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Wireframes are dead, long live rapid prototyping

Wireframes are dead, long live rapid prototyping
Wireframes, your time is up. You’ve served your purpose. You’ve brought order where there was once chaos and provided gainful employment for thousands of UX designers, but I’m afraid now it’s time for you to go to the big recycling bin in the sky. You’re just no longer cut out for the cut and thrust of UX design and have been replaced by that young upstart called rapid prototyping. In this article I argue why you too should ditch wireframes and embrace rapid prototyping. What are wireframes? In the same way that architectural drawings might outline what goes where for buildings, wireframes outline what goes where for a set of UI screens. An example wireframe with footnotes Wireframes are usually put together by a UX designer (or designers) prior to any visual design work and are typically constructed using diagramming tools such as Visio and Omnigraffle, or design and drawing tools such as InDesign and Fireworks. Why ditch wireframes? So what’s so wrong with wireframes? Related:  User Experience DesignPrototyping teams

Just What is a UX Manager? | Adaptive Path Earlier this week, I wrote quick blog post, calling out seven lessons for UX managers from this year’s MX conference. Then on Twitter, Livia Labate, who leads the experience design practice for Marriott International asked, “Dear @AdaptivePath, what is a UX Manager?” Here’s my not-so-twitter-length response: UX managers come with all sorts of fancy-pants titles. This isn’t about titles. This is about responsibilities. Someone who manages user experience has stuck their neck out and said they’ll deliver business outcomes through improving the experience that customers have with a product or service. That means you believe UX is a force that can not only improve people’s experiences but that it can also drive business. Why I <3 UX Managers Okay, let it be said that I’m biased. I’ve spent the past six years trying to get to know as many of you as I can, either speaking at or chairing Adaptive Path’s Managing Experience conference. What I’ve learned is that this is an emerging discipline.

User Interface Engineering - Usability Research, Training, and Events - UIE Samples It took a while, but here are some results from what people submitted for the Feedback Note call for samples: Dedicated Note Spaces Craig’s preferred method of capturing feedback is on the wireframes themselves within a dedicated notes section. After printing out the full set of wires on a large piece of paper he then takes notes and sketches on top of what is already there. Looking more closely, a lot of the feedback in this particular wireframe is written in a question or task format – as in: “How would the user do this or that”. I think it’s an interesting way of testing the interface with additional sub cases which should be eventually accounted for. Credits: Craig Kistler Saving Whiteboards with Evernote For Anirban, what works is jotting down everything on a whiteboard, and taking it as a snap using the Evernote app. Credits: Anirban Majumdar Capturing Sign Off with Checkmarks Credits: Jakub Linowski Thoughts?

Lean ways to test your new business idea I’ll be honest, I’m a bit late to the party. I’ve only just completed Eric Ries book, ‘The Lean Startup’, that was published to much acclaim last year. I put off reading it, believing it would be another generic how-to-start-a-high-tech-business book. I already have a bookshelf full of these kinds of book, most of them unread beyond the initial chapter. But now I’ve read it I think that it should be obligatory reading for any UX person. What I like about the book is that it puts UX at the very heart of new product design — and does so in language that will make managers sit up and take notice. Here’s my version of the digested read. Designing new products or services is risky because there are so many uncertainties. Sound familiar? UX practitioners have a lot to contribute to this way of working but I wanted particularly to focus on the item I’ve numbered 4 in the list above: iterative design and testing. These techniques have three things in common. The three methods I want to discuss are:

Rapid Prototyping: Tips for Running an Effective R&D Process So you realize that it's important to prototype your ideas before launching into production -- but how do you do it? Arkadium's director of R&D, Tom Rassweiler, lifts the veil on his company's process and explains why it shifted to central R&D for new game prototypes. As the director of Research and Development at Arkadium, I'm tasked with identifying unique and successful game mechanics for our future games. The decision to move to a central R&D model was not made lightly. Due to new distribution methods, new audiences, and new platforms, the game industry is now rewarding unique, creative game ideas like never before. In response to the increasing complexity of the industry, the idea of effective prototyping is very hot. Prototyping is useful because the best way to know whether a game will be fun is to play it. The advantages of prototyping are generally well known, and most development teams spend sometime prototyping before each project. Often, this tension is good.

Product Manager and UX Designer - What's the Difference? Photo Credit: pelican via Compfight cc Product Manager vs. UX Designer I always advocate in favor of broad definition of User Experience Design practice. Here’s the definition from my recent ebook UX Design for Startups: “User experience design (abbreviation UX, UXD) – A discipline focused on designing the end-to-end experience of a certain product. A UX designer’s work should always be derived from people’s problems and aim at finding a pleasurable, seductive, inspiring solution. When you’re designing an experience, you are in fact planning a change in the behaviour of your target group. User experience lies at the crossroads of art and science and requires both extremely acute analytical thinking and creativity.” Planning, measuring, building, validating – that’s pretty broad set of actions, but this is what, I believe, have to be done to create stunning UX Design. Is there anything left for Product Managers? PM = UX Designer PM ≠ UX Designer Reimagining the way you design.

The real reason the Valley wants designers who can code: they’re better « Handcrafted Jared Spool over at UIE just published an article about “why the Valley wants designers who can code“. In it, he asserts that startups in Silicon Valley want to keep teams small and therefore look to combine critical roles within a single person, while established players in the industry can afford to spread those roles out over more people. This is partially true. But there’s more to it. The new design constraint is being able to code When a designer can code, she makes decisions based on an understanding of design and of the result that design is going to create. On the other hand, designers who can’t code aren’t constrained by that wisdom. “Whoa” Is Neo a designer who can code? Designers who can code are like Neo in the Matrix: they can see through the world around them (the app) into the underlying code operating beyond everyone’s vision. Designers who can code are the future The reason Silicon Valley startups want designers who can code isn’t just because it’s easier and cheaper.

So you wanna be a user experience designer — Step 2: Guiding Principles [This is part of a series titled So You Wanna Be a User Experience Designer. Check out the previous post, Step 1: Resources] Five months ago I wrote a post titled, “So you wanna be a user experience designer,” in which I gathered all of the resources in my UX arsenal: publications and blogs, books, local events, organizations, mailing lists, webinars, workshops, conferences, and schooling. My intent was to give aspiring user experience designers, or even those on the hunt for additional inspiration, a launching pad for getting started. The response has been pretty remarkable — the link continues to be sent around the Twitterverse and referenced in the blogosphere. I’m really pleased that so many people have found it to be a useful aid in their exploration of User Experience. In the post I promised that it would be the beginning of a series, and I’m happy to report that Step 2 is finally here: Guiding Principles. DISCLAIMER: These lists are meant to be both cogent and concise. Have empathy

Why most UX is shite I was invited to speak at the event this week where getting a little sweary and ranty is kind of encouraged (it goes well with the craft beer consumption that is an integral part of the conference mix). This was my contribution. Slides: When I checked the agenda to see what I was supposed to be talking about at Monkigras, I saw that I was down to talk for 15 mins about ‘Crafting Good UX’. An elegant UIBeing AddictiveA Fast Startbeing Seamless, andIt Changes You I hate these kinds of lists. If only that were true, we’d be overwhelmed by UX amazingness. It’s not that simple right. Now, there are plenty of ways you can make a user’s experience of your product rubbish, but in my experience, there are a handful of serial offenders. 1. So, this one I see ALL the time. From a start up who doesn’t want to rule anything out of its value proposition so doesn’t really know what it is so, as a consequence, no one knows what problems it’s solving so they don’t engage. This starts at the top. 2. 3. 4.

Prototyping: You’re (Probably) Doing It Wrong You’re not alone, I was also doing prototyping wrong until a few years ago. There are probably many different ways of prototyping games correctly, and maybe your way works great for you. In that case, a more accurate title for this post could have been “Prototyping: I Was Doing It Wrong”. A good game prototype is something fast/cheap that allows you to answer a specific question about your game. Chris Hecker and Chaim Gingold gave one of the best presentations on the subject of rapid prototyping. Mistake #1: Going With The First Idea Every company I’ve ever worked at has done this mistake. Creating a prototype for a game you know you’ve already committed to is pointless. What I do now is to force myself to prototype several of my top ideas before committing to any one project. With a good prototype it’s easy to see if an idea is worthwhile. Also, often times, after doing one prototype and deciding against it, a new idea will come up. Mistake #2: Not having a good question