How to present a UX design

UXers,when presenting a UX design your goal is to make the audience empathize with your personas the way you do, and for them to really feel the experience that those people will go through when they use your design.  This means telling the story of the persona and how they will experience your product moment by moment, beginning to end.

If you start by showing your UI and pointing out all the characteristics of the design and why you did them, you are starting the discussion off in the wrong direction.  You want everyone in the room to be looking at the design not from an abstract 30,000 foot level, but as close to the perspective of a real user as possible.

That said, here are some key tips:

• Before you get into your UX, start by describing the persona who will be using it and their motivation.  This sets the frame for the audience.

If your design needs to handle more than one persona or more than one scenario, outline them up-front, and use that outline as the structure of your exposition.

• Describe the end-to-end flow.  Do not start the story from the middle of it, where your new UI kicks in.  What is triggering them to come to your product and do something?  What are all the steps they took to get to your design?

If you start from the new UI you created, you are cheating because it presumes that getting to your new UI will be cake.  You and your audience don’t get to see and therefore scrutinize.

Make the examples realistic.  The sample data you put in is a critical part of the experience and helps to explain what is going on the user.  Avoid dipum lorem.  If you don’t know what the typical data is, make something up and explicitly ask about it.

Focus on the core flow, not the fringe and exception cases.  The core flows – by definition the case that most users will experience most of the time – are the one that will make or break the experience as a whole, which is why they are so vital.

• Don’t gloss.  Comb through the experience step by step in detail.



We’re back!

I started and in 2005, and wrote to it for five years until 2010.  Then I got hired by The Man at SuccessFactors, where I’ve been VP of User Experience ever since.  My blogs got hacked and I’ve not made the time to reconstruct them.

But after over six years leading a team that is now over 40 UXers creating over 20 products and doing over 1,000 design reviews, I’ve got much to share.

The most important ideas to take away are:

• The Design Pyramid

• SSNiFs

• the User Impact equation (= C x F x S)

• The Design Brief