23 September 2006

Jeffrey Veen: designing the complete user experience

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Jeffrey Veen talk at d.Construct
Jeffrey Veen (bio), one of the founding partners of Adaptive Path and now design manager at Google where he is project lead for Measure Map, gave a very entertaining talk at the d.Construct conference about user-centred design.

Social software consultant and writer Suw Charman wrote a lengthy post on Veen’s talk, which you can download here (pdf, 10.1 mb, 78 slides).

According to Veen, the three things to consider when building a website are feasibility, viability and desirability.

Veen defines user-centered design as “developing an experience based on the patterns inherent in your stuff that empowers users to accomplish their goals”.

“Patterns turns a pile of stuff into a structured experience. This includes labelling and navigation systems that are intuitive to users.”

“Since not all users have the same goals, good design lets many users access lots of stuff so they can accomplish their goals.”

“We don’t even know what else is going on in the user’s life. We make assumptions about their experience which are usually wrong. People multitask and get distracted. So you have to have a sense of overall context. You have to do user research.”

“Successful design comes from two approaches: top-down and bottom-up.”

“The top-down approach involves interviewing and observing users, developing features and matching goals to features.”

“The bottom-up one is based on an inventory of what you have, followed by an evaluation of content and features, an organisation with librarianship, and tools to let the users participate.”

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