UX & Interface Design

Lesson 3: Interpretation, Evaluation, and Execution

Interpreting Contextual Research

Returning to the Holtzblatt text we now look at how to share data effectively from contextual research and take next steps towards acting on what we've learned.

Read Chapter 4 (The Interpretation Session) from Holtzblatt.

Gulfs of Evaluation and Execution

The final lesson from Don Norman's course at Udacity discusses how users can get stuck in one of two gulfs related to how we designed things for them when done poorly.

Complete the content in Lesson 3 from Norman's Udacity course »

Introduction to Paper Prototyping

We're going to start applying what we've learned to design or redesign interfaces now. We start with paper and pencil in order to rapidly develop and test concepts. Here is a little more detail about creating paper prototypes. Keep in mind the following goals:

  • Get ideas out on paper quickly. We're not looking for highly-polished concepts. We're not interested in color (unless its necessary for a signifier). We ARE looking to communicate well, so an appropriate amount of detail to convey the information on the page is necessary.
  • Get whole sets of screens and variations of the screens in front of users early in the process for feedback. We want users to be able to step through a complete task, even if its a simple one, based on a simple prompt from you. Such as, "Here is the home page for my redesign of the Widgets, Inc. website. If you wanted to find out what kinds of products they offered, what would you do?" This is generally aimed at evaluating "How does the user find products in our redesign?" but does not actually tell them what to do; the interface should give them what they need.

Typically you should start by just ideating with thumbnail sketches. These should allow you to play with the components your pages will need without worrying at all about details. Next you should recreate your strongest directions at close-to-life-size and with enough detail for users to see what they need for each "screen", "page", or otherwise step in the process. You DO NOT need to sketch every possible screen of the site or application; only the key steps to get users to their goal for your future test. This is considered low fidelity prototypes or wireframes.

Create these with paper and pencil. As needed, you can cut out smaller pieces to lay over for modal windows, tabbed panels, etc. But overall do just keep it simple. Show each necessary step in the process.

Here is a sample video.