I’m pleased to welcome Danielle Arad as my guest poster for this article about the implications you must take into account when sketching user experiences. Danielle runs her own blog over at UX Motel and is also on Twitter.
Although business process mapping, flow charting, and the related processes might already sound familiar to you, for the success of your user experience design you also have to consider which are the factors that make the entire process work and how one can take advantage of them.
Undoubtedly, many UX professionals encounter the process of user experience sketching at least once in their career, mainly when the business plan and design meet. Such events are more usual with startups and enterprises, rather than small to medium businesses. Therefore, with user experience sketching representing a topic of actuality, it’s highly important for a designer to understand the key components which take part in design.
1. Think about the elements that will be comprised in the design based on what you think your users will need.
If you already have a business model in mind, you are most likely aware of your demographic, which is probably defined by your niche’s design and price range. This demographic is the first factor which you have to keep in mind throughout the sketching process. Think of how much your users’ would need the product and by a more thorough analysis of the said demographic, how are they going to act when they will interact with your finished product?
2. Don’t get discouraged if your prototype design isn’t working well
In case the design of your product is not gelling with your users, then, yes, your team might suffer from a small hit. However, it’s up to you which action you choose to take in such place. It would be strongly advisable to not sacrifice price in detriment of quality. Remember, it’s the about the alignment process which goes on beyond this how much money you will make in the end.
3. Keep in mind that time and budget are key factors in the process
Other factors which are relevant to sketching and design are time and budget. When sketching your user experience design, you must create an engaging flow for the user, yet design according to the time and budget specified for the task. For an excellent UX to be developed, you may have to pay a higher price in time and money. Remember, customers will be aware of how much you invested in preparing your design – it will definitely show in the final results.
When you’re in the process of sketching out a user experience, it’s essential to prioritize a flow for the demographic. You must ensure that the design you’ll come up with will fall within the users’ array of needs and that it will suit the given budget to. Additionally, when emphasizing the role of demographics, you need to ensure that a suitable connection is created with each maintenance components’ sub-flows, so that users will be able to easily use them whenever they are required to. Such flow will also see you where the numbers are negative or overly amplified, case in which they need to be adjusted.
Sketching user experiences is all about creating a flow for the process, tracking up the deductions, basing your model on intuitive prediction design, and ensuring that the UX works as it should. In addition, working according to the budget is also an important component for both parties’ profitability.
I just had to share with you this video on how guys might use Google Glass (or should that be glasses?) in the future. Pretty funny! Maybe we shouldn’t laugh too soon though as it may well become the future! People are distracted enough as it is, it’s just that the glasses may make the distraction harder to detect. At least right now you can see if someone’s using their mobile whilst they’re supposed to be listening to you.
I find it amazing the number of people who walk down the street looking down, eyes glued to their handset, using only their peripheral vision to navigate their way through the world. At least with Google Glasses they’ll at least start looking up once more, even if they are still not paying attention to the world around them.
Did you read the letter from Groupon’s CEO about his leaving (or rather being fired from) the company? There was one paragraph that particularly stood out to me:
If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!
Start with the customer, base your decisions on evidence not intuition. Don’t just redesign your website, redesign it starting with the customer, do research into their lifestyle, their wants and needs from your product or service and how you can best meet those needs. Design the site and test then retest and retest again to get it spot on. Get it right the first time and in the long run you’ll save yourself the huge cost of rework and guesswork that results in lost customers and sales. Do it right, spend a bit more at the outset and reap the rewards.
In my spare time I love baking (I love eating cakes), I run a local baking club and I absolutely love KitchenAid products. I love the industrial user-centred design and the attention to ease of use. So, for the Keep It Usable blog this month, I decided to interview my friend Brandon Satanek who is the UX manager at Whirlpool.
Not only is Brandon a great guy, but his knowledge and passion for UX is something you should learn from. If you’re unsure how UX can benefit your business, Brandon will reassure you with some fantastic examples. I especially like his example of how Whirlpool created innovative product concepts simply by sending their researchers into people’s homes to observe them doing their laundry and interviewing them.
After seeing people adopt rather uncomfortable postures, an idea was developed to create a platform to raise the products to a more convenient height…it shows how contextual user research can lead to user-centered innovations that directly impact the bottom line.
There are several names for this type of research; ethnographic, contextual inquiry, in-context. It’s my personal favourite style of research as you gain true insights into the user and their behaviour. Have you ever stepped into a strangers home and been able to make instant judgements on their personality, hobbies, interests, activity levels, family life that turned out to be accurate? Research has suggested that these judgements we make, which are based on our experience of life and people so far, are often accurate. If you’re interested to know more, I recommend reading Sam Gosling’s book Snoop: What your stuff says about you.
Many UXers shy away from contextual research as it is true research that requires a certain level of skill, and a lot of people who conduct usability testing aren’t specialist researchers.
Research conducted in the context of use is imho the best you can get. You will find out rich information and behavioural insights giving you those ‘why didn’t we think of that!’ moments that just can’t be gained through lab testing.
Read my interview with Brandon, it may just change your business…