I am putting together a one-hour presentation aimed towards other software developers regarding a general introduction to User Experience, and I have a general idea on what I want to present. However, I thought it would be interesting to ask the UX community the same as well.

  • What topics should one cover?
  • What are some common questions/discussions that usually come up during these presentations?
  • What would be your "Most Important Message" for the audience?
  • What's the presentation about though? The answer is very different if you're talking about the UX of your specific app vs a general intro to UX – Ben Brocka Aug 28 '12 at 15:17
  • Updated the question to clarify a bit more. Hope it helps. – Andreas Johansson Aug 28 '12 at 15:22
  • Rather you than me! I think I'd be conscious to back everything up with citations - a lot of people think UX is made up BS! (then again a lot of people supported the Nazi party. People are stupid) – TJH Aug 28 '12 at 15:45
  • To me I'd say the most important message is simplicity, that's what I'd try to get across. – Wander Aug 28 '12 at 16:00
  • 1
    Could be worth a read: thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2012/09/02/… – TJH Sep 3 '12 at 10:48

This is interesting because I am doing exactly the same thing! I have to do mine on Friday.

This is my basic agenda

  • Explain what UX design is
  • What makes good and bad UX?
  • I then go into some design rules I use, such as consistency, affordance that kind of thing.
  • Doing a join in session where we critique a UI and suggest improvements.
  • Show some Good UI examples and explain why they are good UX.

Mine is actually aimed at the UI side but it all comes under UX. I want developers to question their actions before they just throw controls onto a page (but I'd prefer to design it myself first ;)).


Mine is an internal presentation to developers in the company that already know of my presence and have been 'sold' the idea of UI / UX design. so my presentation is 30% selling 70% educating.

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  • Thanks for an awesome answer. By the way, Ziltoid rules... He's definitely very omniscient. ;) – Andreas Johansson Sep 10 '12 at 12:13

For an one-hour general introduction, honestly I'd put good time on hodge-podge of recent neuroscientific studies, peppered with some anecdotes and classic examples of good / bad design. The time should be enough to also discuss a hands-on example, either taking apart something most people in the audience know, or a compelling "daily work" example.

Motivate. For many novices, UX Design is some feelgood pseudoscience that's important only when you have nothing better to do. Even if the audience is genuinely interested in UX, they will like hard material that helps them defend the value of their interest.

A message I'd aim for is:

  • UX is exciting for me because... (for me: it is a bridge technology between the mystery of the human mind and "hard" technology)
  • good UX makes this world a better place.

(I don't know If I could pull off that talk ;))

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  • 2
    "For many novices, UX Design is some feelgood pseudoscience that's important only when you have nothing better to do." - And if you really want to motivate, include several examples where a company said something like, "after making UX improvements, our revenue went up." One example is The $300 Million Button. – Brian Aug 28 '12 at 16:46

Captain and Peterchen have given really good answers.Here is how I would structure it

  1. Give a Brief introduction about User experience and mention it with how it has changed the way software is perceived and how it can make a huge difference in sales as well as effective adaption (The use cases of Apple and the $300 Million dollar button (Amazon) would be good choices to use)
  2. Explain how UX fits into the software development ecosystem
  3. Briefly explain the benefits of integrating UX into the software development life cycle

    These links might help :

    Why UX should matter to software companies

    The Integration of User Experience into Software Development

  4. Explain how UX can be integrated into the software development life cycle

    This excellent article from Smashing Magazine will help :Lean UX: Getting Out Of The Deliverables Business

  5. Lastly pick up an design exercise or a project which went over schedule due to design changes or design issues and ask the team to discuss how perhaps an establish UX process could have helped prevent that from happening.

Now I know my response is very software specific but I based my points upon the fact that your target audience is software developers and you must "speak their language". Also my focus was on highlighting how UX and UX processes could be integrated into their daily work since people would interested in knowing how would this affect them and how they could bring it into their daily work cycles without having to undergo too much of a change.

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What topics should one cover?

What do you want the audience to get out of it? Where is the audience now?

I spend quite a bit of my time getting dev and ux folk to play nice together. I generally have three approaches depending on the context:

1) Find the biggest pain point in the way they're working together now and try and fix that. For example if folk are misunderstanding wireframes and comps, take some time to talk about some of the principles of graphic design like repetition, hierarchy, balance, etc.

2) If they don't really have any idea of what's involved in UX work give a general overview of the various sub-disciplines to break the "making things pretty" myth (IA, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, User Research, User Testing, etc.)

3) If they're building the wrong thing, rather than building the right thing wrong, spend most of your time on the more generative end of user research + user testing. Talking to users and closing the feedback loop with users are what needs fixing.

What are some common questions/discussions that usually come up during these presentations?

It depends ;-) I've had everything from very naive questions about why you need to worry about fonts, to sophisticated questions on how user research fits into product development. I don't think I can pick a common theme.

What would be your "Most Important Message" for the audience?

You Are Not The User.

Getting past this is often the biggest step for people who aren't involved with UX work.

If they take away nothing else, understanding why user testing is necessary will get almost everybody in a position where they can start making progress. It closes the feedback loop so people can spot that there are problems, which necessitates figuring out how to fix 'em.

Finally - two tips for getting UX across to developers:

  • Be careful with the word "design" - since if you use it in an unqualified way developers often hear "software design/architecture", which can lead to people talking past each other. Say "interaction design" or "graphic design" or whatever instead.

  • You'll find it much easier to communicate if you pick up some development knowledge at the same level as the UX knowledge you're trying to put across. This means more than just a bit of HTML/CSS/jQuery :-) There are development metaphors that are useful analogies to design. It also instantly gets you more mutual respect if you are obviously as interested in understanding the developers constraints as you are in communicating yours.

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