Designing Better UX Deliverables - Cambridge Usability Group, 12 May 2014


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Slides from my talk at Cambridge Usability Group on the 12th of May 2014

Needing to produce some kind of deliverables throughout a project is inevitable: it might be user research reports to inform senior stakeholder; usability test results to communicate to developers; sketches and wireframes to pass on to web designers.
Just as we make the products and services we design easy to use, the UX of UX is about communicating your thinking in a way that ensures that what you've defined is easy to understand for the reader. It's about adapting the work you do to the project in question and finding the right balance of making people want to look through your work whilst not spending unnecessary time on making it pretty.

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Designing Better UX Deliverables - Cambridge Usability Group, 12 May 2014

  1. 1. ! ! Designing better UX deliverables by Anna Dahlström | @annadahlstrom
 Cambridge Usability Group, 12 May 2014
  2. 2. My name is Anna and today we’re going to talk about: ! •How to adapt and sell your UX deliverable to the reader (from clients, your team, in house and outsourced developers) •Guiding principles for creating good UX deliverables (both low and high fidelity) •Best practice for presentations, personas, user journeys, flows, sitemaps, wireframes and other documents •Simple, low effort but big impact tools for improving the visual presentation of your UX deliverables
  3. 3. Happy clown via Shutterstock Only joking. That’s not what this 
 presentation will look like
  4. 4. If it did, I wouldn’t blame you
 if you looked like this
  5. 5. What is 
 so bad with this?
  6. 6. First of all, it makes you
 want to do this
  7. 7. It’s really 
 hard to read No breathing spacing ..and so much to read Lack of text indent & alignment
  8. 8. It contains unnecessary detail It’s too wordy It’s most likely what I’ll say anyway
  9. 9. It just
 doesn’t sell it “Seriously?!” “Lazy!”“This lady just doesn’t care” “This will be 1 hour I’ll never get back of my life” “I’m out of here” “Boring!”
  10. 10. Today we’ll look at... 1. A bit of background 2. Adapting to the reader, project & situation 3. Good examples 4. Guiding principles with DOs & DON’Ts 5. Practice 6. Q & A
  11. 11. 2007 
I started working agency side
  12. 12. Much faster pace 
 than what I was used to
  13. 13. From one to many clients 
 & projects, at the same time
  14. 14. From tax applications to 
 campaigns & large website redesigns
  15. 15. Strategic 
thinking & communication 
my work became very important +
  16. 16. Creative 
approach to UX deliverables 
with less set templates +
  17. 17. Many 
talented people
  18. 18. Creative, communicative, & visually pleasing documents were a breeze for them
  19. 19. They made 
 clients & internal people smile
  20. 20. For me... 
 it took time
  21. 21. Advancing my 
 wireframing skills was easy
  22. 22. Less so with the 
 strategic experience design documents
  23. 23. I had to find 
 my own style
  24. 24. Weekly 
one to ones
  25. 25. Critique, walk-throughs & tips 
 was the best thing for my development
  26. 26. That & experimenting
 until I found my style
  27. 27. Since then I’ve made clients & internal stakeholders & team members smile
  28. 28. Though that’s not what it’s about, 
 it was & continues to be one important aspect
  29. 29. Championing IA & UX internally as 
 well as with clients was a big part of my job
  30. 30. It still is: the value of UX, 
 collaboratively working & being involved from start to finish is not a given everywhere
  31. 31. Whoever our work is for, 
 we always need to sell it
  32. 32. How much we need to put into it How we need to sell it To whom we need to sell it ! this all varies
  33. 33. That’s what we’re 
 going to be looking at today
  34. 34. 2. Adapting to the reader, project & situation
  35. 35. We all know that 
 what we do adds value…
  36. 36. We recommend 
 an approach & what to do Image via Shutterstock
  37. 37. Convincing others isn’t 
 always that easy
  38. 38. Which can result
 in these kind of situations Not enough budget Brought in too late Not enough time allocated No budget allocated The client doesn’t prioritise it Not included in meetings The company doesn’t prioritise it Deliverables & timelines are promised without consulting us No direct contact with the client I just don’t know how to make it tangible
  39. 39. “ You need to understand where your peers in other disciplines are coming from and communicate the message of UX to them in terms they can understand.” - Pabini Gabriel-Petit, UX Matters
  40. 40. Where we work Who the deliverable is for Why we do it How it’s going to be used ! impacts how to approach it
  41. 41. I asked a few people
 in different roles what they considered key with good UX deliverables
  42. 42. “ You need to produce a deliverable that meets the needs of the audience it's intended for: wireframes that communicate to designers, copy writers and technical architects... Experience strategy documents that matter to digital marketeers... ” - John Gibbard
 Associate Planning Director

  43. 43. “ A good UX deliverable clearly communicates its purpose and what it’s trying to achieve. It anticipates any questions / scenarios which may be posed. ” ! - Nick Haley
 Head of User Experience
 Guardian News and Media
  44. 44. “ It’s not something created for the sake of it. One of the reasons we don’t do wireframes anymore is because of this. Instead my team creates html prototypes which live in a browser. I see developers refer to them all the time, without consulting the team. ” ! - Nick Haley
 Head of User Experience
 Guardian News and Media
  45. 45. One immediate 
 conclusion can be made
  46. 46. Client side is different from having clients
  47. 47. “ In the past I’d look for reams of documents going into great detail, but as a result of the proliferation in devices creating documentation is becoming too cumbersome. There needs to be some initial though into journeys, personas and use cases for sure, but the need for wireframes I think is reduced to identify the priority of content/functionality. ” ! - Alex Matthews
 Head of Creative Technology
 BBH, London
  48. 48. “ Instead we should be wireframing in code using a responsive framework so that we can immediately see how everything looks on all devices, and rapidly change how an element and its associated behaviours looks across all these devices. ” ! - Alex Matthews
 Head of Creative Technology
 BBH, London
  49. 49. Second conclusion: 
 approaches & what’s needed differ 
 between companies
  50. 50. I asked Alex: 
 “Would you agree though that the above works a lot better if the teams are located together and work collaboratively, and that the need for actual wireframes with annotations increase, if the development happens elsewhere?”
  51. 51. Yes 
totally agree
  52. 52. Third conclusion: 
 what inhouse developers need is 
 different from if the build is outsourced
  53. 53. “ Rule for my team: I don’t care what you create or how you create it, but it better be high quality. ! A deliverable which isn’t used to move the project forward is a waste of time. ” ! - Nick Haley
 Head of User Experience
 Guardian News and Media
  54. 54. “ UX is about delivery, not deliverables. So the best design artefacts are the ones that take the least time to convey the most insight and meaning. Conversations are better than sketches, sketches are better than prototypes and prototypes are better than think specifications. So if you're focussing on making pretty deliverables, you’re focussing on the wrong thing. ” ! - Andy Budd
 Co-founder & CEO
  55. 55. “ That being said, there are VERY RARE occasions when creating a nice looking deliverable like a concept map—to explain a difficult concept around a large organisation—can pay dividends. But this is the exception rather than the rule. ” ! - Andy Budd
 Co-founder & CEO
  56. 56. Forth conclusion: 
 it’s not about pretty documents, 
 but about adding value
  57. 57. “ Make them f****** appropriate Practitioners love to pretend that they only need to fart/cough near a client and they understand what’s inferred, but that's nonsense. ” - Jonty Sharples
 Design Director
  58. 58. “ The truth is you need to communicate to lots of different people at lots of different levels. Make sure your deliverables (at whatever fidelity) are appropriate for your audience. ” - Jonty Sharples
 Design Director
  59. 59. As we know, 
 not every client is the same
  60. 60. From two dear ones, 
 who have been both colleagues & clients
  61. 61. “ The best UX works collaboratively and considers the whole customer journey/experience as well as satisfying the business requirements in the context of the overall digital strategy. ” - Stephanie Win-Hamer
 Proposition Manager
  62. 62. “ Good UX should demonstrate enough for stakeholders to understand the essential details, for developers to be able to build with minimum questions, and for other UX designers to pick up the project. The deliverable should not be in the form of long winded manuals, which often remain unread, and become time-consuming to maintain. ” ! - Scott Byrne-Fraser
 Creative Director
 BBC User Experience & Design
 Sport & Live
  63. 63. “ A good piece of UX has a narrative and clearly tells a story, or at least part of a story on a particular journey. As a designer everything I do and make is communicating something to someone.” - Steve Whittington
 Design Director 

  64. 64. Last but not least, 
 we wouldn’t have anything 
 without content
  65. 65. “ The best deliverables for a writer evidence a really close understanding of our content so that there's flexibility in wireframes for example, to fit more or less words. Components can be useful in this respect. ” - Emma Lawson
 Freelance Senior Copywriter 
 & Former Head of Copy

  66. 66. 3. Good examples
  67. 67. Personas & pen portraits
  68. 68. Persona
  69. 69.
  70. 70. Customer Experience Map
  71. 71.
  72. 72.
  73. 73.
  74. 74. User flows & journeys
  75. 75.
  76. 76.
  77. 77.
  78. 78.
  79. 79. Flow diagram
  80. 80.
  81. 81.
  82. 82. Screen flow diagrams
  83. 83.
  84. 84.
  85. 85.
  86. 86.
  87. 87. Sitemaps 

  88. 88.
  89. 89.
  90. 90.
  91. 91. Wireframes 

  92. 92.
  93. 93.
  94. 94.
  95. 95.
  96. 96.
  97. 97. 4. Guiding principles with DOs & DON’Ts
  98. 98. First 
  99. 99. • make documents skimmable & easy to read • remove fluff & get to the point • pullout key points & actions • add some delight to keep the reader engaged 01 Create something 
 people want to read
  100. 100. Every reader has given you their time. 
 Make the most of it & don’t waste it
  101. 101. • always include page titles • usevisualcues for what you reference in annotations • pulloutorhighlight what has changed from prior version 02Ensure the reader knows what they are looking at
  102. 102. • aredthread is crucial & makes your work more engaging • consistency in numbering & titles matters • include page numbers, particularly if presenting over the phone 03Make it easy to follow & understand
  103. 103. Though it (mostly) should be, 
 it won’t always be YOU presenting YOUR work
  104. 104. “ Narrative is the key thing. A person needs to be able to tell a good story about their deliverables and why they made decisions, who they worked with along the way and how they were produced (and for whom). It's only really when people tell stories that people feel engaged and connected with how a UX practitioner practices. The ones that don't have narrative come across as samey, lumpy and can make you assume the practitioner lacks passion. ” - Be Kaler
 Futureheads Recruitment 

  105. 105. • use stencils & avoid continuously creating from scratch • keep assets organised (icons, visual elements, assets for devices, social media etc.) • spend some time setting up elements properly • helpsavoid having to go back & adjust every instance later • setup document templates that can be reused • alloftheabove saves time & ensures you spend yours wisely 04Make things reusable between projects
  106. 106. • setup&automate document info (logos, page numbers, titles, version, file location, etc) • ifsoftwareallows, place them on a shared canvas/ layer • ensures they are on every page & no manual update is needed • uselayers/sharedcanvases for consistent elements • &for keeping your document organised (great if someone else needs to pick it up) 05Avoid unnecessary updates & maintenance
  107. 107. • appliesto verbal presentation & walkthrough • aswell as visual presentation & polish • adjust your focus & detail - what’s most important to them 06Adapt to the reader, project & situation
  108. 108. “ UX is a critical part of any project but you'll often find that clients sometimes don't understand what they are looking at and/or are just itching to get to the "pretty pictures" bit. From my point of view therefore, it is vital that the UX is super clear, with detailed annotations and notes written in laymen's terms - and if it can be visually engaging to keep their attention, all the better. Personally I am a big fan of sketches, particularly in the early stages. ” - Hannah Hilbery
 Board Account Director
 Leo Burnett

  109. 109. • helpsdraw the user’s eye & guide the reader to what matters • useful for grouping information • addsdelight & makes your documents a pleasure to the eye • reallysimple & takes very little time 07Use a mixture of colours, white space, fonts & styling
  110. 110. And 
  111. 111. • check spelling • ensure things are aligned • include spacing • always proof read 01 Don’t be lazy
  112. 112. • images tend to come in certain ratios • typography needs to be big enough to read • betrue - making your wireframes bigger, or modules smaller won’t make the content fit in real life 02Don’t create unrealistic wireframes
  113. 113. • workwith simple tools to improve your documents • spendyourtime where it adds the most value • practice&re-use to save time 03Don’t spend unnecessary time polishing
  114. 114. A quick 15 mins 
 exercise before we finish
  115. 115. For summer a client has asked you to design & build an app around what’s happening in Cambridge. They’ve shared what they’d like to include: TheBRIEF • About the app • List of offers from stores • List of events • Map of Cambridge (with events etc) • Latest news • Login & registration • Ability to share
  116. 116. 01 SKETCHING As a first draft to the client, sketch a few of the sections of the app & include key points on interactions, flow between screens & main points around your thinking. • About the app • List of offers from stores • List of events • Map of Cambridge (with events etc) • Latest news • Login & registration • Ability to share
  117. 117.
  118. 118. Tools for sketching
  119. 119. 01 SKETCHING As a first draft to the client, sketch a few of the sections of the app & include key points on interactions, flow between screens & main points around your thinking. • About the app • List of offers from stores • List of events • Map of Cambridge (with events etc) • Latest news • Login & registration • Ability to share
  120. 120. A few
 final words...
  121. 121. Approach, tools & fidelity depends 
 on your project, budget and time frame
  122. 122. Detailed
IA & UX deliverablesHigh level
 Source: Mark Bell, Dare Info or task
Aim of experience Less formal UX deliverables but more creatively led UX led with more formal & extensive IA & UX deliverables
  123. 123. It also depends on 
 the skills & experiences of your team
  124. 124. Detailed
IA & UX deliverablesHigh level
Experience in visual design teamExtensive
 Less formal UX deliverables but more creatively led UX led with more formal & extensive IA & UX deliverables Source: Mark Bell, Dare
  125. 125. And if it’s being built 
 externally or internally
  126. 126. Detailed
IA & UX deliverablesHigh level
 Info or task
Aim of experience Limited
Experience in visual design teamExtensive
 Less formal UX deliverables but more creatively led UX led with moreformal& extensiveIA&UXdeliverables Source: Mark Bell, Dare
  127. 127. If clients (or someone else) don’t get it,
 there is generally something to be improved in how we work with them & present our work
  128. 128. No right way. No wrong way.
  129. 129. As long as 
 you add value
  130. 130. Remember, 
 this is how I started out
  131. 131. Learn from others 
 & stick to the DOs & DON’Ts
  132. 132. Fonts & colours go a long way.
  133. 133. And have fun, 
 it will come across Happy clown via Shutterstock
  134. 134. One last, 
 but important point
  135. 135. I firmly believe that for one to be successful - all the disciplines need to sing together. Hence, the single most important deliverable isn't a physical one, rather a common understanding - a pool of knowledge - developed when these key disciplines work together. ” - Steve Whittington
 Design Director 

  136. 136. Thank you. Questions? @annadahlstrom @UXFika