Fwd: UIEtips: Goal-Directed Design -- An Interview with Kim Goodwin
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
> Reply-To: jared.m.spool at uie.com
> --> Feature Article: Goal-Directed Design -- An Interview with Kim
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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:
> - 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
> + How "link-rich" home pages can help your users find their content
> + Why users spend little time on the best home pages
> > 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
> + + +
> 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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Senior Interaction Designer
University of California, Berkeley
Educational Technology Services
daphne at media.berkeley.edu
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