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
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
Prototyping is the best way to explore a design, determine how well it works, effectively communicate the design to others, and test the design with users. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion in new prototyping tools that allow you to simulate sophisticated interactions quickly and easily. Yet, despite these technological advances—and sometimes because of them—UX designers still make the same common mistakes when creating prototypes. In this column, I’ll discuss some of the most common prototyping mistakes designers make and how to avoid them.
Jumping Too Soon into Prototyping
One of the most common mistakes is jumping too soon into creating a prototype before sufficiently thinking through and planning out a design. This problem is especially common among those of us who aren’t very comfortable with the messiness of sketching. It can be tempting to open up a prototyping tool, assuming that it would be easier to work out the design on the screen. Read More