While I am keen to make it understood that UX design is not UI design, now and then, I am asked to help design a user interface. During the summer, I was pulled onto a project last minute: “Can you help us with this presenter interface?”. It turned out to be an interesting little exercise, and the end result seems to be pretty good.
To maintain your sanity, and as a tool for communicating the goals of user research, a plan is essential.
I’m not a fan of lots of documentation in a project and anyway, exhaustive development specifications and milestone reports are usually not part of the projects I work on at EMBL-EBI. Even so, for a given piece of user research, I want to have a plan, and the single-page kind that Tomer Sharon recommends is perhaps my favourite way of doing this.
A friend recently asked for an example of one of these single-page user research plans, so here’s one I drafted recently. I’ve anonymised it slightly, so it might seem a little bit vague!
Since the idea of considering the user experience of using EMBL-EBI bioinformatics resources took root about four years ago, we’ve been able to build on past successes and peoples’ trust, and expand that kind of UX design-related work we can get done.
More recently, we’ve begun to get more traction for carrying out research of users and their habits early in a project, to give us a solid foundation for design and development work. This is brilliant, since it brings us closer to the community and learn from their stories, but just like scientific research, user research needs to be planned. To have a record of this, I’ve adapted Tomer’s format very slightly, and now I have something that I can use myself, and that I can share with team-mates, project leaders, and other stakeholders.
This blog post is long overdue. At UX Cambridge 2012, I was lucky enough to be joined by my friends Mel Findlater (@melfindlater) and David “Sheff” Barker (@mcshefferty) in running a workshop called “Design for Society”. The aim was to give participants an taste of running a participatory design session, and we included both UX designers (conference attendees) and “real people” – in this case, long-term wheelchair users and their carers. Thank you to everyone who took part!
Here is a sketchnote for the UX talk Jenny Cham gave at ISMB/ECCB 2013 conference, in Berlin, on Tues 23 July.
Presentation Title: “Designing with the user in mind: how UCD can work for bioinformatics“
Here is a preview of Jenny Cham’s poster for the ISMB/ECCB 2013 conference happening in Berlin, 19-23 July 2013:
The poster tells the story of the EMBL-EBI website redesign
The poster (number B44 at the conference) is a timeline showing the process we used to redesign the website from start to finish (although it’s never really finished!) As far as possible, we applied a user-centred design philosophy – where evidence from users helped us to decide on the layout, the way search works, navigation, and other stuff.
We used BBC’s Global Experience Language (BBC GEL) as a shining example
BBC GEL provided the inspiration we needed to create style guidelines for the new site. These include a style guide, design patterns and other advice (such as UX techniques), which designers and developers can follow to make the look and feel (and behaviour) of webpages consistent across diverse services under the EBI banner. These guidelines will be available later this year, via the EBI website.
Acknowledgement of help
Jenny would like to thank Spencer Phillips (Graphic designer at EMBL-EBI) for his tips on improving the timeline and call out boxes in this poster. Thank you!
See you in Berlin!
As well as the poster, check out Jenny’s talk on Tuesday 23 July (12.00-12.25, Hall 7) “Designing with the user in mind: how UCD can work for bioinformatics”