Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Value of User Experience

A positive user experience creates value, whether you use the honeycomb , my restructured honeycomb or another sales pitch, this is what we tell our clients. But what is this value? How do we explain the benifits of a good user experience?

Again, I find myself uttering "so, I have this model." In this case it is a concept map. Inspiration for this comes from this map made by Experience Dynamics. Mine is not as pretty (I may get one of our graphic designers to do a nice design for it later, but at the moment they have too much to do).

Larger Version [+]

The map is simple, it puts the user experience in the middle of the diagram and adds the context of the user, goals and tasks and the positive or negative result of the experience. As with all concept maps of value there is really no way to describe it using just text, so see for yourself and tell me what you think.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Restructuring the User Experience Honeycomb

Peter Morville, the author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web and Ambient Findability is also known to have created the User Experience Honeycomb diagram. Even though his honeycomb is over two years old, it's still used by Peter at presentations:

I always thought that his diagram had a strong appeal, but also that it was lacking something. To my surprise, I found the diagram became much better after re-structuring it. It is kind of ironic that the work of one of the greatest information architects in the world wasn't structured ideally from the beginning. But then again, I might be completely wrong. Anyways, I put the facets in a different order and removed the honeycombs:

Why the new order? Simple, now the facets are in order of experience. The rationale for the order is the following:

It's first, to quote the inspiration of this post "you can't use what you can't find"

Maybe a new quote, "you can't use what you can't access"

You see the interface before you use it.

You have to be able to use something to do something with it

You have to trust something before actually commiting to solving a task with the service

Usefulness is last, because a user forms an opinion about usefulness when he leaves, hopefully after completing his task.

value is the result of the user experience and not a facet of it.

It is my humble opinion that the honeycomb is more descriptive as a process than as a honeycomb. Although, the insight would never have came had it not been for the original.