Full day training course offered at The UX Conference Las Vegas

The One-Person UX Team Tool Box

Usability techniques and strategies to maximize your impact when you are the sole UX specialist on your project or in your organization

Course Date: December 07, 2012

Plenty of books, conferences, and websites give professionals information on how to engage in user-centered design when they have sufficient time, budget, and staff, but few focus on what to do when you constitute the entire user experience team on a project or in an entire organization.

One-person User Experience teams have unique challenges: 

  • Few, if any, resources.
  • Strategic and creative isolation.
  • Lack of time.
  • Organizational misunderstanding and even resistance.

The sole UX specialist must focus on the UX methods and results in addition to building the UX team. As a one-person UX specialist you must determine where you can make the biggest impact, who your allies are in your organization and which methods to concentrate on.  You need to generate your research and design ideas quickly and use other members of your organization to help you.

This session will give you insight into how you can operate as a one person team or as a consultant with a small budget, limited time and resources. We’ve compiled techniques used today in companies around the world; many of these techniques are not commonly known because the people using them seldom publish their secrets.

As the only person responsible for a big, multi-disciplinary field, you risk becoming the "jack of all trades but master of none" and being spread so thin that you have no deep impact and don't get any management recognition because you only generate superficial design improvements. This course shows how to avoid these pitfalls, so that you (a) gain more job satisfaction and (b) produce more value for your employer and (c) grow your team, both in the short term and the long term.

"A very practical course on how to do the UX all by yourself. This gave me a lot of confidence."

Werner Curunda
Pixels in Stereo

Topics Covered

Topics Covered

  • Establishing your role in your organization
    • Defining UCD and UX in your organization - What can you realistically achieve?
    • Solving the challenges of being a one-person group
      • Whether you are in an organization or consultancy
    • How to make an impact with limited time or budget
    • Capitalizing on opportunities to gain recognition and respect
    • Picking projects for maximal strategic impact
    • Handling too-many requests for your time
    • Identifying your usability allies and creating internal advocates
    • Targeting your role and where to focus your energy
    • Getting respect in your organization
  • Research Strategies
    • Big Studies or Quick Fixes?
    • Focus of a one-person team (design, content, architecture, widgets, etc.)
    • Building a lab or informal research
    • Strategies and Techniques for getting user results - quickly
    • How to obtain quick usability and design solutions when your organization needs answers
    • Methodologies and research techniques you need to use
      • User testing, field studies, card sorting and other proven methods as a one-person team
    • Choosing research methodology combinations that produce synergies
    • Taking advantage of automated testing tools
      • Including a description of testing tools and their benefits
    • Real users or best practices?
    • Analyzing and choosing the best research and/or design method for your project
    • Recruiting guidelines and alternatives
      • Building a database of participants for fast research
    • Participant compensation
    • Acquiring equipment with little budget
  • Effective Communication
    • Delivering timely and focused results
    • Using reports, lists, videos, and presentations to speak for you
      • Suggestions for which data to focus on in your results
    • Publicizing project plans to increase organizational awareness
    • Communication styles and tactics based on your audience roles, responsibilities and power levels
    • Short and long-term strategies for growing your group
    • Demonstrating your ROI
    • Getting respect within your organization
    • Creating your 60-second UX message



The course is mainly in lecture format with a couple of group exercises to reinforce the learned principles and guidelines.

The course also includes:

  • Screenshots of testing websites and tools
  • Videos of usability research methods
  • Examples of focused usability reporting
  • Opportunities to ask questions and get answers

Participant Comments

Participant Comments

"Great, reaffirming to hear from and learn with people in the same boat as me — practical help to give structure to my role, how to prove its effectiveness and how I can be more effective myself. Plenty of new ammo to use every day."

Susan Ferguson, Woolley Pall Gyro

"Loved the course and instructor, excellent — I felt quite nervous about attending (as I'm a lone worker!) but felt at ease as soon as Garrett started talking — and I've learned so much, thank you!"

Sian Fording, Academy Wales

"The course was valuable — it covered a lot of ideas and techniques to evangelize UX and grow head count. It gave me some ideas on aligned vision, optimizing kick off meetings and growing UX presence that I believe will make a big impact in our organization."

Cristine Cravens, Hobsons

  • More Participant Comments
    "Outstanding breath of fresh air and hope. UX for reality!"


    "I really appreciated being given a list of tools and even a website with templates that I can use later.  I checked them out briefly (I was learning) and could already see things I can use."

    Daphne Adebayo, Career Builder

    "I believe this is the most helpful NN course I have taken to date. I am not a one man team, but this course gave tons of advice and tricks for evangelizing UX in our organization as well as some cool new tricks for speeding things up for our team. Thank you!"

    Paige Brannon

    "Garrett is a good presenter who is full of energy and personable. I gained a lot of tips/tricks to use in my projects as the sole UX designer. I particularly liked Garrett's real world case studies."

    Nikki Kerber, Booz Allen Hamilton

    "Highly recommend for those who are just starting out the UX practice in the organization.  The course gives a clear direction and practical tools to grow UX in the organization."

    Natalia Tsymbalenko, Eastbanc Technologies

    "Full of great information and examples that were directly relatable to my work!"

    Judy Bayne, Autodesk

    "This is a very insightful course, packed with vital information that can be put to good use immediately. Garrett is a great presenter who interacted with the class. This is a valuable course."

    Amrita Bharij, London, UK

    "This course was amazing and gave tangible advice I can implement immediately into my workflow. Thank you!"

    Sara Bafundo, TPN, Chicago

    "I'm not alone! I have been struggling in my organization and I feel a weight off my shoulders knowing others are having the same issues. This course helped focus me to work on the things I need to do to help my organization understand the value of UX."

    Courtney Wagner, SaskPower

    "Great for people just starting out in UX or that are the only person doing UX in their team.  You will learn about a variety of tools you can use for every budget and tips on how to use these tools, a lot of practical adivce you will be able to use right away."

    Sandra Robotos, Toronto

    "Energetic and knowledgable speaker. Just enough detail. Great atmosphere for collaboration + discussion."

    Lloyd Carr, OneviewHealthcare

    "Attending this course helped me understand how to prioritize UX activities when resources are limited."

    Eugen Potlog, Conversion Marketing SRL

    "Very potential advice. Great overview of all the tools available to UX designer. And the best is probably all the tips on how to communicate strategically about your work to promote it and make the company UX maturity grow."

    Maxime Delavergue, Cisco, Paris

    "Garrett conducted the full-day session with great energy all the way through. He was very generous with knowledge, sharing and resources, and was not once shy on answering guestions. Good stuff!"

    Jade Tan, Vend

    "The course was amazing. I was able to reinforce my skills and to discover new ones."

    Laura Tediosi, Malup S.P.A., Milano

    "Interactive and clear course. I learned how I could better communicate with different colleagues or stakeholders and that I should document more. I'm motivated to work better and more efficient."

    Paul van den Dool, Epesi

    "Very informative on how to conduct research and how to create a UX philosophy in your company."

    Rozanne van Diggelen, Karify

    "Learned a lot of tools and how to apply them effectively in the company. A great help for a one person UX team!"

    Floor-Jan van Schaik, Impala Studios



Garrett Goldfield

Garrett Goldfield is a User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group with 20 years of practical experience. At Nielsen Norman Group, Goldfield has consulted for clients in a broad range of industries, including e-commerce, automotive, health care, financial, media, telecommunications, education, art and non-profits, as well as highly specialized B2B sites. Read more about Garrett.