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SXSW Interactive 2014

It's Not Rocket Science: UX for Niche Communities

User experience design typically focuses on creating meaningful experiences that will affect as many people as possible. Startups covet reaching critical mass; success for larger companies is often measured in tens of millions, and designs are created accordingly.
But what if your system is only for five users? What if you had to support a complex and mature process that, if captured incorrectly, could lead to astronomical disaster?
Welcome to the world of UX design for NASA's safety communities. In this talk, we'll give you a look into the design team working on support tools for the ISS and future exploration missions.
The problem space may be space problems, but that doesn’t mean the difficulties encountered are alien. In this session, we'll discuss how working at a small scale affects research, testing, analytics, and design. We'll show how human-centered design practices impact our everyday work and how personal communication can save or destroy a project of any size.

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  1. How can I achieve 100% buy-in for my product?
  2. What can I do to get useful input from my users and create a two-way design flow?
  3. How can I develop features that are useful to small communities but universally adaptable?
  4. Everyone’s talking about Big Data, but how can I make the most of SMALL data?
  5. What’s the value of well-tailored microcopy?



Joseph Medwid, User Experience Designer, NASA Ames Research Center

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Design and Development
  • Level: Intermediate
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