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Sketchnotes from IxDA Pair Design event :: Pair Design Twosday Talkshops

Turns out two brains are a lot are better than one.

On August 12, 2014, IxDA-SF hosted a great event on Pair Design (details.)

Hosted at the Pandora office in Oakland and MC’d by Nick Cawthon, the event featured well-known speakers from Cooper, Pivotal and PairDesign.co. Overall, the evening was chock-full of awesome.

First up were Suzy Thompson and Chris Noessel from Cooper.

They talked about the Cooper model of pairing (gen + synth) and covered the basics of what, why and how they pair.

A key insight was the mental-readiness of the pair participants…the prerequisites of trust, respect and the ability to engage in healthy debate. As a seasoned pairing team, Suzy and Chris had well-informed opinions about how they see effective pairing happening for designers.

* Read read more about the Cooper philosophy of pairing.

Next in the lineup was Tim McCoy of Pivotal Labs.

I’m a big fan of Tim and the work he has done pioneering lean startup methods in UX design. Tim’s talk traced the history of pairing back to its roots in XP software development practices, and did a thorough job describing the benefits and outcomes of successful pairing.

These are:

  • Tighten the feedback loop from review to co-creation
  • Share the product
  • Spread the knowledge
  • Rely less on documentation
  • Forces awareness of the working system

Tim’s advice on how designers can adapt for successful pairing is to lose the ego, lead with the design, and to be prepared for a different sense of intimacy with your pair-partner. He acknowledged that pairing may not be for everyone (it’s not easy!) but he also assured us that it could be learned.

* Tim provides more in-depth thinking about pair design on the Pivotal blog.

And lastly, what good is new information if you can’t put it into practice?

That’s Karl Dotter‘s specialty…helping people put their hands where their words are, and try things out themselves.

Karl led a short interactive workshop where everyone practiced pairing. To kick it off, he provided a pattern for pairing that can be used to guide people in the practice.

I got to be his co-partner in crime for the workshop, and it was great to see everyone participate readily and be part of the exploration. It’s tricky to hold a mini-workshop in such a short timeframe, and I think we all learned a lot.

To wrap up, the participants shared their observations on what worked, and what was challenging.

* Karl runs this workshop in many different ways, and works with designers and companies to help them make pairing part of their design process.

Here are the sketchnotes I took to remember the talk.
Special shout-out to Dr. Makayla Lewis and Ian Fenn for inspiring the colors. 😉

Sketchnotes from IxDA Pair Design event, Aug 12, 2014

Sketchnotes from IxDA Pair Design event, Aug 12, 2014



Published on April 30, 2015, back-dated to date of event.

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