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
In differentiating an organization’s products from those of its competitors, design innovation is just as important as technology innovation. Both are vital to the continued success of an organization’s products in the marketplace. Successful innovation requires more than just generating a lot of creative ideas. It’s about execution—actually bringing products to market that embody innovative design solutions and deliver business impact.
What is the role of constraints in design innovation? In this article, I’ll discuss three types of constraints: technical constraints, business constraints, and design constraints. According to Charles Eames:
“Design depends largely on constraints. … Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem—the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible—his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints….” Read More
In my lastcolumn on UXmatters, “First, Do No Harm,” I discussed some basic design principles whose violation either interferes with users’ work or actually harms their work, causing frustration for users. Those design principles are not new. They’ve been widely known for decades. So, why do so many software products still violate them? And why do so many applications provide a poor user experience as a result of their not behaving properly? I can think of several possible reasons why some applications don’t behave as they should:
ignorance of interaction design principles—This could be the result of either there being no interaction designer or UX designer on a project and/or a developer’s or designer’s inadequate education regarding the principles of good interaction design. Perhaps a Web application designer has never designed desktop applications, so hasn’t learned the UX design guidelines for Windows, Mac OS X, or Java, which established the standard behaviors users have come to expect in the applications they use. This problem is relatively easy to solve: Study the books and Web sites that document UX principles, guidelines, and patterns. (See suggested reading.) Read publications like UXmatters, Boxes and Arrows,Johnny Holland,interactions, and User Experience Magazine.