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Category Archives: USA Story

UXPin in San Francisco. Part #4: Mike Kuniavsky & Liz Goodman

Mike Kuniavsky, Marcin Treder (UXPin) at UXLX UX Design Conference

Mike Kuniavsky and me (Marcin Treder, UXPin CEO) at UXLX.

User Experience is a lucky field and community. Our heroes are truly inspiring people. I had this impression for the first time when I’ve met Don Norman. I was impressed by his general wisdom that transcends knowledge and passion for great design. Every minute spent with Don was a great lesson.

I suppose being great designer requires to be deeply rooted in the world. It demands constant trying to understand human beings. This is source of wisdom and inspiration.

Mike Kuniavsky and his wife Liz Goodman are among most inspiring people you can meet. Luckily for UXPin crew we had chance to spend some time with them.

Mike was one of first people I wanted to meet while visiting California. We’ve all read his books, right? He’s well known from designs that transcend one medium and emphasizing role of emotions in design. I thought meeting with Mike will give us good energy and I was not mistaken.

„Emotional design is good design. That’s what I learned at the Milan Furniture Fair. It had plenty of bad design, but there are some beautiful, beautiful things there. The reason they are well designed is not because there’s a lot of splash. It’s because they’ve been thought through and they connect with us on an emotional level in addition to a functional level.” / Mike Kuniavsky

(Full interview: http://bit.ly/LHDyoF)

I’ve contacted Mike via e-mail. There was no introduction by our friends, just a simple e-mail about UXPin. He replied immediately with warm interest in stuff that we’ve created and possibility of meeting. He also introduced me to Liz who works on her PhD dissertation about UX Design practice. What a luck!

Couple of weeks later we’ve met in traditional American breakfast bar. They insisted that me, my partner Kamil and our investor Piotr need to try real American breakfast. Eggs and potatoes! Awesome hospitality and strange experience for our European stomachs.

We talked for almost two hours, spinning around topic of perfect UX tools. Both Liz and Make started to draw UI ideas and maps of processes on serviettes, trying to explain visually what they think. Amazing learning experience! We were hungry of their wisdom and we won’t hesitate of using it in the near future.

We’ve learnt a lot about Mike’s cross channel work and Liz’s ideas about needed visualization of design ideas. Oh we also learnt a lot about San Francisco they both explained us some of topography and soul of this great city.

We all agreed that there’s need for better UX tools and we are going to provide them.

Mike, Liz – thank you. You refreshed our minds and gave us lasting inspiration. Hopefully soon you’ll be proud of us.

ps. Picture above was taken in Lisbon two weeks ago. We’ve met again at UXLX.

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UXPin in San Francisco. Part #3: Chris Baum

Coffee Bar USA

After couple of very busy weeks, finally I have time to tell you next part of our San Francisco Story. I started to miss recalling UXPin’s awesome startup mission in USA and sharing it with you guys!

Let’s go back to March 20th.

Excited after meeting with Brandon Schauer (Adaptive Path) we were rushing through the city to another important meeting. Meeting with Chris Baum – Editor-in-Chief of Boxex and Arrows, respected consultant, experienced UX Designer and Information Architect. We just couldn’t wait to meet with Chris. He was about to reveal us his secret UX+IA process sauce and discuss how UXPin could accelerate help to UX Designers all over the world.

We were not disappointed.

Our meeting took place in Coffee Bar USA (1890 Bryant Street). Excellent location that you should definitely check out and have some fresh orange juice and mind-blowing sandwich. Be warned though: it looks like „mac only” place. I didn’t spot single PC there and about 20 people were working in front of their computers. We actually felt great about it ;).

After quick UXPin pitch something clicked between us. Chris understood what we’re trying to achieve and immediately soaked in into UXPin world. It was super lovely.

Chris deeply understand that UX Design is a process (not mere wireframing/prototyping activity). Kind of continuum in which we’re using different methods to reach perfect, engaging, user experience.

I was impressed when Chris started to sketch diagram of his design process. He truly cares about Information Architecture. Well thought structure lies at the core of his designs.

After one hour of constant conversation we had minds full of new ideas worth validating.

Chris – thank you!

After this meeting we’ve started to realize what Silicon Valley is all about: help and energy. We’ve received both in following two weeks.

Till next time friends!

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UXPin in San Francisco. Part #2: Adaptive Path CEO

Surprisingly sunny (good weather hardly happened during our stay in California) Monday morning. San Francisco was still rather sleepy after weekend, but we were rushing through downtown in super-excited moods. We were about to meet Brandon Schauer – one of the most important people in the User Experience world. Experienced designer and manager, CEO of Adaptive Path, named one of Business Week’s “Twenty-One People Who Will Change Business”.

Meeting was about to happen next to famous San Francisco’s piers. Outstanding area.

Purpose for the meeting? Getting feedback on our strategy, understanding design process of Adaptive Path, checking what problems UX consulting agencies may have and how we could solve them.

This is still hard to believe that Brandon agreed to meet us (thanks to introduction made by our great friend Jeff Parks!). We were just starting to realize how much networking means in USA and how people are open to help just because they believe this is right thing to do.

In Eastern Europe networking almost doesn’t exist. No wonder we were in constant jaw-dropped state.

And Brandon was just amazing.

He was really focused on our products and strategy. Every minute of this meeting was meaningful. We’ve quickly learnt that simple wireframing tools doesn’t matter much to Adaptive Path. They do wireframe, but they are not attached to any popular wireframing tool. Our „design process focused” approach and tools dedicated to UX Design process and communication between designers and non-designers, resonate much better with them, than our competitors simple wireframing solutions.

Brandon – thank you. The meeting was awesome and very, very helpful.

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UXPin in San Francisco. Part #1: How the hell it happened?

Crap jobs are created by other people. Dream jobs you make yourself.” – picture above, originally from co-working space Rackspace is held by Jason Fraser, founder of LUXr (future of Lean UX).

I love it, but as every rule it has certain exceptions. We had great jobs (UX folks at important eCommerce company). Nonetheless we decided to leave them 3 weeks ago, packed our stuff and traveled to San Francisco to meet with our clients, friends and heroes.

We left our comfort zone, because we’re passionate about User Experience Design and we want to resolve problems caused by lack of dedicated UX Design tools.

We had great, intense, time. We’ve met with: Luke Wroblewski, Peter Merholz, Brandon Schauer, Indi Young, Mike Kuniavsky, Liz Goodman, Chris Baum, Jeffrey Kalmikoff, Michal Kopec, Dave McClure, Paul Singh, Richard Boardman, Hiten Shah, Kate Rutter, Jason Fraser… to mention few of our great mentors.

I thought I will have time to give you at least short glimpse of the meetings. I’m sorry, I didn’t. I will try now to make it up to you. Expect San Francisco stories to be told every couple of days.

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