“What I need are highly condensed overviews,” I thought, “like those comic books that convert great literary works into a few illustrated pages. They condense Moby Dick down to 12 pages and provide a version of Great Expectations that can be read in 15 minutes.”
We hear and talk a lot about card sorting in various forms, and how it can be used as input on a hierarchy or classification system (or a taxonomy, if you like more technical words). We hear that we should test our hierarchies, but we don’t talk about how.
Jesse James Garrett’s “The Elements of User Experience” diagram has become rightly famous as a clear and simple model for the sorts of things that user experience professionals do. But as a model of user experience it presents an incomplete picture with some serious omissions—omissions I’ll try address with a more holistic model.
As a precursor to cardsorting or as an independent method, free-listing is a technique that can help you determine the scope of a content domain while providing some insight into how the domain is structured.
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.
Somewhere in the process of evangelizing user-centered design, user experience professionals seem to have forgotten the value of vision-driven design, which can be equally important in making sites and software relevant and desirable. We need to integrate both approaches.
In a high-tech field like web design, we might expect to find computer-savvy practitioners accomplishing all their work with the click of the mouse and a stroke of the keyboard. However, in our studies of the early stages of web design, we found that good ol’ pens, paper, walls, and tables were the primary creative tools.