Those who know me know I like to talk! I give semi-regular talks at conferences and as a guest at your company on request. These talks tend to be practical, based on my personal experience in software product development.
If you’re organising a conference or scheduling internal team briefings, drop me a note. I’ll consider most offers.
If you’ve heard me speak at a conference and would like to share the ideas with the rest of your team, get in touch. I’ll gladly present and provide extended Q&A sessions. I’ll also consider tailoring material on request.
Design eye for a Dev Guy
A crash course in pre-attentive visual processing
Users today expect a great experience. The expected level of fit-and-finish in user interfaces has increased rapidly over the last five years. Small, Agile teams can no longer make do with “just enough” UI skills. While not all teams today have a dedicated full-time designer, elements of good design are skills that can be taught. People have different strengths and not everyone will be a fantastic designer, but by understanding some basic visual science, everyone can start to improve the software they’re working on. The presentation is refined from internal training we developed so developers could take more ownership for creating great UIs.
This visual presentation started life as a crash course I developed for my team to raise awareness of the impact of minor visual glitches and the practical steps needed to clean up the UI. Pre-attentive visual processing is key to our perception of user interfaces. When a UI’s visuals are out of harmony, we get that gut reaction “this UI sux”. Rather than being a question of judgement and taste, this material explains why everyone responds better to crafted UIs and how we can instantly improve what we have now.
The focus is on actionable techniques people can apply immediately.
Attendees take away:
- Basic understanding of visual harmony and pre-attentive processing
- New skills to critically assess UI designs and identify concrete areas for improvement
- Prioritised steps for improving any UI
- Know enough to be dangerous and hassle your local UxD expert
Slides are available for download as a PDF. (4.5MB)
Build me the Money
Agile Product Management Hands-on Workshop
Anyone attending Agile Australia in 2012 walked away with the clear sense that Agile software development is a virtual given for all software companies. Those not doing it already are scrambling to adopt it as fast as possible. But where agile processes are the norm for helping IT departments deliver great software, there’s still the problem of what to build and how does the product manger interact with her continuous design, agile delivering team? What can we do to ensure that we build the RIGHT software with the RIGHT features… the features that will make us the MONEY! And how can the team be empowered to make all the micro decisions they need to?
This material started life as a 3 hour hands-on workshop presented to 30+ participants at AgileConf 2009 in Chicago. It was developed and run by myself and Marina Chiovetti (follow @marinagoround). It introduces the concepts of Business Value Metrics and Customer-Based Design a simple formula to help Business Stakeholders evaluate their application feature by feature to ensure they are building the MONEY (honey). Later the same year, we presented a cut-down version to the attendees of Agile Australia.
- Understand how to focus your projects on helping solve your customers problems
- Know what Business Value Metrics are and how to calculate them and use them to drive product development and feature selection
- Understand how Customer-Focused thinking can help steering committees and stakeholders make crucial decisions around scope and feature selection while driving continuous innovation
Bio for Conferences
Please use the following information for promotions, etc:
Julian Boot has over 20 years experience building and managing software products. In 1995 he joined DSTC, an Internet R+D centre and spent several years developing network protocols and products before joining ThoughtWorks as a software and agile delivery consultant in 2002. The following years were spent in various industries – online travel sites, insurance companies, large city councils, banks and start-ups – and reinforced his passion solving real problems and creating new products. Now a reformed developer, he focuses on product design and business strategy. Recently, as SVP of Products at Majitek, Julian has been developing a design-focused product culture at a ten-year-old startup.