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Interaction Design = What it Feels Like

I have recently introduced an Experience Design Model I’ve been working on for some time. It contains six design elements that parallel six UX disciplines. I’ve also been sharing my notes to show how I arrived at the model. So far I’ve discussed task analysis and how it centers around what makes sense, circumstance analysis and how it centers around decision-making, gamification analysis and how it centers around user engagement, and information architecture and how it centers around what your product looks like. This post is dedicated to interaction design and how it centers around what your product feels like. In previous posts I’ve included the list of design elements contained within the Experience Design Model. Here is the list once more:

  • (Ta) Task analysis centers around what makes sense.
  • (Ca) Circumstance analysis centers around decision-making.
  • (Ga) Gamification analysis centers around user engagement.
  • (Ia) Information architecture centers around what [your product] looks like.
  • (Id) Interaction design centers around what [your product] feels like.
  • (Ua) Usability is concerned with what [your product] does.

The interaction design definition I’ve selected is brought to us by IxDA.org(Id) Interaction design defines the behavior of artifacts, environments, and systems by anticipating how individuals use these elements and how these elements mediate human relationships and affect human understanding. This definition tells us that interaction design is focused on mediation of human relationships and human understanding–or, at its most basic level, interpersonal relationships. Wikipedia tells us that an interpersonal relationship is a strong, deep, or close association or acquaintance between two or more people that may range in duration from brief to enduring. Given these definitions, we can say that interaction design is focused on creating feelings of association between users and the product. Thus, interaction design centers around what your product feels like.

The following list of UX activities are founded on creating feelings of association:

(Br) Brand is the emotional relationship between users and your product. Although brand encompasses everything about your product, Interaction Designers create the associations and connections that attract and keeps users.

(Af) Affordance (Expectation) is a property of an object, or an environment, which allows an individual to perform an action, including elements that allow for easy discoverability of possible actions.

(Sf) Style & function is composed of elements such as line weight, shape, size and color, that create a powerful visual that engages users and provides functionality.

(Hp) Human perception organizes, identifies, and interprets sensory information in order to understand the environment. Because perception shifts with every change in the user’s circumstance, every design element will be viewed by users with varying perceptions.

(Cp) Color patterns are concerned with mapping specific emotions to specific user actions. Color is one of the most important elements of design that will communicate to users not just on the level of association perception, but on the level of emotional connections as well.

In the detailed process of the design element outline above, Task Analysts identify product ideas that make sense based on their research, Circumstance Analysts make decisions about what is feasible based on current circumstance, Gamification Analysts identify engagement strategies based on user value systems, and Information Architects show us what the product looks like by organizing and creating structure out of data. It follows then, that Interaction Designers create associations by creating human connections within the product.

Here, I have presented interaction design as one element out of six within my Experience Design Model. I have concluded that in practice, Interaction Designers mold the organization and structure created by Information Architects into artifacts, environments, and systems that people associate themselves with through the use of UX activities that create human connections. And, I have presented six UX activities that I expect Interaction Designers to apply to the organization and structure created by Information Architects. In the next post I will share my notes on usability and how it centers around what your product does.

Join the conversation in my LinkedIn group. Although I’ve only included six UX activities there are many more that Interaction Designers are responsible for. I would be happy to include UX activities that you use in your Interaction Design practice.

 

 

 

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Information Architecture = What it Looks Like

I’ve introduced the Experience Design Model I’ve been working on for some time. Following that introduction I’ve been posting my notes to show how I arrived at the model. So far I’ve shared my notes on task analysis, circumstance analysis, and gamification analysis. This post is dedicated to information architecture and how it centers around what your product looks like. In previous posts I have shared the Experience Design Model list of elements. Here is that list again:

  • (Ta) Task analysis centers around what makes sense.
  • (Ca) Circumstance analysis centers around decision-making.
  • (Ga) Gamification analysis centers around user engagement.
  • (Ia) Information architecture centers around what [your product] looks like.
  • (Id) Interaction design centers around what [your product] feels like.
  • (Ua) Usability is concerned with what [your product] does.

Information architecture, like all other UX disciplines, is complex and cannot easily be simplified. Like other UX disciplines, there are a number of definitions out there to choose from. The definition I offer is a simplified combination. (Ia) Information architecture is the art and science of organizing data to support usability. Here we are concerned with the organization of data based on the results from the work done by task analysis, circumstance analysis, and gamification analysis. The following are some of the UX activities Information Architects are responsible for:

(Uf) User flows show the path and actions the user takes through boxes and arrows diagram illustrations. They answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions and present ‘if, then’ situations. This kind of illustration gives the viewer an understanding of what the user is intending to do along the path. User flows also allow the Information Architect to create screens that support those needed actions and enable the team to understand the big picture.

(Tx) Taxonomy describes a grouping of labels that span out like a tree. Some of the labels are implicit and not visible to the user while others are explicit and visible. You can find taxonomies in every field, from medical practice to law and others.

(Sb) Storyboards are quick drawings that represent the experience in subsequent order. These tell the story succinctly and allow the team to understand the product.

(Wf) Wireframes are the blueprints that the product will be based on. The ultimate goal is to create the structural environment in which the content will be presented.

(Cs) Content strategy helps Information Architects understand what’s possible in terms of content. The typical questions you would answer to work out a content strategy are specific to: the kind of content, text, video, image, etc.; how much of that content exists and where it might live; where the content will be authored; and who specifically is responsible for it.

You can gather from these UX activities that task analysis continues in information architecture. But here, task analysis is geared towards the organization and presentation of information within the product whereas previous task analysis work was focused on what kind of product makes sense. Let’s follow the Experience Design Model concept to further clarify the differences:

  1. Task Analysts have deduced from their research that a particular user need is not satisfied properly and bring a product idea to the table.
  2. Circumstance Analysts reviewed the current circumstance and approved the idea as feasible.
  3. Gamification Analysts then looked at the product idea and followed user activities, and connections to others, to identify feasible engagement strategies that would make the product successful.
  4. Next, the Information Architect follows the product concept, from the user’s perspective, to determine what it looks like;  that is, it has the appearance of the product.
  5. Then, following the Information Architect, the Interaction Designer will further refine the product.

As you can see from the Experience Design Model concept, Information Architecture is only one discipline within the product design process. Therefore, at the Information Architecture phase the most we can expect is what a product looks like.

It’s not necessary for an Information Architect to create all of the artifacts from the UX activities listed above. Experienced teams can hop around UX activities to use their time wisely. But, because this is the organization and structure phase, you don’t want to be wrong. Also, I have found that clients are better able to visualize and understand the product if you can show them a complete experience. How I do this is by creating a complete experience in user flow format. I then narrow the experience using storyboards. From there, I create wireframes of key screens. I find it easier to think through content strategy from wireframes so as many wireframes as you need to work out content strategy is as many as you should create.

In this post I have presented a group of UX activities that are specifically geared towards an organization and structure mental model. I’ve presented the overall process of how a product arrives at the Information Architecture stage. And I’ve made the case that the product at this stage only looks like, has the appearance of, the final product. In the next post I will discuss how Interaction Design centers around what your product feels like.

I would love to hear what UX activities you use in Information Architecture so I can include them on this list. You can follow the conversation on LinkedIn. Thank you for your input.

 

Gamification = User Engagement

In my previous post I discussed circumstance analysis, how it centers around decision-making, and how it works hand-in-hand with task analysis to bring product ideas to the table. In this post I will discuss gamification and how it centers around user engagement. To bring context to these concepts I have previously presented a list that entails the entire Experience Design Model. Here is the list once more:

  • (Ta) Task analysis centers around what makes sense.
  • (Ca) Circumstance analysis centers around decision-making.
  • (Ga) Gamification analysis centers around user engagement.
  • (Ia) Information architecture centers around what [your product] looks like.
  • (Id) Interaction design centers around what [your product] feels like.
  • (Ua) Usability is concerned with what [your product] does.

Let’s begin with the gamification definition. (Ga) Gamification analysis discovers the value of users and their activities as they relate to your product. It creates value systems that engage users to your product and extends those value systems to your broader set of customers. This definition tells us that we’re looking to create value systems from user activities and connections to others. The following UX activities are specifically designed to create those value systems:

(Am) Activity mapping focuses on mapping each activity to individual users, then mapping this node to other users and their activities. This exposes high-value activities that require your focus.

(Sm) Social mapping is concerned with understanding the social relationships between users. It maps out what Malcolm Gladwell calls mavens, connectors, and salesmen. Once these users are identified they are connected with user activities. The goal here is to find connections between these users and the high-value activities found in activity mapping.

(Sc) Social communications extract the various areas where users connect to each other and your product. They also identify the communications technology most suited in those connections. It may be that the communication requires a tweet, or that it requires an email or a phone call. The technology required may not exist, which gives you a great opportunity for innovation.

(Lbm) Leaderboard mapping outlines the appropriate mechanisms that engage your users at every level. These mechanisms are derived from your understanding of user activities, social mapping, and social communications–you can think of them as gives and gets.

(Sv) Social value is a methodical way of measuring the value that the user’s activities bring to the product. It combines the user’s own activity value and adds the extended value through the user’s social map. The most valuable user is usually not the most visible.

The Gamification Analyst works through UX activities to discover user actions–gives, to match those user actions with something in return–gets, and to understand how each user is connected to larger groups. The Gamification Analyst then separates users to understand how they influence and create value within the product and within each other. I like to use Malcolm Gladwell’s influencer descriptions to separate users:

  • Mavens are the “cool” people who we rely on for new information or “the new.”
  • Connectors are people who know many and who like to introduce them to each other.
  • Salesmen persuade others.

Separating users to identify activity behaviors helps you understand the value of gives. It’s here that you can determine what gets are appropriate to offer users so that they come back.

Through Gamification Analysis you will know which users create value for your product and which connections to other users expand upon that value. Based on that knowledge you can devise appropriate mechanisms to support an engagement strategy centered on a clear picture of product growth. This engagement strategy, circumstance analysis, and task analysis stabilize product ideas so that Information Architects can create structure and organization around your product’s user experience.

In the next post I will discuss Information Architecture and how it centers around what your product looks like.

Circumstance Analysis = Decision-making

In my last post I discussed the concept of task analysis as it relates to my Experience Design Model work. The model consists of six separate and distinct UX disciplines. In each post I will discuss how each UX discipline works within the scope of the Experience Design Model. I have included UX discipline distinctions in my previous posts. Here they are again:

  • (Ta) Task analysis centers around what makes sense.
  • (Ca) Circumstance analysis centers around decision-making.
  • (Ga) Gamification analysis centers around user engagement.
  • (Ia) Information architecture centers around what [your product] looks like.
  • (Id) Interaction design centers around what [your product] feels like.
  • (Ua) Usability is concerned with what [your product] does.

Here I will discuss circumstance analysis, how it centers around decision-making, and how it works hand-in-hand with task analysis to bring product ideas to the table. First let’s look at the circumstance analysis definition. Circumstance analysis is concerned with understanding everything that may affect your product based on the current state of its value network; that is, all connections within the cost structure of your product.

Focusing on the last part of the definition, all connections within the cost structure, helps us organize and place analysis activities within this discipline:

(Vm) Vision & mission statements guide and create tactical simplicity. A vision statement places a flag in the horizon to guide you in a specific direction. A mission statement tells the team in charge of delivery what they will do. For example, do good is a vision statement whereas create computing devices is a mission statement.

(Le) Legal understanding of policies and regulations that will affect the product you’re creating will help you decide whether or not your product is feasible. For example, privacy polices may affect the way you communicate and sell to your customers.

(Po) Political situations may affect your product. Political change may affect your business environment thus creating unforeseen stresses upon your product. This is also an internal issue. A new CEO may also bring change to business culture and practice, which will affect your product.

(Hr) Human resources are your reason for existence. Without the right people your product cannot succeed. Here we’re looking at whether or not your existing set of employees have the skill-set to support the product. If not, you’ll need to find new employees, train existing ones, or shelf your product.

(Tc) Technology will make or break your product. Here we want to look at existing technologies to understand whether or not your product can succeed. We also want to look at the changes in technology that may change your circumstances.

(Ec) Economic circumstances focus on your product’s economic health. For example, tax rates may affect customer behavior, which may affect your bottom line. Internally, should you need to recall a product, you may find that absorbing the cost may be detrimental to your product’s economic health.

Every circumstance analysis activity definition presents us with possible change. If there is change and your product is affected, decisions need to be made. Hence, circumstance analysis = decision-making. Circumstance analysis can also be thought of as strategy. I use the term circumstance so we don’t loose sight of the fact that it’s the circumstance that causes decision-making.

Depending on which UX definition you use you can make the case that these are not UX activities. I use the following definitions in my work:

  1. Experience Design is the methodology used to create the experience.
  2. User Experience is the experience of the thing or place itself.

Within the scope of this Experience Design Model I am using definition number one as this model is a methodology used to create the experience. Thus, I will argue that circumstance analysis activities are within the bounds of UX because they too are part of the methodology used to create the experience.

In my last post I stated that as UX practitioners we “go back and forth from one UX discipline to another in the process of creation.” That can’t be overstated for circumstance analysis as it hovers above the creators making decisions that affect the product in all disciplines. That is especially true when we see how circumstance analysis works with task analysis.

Circumstance analysis works hand-in-hand with task analysis to create a realistic world around your product. All task analysis activity findings will need to be reviewed by circumstance analysis to make sure they support the vision and mission statements. And, if the task analysis findings bring new ideas to the product, the vision and mission statements may change to follow the new product idea. Other task analysis activities rely on more than just the vision and mission statements of circumstance analysis. For example, user stories will be reviewed by circumstance analysis to understand whether or not there is an issue with legal, technology, or economic circumstances.

There is a natural back-and-forth that occurs between task analysis and circumstance analysis. Task analysis brings ideas to the table based on research and circumstance analysis helps guide those ideas through the realities of current circumstances. Together they bring product ideas to the table that are more likely to succeed.

In my next post I will discuss gamification and how it serves to engage users. Thank you in advance for your participation and input in this work.

Task Analysis = What Makes Sense

Previously I introduced my Experience Design Model. Now, the UX model is almost complete. I am sharing this project with you so that you can share your insight in terms of direction. Please join the conversation in my LinkedIn group.

In my last post I included a list of distinctions I made between UX disciplines. Here it is again:

  • (Ta) Task analysis centers around what makes sense.
  • (Ca) Circumstance analysis centers around decision-making.
  • (Ga) Gamification analysis centers around user engagement.
  • (Ia) Information architecture centers around what [your product] looks like.
  • (Id) Interaction design centers around what [your product] feels like.
  • (Ua) Usability is concerned with what [your product] does.

In this post I will focus on task analysis and discuss how it centers around what makes sense. To begin with, we’ll remind ourselves of the task analysis definition we’re working with. Task analysis is the analysis of how a task is accomplished, including a detailed description of both manual and mental activities, task and element durations, task frequency, task allocation, task complexity, environmental conditions, necessary clothing and equipment, and any other unique factors involved or required for one or more people to perform a given task. –Wikipedia.org.

Given this definition, I have placed specific activities within the role of Task Analyst. All of which require some kind of task identification, task understanding, and task patterns. These task analysis activities have deliverables with very specific information that cannot be repudiated because the data backs them up.

Here are the UX activities I have assigned to the task analysis grouping, including my definitions for them:

(Uiv) User interviews are conducted to understand needs. This broad area includes: understanding a specific user’s needs, understanding a group of user’s needs, and understanding a whole sector of society. Identifying the goal of the interview is primary. This will help you devise an appropriate method and format for conducting the interviews.

(Us) User stories tell the story of jobs that need to be accomplished by whom and why. Each user story will be finite in detail so that no two people can understand it differently. User stories can be contextual to the business rules a product might require as well as detail each step in a user flow path the product needs to support.

(Upa) User patterns identify how group sets perform certain functions so that products can reflect those patterns in their design. Specificity of patterns can be translated into effective information architecture patterns as well as interaction design patterns.

(Upr) User personas are composites of who a real user might be. They should avoid artificiality and convey depth of character. User personas are used to create experiences for a set of people that the persona represents.

(Mm) Mental models are tools used to group activities within modes of thinking in order to design methods of helping users focus on specific jobs. They provide insight into the separations between tasks and their embedded subtasks.

There are more UX activities that can be assigned to the task analysis grouping. This is just where I stopped doing the analysis for this group. Your help in adding more UX activities would be appreciated.

Back to what makes sense. Each of these UX activities don’t have deliverables that present what the product might look like. Instead, they shape the product by guiding the continuing work in a direction that makes sense in light of the task analysis data.

For example:

  • (Uiv) User interviews guide further work in creating user stories, user patterns, user personas, and mental models.
  • (Us) User stories guide us in creating user patterns, user personas, and mental models.
  • (Upa) User patterns guide us in creating user stories, user personas, and mental models.
  • (Upr) User personas guide us in creating user stories, deeper user patterns, and mental models.

That’s not to say that one couldn’t go directly from any one of these task analysis UX activities into UX activities that do present what the product might look like. In fact, you’ll go back and forth from one UX discipline to another in the process of creation.  I’ve moved UX activities that present what the product might look like into information architecture–where we begin to put together organization and structure.

Here, I’ve pointed out that UX activities in task analysis are meant to help us understand what makes sense in terms of a product. The goal is to remember that when you’re wearing your Task Analyst hat, you are not working towards what the product looks like, you are identifying directions the product can take based on what makes sense–because the task analysis data tells you.

In the next post I will discuss circumstance analysis and how it works hand-in-hand with task analysis to bring your product down to earth. Thank you for your participation and input.

Experience Design Model

In the past two years I’ve been working to create UX artifacts for the purpose of teaching. It took a while because I needed to sort out all the noise from what eventually turned into an Experience Design Model.  I’m sharing this concept with you here. In the future I will share my notes as well so that you can see how I arrived here.

There are a number of Experience Design Models out there so you can decide which works for you. My concept brings together mental models (see Indi Young’s book) and UX to help us organize the process and the work that we do as designers. My intention is to strengthen each UX discipline by creating more focus. I have created a LinkedIn group to start a conversation about this work and I’m hopeful you can join in and give me your thoughts. I will continue to expand on the subject and include UX activities I use, plus others I will no doubt learn about from you and others.

Experience Design Model

This Experience Design Model brings together mental models and UX to create focus.

The groupings I’ve created are well known. However, based on the concept of mental models, I have separated each grouping as its own discipline. I don’t believe we are capable of placing random UX activities into our tool belt just because we are UX practitioners. I believe some of us are more capable in the data analysis side and others more capable in the human relationships side of design. But more on this later.

As to the grouping definitions, while I’m happy with the majority of them, I am concerned with task analysis. I would like to know if you have a better definition than what currently exists on Wikipedia. Maybe one of our UX authors can give us guidance here. Below, I have placed the definition language you see in the image. I’ve noted where I got the definition or if I put it together myself.

(Ta) Task Analysis is the analysis of how a task is accomplished, including a detailed description of both manual and mental activities, task and element durations, task frequency, task allocation, task complexity, environmental conditions, necessary clothing and equipment, and any other unique factors involved or required for one or more people to perform a given task. –Wikipedia.org.

(Ca) Circumstance analysis is concerned with understanding everything that may affect your product based on the current state of its value network; that is all connections within the cost structure of your product. –Olga Howard

(Ga) Gamification analysis discovers the value of users and their activities as they relate to your product. It creates value systems that engage users to your product and extends those value systems to your broader set of customers. –Olga Howard

(Ia) Information architecture is the art and science of organizing data to support usability. – I found several people using this definition but I would be happy to get one for the IA Institute.

(Id) Interaction design defines the behavior of artifacts, environments, and systems by anticipating how individuals use these elements and how these elements mediate human relationships and affect human understanding. –ixda.org.

(Ua) Usability analysis determines the level of ease or difficulty in the use of any particular interface. – I found several people using this definition but would love to hear if you have a better one.

In order to focus our UX disciplines I have made the following distinctions.

  • Task analysis centers around what makes sense.
  • Circumstance analysis centers around decision-making.
  • Gamification analysis centers around user engagement.
  • Information architecture centers around what [your product] looks like.
  • Interaction design centers around what [your product] feels like.
  • Usability is concerned with what [your product] does.

As a UX Director these distinctions help me organize UX skills around projects. As a UX practitioner I am more capable on the data analysis side. That means my most meaningful work comes from task analysis, circumstance analysis, gamification analysis, information architecture, and usability. I don’t spend practitioner hours on what a product feels like–from the sense of what I believe Interaction Designers do. As I move forward I am hopeful that I will hear form those of you who do spend your time on what products feel like so that your expertise can inform this work.

Next time I will discuss the distinctions I made above so that you can see where this is headed. Thank’s in advance for your input.

The Vision Tree

It is well understood that if an organization invests appropriately in the research and discovery phases of their products–products term being used loosely here to denote any output from the organization–it will save the organization a great deal of time and money in the building stages of the products. Within this early investment every organization should create a vision and mission tree.

Vision and mission tree image

Every organization should consider creating a vision and mission tree so that everyone within the organization can understand how each part of the organization fits within the whole.

This vision and mission tree is used by executives so that they understand how each part of the organization fits within the entire organization’s vision and mission. This tree can be presented to all employees depending on the situation. At the least, a mission tree should be available to all employees so they understand what they must achieve. But be careful in how the vision and mission are developed. While a vision is far away and something the organization is always moving towards, a mission is a tactical objective that will be met in the movement towards the vision. You must not mix them together because in the end there will be confusion and confusion is deadly for an organization.

Agile UX for Mobile

This was first published in Follow the UX Leader in July of 2011. As the Follow the UX Leader blog will be taken down and I feel this content is still relevant I have posted it here. I hope it is useful to you.

If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around UX in Agile, don’t worry. A lot of people are. There are a great many ways to integrate the two depending on a variety of factors that differ from situation to situation, but the following will help get you started:

  1. When practicing Agile UX for Mobile you can’t “bake” the big picture, but you can put your ingredients together to understand what this thing [product] is going to be. The “ingredients” for me are encompassed in user flows and storyboards.
  2. User flows are extremely helpful in deciding which user experience should be designed and developed first. If you’re familiar with the Parallel Universe theory, you can think of mobile user experiences in much the same way. A certain user experience will take the user in one focused direction, while the other can take them in a completely different focused direction altogether. Once you know which user experiences are needed, you can select the one you want to start with.
  3. Storyboards are imperative to quickly understand the story behind the user experience you’ve chosen to start with. These storyboards don’t have to be high-resolution. In fact, a simple box with text and structure elements is all that’s needed to get the story right. Having said that, clients don’t always react well to low-resolution storyboards, so from the set of low-resolution boards that you have created you should select the primary experience (this is the experience that your design success will depend upon and does not include small experiences like changing a date, or editing the screen) and create high-resolution wireframes depicting this primary experience.
  4. Visual treatment is sometimes the most difficult for everyone to think of in terms of Agile, but it is possible. What I like to do is take key, unique, high-resolution wireframes and focus visual treatment on these. However, before actually designing all of the screens, I select two screens from the middle of the experience that demonstrate the most complexity. In this way, visual treatment becomes contextual to using the app itself rather than focusing solely on the context of entering the app.
  5. When presenting, I like to use a long conference table or the floor if necessary to line up all of the screens so that the client can see the entire experience. Some screens will be low-resolution, others high-resolution, and in the middle they will contain the visual treatment concept. Presenting them in this way the first time, allows the team and the client to really look at the screens and visualize how the user will move through the entire experience. The goal here is to make sure the screens are seen with a critical eye.
  6. In subsequent presentations, modifications can be included and a creative standards document added to the mix.
  7. Don’t forget the user stories! From the very beginning of the process, you should start drafting your user stories. You’ll modify them, toss them, and create new ones as you go along with the goal of having development-ready stories by the time you’re done.

The objective for this approach is to make this phase move quickly — somewhere between 4 to 6 weeks. Upon approval, the work then moves to development and the UX team starts on another user experience in our parallel universe.

This is just a synopsis, but I hope this has been useful in helping you to think Agile UX!

A Disciplined UX Approach

A disciplined UX approach comes from understanding what questions you need to answer with each UX activity within each stage of product development. Knowing where you are in the process gets you the right answers at the right time. My process and approach may be different from that which you currently use or have been taught. You can use whatever parts will help you be successful and ignore those that don’t.

My Process and Approach

I am using my own goals as examples to illustrate the process but you can use your own if it helps you understand the process better.

1. Understand your people

A) Who are your people?

If you don’t know your people this is where you should spend the majority of your time. Otherwise it’s sort of like a blind date–the more information you have about that person the more you know whether you want to go on that blind date and how you should prepare to woo that person. Using my example, the more I think about it the more I realize that all my years in design have been for the purpose of innovating and then telling others how I did it. So the end result for me has always been guiding others to successfully execute their ideas by helping them work through a process that gets them there faster with less risk or waste. So my people are either owners of ideas who want to execute or know how to execute their ideas, and people like me who also want to help others successfully execute ideas.

B) Assuming this is the second round in the process

You’ve already gone through the steps and now you’re back to step one to see if your people have moved position, need something new, or are moving towards your competitors. Maybe you will find more people based on your first round. This would be good.

2. Understand where you are and where you are in relation to your people

A) Using my example, where I am now, is in a position where I have very little time to interact with people who, like me, also want to help others successfully execute their ideas. However, I am in the position to help others who have ideas and want to successfully execute. So I have time to help owners of ideas but not much time to help those who like me also help owners of ideas.

B) In the second round of the process you should be closer to the majority of your people even though you may find that your people have separated into different sort of groups in relation to you.

3. Map a strategy that gets you from where you are to your people

A) Using my example, my people are out there trying to either execute their own ideas or help others execute their ideas. So what strategy will get me from where I am (not enough time to help others like myself) to where they are? This is primarily where we’ll be working in the next three classes/workshops. How to work through a clear, simple strategy.

B) In the second round you will be adjusting your strategy to accommodate your new understanding of your people and to include any new people you found.

4. Follow strategy

A) This is very difficult to do for several reasons. You many not have the necessary resources to follow the strategy. You personally may not be in the position to be able to support the complete strategy for whatever reason, including personal reasons. Whatever the reason, this is where most people falter because they are not in the position to actually successfully lead this strategy. Let’s see how this applies to my example. The strategy that I come up with may end up requiring that I speak at many more events than I can handle, so that I can help others like myself to want to help owners of ideas execute–given where I am today (not enough time). If my strategy requires that I post how to videos I may need to spend more time than I can on producing those videos. All kinds of issues will spring up–not including those issues that I have no way of foreseeing. So the trick here is to be in a position that allows one to be successful. Only each individual can do that. So because I have very little time these days, I need my strategy to require less time. If it doesn’t I won’t be successful.

B) In the second round, again, you must be able to follow your strategy. This is going to be tough if the second round tells me I need to spend more time than I have. I may need to adjust my strategy to get help from others. We’ll see.

5. Do it again

A) Once I’ve followed the strategy I can’t forget to go back to step one. Remember that as you are moving forward with your strategy everyone else is moving forward with whatever their strategy is. Everything is in constant motion so you must go back to check on your people and understand them again.

B) The thing to note here is that on the second round and forward you may only need to pay specific attention to parts of your strategy. Let’s say in my efforts, to help others like me who also want to help others succeed with their ideas, I find a group of people who want to help do the same. Then I would need to go back to step one and work through how to integrate this group into the existing strategy. That would be my focus the second time around.

Now that you see my general process you’ll be able to place the activities we work through in our class time within the specific areas of the process to understand what answers we are seeking from those activities and why we do them. Let’s see where it takes us.

Olga at FOWA London 2012

Olga at The Future of Web Apps London

Olga speaking at the Future of Web Apps London on a disciplined UX process.

I talked to a couple of people after the event who did not agree with me that those who consider themselves Information Architects are better at Information Architecture and can’t do Interaction Design as well those who consider themselves Interaction Designers, as I define the roles here, and that the opposite is also true. I believe this is true because the mental model of Information Architecture is totally different from the mental model of Interaction Design. It turned out that all of the folks who did not agree were interface developers, that is the person who takes the art and codes it. And I can see why this is so. Interface developers spend their time deep in the IA and Interaction Design of products. If this is the case, and I believe it is, then it’s super important to have a great interface developer.