through the brainstorming and
organizing steps, concluding with ratings.

The largest audience I've done this with is about 340 people (34 teams
of 10 in a very large ballroom). Every team worked on the same focus
("What can we do to improve our field?") question and practically
every team came up with the same top 3 answers. It was amazing how
much consensus there was, even though everyone worked in separate teams.

Hope that all helps.

(Wow! Don't be surprised if this shows up on my blog. I didn't really
mean to write so much, but then I really go into it. :) )

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks

2 Oct 2008 - 1:08pm
Tim Wright
2008

Give them printouts of each screen, a pair of scissors, several blank pieces
of paper, and some sellotape.

Then ask them to design version 2

:)

On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 6:57 AM, Benjamin Ho <benoh2 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> We're having our annual user conference very soon and we're looking to have
> an interactive component to our presentation at the end where our users are
> asked to do something.
>
> As for that certain something, we're not sure yet what to do.
>
> We had thought of a design workshop but thought that wouldn't be too useful
> to have 20 some odd people argue about the merits of the design - it's
> better left to testing.
>
> So I'm coming to you fine folks for ideas. What kind of activity we can
> offer our users that make it entertaining and engaging?
>
> Any help is appreciated.
>
> Ben
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Kei te kōrero tiki au. Kei te kōrero tiki koe. Ka kōrero tiki tāua. Kōrero
ai tiki tāua.

6 Oct 2008 - 8:31am
Benjamin Ho
2007

WOW!

Thank you, Jared!

And thank you others for posting your suggestions! :)

I'm sure we'll decide upon something soon.

Ben

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33794

31 Oct 2008 - 2:07pm
Benjamin Ho
2007

I just wanted to add to this thread that we went with the Human Bar
Charts. Since there weren't enough people in the audience to
"create bars", instead, we used the surveying as a mechanism to
start discussion about general usability subjects. This got people
engaged and thinking about what usability or even user experience is
all about.

Thanks again everyone for your suggestions!

Ben

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33794

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