The tenants of Improv... and UX?

February 3, 2021

I was an improv star. 

Keep in mind that my stardom consisted of two improv shows (where I was mostly terrified) and eight months' worth of practices (which also consisted of anxiety-induced irritability and near constant self-second guessing.) 

That’s right, S-T-A-R.

My comedy career wasn’t all a loss. Even though those months in improv proved not to be the fertile soil for my cast member spot on SNL, they did give me a lifetime's worth of lessons in collaboration, teamwork, and active listening (among other things).

It turns out improv is a team sport – just like UX. So whether your ‘scene mates’ are stakeholders, designers, or engineers, the tenants of improv still apply.

Here – take a look: 

1. Say “yes’and!”

Encourage open collaboration with the team. Allow ideas to flow and build off of each other. Establish a safe place and freedom to explore solutions – By agreeing and building off each other’s ideas, the team becomes stronger than the individuals who comprise it! 

“Yes, I love it, and…”

2. Add new information.

Don’t leave your teammates hanging. No one wants to be the only one doing work. Step one to having a great team is to be a good team mate. Add ideas!

3. Play in the present and use the moment.

Be present with your users while testing and interviewing. Listen to what they are saying. Make them feel heard, seen, and important. :)

4. Be specific and provide colorful details.

Do solid research and make a killer UI. By spending the time to get to know your user (being specific), you can make a product they will love and use… complete with colorful details!

5. Change, Change, Change!

Iterate, Iterate, Iterate, anyone?

Generating new ideas is a part of design (and comedy) collaboration opens your mind to new possibilities. Instead of a conversation with yourself, you open your mind to ideas from other people. Suddenly, your go-to ideas might not seem so great.

Ready to say hello?