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Tag: professor

UX is my superpower

Photo of David Lumerman.User experience is all about solving problems, and having a deep understanding of mechanics behind the actions people take gives a UX practitioner more tools to solve these problems.

Like Batman, the world’s greatest detective, you use a combination of the clues found in our surroundings, in user norms like heuristics, and active listening to users, and even the needs and goals of stakeholders to solve the problems, combat evil (or at least bad UX) ands save Gotham City.

This all begins with asking the right question.

As an adjunct professor at Brandeis the “Why” is something I explore with all the students in the program. The “Why” becomes the caped crusader’s utility belt, and all the tools fit into the various compartments. Understanding the “Why” is key to being able to deliver good UX and improvement for the people we are trying to help. Making things better, more efficient and easier to use is the key.

The most successful students in the program can not only relay the information but use this utility belt to extrapolate and apply the lessons to the work they produce.

By building a foundation of heuristics, applying critical thinking and good observation you can successfully tackle any UX task. The tools may evolve, the user’s gulf of understanding may be increased, but the fundamentals of what makes for good UX and good design form the bedrock of the user experience discipline

A good superhero is empathetic.

If you have ever observed participants in a one-on-one usability test you immediately begin to empathize with the people performing the actions. It’s actually one of the hardest things to do when running sessions, to not interject and alleviate the discomfort you are observing. When counseling students it is something I emphasize that you need to be comfortable with their discomfort for the greater good. The greater good of the project, the design and the user experience.

I see this struggle as a good thing. If UX folks are not bothered by the discomfort they are inflicting, maybe they are not empathizing enough.

UX is hard. It’s a relatively new field that fights to gain a seat at the table. I equate it sometimes as running head long into a brick wall, checking the wall for cracks, and shaking it off and doing it again.

The best of us have a passion for running into that wall. If given a choice, be Batman. Always be Batman.

 

Bio

David Lumerman, M.S., has been an Adjunct Professor at Brandeis University since 2017 conducting courses in including User Interface design, User Experience Design, Cognitive and Social Psychology of User-Centered Design, Design Operation and Leadership, and the Capstone in User-Centered Design. During this time he has redeveloped both the User Interface Design and Design Operation and Leadership courses.

Mr. Lumerman is the Corporate Vice President of User Experience at New York Life Insurance, where he develops engaging interaction for New York Life websites, applications and interactive experiences, and has done so for over 20 years. Previously, David developed online games and game shows with Pearson Television and Uproar! Games, most notably the interactive versions of “Family Feud” and “To Tell the Truth.” He earned his Masters degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and undergraduate degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

An avid outdoorsman, David is proficient in Dutch Oven Cooking and is actively involved in running outdoor programs through the Boy Scouts of America. He has been married for over 30 years to his wife Dvorah, and has two sons, Sam and Henry, who are both Eagle Scouts.

Dave is the recipient of the 2022 “Rabb School Outstanding Teacher Award”.

For more information on the User-Centered Design MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

My Student Experience

By: Ingah Davis-Crawford, Student in the M.S. in Instructional Design & Technology program

The fall semester 2014, was my first semester at Brandeis GPS.  The last time I had attended grad school was in 2009, when working on my Master’s in Distance Education from the University of Maryland University College.

Believe me when I say that I had no plans to return to school.  But, in the five intervening years I began to think that maybe I should advance my knowledge explorerof instructional design. At the same time I did very much enjoy not having to spend time studying.  I had gotten back into the swing of having a social life and just being able to watch television or read when I wanted was great and let’s not even mention sleep.  Still, every now and again I would surf the net looking for an online grad instructional design program.

That’s what I was doing when I found the Online Instructional Design and Technology program at Brandeis.  I saw it was a new program and that the first cohort would begin studies in the fall.  It was one of those “now you don’t have any excuses” moments for me. If I didn’t apply who could I blame?  My friends and family would understand.  I could dvr my favorite TV shows.  And sleep, well I have gone without it before and survived.

I enrolled in two courses, Principles of Online Instructional Design and Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. I was beginning to get the hang of things when real life intervened.  During the third and fe-Learning Concept. Computer Keyboardourth weeks of the semester , our father, who had been sick for quite some time, was taken into hospice care and began his journey home.  Needless to say that meant I had to put my classes on the back burner, Dad was the priority.  Of course, I messaged my professors to inform them of my circumstances and they were both very understanding. However professor Salerno was particularly kind and encouraging.  In the end after returning my attention to studying, I made the decision to drop Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in favor of concentrating on Principles of Online Instructional Design (ID).

I really enjoyed the ID course, and it was no walk in the park either.  The course offered an education on two levels – first, it was a thorough overview of the methodology behind instructional design.  Second, it was very enlightening to be able to observe and experience professor Salerno’s teaching method and how he structured the course, respectively.  For instance with respect to teaching method, I noticed that he would use the discussion forum topics to get us to think about or practice a specific instructional design technique prior to the assigning a task that would incorporate that technique on a broader scale.  This I found to be quite useful for my own development throughout the course and I also view it as a practical example of best practices.  The course layout within the classroom was very easy to follow.  Course materials for the weekly modules were clearly placed.  Instructions for discussion forum topics and course assignments were clear and concise.  And, professor Salerno was always available to answer questions or offer feedback on a timely basis.  So, there again he was teaching by example.

In closing, I found the course to be challenging, but I know that I learned a lot and I’m glad to have had the experience.  Overall, I’m very satisfied with the learning experience I have had so far at Brandeis GPS, and I’m looking forward to next semester.

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