|SAP at CHI 2012 – Austin, Texas|
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By Janaki Kumar, with additions by Fatimah Shahid, Muktha Hiremath, and Visvapriya Sathiyam, SAP User Experience, SAP Labs, Palo Alto – July 4, 2012
Here is a collection of personal trip reports of CHI 2012, which took place in Austin, Texas, in May 2012. The main trip report was written by Janaki Kumar. We also added two more reports, one by Fatimah Shahid and a short one by Muktha Hiremath and Visvapriya Sathiyam.
YouTube’s head of User Experience Margaret Gould Steward delivered the Opening Keynote. Today, many more people have the opportunity to take part in the creation process than ever before. People spend their time and energy to create and give away their creations for free, just for the satisfaction of self-expression. When YouTube sent out an open invitation to contribute to a Life in a Day documentary, they received 80,000 submissions, and 4,500 hours of footage from 192 countries. You can watch the trailer to this amazing movie at YouTube.
Steward outlined the design principles that guide a designer when creating a tool for creativity, with examples of sites that do this well. They are:
Figures 1-3: Margaret Gould Steward and the topic of "magic" at the opening keynote
Then, Steward explained the process she went through to create the visual design for YouTube. Steward asks the question “If every story and story teller is unique, how do you create a container to hold the most diverse set of faces and voices in human history?”. Using the analogy of dinner plates, we don’t want a disposal paper plate fit for picnic fare, not ornate and expensive fine china that draws more attention to itself than the food on it. You tube went with something neutral and sturdy, that can serve multiple cuisines for any occasion.
This challenge is not unique to YouTube. In business software, with mergers and acquisitions happening in rapid succession, how can we create a shell that can fit content coming from a diversity of sources? Do we want a flimsy paper plate, or ornate and brittle fine china, or something in the middle as YouTube has chosen to do?
A few years ago there were hardly any sessions on management at CHI. This year, I attended a weekend workshop, Special Interest Group, Women in UX Leadership panel where I was the organizer and panelist, and an Executive UX management panel.
Figures 4-6: Denis Wixon and Janice Rohn (left); Janice Rohn (center); CHI 2012 (right)
The UX Management workshop and SIG were organized by Janice Rohn and Denise Wixon. The purpose of the two events was to identify and discuss topics of interest to the CHI Management community. The full list of topics that were of interest to the participants:
Figure 7: Cloud with list of topics
Of these, we discussed industry trends, CXO and organizational model in more detail. Here are the key points discussed on each topic:
Forrester has conducted a study in 2011 that states that we have entered the Age of the Customer, which empowers the buyer and demands a new level of customer obsession.
Figure 8: Graphics announcing the "age of the customer"
Here is a summary of the key points discussed about the CXO:
The participants at the SIG and workshop, represented a variety of companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, among others, all reported that they have oscillated back and forth between Centralization and Decentralization, and everything in between.
The options were:
Any model can be successful as long as UX has a “seat at the table” to make drive product strategy, and the UX team members have a community and a forum for information sharing. It is easier to get a seat at the table if UX is decentralized. And it is easier to build a community and share information if UX is centralized. Therefore both models have their pros and cons and have to be managed effectively for success.
I organized this panel and was on it as a panelist. We had a great lineup, with Dan Rosenberg as a moderator, Janice Rohn, Apala Chawan from HFI, Lisa Anderson from Microsoft and Kathy Baxter from Google.
Figure 9: Moderator Dan Rosenberg, Janaki Kumar, Janice Rohn, Apala Chawan, Lisa Anderson, and Kathy Baxter (left to right)
The goal of this panel was to launch a dialog on women in UX leadership. Despite ongoing progress toward equality, women still haven’t reached significant representation in leadership positions in the high-tech industry. Is the field of User Experience an exception to this norm? Does the interdisciplinary nature of UX play a role in making it easier or more difficult for women in our field? Does a career in UX, regardless of gender place a glass ceiling on upward mobility into “C” level positions? Our accomplished panel of UX managers shared their professional journeys, their observations on advantages and disadvantages, and their advice for the next generation.
The panel opened with some stark statistics of women in technology and women in leadership. Then we asked the question, do these statistics apply to UX? What Unique advantages and disadvantages do you face every day as a woman leader? And what advice do you have for the next generation of UX leaders?
The panel was well attended and received. The panelists kept the answers short and crisp, and the audience members had a chance to submit many interesting question on index cards that were passed on to the moderator. Dan did a great job as a moderator, and the experienced panels shared some insightful advice.
Austin Texas is known for its diverse culture, live music, and BATS! The CHI website informed us that the Congress Street Bat bridge was home to more than 1.5 million bats. On the last day after the closing plenary, a group of five of us decided to go check it out. We were in for an adventure. Unfortunately, it was not the right season for bats, but it was for thunderstorms and flash floods. We did see one bat, and got drenched in the process. Hungry and wet, we took a taxi to what we thought was a highly rated restaurant and was surprised to discover it was a food truck – another Austin feature, according to the CHI Website. The food truck owner was so friendly and drove us back to the hotel , and the food was delicious. All in all, it was a successful CHI 2012 in Austin. And in 2013, see you in Paris!
Figures 10-12: Adenvtures in Austin...
By Fatimah Shahid
The main task for my participation at CHI was to recruit for our Summer Internship in User Experience. We met over a 100 graduate student and working professionals with varying degrees of perception of User Experience. Overall, the UX team received an abundance of interest in helping improve the SAP Experience.
Another aspect my participation was to attend seminars relevant to the SAP UX group and report back useful insights. Below I describe one panel and one seminar in particular I thought useful for the UX community.
This panel discussion included key women in management to discuss the evolution of women in UX management, insights and recommendations. Our own Janaki Kumar was included in the presentation; and former SAP UX VP, Dan Rosenberg facilitated the panel. Along with women managers from; Microsoft, HFI, Experian and Google. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of being women in UX management include:
Dan and the group of women recommended the book, “Games Mother Never Taught You” by Betty Lehan Harragan.
Advice for next generation of leadership given:
This first paper to examine how UCD practitioners use and value personas in practice, and demystify the assumption that designer utilize personas in their daily work. The study interviewed 14 experienced practitioners—10 designers and 4 UX professionals—about their use and perceptions of personas.
Figure 13: During the persona seminar
The study recruited 12 participants from the three product divisions, plus 2 designers from Research. The 4 UX professionals’ roles spanned user research and design. The methodology included a 20-min interview about the participant’s experience, role, design process, and use and opinion of personas; and a study task—a 40-min task using two personas to complete cognitive walkthroughs of a company product; and a debrief.
The study examined the perception and use of personas across product divisions, roles, and training. The study categorized based on their opinions and use of personas:
Why Personas Are not Used
They found multiple reasons why designers do not use personas for their own design work:
How Personas Are really Used
Most personas across all groups of UX professionals were used primarily to communicate with non-UX professionals and to advocate for features with development teams. Most designers did not use the personas for their professional design work. If used at all – role specific information was most useful.
Helping Personas Mesh with Design Practice: UX Professional Would Use if …
The primary parts of a persona used were combinations of firsthand accounts from actual users, user study data and user role information. Designers noted that they would use persona if they following occurred:
The article suggest the following approach to improving the use of personas buy UX professionals; create the persona in three layers 1) persona 2) user roles and 3) user study data (raw data). The study also suggest including designers in the persona creating process, for more transparency and participatory persona creation.
Study Limitations: The study was only conducted with IBM designers from a particular design group.
By Muktha Hiremath and Visvapriya Sathiyam
This year’s CHI 2012 was all about ‘the Experience’ and was held at Austin, Texas, during May 5-10 2012. It was held in the Austin Convention center, in downtown Austin, a 10 min walk from the Congress Avenue Bridge (famed for its huge urban bat colony and its flights) over the Lady Bird Lake. SAP was one of the Champion Sponsor’s at this year’s CHI and had its User Experience booth in the exhibition hall.
SAP UX thought leadership at the CHI conference was represented by the UX team members participating in panel discussions and paper presentations. The UX team members also participated in a few of the courses offered as part of the CHI conference. The colleagues who participated at CHI 2012, have included a summary of their experiences for the various events/courses they participated in.
Figure 14: Snip of the CHI 2012 calendar. * indicates SAP UX presentation
This case study was presented as part of the HCI4D track, written by Visvapriya Sathiyam and Muktha Hiremath. The paper is a reflection of the end user research they did with small and medium enterprises in Bangalore for the Analytics area of Business ByDesign. The paper highlights the design factors such as infrastructure support (power and internet constraints in developing countries), micro-localization needs and sustainability as business value critical for adapting enterprise software for emerging countries like India. The case study is available online for you to read and they’d like you to send your feedback.