WHAT IS USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN?
I like Patrick Neeman's home building ananalogy for defining web and mobile product team roles.
The User Experience Designer is the Architect and blue print creator. He/she decides:
- the placement of structural features like windows, doors, and walls
- the creation of clear, consistent systems for explaining where things are and what they do
- the flow from one room to the next and how to best honor the user's daily patterns of activity and use.
The Product Manager (The Overall Project Director)
delivers the core specifications: the number of rooms, their desired function and features, and any special requirements like making the house earthquake proof or using green materials. The Product Manager is also the core communicator across the product team. He/she knows the market, the competition, and has a passion and a vision for whatever he/she builds.
The Visual Designer (The Decorator)
serves as the interior and exterior decorator, choosing the texture, color, wallpaper pattern for the walls, the shape of architectural features and the materials used to build them.
The Engineering Team (The Construction Crew)
builds the physical realization of these plans, including how the hardware required and how the house hooks into external systems like electrical, sewer, and water systems to continue the house analogy.
The Project Manager/Scrum Master (The Contractor)
tracks what each person is doing and monitors the rollout of each phase of production. He/she manages equipment, day-to-day operations, schedule, and budget.
The Sales and Marketing Teams (Real Estate Agents)
determine the type of person most likely to buy this house, what features they'll want, and why. They deliver this information to the Product Manager at the onset of the project, and use it later on to target potential buyers.
MY UX DESIGN EXPERIENCE
The advent of UX Design is a recent phenomenon at the companies I've worked for -- small companies with lean product teams and larger companies with more traditional business models based in broadcast media and publishing.
Until recently, UX work has often fallen to me as Producer/Product Manager, in collaboration with the Visual Designers, Content Editors, and Engineers on my team.
As a Producer I've been responsible for creating the following product documentation:
Masters from NYU in Interactive Media and Experience Design:
My coursework at ITP (NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program) included:
- interactive storytelling (creating narratives with multiple outcomes dependent on user selection)
- writing project briefs
- building prototypes
- New York Chapter of the Interaction Design Association (IXDA)
- NYC chapter of SIG-CHI (Special Interest Group - Computer Human Interaction)
- Steve Krug's book Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
- Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks' book Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design
- Don Norman's book The Psychology of Everyday Things
- Dan Saffer's book Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices and most everything Dan writes online about IXD
- boxesandarrows.com, an excellent online journal about IA, UX, and IXD
- An IXD course with Dave Malouf, entrepreneur and former Professor of Interaction Design in the Industrial Design Department of the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD).
document the goals, logic, and underlying values behind new features.
I created the two idea statements below at Scholastic while working on a K-2 adaptive learning web app. These excerpts relate to two aspects of this app's motivation and reward system:
- earning badges
- earning new features for your avatar
These diagrams show:
- a breakout of the steps leading to 1 or more possible outcomes
- the sequence for those steps
- the points where the user's path is dependent on logic and/or decisions
- what happens as a result of each possible decision outcome.
The examples below show the flow for placing an order and what happens after a student finishes a topic in the iRead reading app.
are blueprints that show:
- content structure
- interactive features
- the logic (decision points) for each interaction and various states across all possible interactions.
are very useful when complex multimedia elements are in play, particularly in the case of games and animated content with sound effects, music, voiceover, visual effects, and interactive content.
Storyboards help ensure story and UI continuity by demnostrating how product-wide visual, auditory, and UI (user interface) rule sets get applied to a specific feature.
are functional specifications broken into independently testable chunks.
User Stories outline what the user sees and hears, possible user actions, and what happens as a result of each action.
For iRead, our user stories often related to content definition, data that needed to either be saved or pulled from the server, and the intro, trial, and exit logic for each activity.