Couple of months ago, I did this figure to show the relationship between UX design and the other entities of my agency.

At first, they found it a bit pretentious to place my job at the center.

I don’t have the pretension to claim that we are more important than the others.

But, I asked to the front end developer, when was the last time you worked with the planning ? or to the copywriter, how often do you work with the data team??

They eventually admit that, when doing UX design, you collaborate with all the departments, and that my figure was pretty fair.

UX at the center of the project.
UX at the center of the project.

EVERYONE LIKES PICTURES

Being at the center of the process involves to use a simple and common langage : drawing and mapping.

Now maybe you think about little sketches on the back of a napkin made during the team lunch.

Complexe problems deserve big mappings, a quiet meeting room and the right people to tackle them.

So I use the printer a lot, even if I know it’s not eco friendly.

Multiple A3 backgrounds on Illustrator allows to make things big. But there is a counterpart: if you send such file in a pdf, it’s very unpleasant to read on the small screen of a computer.

The basic functions of illustrator are enough, and you can add free vector icons from Thenounproject.com or Iconfinder.com. It doesn’t have to require to much time to design.

The idea is to take notes directly on the board, and to redesign it between 2 meetings.

In this example, this flow helped to define the logics and redirections of the search engine of a hotel booking platform.

How the booking fast track works.
How works the booking fast track.

BUT EVERYONE LIKES STORIES TOO

Figures are great because they describe in a simply manner things too complicated to explain by words.

Yet, they miss a starting point and an end, and the overload of informations can be discouraging.

Visualisation of the userflow.
Visualisation of the userflow.

This map was used while working on a collaborative professional application.

It represented the validation process through the different stakeholders, showing the main user journey and the secondary paths.

In the first meetings, people enjoyed having something visual.

But it missed information hierarchy, they was too much informations at once.

Someone even said that “it looks like a nuclear plant map”

So I ended up dividing the map into one section per stakeholder. During the presentation, I was adding one step after the other while explaining the interactions.

The impact on the efficiency of the meeting was obvious, and people enjoyed the simplicity, just because their brains was free to focus on the interaction issues we needed to solve.

Mapping with some storytelling.
Mapping with some storytelling.

Remember, for efficient UX design meetings

  • Make things big and visual
  • Represent both the screens and the human interactions
  • Tell a story and don’t show everything at once
  • Use it to take notes
  • Update it between meetings
  • Use it as a brief for visual design and specifications.

And, if you are afraid to lose your time sticking all theses A3 sheets, take it as a relaxing moment to distress of your busy UX day :)

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