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Asking Design Questions - UX Bristol 2021

Asking Design Questions - UX Bristol 2021

Is everyone a designer? This question has been hotly debated in recent years as many of us think about how more people can meaningfully participate in the design of products and services.

Whatever the answer to ‘is everyone a designer’, in this talk, Ben Holliday will explore how anyone can start to ask design questions in the places and situations that they work in.

Design questions can be the real practical superpower of impactful UX and design work in all parts of an organisation. Ben will talk about how we can support and work with people as they start to ask design questions themselves. This includes frontline staff, operational, management, policy, technology and digital teams. This means starting with the right questions to frame the problem, then better understanding and tracking the progress we’re making, as well as the outcomes and impact of our work in people’s lives.

Ben Holliday

July 16, 2021

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  1. 3 • Executive Director, Design at FutureGov. • 20 years

    working in design: starting in graphic design, then digital and UX design, and later working with product, service, content, and org design teams. • Last 8 years working in the public sector, mostly leading design teams and work as part of change and transformation programmes. • ex-Government Digital Service and DWP Digital (Department for Work and Pensions). • Private sector, working in education, finance (FreeAgent), and with arts, charity and not-for-profit organisations. • Live in Kendal, Cumbria with my family and our large 5 month old puppy (left).
  2. 4 Why is design a good idea? • Framing •

    Visualising • Creating • Connecting • Learning by doing • Continuously improving @BenHolliday
  3. 6

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  6. 10 Design questions introduce constraints, provide focus, and create shared

    understanding. The goal is good design. “ @BenHolliday
  7. My original design questions: Why are we here doing this

    work? And, how do we know we’re doing the right things? @BenHolliday
  8. 13 Why are we doing this work? or What is

    our motivation for building this product or service? Who are our users? or Who do we think would need to use this product or service? What outcome will users get from this service? or What problem will it solve for people? What outcome are we looking for? or What problem will it solve for our organisation? What are our key metrics? or What do we need to measure against these outcomes? hollidazed.co.uk/frame-the-problem
  9. 14 5 questions in a workshop format to reach a

    shared understanding. Take one question at a time, and ask the group to write one thing per post it note. Affinity sort and group themes. Then discuss and explore what you’ve captured.
  10. 16 What is the product? A digital solution or tools

    to do something e.g. a set of interactions or a transaction that supports users to achieve a goal. What is the service? Supporting people’s needs in real life scenarios e.g. a combination of online/offline touchpoints and support leading to an outcome. What is the system? Interdependencies that work/function together e.g. a complex network of organisations, parts of government/ policy all working together. @BenHolliday
  11. 17 What is the product? Apply for housing in a

    local area Council website transaction to join the Housing Register. What is the service? Local housing services Council team or partners providing advice and help to prevent homelessness– inc. services like emergency accommodation. What is the system? National housing system/policy UK housing and homelessness policy, regional strategies, multi-agency partnerships and service management. @BenHolliday
  12. 18

  13. 19 Hounslow Council: A system map showing the different agencies

    involved in vulnerable children/pupils care, including data being collected and the systems used to collect and manage that data.
  14. 20 The map creates conversations: questioning the direction we’re taking,

    the spaces in between things, and what is now possible “ @BenHolliday
  15. Through asking questions and getting new perspectives we can better

    understand user needs. If we can start to understand product/service/system contexts, then we will start to see the relationships between different types of need. @BenHolliday
  16. 23 Instead of accepting ‘the system’ at face value we

    can prise it open to reveal the human needs and choices that create and sustain it Matt Edgar (Transformation Director, NHSX) “
  17. 24 “…children have been driving themselves to theatre from DCU,

    in our super new electric car… This has given the patients a positive experience. Edie tried the car out first and loved it.” Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital twitter.com/NHSG_RACH
  18. 25 Tackling the fears and anxieties of children facing radiotherapy

    for cancer. “When the treatment is given, no one else can be in the room, so the child, of necessity, is separated from their parents to face a loud and intimidating machine alone.”
  19. 27 Where do we need better questions? • Direction •

    Impact • Inclusion/exclusion • Breakpoints • Design doing @BenHolliday
  20. Design Question (Direction): What are we working towards, what is

    the ideal future for this [product/service/change]? @BenHolliday
  21. Design Question (Impact): How is [this product/service/change] being experienced in

    the places, and with the people it’s impacting? @BenHolliday
  22. 31

  23. 33 “…what we really need to do is look at

    the extremes …if we understand what the extremes are the middle will take care of itself” Dan Formosa Smart Design hustwit.com/objectified
  24. Design Question (Breakpoints): What will happens if and when [this

    product/service/change] breaks? @BenHolliday
  25. 36 theverge.com/2021/4/26/22404639/elon-musk-tesla-solar-roof-mistakes-cost-price-increase Elon Musk says Tesla made ‘significant mistakes’ with

    solar roof project Musk said Tesla has run into trouble “assessing the difficulty of certain roofs,” and said that the “complexity of roofs varies dramatically.” If an existing roof has protuberances, or problems with the underlying structure, or is not strong enough to hold Tesla’s solar tiles, then the cost can be two or three times higher than Tesla’s initial estimates.
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  29. 41 Doing is a process of questioning: • how could

    this work? • how can it work better? • what if I tried it this way? • what if I made that adjustment? etc. @BenHolliday
  30. 43 Frank Lloyd Wright The San Francisco Call Building Project

    Model (1940) Displayed at MoMA New York