You told us you want to know more about the process we use to build custom software. You got it. Follow along as we build our new Huddle Helper app. This is the 4th post in that series. You can read the 3rd post here.
What is a UX concept model?
A user experience (UX) concept model is a visual representation of a set of ideas that clarifies the concept for both the thinker and the audience. This can often be a more powerful way of presenting ideas and how they fit together than words alone.
Caption: UX concept model for the Huddle Helper app
Who uses a UX concept model?
Typically, designers create concept models to communicate complexity to the rest of the team when working through the requirements for an app and how they relate to each other.
How are UX concept models used?
Software engineers use the model to make technical decisions or eliminate unnecessary complexity. Business development and marketing teams can take advantage of the speed of conceptualizing these ideas when talking to clients. The model should be kept up-to-date to make it easier to talk about additions or changes in the future.
The concept model is then used to map these overarching ideas to the actual structure of the app. This ordering of ideas forces us to think through how all the different pieces of a project fit together.
What is information architecture?
IA isn’t just the abbreviation for Iowa; it stands for information architecture, which is the structural design of shared information environments.
In the case of software design and development, it’s the art and science of organizing and labeling the components of that software to support usability and findability.
Who uses information architecture?
Everyone involved in the actual creation of the app will use this document. It’s especially useful in the testing stage, as it’ll help find areas that don’t fulfill the requirements outlined at the beginning of development.
How is the information architecture used?
It allows the user to understand where she is in the app and where the information she wants to access is in relation to her.
Here’s how we applied the UX concept model and IA to our app.
When beginning the Huddle Helper app, we drafted both a concept model and an information architecture so we could discover paths through the app, as well as understand relationships between the different parts.
For example, we found we didn’t need a separate page for each user to show the total number of hamburgers he had received over time. Instead, we could show that on the user’s profile page. We also found that we could initiate giving a hamburger to a user from that page or from the dashboard.
Why all this matters
These connections will help eliminate repetition in the code, which makes development faster and less error-prone, and makes the user experience more fluid.