How UX design can bridge the gaps between people

www.intercom.com intercom.com3 years ago in #UX Love430

We hear how his IA and UX experience informs his publishing and curating decisions at Rosenfeld Media.  You’ve probably heard the parable of the six blind men and the elephant: One touches the trunk and says, “It’s a snake.” Another, touching a leg, disagrees: “No, it’s not! It’s a tree.” Another feels the ear and mistakes it for a fan. The one touching the body is sure he’s run into a wall. The one with tail in hand knows he’s holding a rope. And the last one, with his hand on a tusk, is certain he’s touching a spear. Only by communicating their different experiences of the same object, do they realize what is truly in front of them. We’re living in a moment when information feels dangerous, when social media seems to be ruining our ability to trust each other and to feel like there’s a future. It’s easy to feel pessimistic, given the scale, the complexity, the misinformation. But Louis Rosenfeld wants to change that. As the publisher and founder of Rosenfeld Media, he works with authors and speakers to try to make sense of the user experience and how it can make the world a better place. A former librarian, Louis founded Argus Associates and co-founded the Information Architecture Institute and the IA Summit. He’s also had a direct hand in the authorship of five books, including Information Architecture for the World Wide Web and Search Analytics for Your Site. I caught up with Louis for a conversation that ranged from our moral duty to make information more accessible to his approach to curating conferences. Short on time? Here are five quick takeaways: We have to learn how to actually make information work for us. For Louis, it starts with a commitment to doing good – and establishing a set of morals that you follow no matter what. UX designer are creating worlds, and people live in those worlds. How do we design to foster a sense of community?  We do it by closing distances that our technologies have just opened. Each speaker at one of Lou’s conferences is supported by a group of subject matter experts and a professional editor. Louis tells them: “Don’t show up with a talk. Show up with an idea. We will work with you over months iteratively to develop that idea. And then we’ll have you work with a speaker coach.” At a conference, a canned talk is always obviously a canned talk. But if the talk has been modified or written for a particular conference, it just sings. It works well with the other talks, because they were designed together. If you’re going to actually do design, especially in a large organization with lots of design challenges and lots of complexity, you have to have operations in place to support those designers. That includes design systems, pattern libraries and guidelines, but it goes beyond that. By professionalizing the process, you can amplify what a design organization can accomplish. If you enjoy our conversation, check out more episodes of our podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes, stream on Spotify or grab the RSS feed in your player of choice. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the episode. Building with information Jonathon: Lou, I’m so excited to have you here as a guest on Inside Intercom. Thanks so much for joining us. Can you start us off by telling us a little bit about yourself? Louis: Sure. I am someone who started as a librarian and then became an information architect and then became a UX person and then became a publisher and then became a…

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