A Practical Guide to Information Architecture
Simple steps to create better information architecture in your own projects, large and small.
A comprehensive collection of UX techniques available for use on UX projects.
Mix and match these UX techniques to create a UX process best suited to the project at hand. We’ll be updating this page regularly with additional content, links and tutorials about how to apply these techniques.
Are we missing a UX technique? Perhaps you’d like to write a tutorial or case study about one of these techniques? Get in touch!
Looking for an online course that teaches how to use these techniques? View our big list of UX courses.
Japanese translation of this page by Shu Wakasa.
|Technique||What It Is||When To Use It||How To Use It|
|Competitor Analysis||Performing an audit/review of competing websites and apps; conducting user testing of competing sites; writing a report that summarises the competitive landscape.||Strategy, Research||Downloading, signing up for, purchasing, and using products that compete with yours is only part of the process; conducting user testing sessions on these products will also yield valuable insights. Check out the Inc. article How To Conduct Competitive Research for more tips.|
|Analytics Review||Analysing web or mobile usage data, and making subsequent recommendations.||Strategy, Research||All analytics packages provide key reports, such as most frequently visited pages, visitor demographics, bounce rate and more.
We'll be adding instructional content about interpreting web analytics soon, but in the mean time this article is a good place to start. Brian Clifton's book on the topic also comes recommended.
|Stakeholder Interviews||Conversations with the key contacts in the client organisation funding, selling, or driving the product.||Strategy, Research||Steve Baty's article, Conducting Successful Interviews With Project Stakeholders is worth a read as it contains lots of tips gleaned from experience.|
|Contextual Enquiry||Interviewing users in the location that they use the website/app, to understand their tasks and challenges.||Research||Read Contextual Enquiry - A Primer by Gerry Gaffney for a rough guide to planning for, scheduling, conducting a contextual enquiry.|
|Surveys||Crafting an online survey, primarily to solicit feedback from current (or potential) users.||Research||
Creating a survey is easy; creating a good survey that asks questions in an unbiased way is not. An effective survey can be a formidable tool for user research.
Watch Chris Gray's short animated video, Better User Research Through Surveys, to learn how to build an effective survey that collects the most valuable information from your users.
|Content Audit||Reviewing and cataloguing a client’s existing repository of content.||Research||
Donna Spencer's beginner's article, complete with animated video, is a good place to start. She also has a template for creating a content inventory that is available for download.
|Diary Study||Asking users to record their experiences and thoughts about a product or task in a journal over a set period of time.||Research||Conducting a diary study is really as simple as providing users with a diary and a timeframe, as well as guidelines about what (and what not) to record.
Read Andrew Maier's article, Jumpstart Design Research With A Diary Study for more details.
|User Interviews||User interviews are a key activity for understanding the tasks and motivations of the user group for whom you are designing. Interviews may be formally scheduled, or just informal chats (for instance, in a suitable location that your target demographic are present).||Research||Interviewing someone takes practice. Read how to how to improve your interview skills for tips on getting better.|
|Heuristic Review||Evaluating a website or app and documenting usability flaws and other areas for improvement.||Research, Analysis||A good method for determining how usable a site or app is entails working through a checklist, such as the one from uxforthemasses.com, and relies upon the practitioner being sufficiently experienced to judge whether something is usable or not.|
|User Testing||Sitting users in front of your website or app and asking them to perform tasks, and to think out loud while doing so.||Research, Analysis, Design, Production||Read about how to run a user testing session even if you're a complete novice.
Also be sure to check out Steve Krug's short book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy for a comprehensive guide on how to plan for, schedule and conduct usability tests.
|Unmoderated Remote Usability Test||URUT is similar to in-person usability testing however participants complete tasks in their own environment without a facilitator present. The tasks are pre-determined and are presented to the participant via an online testing platform.||Research, Analysis, Design, Production||Chris Gray's article How to Run an Unmoderated Remote Usability Test outlines the process and includes an animated video to walk you through it.|
|Personas||A persona is a fictitious identity that reflects one of the user groups for who you are designing.||Analysis||
Creating personas for your project involves morphing qualitative and quantitative data from analytics, surveys, interviews, user testing sessions, and other research activities into a handful of representative “typical” users. These personas are assigned names, photographs, motivations, goals, and a believable backstory that is rooted in the backgrounds of real people using your website or app. Read the process Matt followed for this activity at SitePoint or take a look at Gregg Bernsteinn's short animated video.
|A/B Testing||Good for testing new or experimental features before releasing them to all customers.||Design,Research||Give one version of a page or feature to some customers; give another to the rest. Measure the performance of each to see which was more successful.|