Monday, November 05, 2007

The Five Competencies of User Experience Design

Distinguishing between IA, Interaction Design, Usability Engineering, Visual Design, and prototype engineering ...

"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. 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.

... Interaction Design

With increasing pressure to create rich user experiences, the interaction designer bears the greatest load and is responsible for conceptual design, which requires exposure to the latest UI patterns and components. In laying the groundwork for and producing the deliverables listed in the sidebar, the interaction designer dives deepest into the minutia of page elements, presentation, and page flow.

Questions the interaction designer must address include:

* What layout pattern would work best?
* Which features and information are of higher importance, and how do I draw users’ attention to them?
* How should I incorporate the user feedback I am getting from user research, user surveys, and formative and summative usability testing?
* What behaviors occur on dragging and dropping, on mouse over, and so on?
* How can I communicate the strengths of a feature or application?
* How can I satisfy users’ primary needs and support the tasks that let them achieve their goals?
* How can I draw on users’ intuition to get them to the next step?
* How can I ensure users are aware they’re performing a subtask that’s part of a greater task they’ve started?
* How can I use the UI components that are available to me—such as grids, tabs, and panels?
* How can I maintain consistency throughout the application?

The emergence of rich application experiences has increased the workload for interaction designers. What, in a traditional Web design process, we once specified as page-by-page state changes, we now achieve through a UI-component-by-UI component, multi-state specification often expressed as a matrix. At present, no single methodology that efficiently enables the documenting of rich application designs has emerged as the standard in the UX design community.

On the plus side, the focus of specifications has shifted. Remember when interaction designers had to specify a UI component, then give the specification to the engineers to go build it? Now designers can just pick a pre-built component that the engineers can configure."    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]


Blogger anders said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:27 AM  
Blogger anders said...

You might want to check out - a great resource for user interface design patterns.

8:28 AM  

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