L10.prototype conceptualmodels

L10.prototype conceptualmodels - JEFF JOHNSON AND AUSTIN...

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25 interactions. ..january + february 2002 JEFF JOHNSON AND AUSTIN HENDERSON design Conceptual Models: Begin by Designing What to Design Suppose you are designing a software product, electronic appliance, or Web service. You’ve gathered functional requirements from Marketing and from prospective customers and users. You’ve done a task- analysis and created user profiles. What’s your next step? For many designers, especially those new to user- interface design, the next step is to sketch the control panels and dialog boxes of their product or the pages of their Web service. Such initial sketches are usually high- level and low-fidelity—showing only gross layout and organization. If you begin your design phase by sketching, we believe you’ve missed a step. Sketching amounts to starting to design how the system presents itself to users. It is better to start by designing what the system is to them. That is, by designing a conceptual model. Let’s consider examples of conceptual models. Assume you are designing: a Web site. Is the site a) a collection of linked pages, or b) a hierarchy of pages with some crosslinks? breadcrumbs for Web site navigation. Do they show a) the history of pages you have gone through to arrive here, or b) the place of this page in the hierarchy of pages? support for discussion grouped around topics. Is the structure © Technology Abstracts/EyeWire, Inc.
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a) a set of threaded lists, one for each subject, or b) a set of postings each with poten - tially related subjects? an application for creating newsletters. Is a newsletter a) a list of items, or b) a set of pages each with layout of items? A platform for creating questionnaires. Is the questionnaire a) a linear list of questions, or b) a branching tree of questions? These decisions matter. Depending on how you choose, users will think of things differ- ently, the objects will be different, the opera- tions users can do on them will be different, and how users work will be different. If you try to avoid choosing, to have it both ways (and, of course, most designs have more than two ways of going), users will get a confused understanding of the system and confused direction on how to think about their work. Not choosing is tempting, because these deci- sions are almost always difficult to make: Usually they involve tradeoffs between sim- plicity and power (tough call!). In addition, they always depend on what the user is doing, which means being clear about the users tasks. But in the end some sort of decision on the conceptual model will be made, even if only as a side-effect (often bent and uncertain) out of the rest of the design process. Tough decisions, but essential, as we see it.
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2011 for the course 1MD 001 taught by Professor Erikborälv during the Spring '09 term at Uppsala.

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L10.prototype conceptualmodels - JEFF JOHNSON AND AUSTIN...

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