Unfortunately, in the field of user experience, people often confuse terms like information architecture, interaction design, visual design, usability engineering, and UX design. In some cases, people use these terms almost interchangeably. This article provides a lexicon of these terms and more clearly defines the role of the user experience designer.
Information architecture (IA) focuses on the organization of data—that is, how data is structured from a user’s perspective, as opposed to the system, or technical, perspective.
At the level of an entire Web site, or application, information architecture determines what data is on each page and how pages relate to each other. For example, defining a site map is an IA activity. At the level of an individual page layout, information architecture ensures that data is logically grouped and interrelated. Read More
Within many companies, the use of wireframes in user experience design can be a contentious issue. People typically think of wireframes simply as artifacts designers create when generating design concepts, then later discard. Why not create a design artifact that is not disposable, but instead, one your team can convert to actual production code? Is this Holy Grail of the design process a good idea? Is it even possible? Or does the answer depend on the project, the team, and its agility? This first part in a two-part series takes an in-depth look at the process of converting wireframes to code. Read More
With this article, we’re introducing our new column—Breakthrough Application Design—Designing game-changing experiences. In this column, we’ll discuss innovative approaches to application design that are based on our personal experience in the trenches.
How can it be that so many digital products fail deliver any inspiration when so many technology and digital media companies spend millions of dollars on design and user experience? Merely following user-centered design (UCD) practices by the book is not sufficient to create truly transformative digital products. In fact, despite UX teams’ following UCD processes, the digital product industry confronts this alarming paradox: More and more UX teams claim to follow user-centered processes, yet most digital products are mediocre or even substandard. And things won’t get easier. As interactions progress from clicks to taps and other gestures, traditional UCD processes will face even greater challenges. In this installment of our column, we suggest that one of the reasons for poor design execution is that UX teams need to own more than just design. We need to own front-end development. In fact, we argue that front-end development has always been more strongly aligned with design than with development. Read More