EverestEngineering
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EverestEngineering

UX deliverables that are relevant, timely, and targeted

Factors determining how much effort goes into creating UX deliverables.

Drawing of a horse, lowest to the highest fidelity. Credits: http://www.alibati.com/horse

Fidelity

Drawing of a Brain: Credit: https://labs.openai.com/

Work smarter, not harder

It is likely that all your colleagues will understand you perfectly if you break your back and create every single model with high fidelity, though eventually, you will run out of time (remember: 24 hours per day!) or burn out due to the high pressure. On the other hand, you are likely to get misunderstood if you create all models in low fidelity.

  • When? — Time when the model will be delivered. When is the person receiving the model?
  • Who? — Identify who you are presenting your model to — Who receives the model?
  • Who else? — The extent to which the model will be shared? Who else receives the model?
Image of a measuring tape: Credit: https://labs.openai.com/

Fidelity Factor 1: How far?

During the pre-Covid era, if you wanted to talk to someone about any topic at work, you would usually visit their desk or schedule a face-to-face meeting. In today’s world, most of our work is done online. Many companies see this as a problem since collaboration tends to get more challenging the farther apart people are.

Tips for this factor

  • Make every effort to meet in person whenever possible
  • Prepare beforehand to cover all topics with your model since you won’t have the opportunity to ask spontaneous questions in-person
  • Video on remote meetings when possible allows for gestures to be seen by the audience
  • If you are showing your model on a remote meeting, choose a location with a good internet connection and low background noise, so that calls can be made uninterrupted and sound can be heard clearly
Drawing of a Clock: Credit: https://labs.openai.com/

Fidelity Factor 2: When?

There are three types of possible times in which models can be communicated: sync, async, or a mix of both.

Sync

By having a back-and-forth conversation, you are able to share and discuss a lot of information simultaneously. You can use conversation to resolve any gaps in understanding between you and your audience. Misunderstandings lead to questions that can be answered right away. Models require less fidelity since you have the opportunity to verbally explain any information gap in the design.
Examples of this type are face-to-face chats, video or audio calls, and in-person workshops.

Async

In this case, there is a delay in the communication loop. The longer it takes between messages, the more challenging it is to answer follow-up questions or resolve misunderstandings. Misunderstandings lead to questions that take time to be answered. Models require higher fidelity since you want to ensure the minimum amount of information gaps in the design.
Examples of this type are email threads that take up to several days to be answered and the comments section on wiki pages that require additional processing to be reviewed.

Mix of both

In this case, the rhythm of the information interchange varies depending on the attention provided by each end of the conversation. Models vary in the required amount of fidelity depending on the attention of the audience. The most common example of this is a messaging chat where both parties leave and return.

Tips for this factor

  • Make every effort to sync whenever possible. Be careful though, since regular meetings with no additional value tend to lower audience involvement. Adjust the rhythm of syncs to the amount of new information you can bring to models.
  • Prepare beforehand for possible questions with your model since you won’t have the opportunity to ask spontaneous questions in-person
  • Take Screenshots or photos of scribbles over having to write everything
  • Audio or video recordings help get more information out with less effort
Drawing of a Message sent to an audience: Credit: https://labs.openai.com/

Fidelity Factor 3: Who?

Four audiences can evaluate a model: you, your team, your organization, and your users.

You

A sticky note with a scribble and 4 words can be considered a model that is enough for you to follow. There is no doubt that this scenario is low fidelity. Nevertheless, don’t get fall on the When? factor and forget what the scribble was about a few weeks later, give your future self a chance.

Team

Colleagues with whom you share common understandings. Whether it’s about UX or the domain you’re working on. Because you are usually in contact with them, they understand the context in which your models are derived.

Organization

Due to less frequent collaboration, their understanding of the subject can become limited. Raise the fidelity of your models when communicating with colleagues outside your inner circle.

Users

When you explain every detail and context of your model to the user, they will be able to relate your model to their goals.

Extra: Clients

For UX Designers working in consulting, depending on the relationship you have established with your client: they can be positioned close to the Team or further away closer to the Users.

Tips for this factor

  • Maintain a close relationship with your client by collaborating as much as possible and have a bigger shared understanding
  • Engage as many people on the project in the UX process as possible in order to extend the reach of the shared understanding and expand the team
  • Define your audience clearly so you can gauge your work’s fidelity
  • One model can provide multiple messages, be precise about the message you want to share. The further away from you, the more precise you need to be to avoid people focusing on the wrong things.
Drawing of Commuters: Credit: https://labs.openai.com/

Fidelity Factor 4: Who else?

Does your direct audience share your models with others? Do other audiences, as well as the target audience, will have access to this model? When deciding on the fidelity of your model, you should keep these two questions in mind since they provide insight into the reach of your model.

Tips for this factor

  • Record yourself or the meeting where you explain the model and add the link of the recording to the model before you share it
  • If possible provide an accompanying text and contact information if any questions arise
  • Highlight a disclaimer like: “Work in progress”, “Draft” or “In Review”
  • After the project has reached a certain level of maturity, public sharing is encouraged; however, the fidelity will have to be higher.
Drawing of a Takeaway Hamburger: Credit: https://labs.openai.com/

Takeaway

Work smarter, not harder. Think of: how far? when? who? who else? is going to see your model before you jump into a Figma file and start designing the Sixteenth Chappel of User Journeys.

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