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Designing with Executives
Insights from working “at the table” & how to survive
Uday Gajendar, Principal UX Consultant
@ud...
design?
“Maybe I’m not as comfortable being powerless as you are.”
– Don Draper, Mad Men Season 1
design.
design!
"Making relationships is just as important as
making software or making design." John Maeda
A variety of contexts!
In which you’re working with executives
UX Review
Think Tank
Demo Fair
Project Kickoff
Quarterly Bu...
So who is this “executive”?
Must have empathy to understand
A Point
of View
Jack Donaghey, 

fictitious exec
Olivia Pope,

...
#ExecutiveProTip
Learn their criteria for
annual reviews and figure
out how to support them.
An “executive persona” of sorts.
A baseline of characteristics
Many are not natural collaborators.
Critical fiduciary dutie...
#ExecutiveProTip
Understand the org
structure of the
executive’s peers &
subordinates.
Some critical lessons learned.
Experience is a valuable teacher ;-)
Assert your point of view and don’t apologize.
Simplif...
Always remember –
Executives are just people, too.

They want to succeed. Support
them, and get the most from them.
#ExecutiveProTip
Get to know their
support staff so if you
need a quick chat,
you’ll likely get it.
Finally...What about those icons?
Confidence & assurance via pretty things.
Shift it to business & design strategy.
That’s ...
YMMV
Politics
PersonalitiesMarkets
Agendas
*
Your Mileage 

May Vary
Google Ventures Blog
The Designer Fund
General Assembly
Warm Gun

An Event Apart
Uday Gajendar
udanium@gmail.com
twitter: ...
Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons")
Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons")
Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons")
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Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 1 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 2 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 3 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 4 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 5 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 6 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 7 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 8 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 9 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 10 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 11 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 12 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 13 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 14 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 15 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 16 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 17 Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons") Slide 18
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Talk / prezo given at UX Strategies Summit in SF, Fall 2015. If you would like me to give this talk to your group/team, please contact me!

Designing with Executives (aka "Why Execs Obsess Over Icons")

  1. 1. Designing with Executives Insights from working “at the table” & how to survive Uday Gajendar, Principal UX Consultant @udanium / udanium@gmail.com
  2. 2. design? “Maybe I’m not as comfortable being powerless as you are.” – Don Draper, Mad Men Season 1
  3. 3. design. design!
  4. 4. "Making relationships is just as important as making software or making design." John Maeda
  5. 5. A variety of contexts! In which you’re working with executives UX Review Think Tank Demo Fair Project Kickoff Quarterly Business Review Hallway Chat Networking Lunch Global Customer Event VP GM Sr Director Architect CEO CTO SVP CMO Clarity Focus Definition Agreement Criteria Targets Problems Threats Costs Benefits Risks Choices Timeframes Resources
  6. 6. So who is this “executive”? Must have empathy to understand A Point of View Jack Donaghey, 
 fictitious exec Olivia Pope,
 fictitious exec
  7. 7. #ExecutiveProTip Learn their criteria for annual reviews and figure out how to support them.
  8. 8. An “executive persona” of sorts. A baseline of characteristics Many are not natural collaborators. Critical fiduciary duties / profit-loss accountability. Left-brained analytic thinkers, demanding “proof”. Don’t know everything, but know more than you. Unknowns create anxiety; data creates assurance. Constant context-switching is a given. Jack Donaghey, 
 fictitious exec Olivia Pope,
 fictitious exec
  9. 9. #ExecutiveProTip Understand the org structure of the executive’s peers & subordinates.
  10. 10. Some critical lessons learned. Experience is a valuable teacher ;-) Assert your point of view and don’t apologize. Simplify and explain the concept like to a child. It's ok to disagree, with concise credible rationale. Don't attempt to wear hats you're not qualified to wear. Many execs love to sketch and visualize their ideas! 1 2 3 4 5
  11. 11. Always remember – Executives are just people, too. They want to succeed. Support them, and get the most from them.
  12. 12. #ExecutiveProTip Get to know their support staff so if you need a quick chat, you’ll likely get it.
  13. 13. Finally...What about those icons? Confidence & assurance via pretty things. Shift it to business & design strategy. That’s why they hired you. Remind them! “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” – Don Draper, Mad Men Season 2
  14. 14. YMMV Politics PersonalitiesMarkets Agendas * Your Mileage 
 May Vary
  15. 15. Google Ventures Blog The Designer Fund General Assembly Warm Gun
 An Event Apart Uday Gajendar udanium@gmail.com twitter: @udanium Any Questions? Thanks!
  • BrianNess

    Jan. 21, 2016

Talk / prezo given at UX Strategies Summit in SF, Fall 2015. If you would like me to give this talk to your group/team, please contact me!

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