Earlier this year, I worked with other Canonical designers on a poster for Ubuntu contributors about how to solve design problems. This poster was shared with participants at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in California.
It’s any situation where
Whether you’re designing something new, or redesigning something, even following just one of these steps will help. The more steps you follow, the better the results.
Try writing a one-paragraph persona, giving the name, age, occupation, experience, values etc of a target user.
Ideally, personas are based on interviews or surveys. Find out more about personas on usability.gov.
If you have an existing implementation, what’s good and bad about it?
Is a similar problem addressed in other applications, or on other platforms? You might even do usability testing of the competition.
Think of as many alternative solutions as you can. Things to try:
Then, compare your alternative solutions on the scales that are important to your target users. These might include:
Testing a static design, you can sketch a paper prototype, or use a printed screenshot or mockup to show people.
With something more complex, implement a prototype and get people to try it.
Be clear that you’re testing the software, not the people. And don’t give hints unless someone says they’re completely stuck. 24 Ways has a good guide to fast and simple usability testing.
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