Ok everybody… get your thinking caps on. I’m working on developing a new module for our train@skyscrapr architecture training courses. Today we are asking this question
What are the essential baseline skills an architect needs to have for architecting the User Experience?
User experience is the most important part of any software system (except for systems that don’t involve users at all). The impact of the software on the business, customers and users of the system will depend in large part on the effectiveness of the design and choices made by the architect as they craft the architecture of the user experience.
To get the ball rolling let’s think about some of the issues involved in user experience architecture.
Understanding the User
- Gathering user experience requirements based on ethnographic or context based user studies
- Understanding and Communicating the “way” people want to work verses “what” they do when they are working. For example – rapid 10 key entry without looking at the screen verses mouse driven type unstructured work.
Understanding the Design Options
- Deciding which user experience(s) to support (web, mobile, smart client, office based etc.) understanding strengths and weaknesses of each
- Mapping the user requirements to the platforms and technologies that can best support them
- Customization of the User Experience by user or customer – for example: Meta-data driven (“skinnable” UI)
- Localization strategies
Evaluating the Architecture
- Investing the “right” amount of time, money, designers and development resources in the user experience
- Evaluating proposed User Experiences in a lightweight / agile fashion (Is interface “A” better than interface “B”?)
There is a lot of ground to cover just in these topics I’ve listed here. I’m sure there are more, much more, but we have to draw the line somewhere. Is there an essential skill or topic about user experience architecture that I have not covered here? What is it? Chime in if you will.