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TajRiba – The Nairobi UX Month

This is where the slides, videos, and comments/questions thread will be for the 2013 TajRiba in Nairobi, Kenya.

Video and PDF of Slides

Here is the video of the slides with the audio. Didn’t record my face, but I am going to edit an alternate one together with the video I recorded of myself to spruce it up a bit.

Video: UX101 – TajRiba – Erik Flowers on Vimeo

Slides: UX101 TajRiba – Slides PDF

Just imagine you can see me talking (I am going to edit the slides and this video together!):


I mentioned a few resources for people who are just getting started, or aren’t familiar with UX at all. I don’t want to overload anyone, so here are some resources I’d recommend:

These books are great places to start. I think almost all of them are available in digital formats as well.


There are a endless amount of articles out there, but here are a few that I think tap into some of the ideas I was talking about.

  • Design is Not Veneer.
    Aral Balkan is one of my favorite thought leaders in design. This piece is a fantastic example of looking at design from the perspective that it’s more than just appearance or “form” but that it goes down to the core, the essence, of what something is. If you like Aral’s writing, Google his name for videos and watch a few, they’re fantastic.
  • Lean UX: Getting Out Of The Deliverables Business
    Jeff Gothelf does a goo job here of showing how rapid iteration and validation can really keep the process moving and accelerate the time it takes to get to a working MVP.
  • Service Design Soft Skill Builder: Empathy
    Patrick Quattlebaum talks about empathy here and ways we can help recognize it in ourselves and how to practice it.

And obviously, if I were going to recommend my own articles, the one’s I’d say are really relevant to UX101 are:

  • UX is not UI
    Remembering that UX is not UI is one of the first things that we need to educate people on. The differences are important.
  • The Message gets the Medium it Deserves
    Marshall MacLuhan says “the medium is the message.” This is the key idea about noise and reducing noise through UX.
  • The UX Psychologist
    Psychology is essential the science UX is based in. Take a look at it from a different angle by approaching the psychology side first.
  • UX Artifacts and Adventure
    The deliverable business is something we’re all in, but that doesn’t mean we can have meaning and purpose in what we do.
  • Bumping the Lamp
    This is a small story about some dedicated people and how they showed that details can make a huge difference.
  • Know Your UX Hats
    UX teams can be made up of many different roles. This helps take a look at some of those roles and what they can mean.

Experience Mapping, Touchpoint and Critical Experiences

Here is the link the the Adaptive Path “Experience Mapping” PDF: Adaptive Path’s Guide to Experience Mapping. I am attending a conference on this October 3-4, so I’ll be sure to report back, as this seemed to be a topic people were very interested in.
Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 11.39.04 AM

As I think about things from UX101, I’ll add theme here and tweet it out, so you should follow me today

  • Get the conversation going! Post all your questions, thoughts, ideas, responses – anything! See you tomorrow!

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  • Eric

    I like the way you put it, as UX guys we act as the users lawyer

  • Eric

    UX is not UI…………..Powerful statement

  • Michael Mwaura

    Thank you for that inspiring talk… my biggest take away is “We’re not just building products, we’re building experiences to solve problems”

  • Yes! If you think of it that way, the possibilities really open up. We can still be about technology, business, design, etc, but solving problems is what causes people to want to work with us, use what we build, and buy what we produce. If you can solve a problem, that’s what a user truly is after.

  • The one part I didn’t squeeze in was “we act as the user’s lawyer when we represent them to the process, and we act as their therapist when we interact with them ourselves.” =D

  • Njuguna Anne

    Hi Erik, Today’s talk was great. Kindly share the notes for today’s session

  • Eric

    Interesting perspective there. We definitely have to be multi-functional (wear different hats at different times and represent different aspects.

  • Murimi Kareithi

    Gathered lots of brilliant ideas and insight from your talk today Erik.

    Feeling Inspired!

  • Sekah

    sometimes i think Physiologist can make awesome UX designer!

  • Rapho

    Thank you very much for the wonderful talk and answering our questions related to Dark UX patterns as well as ‘touch points’ (pivotal moments, mapping key experiences, critical points and services mapping). I have been wondering if the term micro-interactions is related to above-mentioned touch points/key experiences?

  • Also, I think you mentioned the critical moments and key experiences (maybe not.. whoever did forgot to give their name!), but I posted the PDF above to get it out there.

  • I think they are very similar, on different scales. Service Experience Mapping is new to me on a formal level, so the PDF above is a pretty big help in understanding what it means. When the interactions, and microinteractions, are strung together, then you get the experience map. That’s where the whole mapping process comes in. The examination of a longer series of events and seeing the details along the way.

    It steps out of the product mindset and into a whole journey where you can see the highs, lows, critical points… all the things we may not have thought about in the past about what comes before and after what we design. Grab the PDF linked above and tell me what you think.

  • I will be adding them and some other links, resources to this page. I’m still recovering from the late night but when i get it updated in the next day or 2, I’ll tweet it out and have Mark @ iHub send it out to the attendees as well =)

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  • Rapho

    Very insightful talk regarding prototyping. It’s great to know that testing with 5 users is an optimal number to begin with. Thanks for the feedback concerning prototyping for interactions such as game-plays by breaking down activities into small portions or chunks. Cheers!!

  • It is a cool study.

    Remember though, that is about finding glaring usability problems. Like “could people find the doorknob on this door.” It’s not a replacement for actual usability testing.

    That being said, I think it can work great when applied to quick prototypes that are there to just check something, generate some questions, and bring it back. I’ve done multiple “days” where we did 8-9 people in a row for 1 hour each, and after about 3 or 4, we ended up changing the prototype since it was clear we had a major problem, and then continuing with the day with the changes. Worked really great as the next time we validated, our improvements were no longer seen as hangups.

  • kinyanjui

    cool presentation yesterday man….much appreciated!

  • Scadden Orina

    hi erik, in your opinion what are the major differences between a “design thinking” workflow and a user centered design workflow? Do you recommend one over the other or does each have a particular instance/project type where it’s more efficient…

  • Hello, sorry for the late reply. To me, design thinking is how I apply that methodology to “how” I work, that the process is a design to implement user-centered design. I guess you could call it more of an intentional workflow that has that user-centered result in mind, an as a goal.

    There are somethings that aren’t quite as user focused, as you probably did the work beforehand, ie persona work, storyboards, etc. So user-centered design would come in to play after where you’re making decisions based on what you’ve gathered and know about that user.

    Design thinking on a whole is more of a mindset you’re in, looking for multiple possibilities, being open to things, trying things, learning for yourself. It’s hard for me to articulate, but it’s like applying a designers talent to building the system within which we work. Tools that build other tools. And those tools are what we use to start a user-centered design project.

    I hope that helps, or at least starts you thinking. Really mixing both in different forms is what may be best, knowing that design thinking is a mindset that encompasses the a user-centered design model, as you could use design thinking for a non-user based engineering project as well.

  • I am glad you liked it, feels good to hear that it was valuable =)

  • “Feeling Inspired!”

    That’s the whole goal, that’s all I want, is for others to feel inspired and motivated.