An Overview on

User Experience for Information Design

a field note from ixdeology.com

I wrote this Field Note when I was leading a small team of UX designers at an agency. Its original form was as a Keynote presentation to portray an approach to Experience Design, and further demystify the deliverables created during the UX process. This effort was also to address an internal misconception that a UX wireframe document was simply a “layout” — and nothing more. So it began with the question…

What is User Experience?

If you do a Google search, you will find ample definitions that are very general and some even very specific. So I sought to define User Experience in a manner that resonated with creating Experiential Designs for information based on my processes.

Experience Design for information is a user-centric vocabulary of authentically curated paths and patterns, cognitively promoting experiential engagement.

Then I dissected it further to explain what it means, and how much more a UX wireframe schematic truly is.

User-Centric Vocabulary

Connecting with a user through a familiar language cognitively is the first step to communicating with them. The following are some principles that help user experience designs to be more relatable for users to engage with.

Principle of Patterns
Patterns are in nature and in everyday life. The alphabet and how it is combined to form a language is also a type of pattern that is recognizable. People are also habitual, and our behavioral patterns form a vocabulary to analytically draw patterns from as well.

A user-centric vocabulary, when viewed in a series, should speak the same language consistently. If it doesn’t, then there is no pattern or a common language. You wouldn’t substitute a, the, and or — for the same meaning — so why should a visual design element be any different.

Good design always has a pattern that is familiar and this concept applies to Information Design in user experiences for behavioral engagement.

Principle of Paths
Paths are user flow scenarios. A successful path is one that is shortest to the user’s goal. A user story could start and end at its last point — or continue further to other stories.

Paths also have hierarchies. Not only across pages, but also within the pages themselves helping to further focus on specific objectives. Comics or Graphic Novels utilize a similar concept to lead the audience through a story on a page — from panel-to-panel, and also within a panel.

Providing multiple paths of interests to all user types across a digital product is one of the goals of curating information. If a user finds what he or she is looking for, AND enjoys the process of getting there, then the digital product has communicated well, creating a happy user!

Authenticity

If the User-Centric Vocabulary is the design, then Authenticity is the human touch in the creation process. It is the voice of the communicator, or creator of the experience. The following are some standards that should be considered in the process for authenticity.

Simple, Objective & Usable
These terms are self explanatory, and form the macro level standards to strive for when organizing information and creating interactions for it. However, their values are determined by their authenticity.

The Craft of Curation
Art galleries and museums are successful largely due to how the pieces in their shows are curated. Such curations are a practiced craft that add value to User Experiences when organizing paths and patterns. For more on the process of curation read my dedicated article.

Collaborative Innovation
From new digital canvases to methods of interaction, innovation is having a second renaissance. Being prepared for this is paramount to evolving user experiences. Collaboration is the key! Not just any kind, but ones between thinkers, writers, designers, technologists adding to the values of authenticity. More on Innovation & Dinosaurs! Yes that’s correct, “dinosaurs” was meant to be in that sentence, check out my article on this too.

In Conclusion

In the end, the UX wireframe documents are schematics with strategically designed narratives, formulated authentically with all the cognitive ingredients necessary to evoke an experience in the user. Its success depends on how well its planned, communicated — and most of all experienced.

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