Going out to eat teaches us about UX

First of all, let me start by saying I was particularly excited about attending this talk. I would be lying if I told you I don’t watch an episode of an Anthony Bourdain show at least once a week, so when I heard there was going to be a talk about how restaurant experiences can teach us about UX (i.e. combining my two favorite things), I was doing my happy dance.

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Jimmy Chandler, UX Architect, Co-organizer  and presenter of the talk, started off with showing us one thing we New Yorkers are all too familiar with, the Shake Shack line! Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 1.09.46 PM.png

What is that make people stand in line for hours on end when there are countless of other options? The answer: brand loyalty.

How can restaurants build brand loyalty to their customers and how do they treat different customers with different needs?

Fun Fact: The factor that angers restaurant-goers the most? Waiting for a table – especially when they tell you 15 min and it takes 45.

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Music Hacking Meetup

If you told me that by the end of Women Who Code NYC’s very first Music + Wearables Workshop that I would be playing the piano with cups of water, I would think you were crazy! And then it happened…

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Stefania [l] and Nancy [r]

Once we all settled in and grabbed our share of pizza at the Hook and Loop’s NYC office, Stefania Druga and Nancy Otero gave us an introduction to Arduino, an “open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software [that’s] intended for anyone making interactive projects.” In a nutshell, you can program the Arduino microcontroller to mapping any conductive material (i.e. your skin, water,  coil tape) to render a particular sound. Here is one of my favorite examples of a guy who created a guitar out of old drum pads, some softpot ribbon potentiometers, and a sparkFun joystick shield.

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Designers are from Mars, Engineers are from Venus

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Meetup space filling up @Motivate_Design, NYC

“Designers and engineers always get along,” said no one…ever. That is why the meetup I went to last night at Motivate Design was packed with people, curious to gain a better understanding of how to communicate effectively with team members of all disciplines, and learn best practices to help facilitate more project collaboration.

Jack Cole, Director of Design at Motivate Design, was the presenter for the meetup which was coordinated by NYC Code and Design Academy and the UX Labs meetup group. Jack is a 15-year veteran of working as a UX/Design professional who has experienced the thrilling highs and the crushing lows of corporate life.

What’s the issue? Many from the two disciplines don’t see eye-to-eye, which causes friction and unnecessary roadblocks that prevent success. 

He started off by taking us through a few particularly challenging projects and what he learned from each of them from a designer’s perspective.

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Who are you designing for?

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Tammy Sachs, founder & CEO of Sachs Insights, welcomes us

Last night I attended an event held by Sachs Insights, a marketing consultancy group that heavily utilizes user research techniques, which was part of the events for NYCxDesign week. The key focus of the presentation was a question that many of us UXers ask ourselves: Who are you designing for?

As I arrived, I was greeted by a handful of people who work at Sachs Insights, grabbed some yummy snacks, and went to get a good seat for the presentation.

Smart Design by Julie Riederer

One key aspect to smart design is to realize that perception does not equal reality. Julie Riederer, one of the Research Directors at Sachs Insights, lays the groundwork on how to make your design a success:

  1. Make sure your target audience is real
  2. Speak to the right audience, not just your “aspirational” audience
  3. One size approach does not fit all
  4. Speak your audience’s language: capture their words and their expectations
  5. Design to make key tasks prominent and easily accessible
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Julie Riederer during her presentation (sorry for the crappy shot)

Smart design can further be narrowed down into two categories: those for B2C companies (Business-to-Consumer) and those for B2B companies (Business-to-Business). My interests lie more in the B2C space, so I’ll give you guys an overview of the B2C talk by Leslie Brown, another Research Director at Sachs Insights.

“Only design a kitchen sink if you are building a kitchen!”

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Taking the Leap: My First UX Meetup

Last Monday, I attended a panel held by the NYC Meetup group Ladies That UX and General Assembly (GA) called “Why Soft Skills Are Essential in UX”. This being my first UX Meetup, I walked in not knowing anyone and not knowing what to expect. Low and behold, I find an empty seat in the second row and notice that the environment is warm, relaxing and inviting. There are about 50 other UXers (both female and male, woohoo!) in the room, and I chat with my neighbor about her positive experience taking GA’s class on UX until the panel gets started.

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Panelists from left to right: Jessica Greco, Rashida White, Shannon Copfer, Meaghan Nolan, and Melisa Chiem (the organizer of the Meetup)

Melisa Chiem, the organizer of the meetup who is leading the panel, starts asking a variety of questions, including:

  • How did you get into UX? 
  • What are some tactics with how you deal with a difficult person or situation?
  • What are some qualities of a good leader?

A few key points stuck out in my mind for each question.


How did you get into UX?

Jess mentions that one of her first jobs was working the front desk of a hospital before going to get her Masters where she built a robot for her final presentation. She realized that many of the users couldn’t figure out how to use it (though noted that when they did, it was fun to play with 🙂 ), and from then on, entered the world of helping users how to easily and painlessly learn and accomplish their goals with the program/interface/thing they want to use. Continue reading