Our thoughts & opinions on usability, information architecture, interaction & interface design, brand - all things user experience design.

First UX Masterclass Completed

Jotted down by matt on October 20th, 2014

Matt Gould teaching the Lushai/Yoobee UX Masterclass

Matt Gould teaching the Lushai/Yoobee UX Masterclass

We ran the first of our UX Masterclasses for Yoobee in Auckland on Friday. There are two more classes still to go, on the 7th of November in Wellington (Wellington Sign up here) and on the 21st of November in Christchurch (Christchurch sign up here). It was pretty demanding but we were pleasantly surprised at how people managed to keep their energy levels up through a pretty full on day

The goal of the these masterclasses was to give the students enough understanding of the basic principles behind how we tackle user experience in digital projects to be able to make their own informed judgements about how to approach their own UX projects. We backed this up with hands on experience of some basic UX techniques such as user interviews and prototype testing by getting students to complete an actual UX design project throughout the day.

Students practice using Post-its to analyse the findings from their user interviews

Students practice using Post-its to analyse the findings from their user interviews

We were happy with how the class went and got some good feedback but as in all these things you find ways to improve as you look back and for the next one we are going to have a little more structure around the hands on design exercise and have the theory backing up the practice as opposed to the other way round.

Lushai/Yoobee UX Masterclass @arvideriksson working on his teams product design

Lushai/Yoobee UX Masterclass @arvideriksson working on his team’s product design


UX Masterclass now in Wellington & Christchurch

Jotted down by matt on October 7th, 2014

The Auckland session of the Yoobee School of Design User Experience Masterclass is booked out but there are now sessions running in Christchurch and Wellington. The details are:

Wellington Session

Friday, 7 November 2014, 9am – 4.30pm, $260 NZD

Sign up for the Wellington Session

Chirstchurch Session

Friday, 21 November 2014, 9am – 4.30pm-, $260 NZD

Sign up for the Christchurch Session

They are both run by Lushai Auckland’s Matt Gould, full details are on the sign up pages. Any questions get in touch through our contact page or contact Yoobee through the links above. Hopefully see you there!

Yoobee UX Masterclass

Jotted down by matt on September 18th, 2014

FRIDAY, 17 OCTOBER 2014 9AM – 4.30PM

We are really excited to announce that Lushai Auckland’s Matt Gould will be running a UX Masterclass (don’t roll your eyes, we didn’t chose what it’s called) through the Yoobee School of Design.

It will be an intensive, one day, hands on workshop with a focus on design for online and digital projects. Broadly, we’re covering the following:

  • What people mean when they talk about user experience.
  • How to thrive in a UX project.
  • How to challenge, respond and design to a UX brief.
  • How to run different types of UX research.
  • How to make and validate UX design decisions.
  • UX strategy, Prototyping and testing.

Here’s the blurb:

The huge digital shift happening around the world has resulted in people having increasingly high expectations of the quality of their online experiences. This means increasingly high demands on designers to deliver those experiences. There’s never been a better time to upskill in UX.

The exclusive UX Design Masterclass is perfect for people who need to survive and thrive in the online world. This includes traditional designers looking to upskill, web designers who want to make their design processes more user centric, non design contributors to online products and entrepreneurs looking to build out the user experience for their idea.

It’s on the Friday the 17th of October and runs from 9am – 4.30pm. You can (and should!) sign up here:

Any questions get in touch through our contact page or contact Yoobee through the link above!

Audio from UXNZ and Hello Again!

Jotted down by matt on February 5th, 2014

We’re back for 2014! It’s already a busy year. Lulu from Lushai Wellington in back from maternity leave and is being a busy bee in the capital, and Matt is already busy with Lushai Auckland’s first new clients for the year.

The audio from Matt’s recent talk at User Experience New Zealand conference is up on the UXNZ website and there will be slides to follow.

In the meantime look out for Matt at Webstock next week, feel free to say hello Wellingtonians and Webstockers and get in touch if you want to grab a coffee or a beer!

User Experience New Zealand

Jotted down by matt on November 14th, 2013

Communicating through drawing title slide

Lushai’s Matt Gould recently presented a talk and workshop on drawing as a communication tool at the first User Experience New Zealand conference. It was a great conference, and the talk was well received despite Matt’s total inability to draw buses or motorbikes.

Matt at drawing UXNZ

photo courtesy @bryony

We’ll put the slides and audio up here once they are processed.

In the meantime, here are a few follow up notes to wrap up some conversations that happened during and after the talk.

During the talk and workshop Matt encouraged people to sketch and post their efforts on twitter under #uxnzdraw, we’ve compiled the results here:

There was a little bit of chat around drawing apps, to wrap that up Matt used the free version of Paper by 53 during the presentation for live drawing.

The tablet pen used by master Paper sketcher Gareth Parry is the Adonit Jot Script.

The pen Matt uses is whatever rubber topped pen is available at the airport closest to where he lost his last one, but he is seriously considering committing to either one of these bad boys: or it’s handsomer, slightly dimmer cousin:
And the other pen he mentioned was the cosmonaut which can be found here:

Thanks to everyone who came, and for those who didn’t this will all make much more sense once you hear the talk!

Lushai at User Experience New Zealand

Jotted down by matt on September 13th, 2013

Going to the UX New Zealand conference in Wellington this year? Keep an eye out for Lushai Auckland’s Matt Gould who will be doing a presentation called ’3 Degrees of Rough’ on drawing as a communication tool.

This is the rundown we gave to the conference:

You don’t need to draw to be a good UX practitioner but the ability to quickly present an idea in a visual form is one of the most powerful communication tools we have. Visualisations tap into aesthetics and stories, both of which people react to on an immediate and emotional level.

User experience practitioners from non traditional design backgrounds are often intimidated by the idea of drawing but the success of drawing as a communication tool is less dependent on the ability to draw well than it is on the ability to draw quickly and to judge the correct level of fidelity needed to achieve your communication goal.

This talk consists of three sections, how to judge the correct level of sketchiness for your need, quick and dirty techniques to produce drawings at these levels of fidelity and a special challenge at the end. This challenge will either demonstrate how a non illustrator can at very short notice (with a little practice) produce quick and dirty drawings at varying levels of fidelity without it becoming a song and dance, or end the talk in a blaze of glorious failure negating the whole talk. You have to come to find out which.

Like most things with a little separation between idea and execution the live challenge seems like a much poorer idea as we get closer to the time. But Matt has publicly committed and it will happen.

As a bit of trivia the talk was originally called ‘Dirty Pictures for Love and Money’ but the organiser quite rightly felt that this might give people the wrong idea …

There’s a bit of stuff like this:

Sample Sketces

Sneak Peak

Jotted down by matt on May 29th, 2013

We have been beavering away recently on a very exciting project in collaboration with Threaded Design studio. It is shaping up to be a thing of beauty and we are very proud of it. More details closer to the time but for now, a sneak peak:

Screen shots of JOM project on phone and laptop

We are really excited that Lushai Auckland’s Matt Gould has been appointed a Better by Design Design Coach. This means that through New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Matt and the other design coaches will be teaching New Zealand businesses how design thinking and processes can be used to build real value into their organisations.

Better by design are, in their own words:
‘ … a specialist group within New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, New Zealand’s national economic development agency, based in Auckland.
We help companies increase their international competitiveness by integrating design principles right across their business. Our Design Integration Programme teaches design thinking and the tools of design integration to management teams through a sequence of learning activities. Companies are partnered with experts from the private sector and activities address real company challenges and opportunities.

To quote (quite liberally) from their website:

‘Successful designers have always been recognised for their sound user insights and ability to deliver creative solutions that anticipate customer needs. When businesses harness designer-like thinking across the entire business model they cultivate dynamic cultures, more desirable products and services, faster growth and passionate customers. This approach to business is called ‘design integration’.’

‘Better by Design recognises that management teams don’t just need to understand design better, they need to think and act like designers. Our Design Integration Programme helps companies use design to become more innovative, efficient and internationally competitive.’

This aligns beautifully with our own approach to design and ideas about the value of design to our clients.

For our clients this means building even more experience and capabilities into Lushai that can be used to their advantage.
As a company it gives us an opportunity to make a positive contribution to New Zealand’s economic health and diversity in a way that is consistent with our own ethos.

Lushai gets it’s teeth into Service Design

Jotted down by matt on March 25th, 2013

Global Service Design Jam Sticky Notes

New Zealand’s Global Service Design Jam participants in Auckland

Service Design is, obviously, the art and science of designing services. Humans have been designing (or at least planning) services for as long as we have been offering them. Every time we make a decision about how we will act the next time we interact with someone in providing them a service, we have embarked on designing that service.

But over recent years people’s expectations of services (and their ability to respond to poor service in very public ways) has increased dramatically and partly as a response to this user centred design methodologies traditionally found in the user experience world are now beginning to be applied to service design.

Lushai has been involved in service design regularly over recent years as a natural consequence of our strategic approach to user experience design. It was a natural step for us to apply the design methodologies we used when creating and implementing strategies for our digital products and services to a wider set of problems and opportunities. And as service design matured as a discipline we refined our approach to the point where we started to practice it outside of our traditional digital engagements.

2013 in particular has seen a significant increase on our focus on this discipline as an offering in it’s own right.
We completed completed a fascinating service design engagement with Chorus, New Zealand’s premier fibre company, and were a sponsor for New Zealand’s contribution to the Global Service Design Jam where Lushai Auckland’s Matt Gould also acted as a mentor. He has written about his experiences on his personal blog here: Matt Gould Portfolio – Global Service Design Jam. This year Matt is also involved in the new Auckland University of Technology Service Design Paper acting as a mentor and running a prototyping workshop.

Although service design as an offering is fairly new in New Zealand there is a growing appetite for it particularly as organisations who have experienced a service design program are starting to see the benefits and are spreading their experiences through their peer group. The small number of evangelists who are creating this industry are an inspiring bunch and we are very excited to be part of it.

If you’re interested in service design a very comprehensive introduction can be found on the British Design Council’s website here

New Zealand’s service design community seems to be congregating around the Big NZ Service Design Hookup group on Linkedin.

And if you have no idea at all what Service Design is you could do a lot worse than watch this.

Auckland Design Coffee Morning – 6 Months In

Jotted down by matt on October 19th, 2012

Auckland Design Coffee Morning
Imperial Lane Café
Every Tuesday 7:30am

A good idea at the time,
a surprisingly great idea 6 months on

Roughly six months ago at the UX Auckland meet up Penny Hagen from Smallfire floated the idea of a group of us meeting early in the morning for a coffee before we start our work days. We put out an open invite for anyone interested in design to join us. Of course what seems like a great idea after a couple of beers in the evening feels like a terrible idea once your alarm goes off on a freezing winter morning, but somehow a small group of us dragged ourselves out of bed and made it to our elected café. We have been meeting weekly with a diverse range of design orientated people ever since.

This has turned out to be the highlight of the Lushai Auckland week. Arriving consistently 5 minutes late to find Penny already holding the fort we hide out at the back of Imperial Lane Café and wait for our fix and to see who will turn up. Including Penny and myself we have a core group of about 6 or 7 people who are regulars and a revolving and diverse group who drop in and out depending on the week (it’s not easy to be in town at 7:30am! And I think it says something about the quality of the conversations that people so often make the effort).

A more diverse Tuesday morning

The most gratifying aspect of this meetup is the diversity of those who attend. They Include user experience types, graphic designers, photographers, researchers, graduate students, engineers, and pretty much anyone who has a link to design. They range from independent design practitioners new to New Zealand and looking to make contacts in the community to managers in large design focused organisations such as NZTE and Optimal Usability.

The coffee mornings are purposefully unstructured. There are no agendas or presentations (you even have to buy your own coffee) which means there are usually 2-3 conversations happening simultaneously molding themselves around the interests of whoever is there on the day. The result is an enjoyable, no-stress, low-commitment but surprisingly engergising start to the hardest morning of the week.

Personally, it is the broadness of the conversations I find so enjoyable, taking me out of my areas of comfort and bringing a broader perspective to whatever design issues I am wrestling with that week. Off the top of my head I remember conversations about researching how the elderly interact with robots designed to care for them, the trials and tribulations of running different size design organisations, IP issues for new products, aesthetics, collaborative design, research, service design, cycling, parenting, and always the ubiquitous discussions about design thinking.

Life outside coffee

The conversations have a life outside of the café as well. A recent result of conversations initiated at the coffee morning is the next NZ Innovation, Business & Design Thinking Drinks (As unfriendly a name to tweet about as there has ever been) where AUT design masters students will be presenting flash talks on their ideas and research.

So, hardy Aucklanders, you should come along and sup and gossip with us. I promise it will well worth your time. You can join our Meetup group, follow us on twitter @AKLDesignCoffee or just turn up.

We meet every Tuesday at Imperial Lane Cafe, someone is there from 7:30 am but people turn up when they can, and even if you don’t get there till 9 you can be pretty sure someone will still be there.

There’s also a design coffee morning in Wellington although I haven’t had the pleasure of attending one of these yet. I imagine they are similar but perhaps windier and slightly more stylish. You can find about them here.