Design is driven by many considerations. But on each project I’ve worked on, there seems to be a consistent center — a driver that determines priorities, direction, and the metrics used to measure success.
We need a way to document and express mental models that is as simple and robust as personas for user profiles and scenarios for tasks. By laying out users’ current mental models and a target mental model, we can clarify our thinking and communication about the user interface’s objects, metaphors, and interaction.
While there are IAs fortunate enough to work in companies that wholeheartedly embrace user-centered design, there are many more whose biggest challenge isn’t the work itself; it’s finding the opportunity to do the work, at the right time, in a meaningful way.
With a creative background and an M.B.A., I’ve been a professional half-breed over the past 20 years. What I’ve learned is that the antagonism, hostility and resentment often felt on both sides of the equation is the outgrowth of a basic failure to understand what makes the other side tick.
What lessons have we learned about how design improves the interface between customers and companies? Perhaps we can start by asking how websites have actually changed over time, and from that we can learn how websites should change in the future.