“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Breaking down UX

To put it simply there are 6 components to User Experience Design or more simply (less jargony) Product Design, and those components themselve break out into impacting the solution vs. making up the solution.

The impact is strategy, reserach, and validation.
The solution itself is made up of structure, behavior, and presentation.

First the impact …
The foundation of all good Product Design is layed in a mix of great strategy. Built upon clear problem statements that are put together to give an overall direction of a product. These problems statements happen at various levels: business goals, user & customer goals, and market focus & economies.

While Business analysts for years have done well to build strategies based on business goals and market focus, they have not been able to succeed where the designers have in doing research directly on the user, as opposed to markets, trends, and statistics. Its not that these are not useful, but through the user-centered research that designers and behavioral researchers add to the mix the entire team gains insight into the context of use that the older, more traditional methods used do not allow elaboration on. This research guides and molds the strategy mentioned above.

Strategy is then used to create a solution. That solution is prototyped, validated and iterated on. Then after validating and doing the analysis to create new iterations the design team brings the solution together.

The solution …
A solution is made up of 3 components. Structure, behavior, and presentation. Each of these contribute over a continuum to both the form and function of a solution:

  • Structure – This is where objects of a system are defined. What properties make up these objects, what metadata helps to organize them, and what typing will be used to help determine algorithmic decisions that will help with both behavior and presentation. Structure also helps manages the relationship of objects. Again, which can help guide possible behaviors and presentations.
  • Behavior – Every object has properties that are defined in its structure that help determine behavior. Does an object listen for human intervention? What possible set of responses for the interventions that a human can do, can it respond with? Some behaviors are actually changes in structure and presentation which can then cause a cascade of events that make for an interesting set of “intelligent” decisions.
  • Presentation – How is the structure and behavior communicated to the user so that they can intuit or otherwise learn not just what the solution can do, but more importantly what it might be able to do for them.

As time progresses I’m going to address these components and try to connect them all together with more content. But for now I see this breakdown as a means of expressing the components of user experience design by avoiding words that are otherwise loaded as they are too connected to people’s current titles or “disciplines” or “associations”.

I have been asked to break these down though and while I understand that people’s roles are different than their titles, the way it comes to me is …

    • strategy = experience design; experience planning
    • research = HCI, behavioral research
    • validation = usability testing
    • structure = information architecture
    • behavior = interaction design
    • presentation = graphic design, information design, communication design, UI design

These are my thoughts … feel free to flame, suggest, or otherwise engage me here.

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