I’m sharing the early-stage user centered design techniques I use with clients in a series of courses on LinkedIn Learning. Each of the quick courses covers a different technique. Taken together, they should give you a solid set of tools for running a design thinking exercise or “iteration zero”. This isn’t Big Design Up Front, it’s Just Enough Design to Start.
The UX Design: 1 Overview course introduces the six steps of the user-centered design process that form my variant of design thinking. These are: gathering and analyzing user data, creating personas, using ideation techniques, storyboarding, designing and testing prototypes, and planning your development cycle with all this information.
Here is one of the free videos from the first course:
Each of the subsequent courses in the series goes into detail on the tools you can use in each step.
Gathering and analyzing user data
How do you turn data from site visits and other user observations into something coherent you can use to guide product development? Create Experience Maps and extract pain points and user goals!
I’ve covered Experience Mapping on this site already. However, this half-hour LinkedIn Learning course – UX Design: 2 Analyzing User Data – puts it into perspective in the product design and development lifecycle. It’s quick to watch, and full of tips for creating a foundation document full of user insights that you will come back to throughout the development process.
To make sure everyone on the project has the same vision of who you’re building for, create a single picture of “the user.” Assumption personas are fast to create and easy to verify later.
Personas are a topic I’ve mentioned on this site before. UX Design: 3 Personas shows how personas fit in the product design and development lifecycle. The benefits of personas are a more focused development process and more likelihood of creating something that your target users actually want to work with.
Ideation is the process of generating a lot of different ideas in a short amount of time. And in UX design, a broad set of ideas is more likely to lead to a more creative, more satisfactory solution for your users. In this short Lynda.com course, I describe the variety of ideation techniques available, their benefits, and how ideation can help designers “think outside the box” when it comes to user experience.
Spend 20 minutes learning how scenarios and storyboards fit in to the user centered design process. Scenarios and storyboarding provide a reality check for your designs, allowing you to see how the interaction will play out in a real environment. This course explains how to write scenarios and transform them into visual storyboards that show elements of the interactions that are hard to describe with words alone, such as emotion, action, detail, and progression.
Designing and testing prototypes
I’ve written about paper prototypes here before. I love the fast, cheap, inclusive nature of them for making sure your concepts are sound before you write any code. This 24-minute course takes you through the process, including making separate sketches of each interface element, highlighting areas where there would be interaction between a system and a user, and then running through paper prototype user testing so you can observe the user’s experience, reposition elements, and make adjustments.
Planning your development cycle
UCD artifacts aren’t just for the visual aspect of design. This is the course where it all comes together into a plan! I show you how to use the paper prototype screens you built and tested to help plan the implementation of your design in a Story Map.
I’ve been really impressed with my experience with LinkedIn Learning. They have very professional production values.
If you aren’t already a LinkedIn Learning subscriber (check with your employer or school – many have org-wide plans) then you can either buy individual courses, or LinkedIn offer a free month of membership. That’s plenty of time to check out all my courses and some of the thousands of other courses they have available!
Disclaimer: I get a small referral payment if you sign up for a LinkedIn Learning trial or buy an individual course using a link on this site. It doesn’t cost you anything extra but it helps me out just a little!
Update: Lynda has rebranded as LinkedIn Learning. Same production team, same content. I’ve changed this post to keep the information and links up to date.