UX Techniques

Mix and match these UX techniques to create a UX process best suited to the project at hand. I’ll be updating this page regularly with additional content, links and tutorials about how to apply these techniques.

UX Techniques

Am I missing a UX technique? Perhaps you’d like to write a tutorial or case study about one of these techniques. Get in touch!

1 – Competitor Analysis: (Strategy, Research)
Performing an audit/review of competing websites and apps; conducting user testing of competing sites; writing a report that summarizes the competitive landscape.

2 – Analytics Review: (Strategy, Research)
Analyzing web or mobile usage data, and making subsequent recommendations.

3 – Stakeholder Interviews: (Strategy, Research)
Conversations with the key contacts in the client organization funding, selling, or driving the product.

4 – Contextual Inquiry: (Research)
Interviewing users in the location where they use the website/app, to understand their tasks and challenges.

5 – Surveys: (Research)
Crafting an online survey, primarily to solicit feedback from current (or potential) users.

6 – Content Audit: (Research)
Reviewing and cataloguing a client’s existing repository of content.

7 – Diary Study: (Research)
Asking users to record their experiences and thoughts about a product or task in a journal over a set period of time.

8 – User Interviews: (Research)
User interviews are a key activity for understanding the tasks and motivations of the user group for whom you are designing. Interviews may be formally scheduled, or just informal chats (for instance, in a suitable location where your target demographic are present).

9 – Heuristic Review: (Research, Analysis)
Evaluating a website or app and documenting usability flaws and other areas for improvement.

10 – User Testing: (Research, Analysis, Design, Production)
Sitting users in front of your website or app and asking them to perform tasks, and to think out loud while doing so.

11 – Unmoderated Remote Usability Test: (Research, Analysis, Design, Production)
URUT is similar to in-person usability testing, however, participants complete tasks in their own environment without a facilitator present. The tasks are pre-determined and are presented to the participant via an online testing platform.

12 – Use Cases: (Analysis)
A use case is a list of steps that define the interactions between a user and a system. Use cases, especially when used as requirements for software development, are often constructed in UML, with defined actors and roles.

13 – Storyboards: (Analysis)
A storyboard is a tool inspired by the filmmaking industry, where a visual sequence of events is used to capture a user’s interactions with a product. Depending on the audience, it may be an extremely rough sketch, purely for crystallizing your own ideas.
Sometimes it can be useful to create a slightly more polished version of this a comic to communicate this sequence of events to key stakeholders in order to achieve buy-in for a concept.

14 – Affinity Diagramming: (Analysis)
A business technique for identifying and grouping patterns within unrelated data.

15 – Personas: (Analysis)
A persona is a fictitious identity that reflects one of the user groups for who you are designing.

16 – Scenarios: (Analysis)
A scenario is a narrative describing a day in the life of one of your personas and probably includes how your website or app fits into their lives.

17 – Mental Models: (Analysis)
A mental model diagram is a fishbone or horizon diagram where the top towers represent individuals’ motivations, emotions, and stories related to their experience in achieving a particular goal, regardless of the tools they use. The top part of the diagram is person-focused, not solution-focused. The bottom towers of the diagram represent the features of your organization’s offerings, aligned beneath the appropriate upper towers that they support the best. You can see where your organization’s design and business requirements support people’s goals well and where they need improvement. The diagram as a whole is generative, not evaluative, helping your organization realize weaknesses and gaps in the way you support people and adapt existing products, services, or processes to particular behavioural audiences or situations.

18 – Experience Map: (Analysis)
An experience map, or customer journey map, is an extended version of a mental model. Rather than looking at one moment in time for a single user, an experience map is a wholistic, visual representation of your users’ interactions with your organization when zoomed right out.
Because many organizations and the projects within them are large and complex, an experience map is usually captured on a large canvas – a necessarily big poster that you can zoom in or out of to explore the details.

19 – Collaborative Design: (Design)
Inviting input from users, stakeholders, and other project members.

20 – Workflow Diagram: (Design)
A workflow diagram (or activity diagram) is a graphical representation of activities and actions conducted by users of a system.

21 – Sitemap: (Design)
A sitemap is a complete list of all pages available on a website.

22 – Wireframe: (Design)
A wireframe is a rough guide for the layout of a website or app. A prototype is similar in that while far from being a polished product in terms of visuals or functionality, it gives an indication of the direction that the product is heading. Mockups are the term I use for wireframes that have been created in high fidelity, but for some people these three terms are interchangeable.

23 – Paper Prototype: (Design)
Paper prototyping is the process of creating rough, often hand-sketched, drawings of a user interface, and using them in a usability test to gather feedback. Participants point to locations on the page that they would click, and screens are manually presented to the user based on the interactions they indicate.

24 – Card Sorting: (Design)
Card sorting is a technique where users are asked to generate a folksonomy, or information hierarchy, which can then form the basis of an information architecture or website navigation menu.

25 – Mood Board: (Design)
A mood board is a collage, either physical or digital, which is intended to communicate the visual style a direction is heading (or should be heading). Stakeholders may use a mood board to provide a visual designer with the atmosphere they would like their site to convey and the colour palette to explore.

26 – A/B Testing: (Design, Research)
Good for testing new or experimental features before releasing them to all customers.

27 – Beta Launch: (Design, Production)
Releasing a closed beta release of your product involves allowing only a select group of users to use the software and provide feedback before it becomes available to the wider public.

28 – Business Case: (Focus)
A concise statement or document that facilitates business decisions by outlining relevant facts about market potential, idea validation, financials, risks, and links to business goals.

29 – Competitive Analysis: (Ideate, Explore)
An activity that involves listing direct rivals and evaluating their strengths, weaknesses and activity in the marketplace in comparison to your own.

30 – Decision Matrix: (Ideate, Explore, Focus, Define, Prepare)
A table or spreadsheet that lists various options and then tallies scores for each against a range of weighted factors and characteristics. The highest scoring option indicates the best choice.

31 – Design Sprints: (Immerse, Define, Build)
A process for answering critical business decisions using design thinking methods, generally conducted over a one-week period. It brings together a collaborative and interdisciplinary team to rapidly define, prototype and test new ideas with customers.

32 – F-A-B Statement: (Define, Prepare, Launch)
An F-A-B Statement neatly connects a Feature, what it does (Advantage) and how its value Benefits the customer. This helps you clarify why a product or service is the most effective answer to customer needs.

33 – Kanban: (Build)
Kanban (signal card) is a lean method for visualising the progress of items through a workflow, often on a shared board with sticky notes placed in appropriate columns and lanes to show item status.

34 – Metrics Analysis: (Explore, Immerse, Define)
Interpreting patterns and meaningful insights within data to understand behaviour, activities and performance, in order to inform future experiments.

35 – Product Roadmap: (Define, Build, Prepare, Launch)
A flexible, high-level chart or diagram that maps out the vision and direction of your product offering over time, including how it evolves to deliver value to customers.

36 – Product Scorecard: (Ideate, Define, Build)
A snapshot document recording data for specific indicators about how well your product is performing across various important financial, customer, process and people metrics.

37 – Release Plan: (Build, Launch)
A type of agile project plan derived from a product roadmap. It graphs how an individual project or major release is developed, usually by tracking burndown rate against a forecast.

38 – Requirement Weighting Model: (Focus, Immerse, Define)
A type of decision matrix that removes politics and guesswork from finding a balance between the importance to customers and the cost & technical difficulty of development.

39 – Stakeholder Mapping: (Ideate, Focus)
A method for understanding stakeholders, often conducted as a 2×2 grid with axes for power/influence vs interest, or as a Venn diagram containing sets for power, legitimacy and urgency.

40 – SWOT Analysis: (Ideate, Explore, Focus)
A structured planning method for evaluating helpful and harmful elements internally and externally to a venture, using sections for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

41 – User Stories: (Immerse, Define, Build)
An informal, natural-language description of features in a software system, often captured on an index card or sticky note and generally written by (or from the perspective of) an end-user or customer.

42 – Value Proposition Mapping: (Ideate, Explore, Define, Prepare)
An activity derived from the Business Model Canvas that describes the features, benefits and experience of a product against the wants, needs and fears of a customer.

43 – Voice of the Customer: (Explore, Immerse)
A detailed set of customer wants and needs organising into a hierarchy and prioritised in relative terms of importance & satisfaction with current alternatives. The information is sourced directly from interviews and enquiries conducted with customers.

See what happens when great projects meet great design.