10 Things User Experience Design is NOT…
1. User interface (UI) design
2. A ‘step in the process’
3. Just about technology
4. Just about usability
5. Just about the user
8. The role of one department
9. A single discipline
10. A choice ~@whitneyhess
User Experience Design
is a challenge because
there really are no
There isn’t one perfect process or
ideal set of tools.
UX Design is comprised of many disciplines:
Business and Product Strategy
Product Design and Management
Today we will look at ways to answer
three important questions
Who are we designing for?
How can we meet their needs?
Did we get it right or could we do it better?
Part One: Discovery—Empathy Mapping—Personas
Part Two: User Research—Design Studio—Design Principles
Part Three: Usability Testing—Metrics and Analytics—Iteration
Discovery is key to successful design projects.
Determine key stakeholders and what their roles are
Get a clear understanding of vision and existing strategy
Determine what is already known about their audience
Gain domain and subject matter knowledge, ‘learn the vernacular’
Begin to flesh out user/audience profiles and scenarios
Discovery activities that will get you what you need:
Kick-off meeting with design and stakeholder team
One-on-one interviews with individual stakeholders
Review web analytics or internal metrics data that is available
Review support or help desk tickets and customer inquiries
Review any existing user or market research that has been completed
Who is a ‘stakeholder’?
CEO and executive team, but also:
Sales and marketing managers
Support team and members of operations staff
Technical lead and IT or development team members
Executives help provide vision
and strategy, but you want to talk
to any people on the team who
engage directly with existing and
It is also key to engage all members of the team in
this process as you want ownership of successful
user experience to be organization-wide.
Empathy Mapping helps to contextualize data:
Takes abstract information and places it in a ‘human’ context
Helps to sketch out potential scenarios for use of product or service
Lays the foundation for more formal ‘personas’ the team can refer to as they
research further and design
Let’s make one!
Personas provide a ‘snapshot’ or proﬁle of your user.
Using your empathy maps, you can flesh out more formal ‘user stories’
and identifiable characters
Enables the entire organization to envision and understand the user,
and their needs, motivations and behaviours
Provides a reference point for further research, design principles
and through ongoing iteration
Some examples of personas and profiles:
Using the Empathy Map you created…
Work with your team to build a ‘Persona’:
1. ‘Sketch’ your user and give them a name. Draw their portrait!
2. Tell their story and outline the scenario in which your product or service
3. Remember to use and include things such as user Quotes, Behaviours,
Considerations and Pain Points/Frustrations
4. Present your persona to the group for feedback and critique
These Personas will be used later to help draft your
User Research is perhaps the most important
part of user experience design.
It is also typically the hardest sell.
Yeah, but this study will delay out launch date.
Yeah, but we already know what the problems are.
Yeah, but aren’t our designers suppose to know what people need?
They’re the experts.
Yeah, but we can’t learn much from only five participants.
Yeah, but we just want to launch and see if it sticks. We’ll fix it later.
Yeah, but we can’t pay that much for this.
Yeah, but our product managers already do interviews and look at analytics.
Yeah, but A/B testing gives us all the answers we need.
Yeah but how statistically significant is a study with five participants?
Yeah, but can’t we run a quick study with internal users instead?
Yeah, but research sounds so academic.
Yeah, but Market Research already answered our questions.
Why is research so important?
Helps you to validate assumptions about users’ behaviours and needs
Can help identify any opportunities or gaps in the current experience
Assists with producing a set of user-aligned design principles you can use to
What is ‘Guerrilla Research?
The type of research you do when you have little time or budget.
It’s an excellent ‘gateway drug’.
What makes something ‘Guerrilla’ ?
Russ Unger, author of Project Guide to UX Design:
Usually very similar to regular research techniques, just less time, cost & rigor:
1. It’s quick. From recruiting to interviewing to testing in the time it might
have taken just to recruit participants for a non-Guerrilla study.
2. It’s cheap. Save on costs by recruiting existing users, non-project
internal staff, family members, friends--even people in Starbucks or
on the street.
3. It’s enough. Usually even 3 to 5 research participants can give you
a good idea of whether or not something works or requires
How are Personas related to Research?
Research can help you further validate and/or refine your Personas.
Recruit more accurately: Your initial ‘persona sketch’ can help draft your ‘screener’.
Scenarios and stories help you to frame research questions and tasks.
Screener Survey Research Plan
What does a Research project look like?
Audience Research Research
Proﬁles Plan Sessions
Data Data Design
Analysis Synthesis Principles
Design Principles are the main pillars of your
design. They are core actions or behaviours it
may need to support, or overall considerations
that should be carried through the design.
An example of Design Principles:
1. Conform to users’ mental model of the system
2. Convey requirements, set expectations and provide wayfinding
3. Reduce duplication of data entry and overall user effort
4. Use inline validation and ‘Poka-yoke’
Design Studio is a great way to involve your
entire team or organization in the design
process. It should not be confused with
‘design by committee’.
Using the Personas you created…
You will work with your team to develop a set of Design Principles.
1. Individually, sketch out some features and design ideas for your concept.
2. Pair off with another team mate and present your sketches to each other.
Critique and keep the best ideas from each design, combining them into
one large sketch.
3.Get back into your group of four, and have each pair present their design.
4. Working together as a group, combine the best ideas from each sketch
into one large sketch that you can present to the other groups for critique.
Prototypes don’t need to be formal or fancy.
Prototypes can range from pencil sketches to fully mocked and annotated
As long as your design is communicated you can put it in front of users for
Test early and often! Better to get several rounds of feedback then wait.
Conduct ‘Guerrilla Testing’:
1. Put even a paper prototype in front of someone
2. Don’t explain what they should be doing, just ask them to look
3. Ask how they feel about the design, and allow them talk through it
Are online usability testing tools worth it?
Moderated remote testing using Skype or GoToMeeting can be effective.
Automated online testing using tools such as UserTesting.com are less so.
Drawbacks of online tools:
You can’t see the users’ facial expressions or body language.
If you are using an unmoderated tool, you can’t probe or ask follow up questions.
Benefits of online tools:
Testing remotely enables you to test a large number of users without the
associated travel costs. Very good value.
Can provide fast, inexpensive, high-level feedback. Good way of grabbing low-
hanging fruit with minimal effort.
How can we improve our designs?
Usability Testing: Enables you to continuously incorporate end-user feedback.
Web Analytics Data: You can “benchmark” your designs and measure changes and improvements
Optimization Techniques: Employ A/B and multivariate testing to test more radical design changes
safely or test a series of smaller design ideas with less overhead.
Full resource guide available at:
'10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design' - By Whitney Hess - http://www.slideshare.net/whitneyhess/10-most-
'Getting Guerrilla With It' - UXMag Article No, 620, February 15, 2011 - By Russ Unger and Todd Zaki Warfel - http://uxmag.com/articles/getting-
'Lean UX: Getting Out of the Deliverables Business' - Smashing Magazine, March 7, 2011 - By Jeff Gothelf - http://