Great workshops at the FBTB17! Meet Eric A. Meyer in interview!

Ola Nilsson

Four workshops, with four amazing workshop leaders. You still have the chance to join them. Eric A. Meyer, Mike Monteiro, Jaime Levy and Donna Lichaw! We had a chat with Eric, and he told the story about his daughter, who fell critically ill, and how this experience became the starting point for his thoughts about crisis-aware design.

More about the FBTB17 conference here!

Some are soon sold out, but you still have the possibility to get tickets for the From Business to Buttons 2017 workshops. They are real high class metups with real UX stars.

We asked Eric A. Meyer, who has one of the interesting workshops, the Designing for Real Life, some questions:

What is the background to your workshop? How did you come up with the idea?

– The workshop comes out of the book I wrote with Sara Wachter-Boettcher, “Design for Real Life”, which in turn grew out of my personal experiences. My daughter Rebecca fell critically ill while on vacation, and had to be life-flighted to a hospital 150 kilometres away. Over the next weeks of her treatment, I kept encountering moments where design decisions – sometimes conscious, often unintentional – affected the whole process. And in the months and years that followed, I kept running into situations where poor design decisions, which often grew out of weak design processes, had real effects on me, and on other people.

– The thing I discovered is that once my perspective shifted to look for these kinds of failures, they’re everywhere. It’s hard to stop seeing them in product design, marketing, interaction design – it never stops.

I kept running into situations where poor design decisions had real effects

What usually sticks with people after encountering you and your work?

– What sticks with them is that changed perspective. I’ve had people tell me things like “ “this literally altered my professional direction”. So it’s not necessarily any single technique that sticks with people, though I’m sure each person will have certain things they retain better. It’s a more fundamental shift.

What do you learn as a workshop leader – or when you have your talks – meeting people and discussing these questions?

– A lot of what I’ve learned is from people coming up and telling me about their own experiences – moments where they, too, encountered bad design, but maybe didn’t recognize what it was at the time. The other common thing I hear is people asking me how I would apply the principles to their situation. A sort of cliched example is, “I sell luxury soap online. How do your ideas even apply?”. And then we work through things they might not have thought about. Often, we’re both surprised by what we come up with. 

– I’ll never forget the look on one person’s face when we came up with ways of applying crisis-aware design to the web site for an animal shelter.

Shortly, what will the workshop day look like?

– It will be a mixture of presenting concepts and techniques, and the students working together to apply them.  And of having those conversations where someone might ask, “Wait, how does this apply to me?” and then brainstorming around that a bit. My ideal outcome is that everyone comes out of the day with a question they posed having been considered by their work group, or by the whole class, and gotten a new look at their own work.


The other three workshops are also very exciting. How about Storymapping the User Experience with Donna Lichaw? You will learn that simple storytelling techniques can transform your next idea, product, campaign, or strategy from good, to great.

And, we have Mike Monteiro's Presenting Work like Your Life Depends on it. He has held this workshop once before in Stockholm in 2015 and those who attended still talk about it. You'll get both hands-on advice and personal feedback on your way of presenting design. Invaluable for every designer!

The fantastic Jaime Levy gives her User Experience Strategy workshop. As she said to us in an interview: “I do this to stop people from building products that nobody wants”. Get tickets to her workshop, and help your organisation build better products and services.

More about the FBTB17 conference here!

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