Validate Your Dream

A session at TCUK 2015 | Technical Communication UK

Wednesday 30th September, 2015

9:10am to 9:50am (GMT)

We’re all professionals, with professional opinions about the content and layout we create. So when we hear ideas like “telling someone your design opinion is like telling them about your dreams”, it can be tempting to push back: we’ve spent a long time acquiring and honing those opinions, thank you very much. But when we espouse the professional opinion that a thing should be this way or that way, maybe we’re missing something. Being fundamentally stuck in ourselves, as ourselves, we cannot know what it’s like to be a first-time user of our software, or a customer searching our documentation. We know too much. The only yardstick that matters is whether real people can use our stuff. And the only way we’re going to find that out is by talking to them.

No budget? No user experience colleague? No problem. Chris will demonstrate some simple ways of getting started, persuading people to join you, and then scaling things up. She’ll give examples from redesigning the UK Visa application service on GOV.UK and iterative testing with non-native speakers of English. It can feel like a big challenge to sit down with someone and expose every part of your work to scrutiny — but it’s essential for building the right things. Chris, who is secretly a raging introvert, will discuss why it’s so important to make being uncomfortable a regular part of your job, and why doing so will reward you personally and professionally.

You already know (nearly) everything you need to know. Your users know everything else. Go talk to them.

About the speaker

This person is speaking at this event.
Chris Atherton

Partner at Equal Experts

Chris is a Partner at Equal Experts, where she engages in user research and user-centred design to help clients transform their software delivery processes. Originally from an academic psychology background, Chris got interested in how people process visual information on screens, and subsequently ran off to join the software industry. Since then, she has worked with a variety of clients and organisations including Skype, the BBC, and GOV.UK. Chris tweets (some would say too much) at @finiteattention.

Next session in Agamemnon

10:10am Developing (unsupported) support by Bridget Khursheed

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Time 9:10am9:50am GMT

Date Wed 30th September 2015

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