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Research is the responsibility of the UX Designer that provides a thorough understanding of the user, business, and product requirements. There is a variety of tools to select from but with enough experience, a designer will learn which of the tools is appropriate for specific results.
In addition, it is also important to compile the complex results into a presentation that can easily be understood by your audience. You may download a sample pdf of a report I prepared for Hyperkin.com which includes results from user interviews, A/B testing, and personas.
Information Architecture is to organize and structure the content hierarchy of a digital product. Centralized planning can help clarify the content so that navigation is usable and effective. This is an important tool to use early in the development process to prioritize pages and identify unaccounted content.
Arrange the content in a way that makes sense to your users, not to you! Information Architecture allows me to examine how a user might engage with the page as a new or returning visitor.
Card sorting, site-maps, and mind mapping are common tools used for Information Architecture. My favorite is card sorting because it allows others to contribute to the organization process. Different opinions can merge into a collective agreement that will make sense to your audience.
Represents an algorithm, workflow, customer journey or process to help identify key stages of an action. This diagrammatic representation illustrates a solution model to a given problem. Flowcharts are used in analyzing, designing, documenting or managing a process or program in various fields.
Flow Charts help improve or define the wireframe design for accessible content. This is mandatory for me to gain a better understanding of any product design. I can’t imagine how else I could make sense of so many pages without flow charts giving me a high level perspective of interactions.
I compare it to authors creating plot lines for a book. Defining the milestones in the users journey helps you fine tune the details in between without losing track of the major goal.
Created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of brand buyers and users in order to help guide decisions about a service, product or interaction space such as features, interactions, and visual design of a website.
There is never a one size fits all design for any product. We must identify how our market behaves based on myriad of differences and similarities. Psychological shifts in the digital world along with new devices create new behaviors that make UX complicated. Personas studies identify who, what, where, when, and why.
I consider white boarding or sketching to be the most important tool for any UX Designer. It is essential for fast problem solving before any time is invested in high fidelity designs. Rapid prototypes help a team accelerate ideation and align the direction of the product. This is an opportunity to let out all the bad ideas and eliminate them.
Pencil, paper & white boarding for the win!
Wireframes are visual guides that represent the skeletal framework of a digital product. They are created for the purpose of arranging elements to best accomplish a particular purpose. Including short but detailed annotations in wireframes are important to communicate interaction and technical info. Annotations can help answer a lot of potential questions which also improves efficiency within your team.
High-Fidelity prototypes are needed to communicate ideas and concepts for approval. Stakeholders and engineers need a visual reference that can be quickly developed without investing time in creative design. Unfortunately, I do not have any high-fidelity prototypes available due to legal NDA restrictions. Prototype tools I have been using lately is Invision and experimenting with Principle.