My last column, “Specifying Behavior,” focused on the importance of interaction designers’ taking full responsibility for designing and clearly communicating the behavior of product user interfaces. At the conclusion of the Design Phase for a product release, interaction designers’ provide key design deliverables that play a crucial role in ensuring their solutions to design problems actually get built. These deliverables might take the form of high-fidelity, interactive prototypes; detailed storyboards that show every state of a user interface in sequence; detailed, comprehensive interaction design specifications; or some combination of these. Whatever form they take, producing these interaction design deliverables is a fundamental part of a successful product design process.
In this installment of On Good Behavior, I’ll provide an overview of a product design process, then discuss some indispensable activities that are part of an effective design process, with a particular focus on those activities that are essential for good interaction design. Although this column focuses primarily on activities that are typically the responsibility of interaction designers, this discussion of the product design process applies to all aspects of UX design. Read More
I began my career over twelve years ago in marketing, defining the user experiences for healthcare Web sites at an interactive agency. At first, I loved the dynamic environment and start-up feel of an agency. It felt great that a large audience would interact with the sites that I helped design. Over time, however, I realized that I wasn’t doing good UX design. Rather, I was doing whatever the agency Account Manager or client Brand Manager wanted, which didn’t always jibe with what customers needed. The Account Manager or Brand Manager wanted site registrations and glossy, auto-play video tours, while customers needed educational content and information about financial assistance. I had lost the integrity that had driven me to choose user experience as a career in the first place. I wanted to design great user experiences for people based on their behaviors, needs, and preferences—not the whims of the agency or client. So, after five years, I decided to leave the agency to work on internal applications at an IT (Information Technology) consulting firm. Read More
Today’s consumers have growing expectations for higher quality and ease of use in new products. They typically evaluate brand values and product specs before paying top dollar for products. Companies are scrambling to align their brand touchpoints and gain loyal customers for their current and future product lines. Without strong brands, consumers buy with their wallets, not their hearts. They may miss product innovations companies have designed to fill major gaps in their markets and increase their market shares—even products they’ve painstakingly tested with users.
In today’s market, user experience is a key differentiator for products. Companies are innovating more creative approaches to product definition and design and rushing to add talent to their existing product design organizations. Many business leaders are struggling with the issue of where to place new UX processes and professionals within their organizations. Read More