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Shlomo "Mo" Goltz is an Interaction Designer and User Researcher at Hearsay Social. There he crafts experiences that enables those in the financial sector to develop, maintain, and enrich relationships with customers via social media. Shlomo combines qualitative and quantitative research-based methodologies to inform his design process, with a focus on creating enterprise software that feels as delightful to use as consumer products.
How can designers create experiences that are custom tailored to people who are unlike themselves? As explained in part 1 of this series, an effective way to gain knowledge of, build empathy for and sharpen focus on users is to use a persona. This final part of the series will explain an effective method of creating a persona.
There are myriad ways to integrate user-centered thinking into the creative process of UX design, and personas are one of the most effective ways to empathize with and analyze users. There is no one right way to develop a persona, but the method I will share here is based on processes developed, field-tested and refined over the years at the interaction design agency Cooper. This process follows a logical order that begins with knowing nothing (or very little) about users and ends with a refined and nuanced perspective of users that can be shared with others.
In my experience as an interaction designer, I have come across many strategies and approaches to increase the quality and consistency of my work, but none more effective than the persona. Personas have been in use since the mid-’90s and since then have gained widespread awareness within the design community.
For every designer who uses personas, I have found even more who strongly oppose the technique. I once also viewed personas with disdain, seeing them as a silly distraction from the real work at hand — that is, until I witnessed them being used properly and to their full potential.
Hundreds of tools may be available for interaction designers, but there is still no industry standard for interaction design the way Photoshop and Illustrator are to graphic design. Popular programs are out there, but many of them have considerable drawbacks, which has led me to explore alternative apps.
I eventually chose Adobe InDesign for much of my preliminary interaction design work. Yes, you read that correctly: InDesign, a desktop publishing app originally created for designing books and magazines, is currently my tool of choice for designing low- to medium-fidelity wireframes and interactive prototypes.
In the previous parts of this tutorial (part 1 and part 2), we looked in detail at the building blocks of our design in Fireworks (pages, shared layers, symbols, styles), and we started to make a demo prototype in Fireworks.
The demo prototype had six pages, linked together by hotspots, and each hotspot was customized for use with TAP. Now that the six-page Fireworks PNG file is ready, it’s time to prepare it to be exported as a click-through prototype and then converted (with the help of the TAP extension) to an animated, gesture-based prototype that we can use on an iOS device.
One of the strengths of Adobe Fireworks lies in its ability to produce basic-level prototypes in HTML format for the purpose of sharing concepts, evaluating them and conducting usability tests. But did you know that you can use Fireworks in combination with other tools to create complex iOS prototypes (for both the iPhone and iPad) with similar ease?
In this series of three articles, you’ll learn how to use Adobe Fireworks together with another tool, called TAP, to create prototypes with animated transitions.