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
In my previous columns, I’ve framed my discussions around the practice of information architecture. To recap, the DSIA Research Initiative—of which I am the curator—defines the practice of information architecture as “the effort of organizing and relating information in a way that simplifies how people navigate and use content on the Web.” While the practice of information architecture can surely extend beyond the Web and its content, this IA practice definition eschews theoretical language to resonate with businesses looking for concrete Web solutions and practitioners who want to make a living off something tangible.
In the end, business clients don’t pay practitioners to practice information architecture; they pay professionals to produce IA work products that help them to meet their business objectives. So, of the many professional interests that come together to create a digital experience, what work products make the practice of information architecture unique? Read More
In the old days, card sorting was simple. We used index cards, Post-it notes, spreadsheets, and buggy software—USort and EZCalc—to analyze the results, and we liked it! But this isn’t another article about how to do card sorting. Nowadays, there are multiple techniques and tools, both online and offline, for generative and evaluative user research for information architecture (IA), which provide greater insights on organizing and labeling information.
In this column, I’ll summarize and compare the latest generative and evaluative methods for IA user research. The methods I’ll examine include open card sorting, Modified-Delphi card sorting, closed card sorting, reverse card sorting, card-based classification evaluation, tree testing, and testing information architecture with low-fidelity prototypes. I’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing between these methods, when it makes sense to use each method, and describe an ideal combination of these methods. Read More