Monday, March 06, 2006

UX Disciplines

Scott Sehlhorst has one of his best entries yet about the different disciplines relating to user experience (UX). He distinguishes among:
  1. Information Architecture
  2. Usability
  3. Graphic (or Visual) Design
While information architecture and graphic design differ from usability, they both affect usability. The manner in which the product presents information largely determines how usable it is. Affordances ("image or element that suggests an action") in the user interface make your product more intuitive, therefore easier, to use.

Your product manager's role is not to be an information architect, graphic designer, or usability expert. However, she should specify, in measurable terms, how usable the product should be. The usability requirements are the metrics by which we judge whether the designers have done a good job.

For more information on the distinction between designing for usability and specifying usability requirements, see this entry from November of last year.

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