We follow a structured and iterative design approach. Our design efforts emphasize substantial user research and the careful balancing of functional and aesthetic goals. A repeating cycle of design prototyping and usability testing leads to highly refined solutions.
User Interface Design
Our approach to hardware and software user interface design depends to some degree on the nature of the product. Our general approach to designing a software user interface follows:
- Conduct user research
- Prepare a vision statement
- Analyze tasks
- Set usability goals to design
- Develop the conceptual model
- Develop the user interface structure
- Gather and review content
- Build wireframe(s)
- Develop visual designs
- Conduct a cognitive walkthrough
- Prepare a style guide
- Create screen templates
- Produce sample screens
- Build a prototype
- Conduct a usability test
- Develop the full-scale design
- Document the design
- (Iterate the design-prototype-test cycle as necessary)
In the course of user interface design, we often need to build an interactive prototype; a computer-based model of the intended design. Our prototypes may model physical elements, such as controls, indicators, and overall product forms, as well as computer-driven displays.
In a matter of days, we can build prototypes of complex devices and software applications using tools such as HTML, Macromedia Director, or Flash.
Prototypes enable effective usability tests and design presentations. They also serve as an effective, dynamic means to specify a final design.
Communicating with your users often requires infographics - a pleasing combination of text and graphics that communicate clearly and effectively. Examples include simplified maps, intuitive instructions, and attention-getting and clear warnings.
In addition to communicating with your customers, infographics can be effective communication tools within your development team. Such infographics can present complex use-cases and user requirements as "at a glance" displays.
Sometimes, infographics incorporate dynamic elements, such as Flash-based animation and sound to direct users to perform specific tasks such as properly connecting electronic components.
To develop effective infographics, we follow a design process similar to the one used for user interface design. We start by defining user requirements, develop a conceptual model for the graphical presentation, then iteratively develop our designs based on established human factors principles. The end product is a pleasing infographic that communicates efficiently and reliably.
User experience design
Our user-centered design approach has many more applications, including:
- Warnings and alarms
- Learning tools, such as user manuals and quick reference cards
- Animated and interactive learning tools
- Wayfinding and signage systems