In 2016, Morgan Kauffman published "Presumptive Design: Design Provocations for Innovation," a book I co-authored and co-designed about a leading-edge design research method I've used throughout my career.
Videotele.com had a problem: they had the highest performing devices on the market, but their users couldn't figure out how to use them. I designed and helped VT.c deliver a configuration, management and monitoring solution to telecom technicians unskilled in the art of digital video.
When I founded Cliffside Software with my three partners, we focused on creating usable software for disaster response. This was my first venture into user-centered research, design and strategy, and I was surprised by the results. Cliffside’s application was the only exercise planning software users had ever been able to use out of the box without training.
As Principal Architect, User Experience at Tektronix's Logic Analyzer product line, my first assignment was to craft a UX Architecture. But in 2004, there wasn't any standard for such a thing. Over the course of creating the architecture, I helped the product line incorporate UX into its product definition and development processes.
When Tektronix decided to enter the serial protocol analyzer market, they had the biggest, fastest machine on the planet. There was just one problem: the information displays and usability were so awful validation engineers couldn't use the device. In this piece, I outline how we overcame our gaps to create a sophisticated and highly usable interface.
The Logic Analyzer hardware engineers had reached a hurdle in a critical project: they needed a test application that didn't exist anywhere in the world. Seeing a potential market opportunity, the product team jumped at the chance to create it. I helped lead a cross-functional, rapid product strategy process that defined a new product family with potential massive market disruption.
In 2012, the Sales and Marketing group was already two years into their bold new plan to create a world-wide collaborative sales process. I was hired to make the experience world-class, a difficult challenge given the state of the UX process, a delinquent UX consultant, and no UX architectural work or user-research to speak of.
When my UX team had completed its multi-year project, the larger IT organization expected them to be disbanded. Breaking up a high functioning team into individual "teams of one" would have diluted UX's effectiveness . Making my case to keep the team together was a multi-pronged challenge in navigating the corporate landscape of headcount assignment, business partner funding and organizational politics.