“A style guide is an artifact of design process. A design system is a living, funded product with a roadmap [and] backlog, serving an ecosystem.”—Nathan Curtis on Twitter
As Nathan Curtis described on Twitter, a style guide is a document that a UX designer creates to document a growing and ever-evolving set of design guidelines that arise from the design process. In creating a style guide, UX designers are basically documenting their own thought process as they design a Web site, application, or system. Thus, the essence of creating a style guide is documenting your own design decisions. Who is the audience for this document? In this article, I’ll answer many important such questions about style guides to help UX designers create effective documentation. Read More
Has your boss or a client ever asked you to review a user interface for a Web or desktop application? Perhaps the request went something like this: Can you just look over these new screens for us? Oh, and can you check the error messages, too? It won’t take long! And, by the way, we ship next month. Whether you are an interaction designer, usability professional, technical communicator, quality assurance engineer, or developer, reviewing a user interface typically means identifying
usability problems related to the layout, logical flow, and structure of the interface and inconsistencies in the design
non-compliance with standards
ambiguous wording in labels, dialog boxes, error messages, and onscreen user assistance
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