Some feedback and observations from Q1 presentations

I took notes last night so thought I’d share them here. They’re raw and not complete, but hope they would be somewhat helpful.

On design research:

  • Need to explain more why design research is different and valuable especially to non-designers.
  • Design research is not supposed to be easy, it’s going to take lots of time, practice, and rigor.
  • Trust your findings. It’s great to tie it to the big picture, but don’t let external stats overshadow your rich insights from the field research you have from spending hours with people.
  • Reflect. Always.

On artifacts:

  • Label your concept maps. They should be stand-alone artifacts.
  • Watch for visual design typo (ex. use icons from the same library).
  • Make use of quotes.
  • Don’t be afraid to use big definitive statements.┬áTake up the full slide.

On story telling:

  • Relate back to what you started with. Stories should be wrapped around a larger theme.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask provocative questions and leave audience thinking.
  • Decide on the one thing you want the audience to walk away from.
  • Learn how to dial up and down with your story to different audience, and the only way to get better is to keep telling the story.

On realizing limitations:

  • Understand what you would like to do more of (ex. new contexts)
  • “Not having enough time” is not a valid limitation

On having a system/process:

  • Have system to capture your whiteboard sessions and defining moments, whether it’s a deck of yellow index cards labelled “good ideas”, taking photos of all your sticky notes and brain-dumping in ppt, plain text file, anything, pick something. Never rely on your memory.
  • Jon once told me one of the most challenging things about being an interaction designer is switching between tasks: doing research, brainstorming, making, project managing, presenting, etc. It’s a skill, embrace it and learn it.

On choosing a topic:

  • Don’t over-worry about choosing the perfect topic. There’s no such thing. Let it evolve and follow where it takes you. You can’t decide in a room what you’re passionate about. Keep working and it’ll come.
  • Best case scenario: you find a topic you’re passionate about and you continue to work on it after ac4d. Worst case scenario: you have a set of new skills and tools to go tackle any problems you come across later on in your lives.
  • The only wrong thing you can do is not doing anything.

And here… some words of wisdom sent to me by Ms. Tran from LA.

Heart work takes hard work. Tell everyone what you’re working on. I really enjoyed the presentations. Thanks for letting me be a part of last night and I’m looking forward to Q2!


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