“UCD”……..University of Colorado at Denver? No, User-Centered Design!!

Effective written communication within the workplace is crucial for an individual’s, as well as a company’s success. But this can seem a bit confusing and worrisome when actually putting one’s self in a situation where communication is necessary. How can you be sure that your audience will fully understand what you are trying to say? What amount of info is too little or too giving-presentation_4much to communicate? How can you be sure that your audience will not be confused by what you are saying? If you’re anything like me, you have countless questions about how to make your workplace communication most effective. But never fear. You can tackle any of these worries and more by incorporating the idea of User-Centered Design in all that you do. User-centered design describes the way in which you communicate your information to your audience. Communication is situational, and so there is no universal way to share your information most effectively. User-centered design demands that you tailor your communication style for a specific audience’s needs in order to achieve the best outcome possible on both sides. So what does it look like to communicate in a “user-friendly” manner? Let’s take a look at user-centered design in action as we explore how this concept can be applied through a very familiar form of office communication; the dreaded powerpoint presentation.

Thoroughly Consider Your Audience

Before constructing a presentation, think long and hard to yourself about who exactly your audience is and what they want to get out of your work.  Presentations that drag on and fail to engage the audience tend to be counterproductive, as the audience soon loses interest and may even stop listening to the information being communicated. Remember the last time you sat through an incredibly boring presentation? What exactly made it so excruciating to sit through? Today, more and more professionals demand powerpoints and presentations that are aesthetically pleasing, integrated with coordinating color palettes, as well as videos and animations. If you have been ordered to give a presentation to your coworkers, and you are certain that you have more than an hour’s worth of information to communicate, it is in your best interest to incorporate colorful graphics to make your info easier to understand, but also to maintain your audience’s attention.

One at a Time

The last thing you want to do is to spend time creating a visually stunning presentation, and then find out that your audience was too confused by the excessive amount of information that you tried to communicOne Idea per Slideate. One common mistake than many presenters make is that they end up cramming 3-5 pieces of crucial information onto one slide. By the time the audience grasps the first piece of important info, you have already moved on to talk about other notable topics, leaving them lost from then on. The best way to combat this problem is to keep your slides narrow and focused on only one topic at a time. Customizing each slide specifically for each idea will allow the audience to vividly remember the info and recognize its importance.

Ask for feedback

Even after thoroughly considering your audience and focusing your ideas, it can still be hard to gauge whether or not your communication will be effective. In this situation, the best thing to do is to ask fellow co-workers or employers for their opinions. Give your presentation to someone who can give you constructive criticism and ask them if they could clearly understand the info you were trying to communicate. Were they confused? Did they lose interest throughout the presentation? Based on their responses you can begin to understand what parts of user-centered design you implemented well, and what parts you can improve for the future.

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7 thoughts on ““UCD”……..University of Colorado at Denver? No, User-Centered Design!!

  1. Your title is certainly catching and wins this week’s award for most entertaining. Congrats! On a serious note, I liked how you tailored User Centered Design to powerpoint presentation. Since UCD can be incorporated in so many ways and throughout countless mediums, it was effective to see how to apply it in one specific situation. In your body, I enjoyed the bold headlines so I knew the exact material you were planning on covering. When you discussed losing attention during a presentation I could quickly relate and this allowed me to take you more seriously knowing you had been through the same situations. I thought it was a great idea to end your post talking about how crucial it is to be effective in communication. As you mentioned, a writer can go through all the steps but without getting on the level of the audience their work is somewhat pointless. Great work on thoroughly explaining your main points!

  2. Hey Jake! First and foremost, I loved the title of you post. It illustrates exactly what most of us were thinking when we read the prompt for this blog post. From the beginning you establish a level of credibility and approachability by showing that you are also a millennial and you have struggled with similar issues. Your overall structure is clear, leaving little room for confusion or misinterpretation on the part of the reader. I liked how you used subheadings and bold faced type to set the main points apart from the rest of the post.
    Over all, great job! I look forward to reading your posts in the future.

  3. Hi Jake,

    I really appreciated your approach to explaining what exactly user-centered design is. Through writing about this topic a few weeks ago, I already personally knew what the concept was, however if I hadn’t I think your approach to asking questions, making yourself relatable to the reader and then explaining was really thoughtful and spot on. I also found your tips to be very relevant, especially your mentions in the section “one at a time.”

    Hope you have a nice week,
    Tessa Snow

  4. This was a great blog post, Jake! You start off by asking questions which confused millennials have a tendency to ask. You establish yourself as someone who has dealt with this problem before and knows the solution to the problem. You sum up the most important aspects of user-centered design in a very clear and concise way. The point you bring up about keeping emails to one topic and narrow and focused is a very important function of user-centered design. I also found your suggestion of asking feedback to be a very helpful point. That is one of the best ways someone can improve their emailing process and write very effective messages.

  5. Hey Jake great job with this blog post! Nice job with the title of the post integrating colorado and user centered design thats very clever. I can definetly see the level of work you put in into understanding how user centered design works. I think thats very evident in your writing. I really like how you make different examples of incorporating user centered design across multiple platforms. I agree that it can be used for presentations, emails, in class exercises, etc. I also really liked how you talked about thinking about and centering your UCD on your intended audience. Without a specific audience it can be very difficult to find the purpose in your document. Overall great job keep it up.

  6. First of all, your title is very creative. The only thing I would worry about is whether someone glancing over the title of the post would get the wrong idea of what the post is about, especially in a medium where their is not enough room for the entire name to be visible. However, I enjoyed how you asked a few questions to begin with. This helps relate to the reader and make the post personable. I also liked how you used the example of a PowerPoint presentation to describe the topic. This is something we all are familiar with and will have to use in the future, so it is directly applicable to the audience. Overall, a nice post that explains an essential concept in the business world today by using the advice being given.

  7. Hi Jake,
    First off, good job on your post! Right off the bat I was drew to your post and wanted to read it because you have a very catchy title. The title also sets an approachable and easy to comprehend tone for the entire post as a whole. I like how you began you post by talking about how important it is to have effective written communication. This tells the reader exactly what your post is about and why it is important for them to know this and understand it. Your main points of thoroughly consider your audience, one at a time and ask for feedback was a really good way to organize the entire post.

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