Ilona Posner’s Experience

Posted March 16th, 2015 By OCUFA

User Experience Design, U of Toronto, OCADU

My proudest teaching moment:

I teach Computer Science and Design students that, “They are Not the User!” That they cannot see their own designs the same way their users will see them. How to find out what their users actual needs are and how to design towards fulfilling those needs. How to take users and their points of view into account throughout their design process. My proudest moments occur when my students tell me that my course was the most influencial in their academic careers. That they cannot look at designs the same way ever again, without considering different points of view. When they come back to visit and tell me that they are pursuing the field of User Experience Design as a result of the insights they discovered through my class.

My greatest research accomplishment:

Simplifying the abstract and theoretical concepts of my field of Human Computer Interaction into the simple “Keyhole Impact” metaphor and sharing it with my students and in professional keynote presentations for technology design teams. This helps designers see their work using different eyes and results in more user sensitive products that can improve people’s lives.

How I use my knowledge, research skills and teaching ability to improve my community:

By making technology designers and developers more sensitive to users needs, we ensure that the technology they produce will be useful, user centred, user friendly, fun, and enjoyable to use. I volunteer to share this knowledge with design professionals in my community and beyond.

The challenges I face in my work:

Balancing a UX consulting practice, of more than 25 years, with teaching, more than 15 years, and with life outside of work. Short term notification about potential teaching opportunities so I can’t plan beyond the current teaching term. Not knowing if I will have a teaching appointment the following term and what my teaching schedule might be. Continuous changing of players and decision making roles in the various academic institutions that I am affiliated with, which make future planning of my teaching assignments even more difficult.

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