Using Mind Maps for UX Design: Part 1 – Sketch Mapping

Using Mind Maps for UX Design: Part 1 – Sketch Mapping

Mind maps are diagrams that visually illustrate how words, phrases, ideas, or concepts relate to a central key word or phrase. They are a visual thinking tool that helps to structure information and identify connections between items.

To create a mind map, you simply start with a central idea, and branch out from that idea with each branch representing a topic related to that idea. Sub topics can be made in an infinite number of levels building off of each branch. It’s typically best to use colors and imagery in a mind map to help link together ideas in a way that’s easy to understand and remember.

Mind maps are powerful tools for User Experience professionals. In part 1 of this post series, I’ll explain how you can use mind maps to create “sketch maps.”

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inspireUX Redesign

After nearly 5 years, inspireUX was due for a redesign. My goal with the redesign was to simplify the design to put more emphasis on the content (after all, isn’t that what a blog is for?). Everything has been refreshed, the site is now responsive, and I’ve switched to a new web hosting company so everything should be much faster.

I’m aiming to get back into a more regular posting schedule, so you will soon be seeing more original articles.

If you have any comments about the redesign or have any suggestions for content you’d like to see here, let me know in the comments!

Review: UX Recorder for iOS

Full disclosure: Foraker Labs, the creators of UX Recorder, contacted me requesting a review of UX Recorder in return for a promo code to test the application. This has not influenced my overall positive or negative impressions of the application.

What is UX Recorder?

UX RecorderUX Recorder, created by Foraker Labs, is a screen recording iOS application that records user activity on mobile websites in addition to audio and video of the user’s face via the device’s camera. The application can only be used to conduct usability tests of websites, not other iOS applications. UX recorder is a universal application for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices running iOS 5.0 and above that have a front facing camera (given heavy CPU usage, an iPhone 4 or 4s, iPad 2 or 3, or iPod Touch 4 is recommended).

UX Recorder currently costs $59.99.

This review will focus on the iPhone version of the application, tested with an iPhone 4S running iOS 5.1.1.

For more information about the application, visit www.uxrecorder.com.

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The UX Community Needs to Start Paying Attention to Android

The UX Community Needs to Start Paying Attention to Android

I’ve been doing a lot of research recently about mobile design patterns and UX best practices for smartphone and tablet devices for both iOS and Android platforms. One thing has stood out more than anything else during this process: no one is talking about Android. Ok, “no one” is clearly an exaggeration. There are a few great resources out there that have been very helpful in the quest to learn how to best design native Android smartphone and tablet applications (posted at the bottom of this article). But compared to the huge plethora of resources about designing iOS applications, resources about Android design are extremely limited. Why is this and what should we do about it?
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What is User Experience Strategy, Anyway?

What is User Experience Strategy, Anyway?

If you’ve ever struggled with articulating the output of the UX Strategy phase of a project or initiative, you’re not alone.  Almost all UX’ers can agree that defining a User Experience strategy before architecting or designing an experience is critical, but what does “strategy” really mean? What are its components, benefits, and deliverables?

Check out my article “What is User Experience Strategy, Anyway?” on my company’s (The Archer Group) blog and download the full white paper (PDF) for all of my thoughts on this topic.

In this article you’ll learn more about what specific deliverables you can work on to help answer the strategic questions of “Where are you now?”, “Where do you want to be?”, “How will you get there?”, and “How will you measure success?”. I also describe how to explain User Experience Strategy to your clients or business partners, and the value that creating a UX strategy brings to your organization.

Good designers turn their inspirations into reality

“When good designers talk about innovation, they mean ‘the successful exploitation of new ideas.’ They don’t stop with the invention. They turn their inspirations into reality.” – Simon Rucker

Read more about characteristics of good designers in Simon’s Harvard Business Review article “How Good Designers Think.”