Do UX designers need to take improv classes?

Do UX designers need to take improv classes?

How to communicate complex UX experience? – This was my question to Dave Gray at the UPA event. Dave suggested to focus on the design problem rather than tools, experiment with new tools, and improvise the experience. For instance, to improvise a travel experience, a team of designers can act out scenarios: one person playing the user, another the armchair of an aircraft, and others playing important objects and people required in the scenario. Each object-person can reflect on how to improve the experience for the user; for instance the armchair-designer can ask:“ If I were the armchair, how can I improve the journey of this person? Should I be softer, more spacious?” This is similar to Experience Prototyping developed at IDEO. Another possibility is to video the act – like how a group of people started out thinking about how to make Starbucks’ cup more sustainable and videoed the scenario. It evolved from a simple online video posting to a community of users discussing about it which then caught Starbucks’ notice. Now Starbucks is making it one of their goals to develop a recyclable cup solution .


Clearly, the tools we use at the moment are not enough; we need better tools to communicate complex user experience. However, the main limitation of using these tools is the company culture. Companies that are used to traditional tools, such as wireframes and sitemaps, are not open to new ways of representing experience. UX designers need to evangelize and use new tools to communicate experience to tackle the design problem, in order to communicate effectively with technologist agnostics. Liz Dinzico, in her talk at UX London argued that designers need to integrate improvisation in UX design processes. Does this mean that UX designers need to take improv classes? It could help. If you are thinking about taking improvisation classes try the Spontaneity shop, It was great fun and a good opportunity to meet new people. You can read more about the benefits of impro classes at Adaptive path’s blog.


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