Tag Archives: design

Putting the X into L

4 Apr

Forget bite-size learning; it’s time to go XL: design with the eXperience of the Learner in mind.

I’ve blogged a few times about user experience (UX) design and how important this is to anyone making anything for other people to use; particularly when it comes to creating stuff that is designed to help people perform at work. Learner Experience, or LX, is part of this growing trend for being more audience-focused. It’s a more specific version of UX design, but the principles are the same. This is one bandwagon I don’t mind people jumping on: it can only make things better for users, right? 

There are a few simple things we can do to make sure our learners/users are at the heart of everything we do: exercises like card sorting, user observation & learner journey mapping. Even just asking good questions, listening and having meaningful conversations about what people need help with and how they do things at the moment is a start.


user experience vs design, learner experience, UX, LX, Gemma Critchley

Image: guycookson.com

This is a useful presentation that’s packed with practical things we can do to improve the Learner Experience.

Being a learner experience designer starts with a commitment to the user: a focus on crafting experiences that are useful, simple, delightful, seamless & helpful. If that’s our starting point, we’re on the right track to making a difference. 

Let’s commit to using LX design as a way to go beyond traditional learning and towards something that really helps people.

(U)X marks the spot

2 Mar

User experience (UX), customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX): we’re living in an X-rated world; where the focus is shifting to holistic eXperiences as opposed to individual actions or interactions with pieces of content.


Image: heartshapedhome.co.uk

This is moving us beyond digital. In the olden days (like, two years ago) this was called Integrated Marketing. You’d sit and look at all of your channels and customer touch points and try to join these up and make a frictionless journey for your customer. Now, we need to start taking it a step further. We need to understand where, when and why someone uses a product and what they’re feeling like when they do it.

It’s time to think not only about a user’s journey and their interactions with your brand/product; but to also understand the context in which these interactions take place. Data will help, but it will only get us so far. We need to really focus on what users are concerned about, what they have to do to alleviate that concern and then to guide them though a seamless journey to a solution to their concern.

Inspired by a point in this post.


Designing with the user, for the user

11 Jan

Today in a meeting, our team was explaining our approach to digital product design for learning.
One of the phrases that came up was:

“We design with the user, for the user.”

That’s what I try to do. It’s one way to make really useful stuff that people want to engage with. Everything we do is in service of providing something useful, timely and relevant that helps to improve performance or improve an experience.

I know user-centred design has been around for ages, but in some organisations the user can often be an afterthought. I wanted to share this in the hope that it might help somebody who’s trying to get folk on board with this approach, in the spirit of one of my favourite ads of all time…

In the meeting, we were asked:

“How do you know what you make will be useful? Why would someone use your product?”
This resulted in a chat about communication, analytics, testing and signposting, which is something for another blog post. It’s worth mentioning though, as my colleague Charlie Kneen¬†made a good point that if a product adds value for the person using it, they will use it (providing they know it’s there & it fits into their life).

If you’ve designed your product in collaboration with the end user and you’re asking the right questions along the way, then chances are, you’re on the right lines.

So, how do you design with the user, for the user? I find one of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is to use the Concern Task Resource model, created by Nick Shackleton-Jones. In a nutshell, this asks us to:

  1. Find out what the user’s concern is. What – on an emotional level – is important to them?
  2. Find out which tasks the user has to do. What are they doing every day and in what environment? What tech do they have access to? How are they doing their job at the moment?
  3. Use the findings from these two discovery sessions to plan out what kinds of resources might be useful in addressing these concerns to get tasks done, and improve performance. Develop these resources and keeping checking back with your users to find out if they’re useful. If they’re not; change them.

You can read more about the Concern Task Resource model here, on Nick’s blog.

Tangerine dream

8 Jan

Pantone’s colour of the year for 2012 is 17-1463, or Tangerine Tango.

pantone 17-1463 tangerine tango colour of the year gemma critchley fashion blogger

The Measure in the Guardian remains to be convinced, but I reckon this hue definitely has legs. Not quite subdued enough to be one of spring’s hot pastels yet not bright enough to scream summer holidays, it’s an unassuming, subtle hue that is already finding its way into graphic design, interiors and fashion.

Tangerine Tango reminds me of something that Mailchimp would use on their website (which, for the record, I adore) and a pair of jeans in this colour would be the perfect item to add a bit of lift to my winter wardrobe.

asos orange tangerine tango skinny jeans pantone gemma critchley fashion blogger

ASOS call these jeans ‘peach red’, but they’ll do for now until I find the pair I want. The ones I love are currently available from Dylan George but just not online.

tangerine tango jeans dylan george kiera denim blog gemma critchley fashion blogger pantone

I’m on board.

#oneaday 39: Let’s make a newspaper

8 Feb

Some of the lovely folks I work with in the Creative department are putting together a newspaper. It turns out it’s quite easy to do with a tiny bit of design knowhow and a good idea. There’s a company called Newspaper Club who will print your paper from as little as five copies and they look pretty special.

CMYK design print registration mark tattoo

Which got me thinking. Maybe we should put together a paper for The One A Day project. What d’you reckon?
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#oneaday 11 – Wycinanki

11 Jan

This week I came across Wycinanki for the first time. For those of you coming across it for the first time today, it’s the art of Polish paper cuts and it has some absolutely beautiful results.

wycinanki polish paper cuts polski

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#oneaday 4 – a right royal wedding souvenir

4 Jan

So, sticking to my schedule (and failing to stick to the gym regime) that I set myself yesterday, today’s one a day post is all about Design.

it's nice that design

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