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Whit Hour – Week 12

Thank you so much to the 35 people who showed up for the twelfth week of Whit Hour — my weekly one-hour video chat to answer any and all of your questions about user experience, consulting, and whatever else you throw at me.

Tune in every Monday night from 10-11pm Eastern Time at http://www.livestream.com/whithour (new location!).

Whit Hour – Week 12

July 12, 2010, from 10:40-11:40pm ET
(had some technical difficulties at Justin.tv so switched to Livestream)

Watch live streaming video from whithour at livestream.com

This Week’s Beer

None! I had just gotten off my bike so needed water instead.

Questions Asked and (Hopefully) Answered

  1. I’m a newly independent UX designer (previously an independent web designer/developer) and I’m having a tough time finding clients who are willing to put up the cash for proper user experience work. How did you land the first few clients when you went independent?
  2. how did wharton conf go with the extended session time?
  3. We have two macho football players who want to intern with our group for course credit. What do you think the best way to apprentice two jocks with no background in HCI is?
  4. What do you see as the difference between user experience design and just web design
  5. What role has NYC played in your career, and could you have reached the point in your career you’re at now, living somewhere else?
  6. But certainly aesthetics play a large role in the success of design? i know it isn’t really what you do, but do you agree?
  7. What have you been reading lately?
  8. how do you or your company charge your customers? by the hour or per project? what are your views on that
  9. clevercubed: What about pricing? Since UX as a discipline is relatively new, I haven’t been able to find a lot of direction on standard pricing. How do you approach pricing?
  10. what tips can you give to somebody with a design and biz background trying to get more involved in the UX community? I’m in a small college town and have no access to big conferences or mentors but would love to volunteer/collaborate in any way I can.
  11. what is your opinion on using personas based on ethnography?
  12. What role does analytics data play in your work? Do you spend time analyzing the data? What metrics do you tend to focus on when trying to discern user experience at an aggregate level?
  13. I’m looking forward to more posts in your “So you wanna be a ux designer” series. Any plans for more? NO PRESSURE! :)
  14. do you tend to charge clients per project (set fee) or per hour (variable)? or does it vary depending on the client or project.
  15. I read in your PM interview that you work on 2 kinds of projects: as a part of the web team, and as a project manager heading up a project. Can you explain what those 2 kinds of project look like a bit more?
  16. ben: What’s your approach to design in the absence of current practice?
  17. Where does confidence come from when you’re feeling blah about what you are doing?
  18. When you get a few red flags from clients, how do you tell them you don’t want to work them?
  19. How would you feel about having an apprentice?
  20. How many projects do you work on at one time?
  21. how far into the future do you schedule projects?
  22. How should academics better connect with the UX community in industry?
  23. Any resources you know of for good ux deliverable examples?
  24. How many hours a week would you say you spend working?
  25. your feelings towards documentation echo a lot of those i work with – do you see that as a product of the tools we use for documentation or an effect that it is simply documentation of the results and not the discovery phase?

Full Text Chat

Welcome to the ‘whithour’ room.
crashhelmet: it works
ben: yes
patrick: yes!
dafark8: yes!
Gaston: yes
clevercubed: WOOOHOOO
clevercubed: we have sound!!
willsansbury: i still think you should have a beer.
dafark8: or two
clevercubed: I’m a newly independent UX designer (previously an independent web designer/developer) and I’m having a tough time finding clients who are willing to put up the cash for proper user experience work. How did you land the first few clients when you went independent?
dafark8: how did whrton conf go with the extended session time?
clevercubed: great point
ben: We have two macho football players who want to intern with our group for course credit. What do you think the best way to apprentice two jocks with no background in HCI is?
Dave: What do you see as the difference between user experience design and just web design
jnymck: What role has NYC played in your career, and could you have reached the point in your career you’re at now, living somewhere else?
ben: We know they’ll be great at recruitment for user studies!
patrick: But certainly aesthetics play a large role in the success of design? i know it isn’t really what you do, but do you agree?
Dave: Thanks Whitney!
Dave: @Patrick: I’m not Whitney but I’ve seen a fair amount of research that suggests aesthetics play a major role in perceived satisfaction (part of usability)
jnymck: thanks :)
Dave: What have you been reading lately?
Planta: Whit we luv you! <3
patrick: yes, thank you
zarzecks: :)
patrick: @Dave: thanks, are you implying aesthetics as a tool of usability? if so i completely agree
zarzecks: kitchen confidential
Julio: how do you or your company charge your customers? by the hour or per project? what are your views on that?
clevercubed: What about pricing? Since UX as a discipline is relatively new, I haven't been able to find a lot of direction on standard pricing. How do you approach pricing?
Gaston: What tips can you give to somebody with a design and biz background trying to get more involved in the UX community? I'm in a small college town and have no access to big conferences or mentors but would love to volunteer/collaborate in any way I can.
zarzecks: ha ha, and his new book is even better
ben: dont eat the fish!
clevercubed: ha - 2 pricing questions
lezardfleck: whit what is your opinion on using personas based on ethnography?
whitneyhess mod: whitneyhess.com/blog/consulting
Julio: thanks!
whitneyhess mod: http://whitneyhess.com/blog/2009/06/30/so-you-wanna-be-a-user-experience-designer-step-1-resources/
yahelc: What role does analytics data play in your work? Do you spend time analyzing the data? What metrics do you tend to focus on when trying to discern user experience at an aggregate level?
patrick: meetup.com can be a great source too, depending upon location
clevercubed: I'm looking forward to more posts in your "So you wanna be a ux designer" series. Any plans for more? NO PRESSURE! :)
willsansbury: http://luminanze.com/resources/uxtweeps.html
Gaston: thank you!
lezardfleck: just personas in general
Dave: Thanks for taking the time tonight despite technical difficulties, Whit!
lezardfleck: you got it right so get in details =P
whitneyhess mod: http://www.slideshare.net/whitneyhess/diy-ux
whitneyhess mod: http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/searchanalytics/
Liv: Yo Whit. Juts wanted to say hi.
Liv: *blush*
Liv: ;)
yahelc: cool. thanks!
ben: Bourbon or Scotch?
Liv: #pimpmyslide http://www.ixda.org/resources/livia-labate-ceci-n-est-pas-une-kpi
yahelc: Thanks, Liv.
Liv: @yahelc no problem
lezardfleck: fale
lezardfleck: fake
lezardfleck: hmm that makes sense...
ryanwachtl: do you tend to charge clients per project (set fee) or per hour (variable)? or does it vary depending on the client or project.
lezardfleck: hahah i will
zarzecks: :)
Liv: chocolate martinis!!!
zarzecks: all scotches, distillers editions of oban
clevercubed: beer? you need to visit ft collins!
dafark8: Whit, you missed Village Whiskey with @erova last week, great scotches and beer, will revisit with IDEA
zarzecks: lagavulin and talisker
whitneyhess mod: http://whitneyhess.com/blog/consulting
ryanwachtl: sorry, just got in.
Liv: @dafark8 I really want to go to to Village Whiskey. Sounds fab
ryanwachtl: found the link, thanks : )
dafark8: @liv - not ideal for the large groups but definitely a place to go. Some nice whiskey flights too to get a variety
zarzecks: but we did have a bourbon too, jefferson, my current fav
Liv: lol
dafark8: sorry! we missed you
Liv: Sounds good
lezardfleck: sure, we can all help o/
clevercubed: I read in your PM interview that you work on 2 kinds of projects: as a part of the web team, and as a project manager heading up a project. Can you explain what those 2 kinds of project look like a bit more?
ben: What's your approach to design in the absence of current practice?
uxjam: We should probably just take over Village Whiskey for an IDEA afterparty...
dafark8: jamie, best.idea.ever
dafark8: that or Tria
uxjam: @Whit: Not to harp on the pricing topic, but how common is your model? I really like that approach but haven't really heard of it before
ben: Suppose someone is trying to create a new way of working
ben: like, a whole new thing, without current users/participants
Liv: @dafark8 Just sent VW a note asking how many people we'd have to bring to take over. And yes Tria is also good (but the space is tiny)
ben: so, you can't do studies of current practice, including the joys and frustrations thereof
ben: what techniques do you use to figure out what would motivate people, give them joy, etc.
ben: what divisions of labor might work best
ben: that sort of thing
Liv: That's the difference between a consultant and a freelance.
clevercubed: @Liv - great point.
dafark8: @liv Awesome, keep me posted, we can sort out on the other interwebs
Liv: Whit: Where does confidence come from when you're feeling blah about what you are doing?
jnymck: When you get a few red flags from clients, how do you tell them you don't want to work them?
jnymck: *with* them
ben: that works
ben: or even a new market segment
RodrigoSanchez: How would you feel about having an apprentice?
ben: thx
Liv: yes
Liv: hahaha
lezardfleck: and then you talked with us and got happy again =P
Liv: I hear you. I suck at that. I totally dismiss that.
Liv: It's hard!
uxjam: Haha, not egotistical -- great strategy :)
Liv: Good point
ryanwachtl: Agree, helping others always makes me feel good (better).
Liv: LOL
lezardfleck: aggravation fee LOL
clevercubed: AWESOME
uxjam: haha, amazing
lezardfleck: im really loling here
whitneyhess mod: http://www.amazon.com/Power-Positive-No-How-Still/dp/0553804987
Liv: downloading...
jnymck: (jonny) How many projects do you work on at one time?
ben: How should academics better connect with the UX community in industry?
Liv: Managing a team long-term was a great experience to see what it takes to really have an apprentice. You are absolutely right about the time investment.
clevercubed: just call them a "lackey" and you don't have to worry about it
lezardfleck: lol
crashhelmet: Do you present Usability Metrics? Some of that stuff is advanced mathematics!
jnymck: (jonny) 2nd part of the question... how far into the future do you schedule projects?
Liv: @crashhelmet: don't!
Liv: LOL!
Liv: There is NO incentive in either domain to exchange information.
clevercubed: Any resources you know of for good ux deliverable examples?
ben: educational researchers/designers (my field) do a laughably *** job of actually improving peoples' day to day lives
ben: we have common aims
ben: but different means
ben: i think we (Academics) could learn a lot from the methods of UX
Liv: While it sounds desirable to exchange information, the academic rigor doesn't match market needs.
Liv: @ben: The Journal of IA is a good example of that effort.
Liv: http://journalofia.org/
uxjam: Re, academics/practitioners: There's a spectrum, and too few people in the middle. Agree that there are major differences in culture and methodologies, but I wonder what theory falls through the cracks
ben: thx
RodrigoSanchez: Thanks for sharing. I definitely understand the control thing. We build our names and having someone represent that name can be very hard.
RodrigoSanchez: How many hours a week would you say you spend working?
gotRoot: C++
whitneyhess mod: http://wireframes.linowski.ca/
gotRoot: Do you misses have root?
Gaston: http://wireframes.tumblr.com/
Gaston: is a nice one too
Liv: When the ratio of time you feel that way is lower than the time you feel you're "working", that's when you have just "a job".
dafark8: your feelings towards documentation echo a lot of those i work with - do you see that as a product of the tools we use for documentation or an effect that it is simply documentation of the results and not the discovery phase?
clevercubed: Thanks for doing this tonight - it's been VERY helpful and VERY inspirational!
ben: mrs. ben and i are having a drink to that
RodrigoSanchez: I really appreciate all that you share and i'd love to treat you to some frozen custard weds at ixda :-)
Dan: Thanks Whit!
Liv: Goodnight Whit, stay fabulous!
dafark8: thanks again whit for tonight!
jnymck: Thanks Whitney!
ryanwachtl: Thanks Whitney : )
Gaston: thank you Whitney!
uxjam: Thanks! ^_^
jnymck: Livestream is awesome but the ads suck!
crashhelmet: thank you
clevercubed: (i'm not getting ads - try using chrome)
lezardfleck: nice meeting all you guys... if anyone wants to discuss the conversarion on twitter feel free to follow me and drop a hi
lezardfleck: nice week whit
lezardfleck: and thanks for the hour

JOIN ME NEXT WEEK

Monday, August 10, 10-11pm Eastern Time at http://www.livestream.com/whithour (new location), and bring your questions!

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