Issue #8

With the first working week of 2016 behind us, I'm focusing all my energy into being the best designe
Issue #8
By Ross Chapman • Issue #8
With the first working week of 2016 behind us, I’m focusing all my energy into being the best designer I can be, but knowing that I can only do that when I work openly and collaboratively with my team. 
I’m reading more into Lean UX - bridging design, user experience, lean and agile.  When it comes to the role of designers in teams, Jeff Gothelf, key advocate of Lean UX says: 
“Designers should facilitate the team’s journey towards realizing the vision. By bringing concepts familiar to designers, like brainstorming, empathy for the user and basic sketching exercises, to the non-designers on the team, designers are steering the team through multiple validation loops for their visions. In the process they are creating empathy not just for their customers but for the design practice as well.”
He goes on to say that:
“Nothing is more effective than walking over to a colleague, showing some work, discussing, sketching, exchanging ideas, understanding facial expressions and body language, and reaching a resolution on a thorny topic.”
I’m all about distilling problems to their simplest form, to using simple language and to hypothesize, Build, Measure, Learn quickly and iteratively. It’s what makes design (for me) rewarding and fun!
I’m for working as a team this year. I’d love to hear about your teams too - please hit me up on @skysoclear.

UX Design
Did you know that Netflix made House of Cards because users liked films with Kevin Spacey and films directed by David Fincher? Integrating data to improve offerings (and design) is going to radically shift design thinking this year.
Using Real Data
Continuing the real data theme here. When we don’t work with real data, we deceive ourselves. Josh Puckett identifies the biggest flaw with today’s tools - the inability to work with real data. This reminds me of an article I read on the GDS blog (it’s here) about designing the thing, not a picture of the thing. I design in the browser right now and it seems to be paying off.
Ways to Provide an Awesome Customer Experience in 2016
According to Gartner, brands will compete more on the basis of CX than product differentiation. Invision recently said that every dollar a company invests in UX can yield a return of up to $100. There are some really simple tips here - from customer journey maps to observing customers.
4 Reasons Why You Should Invest in UX 
And if you needed even more reason to get your team focussed on UX, here’s another guide. There are no downsides.
User Research
Empathy is a growing interest in user experience design. “When we understand the user’s perspective, we make better products” says Kayla Heffernan. Instilling a research culture, doing regular usability testing and sharing the key findings will improve whatever you’re working on.
Improve Your Customer’s Experience With Experience Mapping
Experience mapping is used to identify customer pain points, so you can know where to focus your design and marketing efforts. Understanding the customer journey and what they think and feel is vital to understanding user needs. The next step would be to segment to different customer groups.
Customer Success and The Age of the Customer
Blasting customers with emails and traditional channels is eroding. Outstanding experience, usability and transparency are growing values to successful companies. Today, I’m drawn to companies that share their stories - the more authentic the better. Regularly reviewing customers with executives is a growing practice.
6 Dimensions of UX Research
There are dozens of UX research methodologies out there. With so many choices, how do you figure out which one is right? 
Productivity and Mindset
Remote working has to grow this year. I’m astounded at how many online businesses insist on having their people in one place. Automattic has one of the most unusual employee cultures of any startup - read here how they hire employees without even meeting them!
The Worst Case Scenario
“There was something crucial I learned when I took my first big risk in declining my first job offer. I defined my own worst case scenario. I knew that whatever happens, I can always go back and find a job polishing silverware or washing dishes. I knew how it was to live on welfare eating instant noodles everyday.” Tobias is someone who I’m reading a lot into. Having left Spotify and started his own venture, he’s sharing his experiences, struggles and constant questioning of himself in a very open way. I love reading his accounts - you might too!
Tim Ferriss’ Philosophies On Productivity And Managing Your Life
I’ve met a few people that share similar views to Tim Ferriss. They choose to not combine their passions and their work for fear of killing those passions that they enjoy so much. I honestly think that there’s a happy medium and balance overall keeps harmony over work and play.
I created Flee to get shit done
Tim Benzinger scratched his own itch and created Flee, a new to-do app to get his shit done. I love Tim’s writing style - it’s personal and a joy to read on his own blog.
No matter where you fall on the agile spectrum, mastering the art of backlog grooming and other agile ways of working helps your team make awesome software. I love the animations in this post! I’m looking at the way I work and spending time making my backlog as simple and actionable as possible, currently moving from Kanban to Scrum (any opinons on this, please hit me up
Coolness
If this is the future of Eurostar - I’m in! South African-born, London-based designer Christopher Jenner is the new creative director of the high-speed European railway service - and judging from this article, he has a train-load of creative vision.
Bright Bricks
My son loves Lego! Bright Bricks, a company specializing in custom Lego builds for business, has earned its reputation as the world’s most innovative and exciting LEGO model maker.
Which? declares Wiggle the UK's top online sports retailer
Team work makes the dream work! Which? has rated Wiggle (where I work as a user experience designer) the UK’s #1 online sports retailer, in terms of online shopping experience. A great boost for the team starting the year and an accolade to build on.
Why we created Frontier Conference
I’m speaking at Frontier Conference this year, sharing how I’m making user experience happen in a growing organisation. The founders, Adam and John, share their account of why they created it and why, using their ‘core tenets’ of front-end: user experience, design, CSS, development, future technology, typography and, crucially, inspiration, they have tried to curate a conference that mirrors what designers and developers experience every day.
CANYON//SRAM Racing: Meet the team
As I prepare to start racing myself, I take inspiration from those who are really making waves in the sport. Possibly the brightest women’s team in the peloton, Canyon/SRAM is certainly a team of riders I’ll be watching progress in 2016. I’ve just joined a local club and hope to start my first race in the next few months. Eeek!
Did you know this? In New York an estimated 90% of pedestrian crossing buttons do nothing.  The buttons are disabled to let the system dictate the most efficient way to time things in the intersection. People love feeling like they are in control and are, frankly gullible to it. Crazy!
Here's to #teamworkmakesthedreamwork
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Ross Chapman
A weekly collection of product design, user research, cycling and coolness from @rosschapman of @etchuk
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