Fwd: UIEtips: Goal-Directed Design -- An Interview with Kim Goodwin

Daphne Ogle daphne at media.berkeley.edu
Wed Aug 15 23:46:38 UTC 2007

Interesting article about goal-directed design and Cooper's process.

I'm sharing since this is very much in-line with my design  
philosophies and methodologies  (Alan Cooper is my hero :) ).   We  
followed this process for the lightbox design and I'll be  
evangelizing something along these lines as a process we move forward  
with for Fluid design in general.


Begin forwarded message:

> From: Jared M. Spool <jared.m.spool at uie.com>
> Date: August 15, 2007 9:58:08 AM PDT
> To: "Daphne Ogle" <daphne at media.berkeley.edu>
> Subject: UIEtips: Goal-Directed Design -- An Interview with Kim  
> Goodwin
> Reply-To: jared.m.spool at uie.com
> --> Feature Article: Goal-Directed Design -- An Interview with Kim
>      Goodwin
> By Christine Perfetti
> Kim Goodwin is the General Manager and Vice President of Design at
> Cooper. Cooper created an interaction design methodology known as
> Goal-Directed Design. Their methodology identifies the goals and
> behaviors of users and directly translates them into the design. I
> recently had the chance to talk with Kim about her work and I've
> included an excerpt of the interview below.
> [Editor's Note: You can hear the podcast of Christine's entire
> conversation with Kim at http://tinyurl.com/25gzkp
> Alan Cooper, the founder of Cooper, originally popularized the
> concept of personas. How does Cooper define a persona?
>     As personas have become more and more popular, many people have
>     started to misuse them, so there are a ton of misperceptions out
>     there about what personas really are.
>     A persona is a behavioral model. The most effective behavioral
>     models are distilled from interview and observation data of real
>     users into an archetypal description of how a particular type of
>     person behaves and what their goals are.
>     The two essential components of a persona are the persona's
>     behaviors and goals. For any product or service, design teams
>     have to create multiple personas that represent the range of
>     likely behaviors and goals.
> Some design teams base their personas on a real person instead of a
> fictitious archetype. What do you think of this approach?
>     Certainly there are some real people who are very similar to a
>     persona the design team may create, but it's a dangerous
>     approach because real humans are idiosyncratic. For example, any
>     individual user might hate the color blue or have some other
>     random opinions that aren't necessarily representative of a
>     larger population.
>     One of the strength of personas is that they gloss over those
>     little idiosyncratic things and really focus on the essence of
>     what is common to this particular type of person. That's one of
>     the reasons why we rely on personas instead of real users--they
>     are more representative.
> When creating personas, you focus on up-front user research. Can you
> describe what this research involves?
>     At Cooper, we rely heavily on ethnographic techniques. We focus
>     on the context of use, looking at how people behave in their
>     environment, whether that's an office or an operating room, or
>     on the train somewhere. We can be investigating an existing
>     version of a product, a competitive product, or even a paper and
>     sneaker-net version of something that doesn't exist in a digital
>     form yet.
>     In our research, we focus on uncovering how people use their
>     existing tools and what mental models people have about their
>     tasks. We also investigate how people currently accomplish their
>     tasks, where they experience frustrations, and where there are
>     opportunities for improvement.
> Personas are really only one aspect of Cooper's rigorous interaction
> design methodology, Goal-Directed Design. Can you describe the steps
> involved in your methodology?
>     We call our methodology "Goal-Directed" because it focuses on
>     accomplishing goals. It's important to note that these are not
>     only the persona's goals but also the business's goals. If design
>     teams only focus on the persona's goals to the exclusion of
>     making profits, the product won't be successful.
>     In an ideal world, we start out conducting user research in
>     contexts where people use the product or the service. Then, we
>     create personas based on usage patterns and the sets of goals
>     we've observed. Typically, we have only a small set of personas.
>     For a consumer web site, we have about six personas. For a
>     complex enterprise application where there are a lot of
>     complicated interrelated roles, we may need 20+ personas.
>     Next, we use the personas to drive scenarios. The
>     persona-scenario pairing is critical because if you just have a
>     persona, it's like having a really interesting character, but no
>     story to tell. Just like you won't have a good book or movie
>     unless there's a story, design teams won't get a good product
>     design with just a persona. They have to say to themselves, "In
>     this situation, how would this persona ideally like to experience
>     this interaction?" and "How does that look?"
>     By pairing the personas with the scenarios, we gather
>     requirements, and from those requirements, we create design
>     solutions. To create the initial design solutions, we use
>     scenarios to drive what functionality is available and what's
>     paired together. We also use design patterns and principles to
>     help us figure out how to concretely represent that
>     functionality. These steps all come together in what we call the
>     interaction framework, which is the initial sketch of the design.
>     For example, how many screens does the solution have, how do
>     users move around the interface, and what kinds of big things
>     does it accomplish?
>     From there, we again use scenarios at increasing levels of
>     detail to refine the design and constantly iterate it all the way
>     down to the pixel level. Of course, there's plenty of developer
>     collaboration, and visual design in the mix, but this is our
>     methodology in a nutshell.
> Should every feature in a Goal-Directed Design be tied to user
> research?
>     Yes and no. Every feature should be tied to research in some
>     fashion. Most of it's going to come from user research, but
>     occasionally a feature is driven by something like a regulatory
>     requirement in healthcare that may not have anything to do with
>     a user goal but the design team must include it or the product
>     won't ship. So, every feature and function in the design is
>     traceable back to something, mostly user research.
>     Many of our clients see the importance of creating personas.
>     However, some teams have very limited time and resources to go
>     out into the field and talk with their users. Do you have any
>     recommendations for dealing with these constraints?
>     People often have misconceptions about the word "research." When
>     you start using the word "research," people automatically start
>     thinking months and millions of dollars, and that's really not
>     the case.
>     Design teams can conduct rigorous research for a simple product
>     in just a matter of a few days. In many cases, teams can conduct
>     research for a really complicated enterprise application in
>     under a month. It's a matter of making sure people understand the
>     scale of effort.
>     When we have a really tight time frame at Cooper, our approach
>     is to look to friends and acquaintances and say, "Can we find a
>     handful of people who are at least something like the type of
>     user we're trying to recruit?"
>     It's not ideal, and obviously you'll have less confidence in
>     what you're designing, but three or four perspectives different
>     from our own can still help us to see the world in different
>     ways.
>     Of course, designers won't want to base a multi-million dollar
>     development effort on three casual user interviews with friends
>     of friends. Even so, if the time frame is compressed and it's the
>     only choice the team has, it's better than not doing anything.
> In Cooper's Goal-Directed Design methodology, what is the team
> composition?
>     Our typical design team consists of two people who form the core
>     of the team. One is a full-time Interaction Designer who works on
>     that project and only that project. We also have the Design
>     Communicator, another member of the team that works full-time on
>     the project. We invented the Design Communicator role at Cooper
>     over a decade ago. At first we thought, "Let's hire technical
>     writers to document what the interaction designers are coming up
>     with." However, we found that if you hire the right kind of
>     technical writers, they don't just write down what you say, they
>     say, "Well, why is that good? And why would you do it that way?"
>     We've found that, by hiring the right people, they were
>     naturally inclined to help us refine the design and clarify it.
>     They were very rigorous in making sure it was fully articulated
>     and that we had considered everything.
>     The Design Communicator role has really become a design partner,
>     and so the interaction designer and design communicator are sort
>     of like two halves of a brain. It's like Scully and Mulder on
>     "The X-Files." One says, "Well, it ought to be this way!" and the
>     other one says, "OK, I'm not sure I buy that."
> You are presenting a new seminar for us this year, The Essentials of
> Interaction Design. Can you tell our readers what you're planning to
> cover?
>     I think the UIE audience in particular has heard me talk a lot
>     about personas and about research. This class really is not about
>     that. It's about what designers need to accomplish once they've
>     finished the research.
>     The seminar will cover skill building: How do you develop your
>     essential design skills, such as visualization? How do you get
>     to the point where you can confidently make marks on the
>     whiteboard and have it mean something? I'll also cover how design
>     teams can use scenarios, patterns, and principles to visualize
>     and iterate solutions. My seminar is really about the design
>     creation part of the design process.
> Thanks for your time, Kim. We're looking forward to seeing you at
> User Interface 12.
>       +  +  +
> Christine's interview with Kim Goodwin is also available on our web
> site at: http://www.uie.com/articles/goal_directed_design/
>       +  +  +
> If you're interested in learning more about how to develop and
> refine your interaction skills, you'll definitely want to attend Kim
> Goodwin's full-day seminar, The Essentials of Interaction Design.
> Full details at: http://tinyurl.com/yt6rpz
>       +  +  +
> How does your team incorporate user research into design? We'd love
> to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment on the UIE Brain Sparks blog:
> http://tinyurl.com/2xajl2
> - o - o - o -
> --> UI12 Conference:  $2,090 Early Registration Pricing ends 8/21
> If you're planning to sign up for the User Interface 12 Conference,
> you'll definitely want to do it now as spaces are filling up
> quickly. If you register by August 21, you can sign up for the low
> pricing of $2,090 -- a savings of over $1,600 off the Final Walk-in
> Registration price!
>  (You can see more details about the conference at
>   http://www.uiconf.com )
> We've asked the most forward thinking minds in the world of design and
> usability to present on today's most pressing design topics.
> Industry experts such as Luke Wroblewski, Gerry McGovern, Rolf
> Molich, Cameron Moll, Kim Goodwin, Kevin Cheng, Scott Berkun, and
> Larry Constantine will address how to:
>     + Apply the Essentials of Interaction Design, including design
>        principles, scenarios, and patterns
>     + Boost your site's Visual Design appeal and delight your users
>     + Build Innovative Designs and lead breakthrough projects
>     + Design elegant CSS interfaces that incorporate proven graphic
>        design, human computing, and visual communication principles
>     + Uncover the best practices for Usability Testing with rare
>        insights pulled from research on dozens of usability teams
>     + Create a solid and robust Information Architecture based on
>        users' most important tasks
> You can't get the Early Registration rate of $2,090 after August 21,
> so sign up today and guarantee your spot at http://www.uiconf.com
> - o - o - o -
> --> UIE Podcast Series: Usability Tools
> Each week in our Usability Tools podcast, Jared M. Spool will sit
> down with UIE's Managing Director, Christine Perfetti to discuss tips
> and tools for improving a web site's user experience. The goal of the
> weekly podcast is to share some of the most important findings from
> UIE's research on web design and usability.
> Recent UIE Tools Podcasts:
> > Home Page Design
> In our first episode, Christine Perfetti asks Jared M. Spool about
> UIE's latest thinking on home page design, including:
> + Why a site's home page is actually the least important page on  
> your site
> + How the most successful designs focus on understanding users' main
>    goals
> + How "link-rich" home pages can help your users find their content
> + Why users spend little time on the best home pages
> http://tinyurl.com/24fxhx
> > Gallery Pages
> Gallery Pages, the list of links to content, are a web site's
> hardest working page. They are the final page that determine whether
> users will successfully find their content.
> In this podcast, Jared and Christine discuss:
> + How galleries help users make confident choices
> + What behavior users exhibit when gallery pages fail them
> + How to order links so users can successfully find their content
> + Why alphabetized links are often viewed as randomly ordered links
> http://tinyurl.com/2fg2d6
>      +  +  +
> Do you have feedback or comments on our article? Send us your
> thoughts on the UIE Brain Sparks blog at http://tinyurl.com/2xajl2
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Daphne Ogle
Senior Interaction Designer
University of California, Berkeley
Educational Technology Services
daphne at media.berkeley.edu
cell (510)847-0308

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