Being that UX team of one


leah_buley   Leah Buley – How to be a UX team of one
If there was an award for the most enthusiastic and passionate speaker I think Leah Buley would take it.Her presentation, How to be a UX team of one was a real hit, at the recent IA Summit in Miami. Anything with cartoons immediately gets my vote.

It was engaging and inspirational with the hand drawn elements serving to convey the speaker’s personality and it was a refreshing change to the usual slides.



I urge you to look at the presentation itself alongside the podcast of it that you can download here or listen online.

What the main thrust of the presentation gave me, was just how highly sensitive design professionals have to be to the immense variety of tools, methods and disciplines when designing a solution.

The slide above really captures this and is a great aide memoir to you if you are a UX team of one. Even if you are not, to be aware of the elements is really important.

SWOT Review Stakeholder interviews
Literature review Heuristic review
Secondary research  
Competitive Analysis  
Identify competitors Identify Comparators
Do an audit Evaluate structure
Evaluate segments Check ease of use
Quality of content Unique features
User research  
Ethnographic research Surveys
Contextual enquiry Diaries/collages
Intercept interviews  
Information Architecture  
Content Inventory Content modelling
Card sort Taxonomy
Metadata schema Thesauri development
Site maps  
Usability testing  
Think aloud protocol Task-based tests
Paper prototypes Eye-tracking
Remote testing  
HTML/Dreamweaver Flash
Axure Swipr
Intuitect iRise
Wireframes Task flows
Functional specifications Personas
Scenarios Story boards

This table doesn’t include design and so Buley proceeded on outlining a three step process, or method, of how she comes up with the designs. She covered off a variety of ways to brainstorm effectively, then the advantages of working with an ad hoc team and finally ways to pick the best ideas. Ways of generating and refining, but no mention of concept models – one day their moment will come!

Gathering peers unconnected with UX is still a valuable exercise that we should all do more of. Its real collaboration and also serves to break down barriers between teams that can help and not hinder. Different perspectives from different disciplines gives new insights and also stops the misplaced thoughts of designers being precious prima donnas.

Design principles were outlined, transpiring to be the  alignment of business goals and user needs. They helped in refining ideas that were generated through the design process, but importantly were also to help defend those ideas. Contextual elements were not talked about here but perhaps that was a given?

The last slide felt like a call to arms for all those long-suffering designers out there who have to be a UX team of one. Buley states that this approach will build confidence, establish your authority and shows that you care.

Now all you need do is grab a sketch pad, some colleagues  and imagination and go and make something great. This was a talk that was brilliantly delivered with a message of real clarity.

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