As UX professionals, we have a great many analytical and descriptive tools available to us. In fact, there are so many that it can sometimes be difficult to decide which tool is most appropriate for a given task! Hierarchical task analysis (HTA) is an underused approach in user experience, but one you can easily apply when either modifying an existing design or creating a new design.
This technique has applications across a range of different problem domains, including time-and-motion studies, personnel selection, or training, and provides a broad and deep understanding of task performance. While there are core principles that guide a hierarchical task analysis, it’s possible to adapt the basic approach in a huge number of ways to support the needs of any domain under consideration. In this column, I’ll examine one approach to hierarchical task analysis that enables UX designers to quickly understand both what a system does and how its capabilities translate into the system’s user experience. You can also use this approach to support the UX development process. Read More
“Many people tend to look at programming styles and languages like religions: if you belong to one, you cannot belong to others. But this analogy is another fallacy.”—Niklaus Wirth
Software Engineering is typically much more formal than User Experience in they way they model an application before development begins. After pseudo code, the Unified Modeling Language (UML) is probably the most widely used modeling language among software engineers. It has developed from other object?based analysis and design languages over a period of many years and provides software engineers with a visual language that describes the design of a system at multiple levels.
Comparable UX design artifacts such as user journeys and personas can take a wide variety of forms. While this diversity can enable us to tailor our design artifacts to different circumstances, drawing features from modeling languages such as UML could promote better cross?functional work practices, increase a design’s reusability, and reduce the overall effort of developing software systems.
This article looks at how User Experience can use UML modeling techniques to enhance user journeys and promote better cross?disciplinary collaboration. Read More
“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”—Nils Bohr
In my last column, I looked at how we could make the Iron Man suit a reality, using existing technologies. Some of the Twitter feedback and comments on that column talked about using brainwaves to control the suit, so I thought it would be interesting to see what is being done in that area.
Prediction, as Nils Bohr noted, can be a dangerous activity, but also fun: looking at trends in technology can help us to manage and prepare for uncertainty—or at least give us the illusion of doing so. Historically, in user experience, predictions of the future have been tied up with inventing it. Doug Engelbart’s “Mother of All Demos,” shown in Figure 1, being the most notable example. If you’ve not already seen this video, I strongly recommend a viewing. In 1968, Engelbart demonstrated videoconferencing, hypertext; a collaborative, real-time editor; and other technologies that we would not fully realize for decades to come. Read More