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
UX professionals often find it difficult to demonstrate the value of User Experience to enterprise product teams, especially when companies or organizations lack UX maturity. Perhaps you’ve found yourself outnumbered on teams of solution-focused developers and their like-minded peers, feeling as though no one understands your perspective. You might have been the recipient of a dismissive arm wave. Maybe someone has told you that a product or a feature does not require UX oversight—even though it does. Perhaps stakeholders have told you that they already know what users want or there isn’t enough time to address a product workflow that could satisfy a core user need.
When you meet resistance from teammates and stakeholders, do you turn tail and slink away, then allow a product to go to market without its receiving the appropriate level of UX attention? Hopefully not! Some battles are worth fighting—as uncomfortable as they might be. As I described in “Demonstrating the Value of User Experience to Enterprise Product Teams, Part 2,” responding tactfully to caustic feedback from teammates is a challenging skill to master. It requires empathy, a trait that UX professionals must often draw upon in relating to the people who use our products. It is just as important to demonstrate empathy for our teammates, who are under their own pressures and must often meet challenging deadlines. Read More
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