I am conducting interviews with some of our UX STRAT USA 2016 speakers and publishing them on this blog. The interview below is with Jaime Levy, an author, college professor and UX Strategist based in Los Angeles.
Paul: Tell us a little about yourself.
Jaime: I’ve been inventing and designing digital products since I created the first electronic magazine on floppy disk in 1990. People from the new media era might remember the disk I made for Billy Idol or the webzine Word.com for early examples of digital content that merged non-linear storytelling with pop culture and cutting edge technologies. But what I also love is to inspire newbies to the field to understand the magical powers we possess as product makers. That’s why I’ve been a part-time college professor throughout my career starting at NYU and now currently at USC teaching a course literally called UX Strategy. My most recent and unexpected accomplishment was writing (and finishing while going broke) is my O’Reilly Media book UX Strategy. I’m very proud of it because it’s not a boring tech or pop business book, but something that chronicles the highs and lows we experience trying to devise innovative products that make the world a better place.
Paul: What will you be speaking about at UX STRAT USA?
Jaime: I’m conducting a 1⁄2 day workshop called “Conducting Strategic Research and Analysis for Devising an Innovative Product. It’s to get UX practitioners to understand how to methodically look at the online marketplace for competitors and influencers for uncovering those golden nuggets that help us to generate unique value propositions.
Paul: Can you tell us a little more about your talk?
Jaime: I hesitate to say that everything has been done, but pretty much everything has been attempted. And this is because individuals and companies have been designing products for distribution and consumption on the Internet for more than 20 years! Knowing what has actually worked or failed is crucial to identifying a competitive advantage. To build something unique, you just cannot ignore your competition. In the workshop, I will teach how to conduct methodical competitive research and analysis to understand the marketplace you are about to dive into. You learn how to identify direct and indirect competitors and then where to find all the important UX and business centric attributes that give them a potential edge over your initial value proposition or product vision. Then you learn how you go about analyzing all the different data points for meaningful takeaways so that you can advise your stakeholders and teams with actionable directives based on empirical evidence. To connect the dots you first need to collect the dots… it’s that simple.
Paul: What can you tell us about your recent work, particularly as it pertains to strategy?
Jaime: My most ambitious recent product was to devise numerous b2b and b2c apps and dashboards for Hyperloop. Because Hyperloop does not yet exist as a public transportation system, it allowed my team to think 3-5 years into the future about how people will get from point A to point B without having to own a car and how to optimize their experience while commuting. Because Hyperloop is an open-sourced project with no funding, I led a 20-person apprenticeship program to knock out numerous prototypes that integrated everything from big data APIs to onboard entertainment systems that make Virgin Airline’s current onboard experience seem painfully outdated.
Paul: What do you see on the horizon for UX / CX / Product / Service design strategy?
Jaime: I believe we are just at the forefront where people other than UX experts are realizing how important it is to unite business strategy with experience design. Once the rest of the world catches up with us, we will have more freedom to make amazing products without so many “office politics” and lame business organizational agendas getting in our way.
Paul: Anything else that people considering attending should know?
Jaime: That UX Strat is probably the most important conference on the circuit for product leaders, strategists, and innovators. (Of course I’m biased since I literally wrote the (first) book on UX Strategy) I expect and hope there will be many more conferences and books about the UX/Experience/CX Strategy in the future. I mean seriously… are we not overly saturated and bored yet by all the hundreds of conferences and books just about UX Design and Research? I sure am.