UX Toolkit. What?

Gary Thompson gary at unicon.net
Fri Jan 30 17:45:32 UTC 2009


This is a fascinating thread - I find it really interesting to hear how 
people define and understand words.

But to the point, this issue is a classic information architecture 
challenge - how to organize and classify information so that people can 
find it.  I've also heard it referred to as "findability" or "scent of 
information".  Exactly what several of you have been hitting on.  How do 
we ensure that our community is able to connect with the content - 
recognize the classification and organization as a match to what they 
are looking for?  Or, discover its existence even if they didn't come 
looking for it.

The fact that several people have wholly mistook the term UX Toolkit for 
something that it is not indicates we likely need a better solution.

I find looking at term definitions a helpful starting place.  My 
favorite way to do this is to do a google define search like this:

"define: handbook"

Which returns this result:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS291US304&q=define:+handbook&btnG=Search 
<http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS291US304&q=define:+handbook&btnG=Search>

Based on said search results, and my filtered selection from the 
returned definitions,

"Handbook" is defined as:
* A concise reference book providing specific information about a 
subject or location
* A type of reference work, or other collection of instructions, that is 
intended to provide ready reference
* A compact reference book giving the essential information in a given 
field of study

"Guideline" is defined as:
* A guideline is any document that aims to streamline particular 
processes according to a set routine
* Advice or instructions given in order to guide or direct an action
* A recommendation that leads or directs a course of action to achieve a 
certain goal

"Resource" is defined as:
* A resource is any physical or virtual entity of limited availability
* In economic theory, factors of production (or productive inputs) are 
the resources employed to produce goods and services
* Something that is available that can be used to take care of a need

"Toolkit" is defined as:
* An assembly of tools; set of basic building units for graphical user 
interfaces
* A collection of procedures that can be used to create user interface 
software
* A collection of technologies, products, and other supporting materials 
such as documentation, that help a customer to produce a solution

"Toolbox" is defined as:
* A box or chest or cabinet for holding hand tools
* A storage case for tools; a set of pre-existing routines for use in 
writing new programs
* An area on a site that offers visitors a drop-down menu of useful 
functions

Where it seems that:

* "Tool" generally indicates code/software/application (in our context)
* "Resource" is too broad and vague - can mean many different things

If we look at what is in the UX Tookit, it seems that we have:

* Templates, personas, and examples, but not code-based "tools"
* Advice, instructions, and recommendations that could be defined as 
"guidelines"
* A reference work on UX design that is intended to provide ready 
reference, a.k.a. a "handbook"

Thinking about it from a different perspective:  I am needing to fix 
something on my car.  I am inclined to try and do it myself, but I am 
not a trained mechanic.  I've changed the oil a few times and have a 
couple of basic tools, but need additional information, advice, 
how-to's, and examples.  I might need some additional tools.  What do I 
look for?  A repair manual on my car?  Advice from an experienced 
mechanic?  A how-to article on the task I need to do (hopefully with 
references to the tools I will need)?  What do you call the sum of all 
of those things?  A handbook?  A garage?  A community?

If we are to sum these three things:
* Templates, personas, and examples, but not code-based "tools"
* Advice, instructions, and recommendations that could be defined as 
"guidelines"
* A reference work on UX design that is intended to provide ready 
reference, a.k.a. a "handbook"

What is it? Handbook does seem close, but maybe isn't everything.

To Jess' point, we may be able to use the plithy title but attach to it 
labels and descriptions, expose some of the underlying pieces, etc.

At this point, my +1 would be for Design Handbook, where Design Handbook 
would be the main title and navigation item, but that there might be a 
highlight box on the home page that adds the subsections:

* Accessibility Resources
* Comparative & Competitive Analysis
* Contextual Inquiry
* Design Patterns
* Persona
* User Experience Walkthroughs
* User Modeling
* User Testing
* UX Resources

Or related labels and terms to aid the findability and scent of 
information if people do not immediately recognize "Design Handbook" as 
the thing they are looking for.

Gary

Anastasia Cheetham wrote:
>
> On 29-Jan-09, at 5:07 PM, Jacob Farber wrote:
>
>> a name that's likely to get the attention of a inquisitive visitor / 
>> designer / developer / whomever and from there they will get to see 
>> what its all about.
>
> That's a good point, Jacob.
>
> Considering
> - who the target audience for this thing is
> - what they will be looking for when they come to the site
>
> is the name likely to make them think  "Ah! Maybe that's what I'm 
> looking for..."
>
>



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