Peter Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb

The interest in user experience design has grown heavily in the last few years. Businesses are realizing the value of user experience design and designers. But with all this buzz the term user experience design and it’s definition can be rather broad and challenging to understand. Thanks to many valuable resources from top designers there are tools available that we can use to help explain to clients about UX design. One of those resources is the user experience honeycomb created by Peter Morville.

Peter Morville is a designer and information architect who has been working in this field since 1994. He has held positions at top companies like Google and Gopher. While working as an IA, Peter began using a diagram of three circles that he felt best represented the connection between business goals and context, user needs and behavior, and content.

Source Peter Morville

While this diagram served its purpose of explaining why there needs to be a balance between all of those things he felt that there was a need for a better diagram which would explain even further the depth of user experience design. Hence the birth of the user experience honeycomb.

The user experience honeycomb is a tool that explains the various facets of user experience design. Since there are many aspects of this field far beyond usability Peter felt that this new diagram would help to educate clients. The honeycomb helps to find a sweet spot between the various areas of a good user experience.

Source Peter Morville

Each facet of user experience design can be defined by this diagram as such:

Usable: The system in which the product or service is delivered needs to be simple and easy to use. Systems should be designed in a way that is familiar and easy to understand. The learning curve a user must go through should be as short and painless as possible.

Useful: A business’s product or service needs to be useful and fill a need. If the product or service is not useful or fulfilling user’s wants or needs then there is no real purpose for the product itself.

Desirable: The visual aesthetics of the product, service, or system need to be attractive and easy to translate. Design should be minimal and to the point.

Findable: Information needs to be findable and easy to navigate. If the user has a problem they should be able to quickly find a solution. The navigational structure should also be set up in a way that makes sense.

Accessible: The product or services should designed so that even users with a disabilities can have the same user experience as others.

Credible: The company and its products or services need to be trustworthy.

Each application will be different based on the balance between context, content and users. But, by keeping all of these points in mind it is easier to define priorities. This is essential for helping companies break down tasks in order to formulate a strategy towards an end goal.

For example, a complete website redesign is a massive feat and can be quite costly. By looking at the honeycomb stakeholders can identify the areas that are most important and begin the project by chipping away at the high level priorities, thus overtime allowing the business to completely redefine the user experience for the better.

The honeycomb also helps to identify all the areas that are important to a good user experience and can be broken down even further in more depth. Is it more important for your service or product to be findable rather than desirable? Do you need to improve credibility in your market? Is your product or service accessible? So on and so forth.

In short the user experience honeycomb is a helpful tool for designers and stakeholders alike. By outlining and defining all the areas that are important to UX design businesses can get a better understanding of what UX is and why it’s essential, help define priorities in design, and serve as a tool for continuously improving areas of products and services.