UX Prototyping

Mick McQuaid



Guest Speaker: Ron Vutpakdi of ExxonMobil


Greever (2020) on Clients

The big meeting

  • For the pitch meeting, communicating the designs was more important than the designs!
  • Time spent designing was small compared to time spent preparing the pitches
  • Client could have derailed the months-long effort in a minute

What makes a good design good?

  • Is it good use of space?
  • Is it simplicity?
  • Is it when you can’t remove anything?
  • What do you think?

None of these!

  • Greever claims that these are internal to the designer and don’t respect the need to communicate
  • Everyone is a designer in their own mind, just as everyone is a music critic even if they can’t play
  • Good design is, to some degree, subjective (but there are design features like symmetry and tension that play across cultures and epochs)

The power to say no

  • Clients are not monolithic
  • Many people may have the power to say no for different reasons
  • They’re all stakeholders

And yet, design by committee doesn’t work

  • People disagree
  • People get defensive when they disagree
  • People fail to focus on the issues when they get defensive
  • Grumbling compromise results

Home page syndrome

  • Home screens or pages become a catchall
  • Different stakeholders believe their thing will work if it’s more prominent

Communication is the job

  • Most stakeholder issues can be explained as miscommunication or misunderstanding
  • Designers must be communicators
    • Setting expectations
    • Following instructions
    • Articulating product and process

What is “articulate”?

Understand your message and understand the desired response

Being articulate includes

  • Imparting intelligence \(\Rightarrow\) trustworthiness
  • Demonstrating intentionality \(\Rightarrow\) purpose and focus
  • Expressing confidence \(\Rightarrow\) you mean what you say
  • Showing respect \(\Rightarrow\) plays well with others

Greever’s definition of good design

  • Solves a problem
  • Easy for the users
  • Supported by everyone

By the way, my definition of good design is

When the client and users have no regrets, that is good design!

Solving a problem

  • Metrics matter
  • What matters most to stakeholders?
  • Introspection helps intuition
  • Constantly ask how what you’re doing solves the problem
  • Keep writing about the problem and solution

Make it easy

  • Ask how each thing you do affects the user (can’t always be sure)
  • Write (and revise) a user story

Usability \(=\) common sense \(+\) research

Get everyone’s support

  • Not getting support means going over the same ground over and over
  • Getting support is Greever’s primary focus
  • Support \(\neq\) agreement
  • Get forward momentum, not consensus

Ask over and over why this beats alternatives

  • This means thinking of and thinking through alternatives
  • This means anticipating how stakeholders will react
  • It’s worth listing alternatives and problems they face
  • Maybe wireframe alternatives

Answer these questions

  • What problem does it solve?
  • How does it affect the user?
  • Why is it better than the alternative?

Greever (2020) on Stakeholders

What you must do

  • Improve stakeholder relationships
  • Earn stakeholder trust
  • Establish stakeholder rapport

Apply UX principles to stakeholders

  • Study stakeholders just as you study users
  • Empathy for stakeholder
  • Perspective of stakeholder

Building the relationship

  • See stakeholders as human
  • Create shared experiences with stakeholders
  • Develop empathy for stakeholders
  • Ask good questions of stakeholders

Mock client time

  • Break into pairs
  • One of you is the client
  • Client conveys desire for shopping app to designer
  • Designer tries to understand the client
  • Client doesn’t have to make it easy!
  • Switch roles
  1. Take five minutes to prepare
  2. During that time, client thinks about what they want in a shopping app
  3. During that time, designer thinks about how they can elicit info
  4. Come together for the interview
  5. Repeat Steps 1–4


Greever, Tom. 2020. Articulating Design Decisions: Communicate with Stakeholders, Keep Your Sanity, and Deliver the Best User Experience. 2nd ed. O’Reilly Media.



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