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UX Basics: What is UX?

David Tom
January 31, 2014 - 3:00pm
Knight Management Center C223

We are kicking off a new series of workshops introduction concepts of user experience: UX Basics.

This first session will be a discussion of what is User Experience? Join us, and mark your calendars for future dates of UX Basics.

The Elements of User Experience (PDF) - Jesse James Garrett


User Experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interactions with a product/services/etc.   Stanford UXers tends to deal with web-centric products but there is interest in the general experience feeling, such as physical feeling in a space or even communications/branding.

Example: GSB has their own registration system based upon physical processes that turned into web-process that still retains hold-overs from the physical process. For the user experience, do the hold-overs need to be retained for the benefit of the user? 

User experience is a broad thing that encompasses many disciplines....interface design, interaction design, information architecture, visual design, content strategy.  Many people at Stanford have roles that encompasses many facets of user experience. 

The elements of user experience has many layers:  site objectives/user needs, functional specifications, information architecture/interaction design, interface design, visual design.  


Information architecture:  dealing with the content model (simple: the Dewey Decimal system)

       Example: scholarly journal: title, publish location, related taxonomy

       Behavior: Make it finadable

Information design:  how you present your information that the design of the information (future friendliness, atomic units)

       Example: data visualization, infographics, information hierarchy 

       Behavior: Make it understandable

Content strategy: coming up with a content plan based upon business goals, audience goals, communications/marketing

       Example: GSB Web redesign content plan

       Behavior: Get people to take action

Design Research & Usability: Design Research - Getting to know your users, Usability - determination of the ease of specific tasks (how simple is it to use)

       Example:  Ethnographic studies, stakeholder discovery, contextual inquiry

       Behavior: learn about your users

User Interace Design: Design for structural elements


       Behavior: How it works

Visual Design: The "art" is design, visual hierarchy

       Example: A site design 

       Behavior: How it looks 

UX Design: The holy grail...i.e., The Unicorn!  All disciplines flow into UX Design 


What UX People Do ("Deliverables")

  • Site objectives
  • Content strategy
  • Content inventory
  • Information architecture 
  • Task flows
  • User needs
  • User personas
  • Research
  • Wireframes
  • Prototypes
  • Mockups
  • Style tiles
  • Testing plans
  • Success metrics / analytics