A common complaint about bringing UX designers onto a project team is that they waste time creating design artifacts. This is purportedly antithetical to modern development methodologies that value code over process.
However, this is not my experience at all. I’m not arguing that creating design artifacts is all that design is about. I default to fairly light documentation myself—and not one in 100 project teams or clients wants as little design documentation as I would typically provide by default.
One of my more common jobs is to improve or replace the design for an existing product for a client. All too often, these projects have no historical documentation of any value, which frequently causes projects to take months or even years longer to build.
Good documentation allows consistency in design and execution and serves as institutional knowledge for organizations. It enables us to remember what we’ve built and why, to check reported bugs and new feature requests against the documentation, and to more quickly react to necessary changes or updates. Read More
Throughout my career as a user experience designer, I have continually asked myself three questions:
What should my deliverables be?
Will my deliverables provide clarity to me and their audience?
Where do my deliverables and other efforts fit within the spectrum of UX design?
I have found that, if I do not answer these questions prior to creating a deliverable, my churn rate increases and deadlines slip.
When attempting to answer the third question, I use a framework I discovered early in my career: The Five Competencies of User Experience Design.PDF This framework comprises the competencies a UX professional or team requires. The following sections describe these five competencies, outline some questions each competency must answer, and show the groundwork and deliverables for which each competency is responsible. Read More
UX designers have long promoted paper prototyping as the ideal way to quickly create and test new designs. In comparison to older methods of digital prototyping, creating paper prototypes is much quicker, easier, requires no technical skills, makes iteration easier, and focuses less on design perfection. Plus, participants feel more comfortable in criticizing sketches rather than polished designs.
But, over the last few years, many new design and prototyping tools have emerged that let UX designers create highly interactive prototypes quickly and easily, realistically simulating interactions and transitions without any coding. More tools seem to come out every day. With so many great, new prototyping tools, is doing paper prototyping still worthwhile? Have these new tools finally caught up with the advantages of paper prototypes, while transcending paper’s disadvantages? In this column, I’ll answer these questions. Read More