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by Indi Young
Making the leap from user research into the design process is widely regarded as the step where 'magic' comes into play. This full-day workshop presents one method to make the magic a little more systematic. A mental model of potential users’ behaviors and motivations beyond the computer screen, matched against potential tools and content for an online experience, create a startlingly clear picture of how to go forward with your design. The qualitative research process coupled with a study of product goals makes this technique especially appealing to the smart folks who run profit and non-profit organizations.
Top level navigation can be derived from the mental spaces within a model. The model gives the team a very clear picture of what the user is trying to accomplish, so the product can be structured accordingly. This structure addresses product organization and the very highest levels of content organization. This technique is not meant to replace library science, but work as the highest level. Most leaf-level content organization is derived through more traditional IA approaches. The two approaches work hand-in-hand quite smoothly.
Analysis of the gaps in the aligned diagram can lead to new perspectives on business decisions. Teams who have used this technique regularly check the diagram to validate the direction of current tool or content ideas. These diagrams have a lifespan of many years.
Putting Mental Models Into Practice
The workshop will cover:
* Audience segmentation by task rather than preference or demographic
* Non-directed interview techniques (a review)
* How to recognize tasks and implied tasks in transcripts
* How to let tasks build themselves into patterns
* How to draw a mental model diagram
* Content alignment with task groups
* Definition and prioritization of what to design
* Derivation of top-level product/site structure from the aligned diagram
The objective of this workshop is to allow attendees to return home with a set of skills they can put to use immediately on their current projects. Exercises, examples, and demonstrations are included. Audience questions about how to use the technique under special circumstances will be answered as they come up. There will be a site, hosted by the publisher of the mental model book, where attendees can ask questions, share examples, and stay up to date with improvements in the process.
Participants are most likely folks who have been asked to design an online product, corporate website, intranet, or a B-to-C or B-to-B site with extensive content. Participants will have familiarity with information architecture and product design. Participants may have problems with internal politics, power over the design, or may simply want a more robust, verifiable method to design solutions. This course is also appropriate for participants at the managerial or director level who are interested in running more reliable projects.
22nd–26th March 2007