We buy our own insurance online, we book my own flights, we manageour own finances on our phone. But we’ve never given someone an MRIbefore. Learning that domain is a bit harder, and takes more time.The stakes might be higher – you’re designing something that people useto do their jobs, or to make sense of large sets of information in order tomake critical decisions.You don’t have a mental model for the system. You likely have neverused something like this before, and don’t have a frame of reference andaren’t familiar with the goals that users have.You might not have that understanding yet, but you will.
You have the skills and the know-how to do this!LEAN ON YOUR TEAM, talk it through with them.Some of our best work is done when working with adesign partner.
EMOTIONS 1 2 BENEFITS 3 FEATURES 4 ATTRIBUTES Anatomy of an The Thing is not THE THING Ideal Experience™
You have to focus less on the tool, and more on the goal that the tool is meantto enable. It IS about how we make people feel, and creating an emotionalexperience for them.Your design lives in the real world – start to understand what situations,behaviors, emotions it exists with. Understanding these larger goals can bejust as important as considering specific features.You have to understand a user’s story. Know the kinds of decisions they willneed to make. Know what they need in order to make those decisions. Knowhow they want to feel. So, how do we do that?
Our best work is informed by user research, and a deep understandingof goals that users have (both in and out of a system), and the emotionaldrivers behind those.Start with the questions that we have about people and their experiences. Do we have questions about the ecosystem of people and services? Or about their mental model of an experience?When you’ve done this research, you’ll have built understanding aboutusers’ work processes and goals. From that, you’ll find patterns andthemes to provide you with the framework for a design solution.But you’re not done!
Design is how you begin to understand it for yourself, anduncover more questions that give you deeper understanding.You may have questions that your team didn’t anticipate at thebeginning. Maybe you have older research, and some new usergoals need to be accounted for. Research doesn’t just end when design begins. THE LINE IS FUZZY.Keep asking questions. Admit what you know and especiallywhat you don’t know.
For the things you don’t know,what do you do?Start with doing some insight mining to extract all the knowledgethat can get locked up in organizations.Reach out to your subject-matter experts, to the sales teams,to the support teams.Your IA is going to force you to inventory all of these sources ofinformation to understand how they all fit. Make sure that you’reworking with blueprints of the experience instead of pushing pixels.
Take advantage of being a layman.Our role as designers is to askthe questions that others areafraid to ask. JUST DO SOMETHING! Getting a reaction gets you closer to an answer. Just trying something and beginning an iterative process is a kind of research, and a good way to build up from your base level of understanding.
Don’t be afraid of going back tothe drawing board.Allow yourself to step back and think at a more architectural orstructural level, and use that process as a tool to bring the goals andneeds of a user to life in a tangible way. The risk that you take in trying to make something fit is greater than just taking a step back.Taking a fresh look at the architecture or thinking about the structurein a new way might just be the thing that you need to see things in anew light. It doesn’t mean that you are starting over.
“Test early and often” is extra important whenworking on complex systems. While we have learned a lot aboutthe goals of people using these complex systems, we aren’texperts in the field yet so user testing and concept evaluation iscritical to making sure that the right information is representedat the right time.
If it is done right, there isn’t an end tothe process. Know that it doesn’t end with you – it moves onthrough development, then out to users.Step back to see if your next project can help solve some of theneeds that were out of scope for your primary effort. When you find yourself saying, “What did I get myself into?!” Remember that it isn’t about the thing. Your goal is to craft a desired experience that lets people focus on what’s important to them and help them accomplish their goals.
THANK YOU :-)firstname.lastname@example.org I email@example.com @lextant
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