sábado, dezembro 17, 2016

The Elements of User Experience ( and 8 elements of my experience reading it)

Reading books and getting updated is an essential part of any career. In this post, I'm going to talk specifically about a book for the interactive media professionals. It's actually a must-read. If you're planning on starting a career or just started an interactive media career, please read "The elements of user experience", written by Jesse James Garrett.
This book has been a reference in the industry since it was published 10 years ago.
The author has also released an updated version in 2010.

When you have a personal experience to suggest a book, that's even more solid, right? So, I have mine to share with you. I have carried this book and read it for the last 2 months, as a great companion for my UX classes, in the graduate certificate program in which I am studying.

For this reason, I will comment important passages of the book here with you, that will form 8 takeaways that interactive media professionals should consider:

1) On page 19, there it goes a very important definition: what is user-centered design. In the author's words, it's "the practice of creating engaging, efficient user experiences". In your career, you must make it a number one goal!

                                  Image source: http://jisclamp.mimas.ac.uk/2013/11/05/personas-job-stories-and-simple-planes-wireframing-a-lamp-interface/

2) From pages 21 to 23, the author introduces the concept of The Five Planes. It's basically the whole set of decisions that dictates how the site will look, behave and it allows you to do. The Five Planes are:

The Surface Plane: the series of web pages, with images and text, that you can click and perform different actions.
The Skeleton Plane: beneath the surface is the skeleton of the site, with its buttons, tabs, photos, and blocks of text.
The Structure Plane: the most abstract structure of the site. It dictates for example which categories will be part of an online bookstore. For a better understanding, the skeleton is what defines the arrangement of navigational items that allows the users to actually browse these categories that the Structure Plane defined.
The Scope Plane: so a website has various functions and features. Exactly how they fit together is what we have just seen: The Structure Plan. While those actual functions and features...are The Scope Plan. If a birding experience website will offer a way to the users watch birds live across the planet or not...that's part of the Scope Plane!
The Strategy Plane: ok, but what determines which will be the scope of the website? The Strategy Plane, the strategy of the site. What people running the website want from it, what the users may want from it.

If you understand that, you are on the way to create terrific websites!

3) On page 35, the author explains that job titles don't say much, but how an organization deals with user experience issues. If an organization often delegates too much, but no one actually responsible for the full user experience of your website, it can cause a lot of harm to the website's future. When you get hired, a good tip is to take this responsibility with you.

Image source: http://blogs.verdantis.com/different-success-metrics-led-mdg-dq-business-led-dq-mdg/

4) It's not possible to reach success if you don't know in which moment something is considered a success. For this reason, on page 43, Garrett explains the importance of defining what will be the success metrics for your website: what indicators will mean that the team is meeting its objectives and the user's needs. If you are a professional just graduating in the moment you read this post, think about it: being able to follow closely those success metrics and guaranteeing that you will perform an important part to reach that success, and you will write an important (and successful!) chapter in your career!

5) On pages 63 and 64, more specifically about the Scope Plane again, what the author says is: be sure to know what you're building in a website/app/new product, so you also know what you are not building.That's the importance of documenting requirements. It doesn't matter if a feature "looks nice": it must align with the strategic objectives of the project. As an interactive media professional, you will find a way to hold your emotions "say" and stick to what the strategy screams out loud (well, maybe it's you screaming as well!).

6) On page 86, you will finally arrive at the Structure Plane in more detail, and that signalizes the moment in which the concerns leave the "abstract arena of strategy" and lands directly in the concrete factors that shape the user experience. Interaction design is part of it, for example. It describes possible user behavior and how the system will "accommodate and respond to that behavior", in Garret's words.
Got it?

Image source: https://eutykhiadotnet.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/plane-skel.jpg

7) On page 114, here we go for the Skeleton Plane! If a site will work based on the Structure Plane, it needs to know what form that functionality will take. It's the details. Now we're talking about interface design, navigation design, information design, how information will actually be presented. Take those elements, make them work together as an orchestra, and you will be a valuable professional for your organization.

8) Finally, we go to the top of the five-plane model: The Surface Plane! Now we're talking practical design, the one that will take a public shape to fulfill the goals of all the other four planes!
We're talking visual! But it's not only a matter of aesthetics: don't get confused by that. In page 143, the author reminds us that "each one has a different taste, and everybody has a different idea of what constitutes a visually appealing design".
The trick here is: don't go only for the aesthetics. Check how they work. How effective the design support the objectives defined by each of the lower planes?

When you "rock" that, you can consider yourself ready to be successful on the market.