UIEtips: Scenarios and Journey Maps Help Designers Become Storytellers

In today’s UIEtips, Jared Spool explains how storytelling is the core of design communication. Here’s an excerpt from the article: Knowing how to change the users’ behaviors is one thing. Knowing which behaviors to change is another. There are often many approaches to improving a design. Everyone can think they are working towards a better overall experience, but if each team member chooses a different approach, the design becomes confusing and complex. When we’re working on a team, getting the entire team to work together from the same approach becomes job one. Smaller teams (such as those with six or less folks) have always had an easier time of this than larger ones. This is because it’s more likely the smaller teams are checking in and talking to each other. Fortunately, there’s help for larger teams. It comes in a technique that is as old as humanity – storytelling. Read the article Scenarios and Journey Maps Help Designers Become Storytellers. How do you encourage creating stories in your design team? Tell us about it...

UIEtips: LiRPPS – Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios – Part 2

In LiRPPS: Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios – Part 1, I began to tell you how to use a lightweight, research-based approach to create usable decision-making references for designers. Well, now I’m going to tell you about how you can actually do them. Are you ready to go? Here’s an excerpt from the article: We use a simple rule to decide who gets a say in creating our personas, scenarios, and principles: only people who went on a minimum of two field visits. This way everyone is basing their decisions on research. If we let folks who haven’t been on visits participate, then they’ll draw from their own experiences or people we hadn’t talked to in this round of research. That reduces the chance we’ll get personas that match our audience, which, in turn, makes the reference tools less valuable. Making this rule from the start of the project means everyone understands the price of entry. Want to help make the personas, scenarios, and design principles? Then you need to visit at least two sites and take notes. If you haven’t figured it out, this is the secret part of our agenda. There’s lots of evidence to show the more exposure team members have to real users doing real work, the better the design. The reference tools we’re creating help us stretch the effects of that exposure, so without it, those tools are useless. Read the article LiRPPS: Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios – Part 2. What process does your team follow when creating personas, scenarios, and principles? Share your thoughts...

UIEtips: LiRPPS – Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios – Part 1

In this week’s UIEtips, I look at key parts of the creative brief – personas, scenarios, and design principles. I explore what gets us bogged down in obtaining information needed for these three key parts, the consequences that occur when we ignore certain steps, and an approach to follow to get the necessary information to make good design decisions. Here’s an excerpt from the article: The brief consists of four simple components: the objective, 1-2 personas, 1-2 scenarios, and 1-2 design principles. The objective is what we’re working on (such as, “The billing information form”). The personas describe who the users are (“Nancy, our frequent purchaser”). The scenarios are the stories that describe how the personas will use our design and why (“using a new credit card for the first time because of an identity theft issue”). And the design principles are the tests we’ll use to tell if our design is great (“Only tell us something once”). Personas, scenarios, and design principles are reference tools for the work we’re doing. They act like razors that cut through passable designs, so we can focus on what could make the user experience great. Making them explicit helps everyone on the team understand the ‘why’ behind our decisions. When we’re creating our brief, we know where the objective comes from. It comes from where we are in the design of our project. But, where do the personas, scenarios, and design principles come from? Read the article: LiRPPS – Lightweight, Research-Based Principles, Personas, and Scenarios – Part 1 How do you go about involving your design team in the key parts of...

UIEtips: Setting the Foundation for Meaningful Critiques – Goals, Principles, Personas and Scenarios

Doing critiques well and constructively is no easy task. Often designers feel picked on or that the feedback doesn’t give enough direction. According to Adam Connor, a key concept to remember is that “critique is a form of analysis”. It’s a discussion on what is working well and what areas need improvement. To do this right you need goals. You need to ask if what you’re critiquing is reaching the objectives of the goals you and your team created. In today’s article by Adam Connor, Adam discusses how to set the foundation of a meaningful critique by using goals, principles, personas, and scenarios. In less than two weeks, Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry will lead a full-day workshop at the User Interface 18 Conference in Boston. Their workshop, Building Consensus in Critiques and Designs Studios will show you how to execute a productive design studio. You’ll follow a proven framework that goes from ideation to consensus-building. Learn more about their workshop. Here’s an excerpt from the article: In a recent post, Aaron talked about the importance of intent in the success of critique. Without the right intent on both sides critiques can go nowhere. Or worse, they can hurt the design, the designer and the relationship between the designer and the critics. But now lets say that the intent is right. The critics are looking to help the designer understand the impact of the decisions he or she has made. The designer has every intention of listening, of critiquing right along with the critics, and using what they learn to iterate and improve upon their design. There is still...