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Visualising the User Experience

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Slides from a talk I did at Web Directions South in Sydney Oct 2009.

Outline:
Designing for dynamic web applications and mobile devices poses a new set of challenges. Web designers are increasingly being asked to apply their skills to where the page model no longer applies. We need new ways of exploring the user experience and communicating behaviours involving sub-page changes and movement.

Enter rapid prototyping. Widely acclaimed as one of the best ways to create great user experiences, it isn't without it's own pitfalls. This session will discuss the pros and cons of different prototyping techniques, and introduce a new technique called "screenflows" that focuses on visualising the user experience.

Discover how to combine the best of paper prototyping, wireframes and HTML prototyping into one simple and effective prototyping technique. Learn how using this method can dramatically decrease the need for documentation, while increasing the speed and agility of the development process.

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Visualising the User Experience

  1. Visualising the User Experience Grant Robinson Senior Interaction Designer at Xero grant@xero.com
  2. Let’s talk about... 1. Rapid prototyping 2. Visualising the UX with screenflows 3. Movement and transitions
  3. Rapid prototyping
  4. Is this rapid prototyping?
  5. Is this rapid prototyping? Nope!
  6. What is rapid prototyping? • User-centered design methodology • For designing, communicating and evaluating user interfaces • Getting feedback as early as possible • Fast
  7. Prototyping life-cycle
  8. Prototyping life-cycle The more cycles the better
  9. Agile development mantra: release early, release often
  10. Agile design mantra: fail early, fail often "If you’re not failing now and again, it’s a sure sign you’re not doing anything very innovative." Woody Allen
  11. No designer is an island 1. Fellow designers 2. Project team 3. Wider team 4. Users 5. Your mum
  12. Common techniques • Paper prototyping • Wireframes and page schematics • HTML wireframes • Interactive prototypes
  13. Paper prototypes...
  14. Paper prototypes Love: • Quick & dirty • No software needed • Very inclusive Hate: • Not quick enough • Too dirty (lack context & scale) • Hard to share amongst team • Still needs a separate documentation step
  15. Wireframes & page schematics...
  16. http://gapingvoid.com/2007/05/15/random-thought/
  17. Wireframes Love: • Good for defining content • Good for documenting screens Hate: • Bad at showing interactivity / flow • Can’t really use them for testing • Slow. Too much time spent describing.
  18. HTML wireframes...
  19. • Better success rate • Much faster • Less confusion
  20. HTML wireframes Love: • Can show interactivity / flow • Good for simple interaction (links, buttons etc) • Experienced in the browser (correct context & scale) Hate: • HTML, CSS (and JS) knowledge necessary • Time wasted on hacking layout & advanced functionality • Design only what you can build • Can’t throw away, but should
  21. Other interactive prototypes...
  22. Axure (www.axure.com)
  23. Axure (www.axure.com)
  24. SketchFlow (www.microsoft.com/expression)
  25. Other interactive prototypes Love: • Good for testing moderately complex interactions • Some support collecting feedback • Some can generate specs Hate: • Difficult to get custom interactions working • Can require expertise in proprietary languages • Often not cross-platform (no love for Mac users) • Often low-fidelity only • Make me think like a developer, not a designer
  26. Choosing a prototype technique What a dilemma!
  27. Visualising the UX with screenflows
  28. http://gapingvoid.com/2007/05/15/random-thought/
  29. So how do we describe what users do? Visualise the experience... • Show every step to complete a task • Show every click • Preview the experience - see and feel how everything flows together
  30. It’s like stop motion
  31. From low to high fidelity
  32. • 32 iterations • 5 released
  33. Using Flash as a design tool {eh, what?}
  34. Flash: Not just a development tool
  35. Flash: Not just for video
  36. Flash: History in drawing & animation
  37. FutureSplash Animator
  38. FutureSplash Animator
  39. Anatomy of a screenflow
  40. Screenflows • Perfect fit for agile teams • Very effective communication tool • Easy to evaluate • Ideal for explaining changes over time • Easy to share. Experienced in the browser. • Obvious focus & limits • Significantly reduces documentation • Support low to high fidelity • No coding necessary
  41. Getting serious about movement & transitions
  42. How did this...
  43. ...become this?
  44. ...become this?
  45. How did this...
  46. ...become this?
  47. How did this...
  48. ...become this?
  49. "Unless you can show me where you've fleshed out the character and aspects of the transitions at the same level of thought, rational, exploration and fidelity as you have the states - you're fired." Bill Buxton HCI pioneer Currently Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research
  50. Movement: the new affordance • Use movement to orientate user and keep them in flow • Explain changes/transformations • Use physical metaphors to describe the action: zoom, slide, reveal • Not just for fun: Research on the importance of movement is just starting to come in
  51. Yahoo Design Pattern Library http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/richinteraction/transition/
  52. Yahoo Design Pattern Library http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/richinteraction/transition/
  53. Transitions decreased task completion times Reduced error rates for reading tasks 0.3 seconds - optimal transition speed
  54. Some takeaways... {nom nom nom}
  55. The timeline is your friend • Efficient digital sketching tool • Best way to manage changes over time • Supports low to high fidelity • Natural starting point for exploring movement and transitions
  56. Visualising the experience makes you a better designer • Puts you in the user’s shoes • Keeps you focussed on user flow • Best way to communicate your designs to team and stakeholders • Cuts documentation in half. Less time describing = more time designing
  57. Any questions? Please feel free to flick me an email: grant@xero.com Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/editor/3370897686/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/fuyoh/748118128/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/celloc/3145987130/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/eraphernalia_vintage/3777808203/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/rcourtie/3500123702/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/rcourtie/3500124362/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/21218849@N03/3902295700/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/21218849@N03/3901459255/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/21218849@N03/3902296466/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/21218849@N03/3901509379/
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Slides from a talk I did at Web Directions South in Sydney Oct 2009. Outline: Designing for dynamic web applications and mobile devices poses a new set of challenges. Web designers are increasingly being asked to apply their skills to where the page model no longer applies. We need new ways of exploring the user experience and communicating behaviours involving sub-page changes and movement. Enter rapid prototyping. Widely acclaimed as one of the best ways to create great user experiences, it isn't without it's own pitfalls. This session will discuss the pros and cons of different prototyping techniques, and introduce a new technique called "screenflows" that focuses on visualising the user experience. Discover how to combine the best of paper prototyping, wireframes and HTML prototyping into one simple and effective prototyping technique. Learn how using this method can dramatically decrease the need for documentation, while increasing the speed and agility of the development process.

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