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User Experience The Beginner's Guide


User Experience, interaction-design.org onboard


Good artists copy. Great artists steal

  • Picasso

  • Steve Jobs

Designers need to take into account Psychology when designing things

Books Referenced - The Design of Everyday Things and Human Error No Bad Design by Don Norman


Lesson 1 Intro

What I learned in a tweet

User experience is a broad category that touches many different sciences. Understanding the Humans that use your product is essential to building a product that connects with them.

Top 3 takeaways

  1. Researching your real life users is crucial to a successful design

  2. Personifying the different kind of users prevents putting them in a box

    1. Real life context affects how your users interact with your software

Practical Appliation


ux graph

User Experience definition

"a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service" (ISO 9241-210)

User Experience is a broad field. From the design to how the application feels when you are using it falls under UX.

UX covers many disciplines:

What the @#$% is UX

  • User Experience

    • What

    • when

    • where

    • how

    • a user uses your producs

  • What are you thinking?

  • Why did that confuse you?

  • Where user needs and business needs overlaps

  • User centered design process

    • takes the needs of the user into account at every stage of the product lifecyle

    • web apps, mobile apps, desktop apps

  • Why should you care?

    • you are doing this stuff already

    • User Centered Design is a process its scientific

    • its not hard

    • its challenging


1.2 quiz

A User Experience designer employs which approach to the design process?

User centered

1.3 Why is UX Design so Important

The change of the name signifies a shift in the field.

Experience is why users go to specific systems.

ISO 9421 effectiveness - does it doe the right thing? efficiency - does it do that with minimum effort? satisfaction - does it make you feel good?

Emotion is the bottom line. Make your customers happy.

1.3 quiz

Which job title are you currently most likely to see?

UX Designer

1.4 Mind the Empathy Gap

lesson source

Willian Hudson gives this video lesson.

Mind the gap.

  • Undergound Tube

There is a gap between what developers think are good for users and what is actually good for users.

Serveral kinds of empathy

We are talking about cognative empathy.

Understand a problem from an other persons point of view. Mindwise (Book) says that the only effective way to do this is to ask someone what their point of view is.

Empathizers have Theory of mind

sytemizers - build and understand systems - causality

picture of eq and sq chart

Men are more inclined to have a drop in eq as you have a more technological job

increasing empathy on teams can improve User Experience

Focus on methods to improve the teams understanding of users

  • field research

  • personas

  • persona stories as a replacement for user stories

  • empathy promoting usability testing

  • focus of development on user behaviour and needs

1.5 Usability A part of the User Experience

Usability - the ease of access and/or use of a product or website.

There are levels of usability.

Usability can be measured. It should be measured through out all the steps.

User Experience

  • Look

  • Feel

  • Usability

They have a list of usability considerations for different technologies

  • servers

    • Speed

    • Downtime

  • html

    • Use ALT tags

    • 404 Not Found Page

  • visual factors

    • Font Size and Color

    • Branding

    • Layout Colors

    • Navigation

    • Content

    • Headings

    • Paragraphs

Usability tools:

1.6 Human Centered Design

Using the word "user" dehumanizes them

  • Research

  • understand

  • interact with your users

  • Observations

  • research

  • evaluation

  • on its own, poor solution to the over all problem

Research and undersand the contexts of use.

The contexts of use are everything about how systems are actually employed in the real world.


Cafe/pub vs SuperMarket

Super market, theres an operator of the check out software and one person buying the things with 100 or more items. needs to be done efficiently

Cafe, there are many operators. Need to switch customers quickly.

We often design for environments that are similare to our own.

Diagram for user centered design process

Research contexts of use -> specify user requirements -> produce design solutions -> evaluate against requirements -> back to some previous step || meets requirements

Just evaluating will only filter out bad designs -> you end up with a lot of waste. It can't be the only one

Produce prototypes as early as possible

DONE summarize this lesson for Ux Anti-Book Club Meeting

Meeting notes

Joel Hooks

Design isnt a check list. Its ever evolved.

Likes the potential points/essay questions.

Liked the overal progress and milestones - whats going to happen

Disappointed when you dont reach perfection - theres no such thing

Seeing testing js content on egghead is an empathy problem.

Jobs to be done - what job is egghead solving? what job is a course solving right now?

Month subscriptions solve a problem right now. A year subscription is generally useful.

Add topics list in the lesson description.

egghead vscode extension


egghead has a strong long going Sales Safari

Human Action - Ludwig von Mises


Cree Provinsal

Everything is tied to emotion.

Not understanding the emotional aspect, you are missing a huge piece to the product.

Cree gets frustrated when amazon shows them a puppy picture when theres an error

Will Johnson

Drop box's download feature is sad

Maggie Appleton

Likes the things that motivate you to keep going.

Didn't like the forum aspect

Wants to find the middle ground between UX and anthropology

UX is so big its almost meaningless:

Wants to dive into: Design Anthropology and Applied Anthropology

Samuel Hulik despises persons

Alan Dix

Sacha Baron-Cohen

Simon Baren-Cohen

RTFM is a common phrase for developers

egghead is good at user research. Actively learning as the customers we are trying to solve for.

Pam Drouin

Erik D Kennedey: Learn UI Design. Geared around sketch

Learn UX Design is also a course

Focusing on Interaction Design for past couple of years

SuperHi is a ui course. Uses figma.

Doesnt code and design in the browser

Thinks transcripts arent that helpful. They should be teaching notes.

Lesson 2 Why You Should Care about User Experience

Lesson 2 Summary

What I learned in a tweet

User experience research makes your application more pleasurable; it also reduces the cost of your project over time. You spend less time tweaking your product after launch. UX research also reduces the chance to miss your target audience completely 😳 https://twitter.com/_jonesian/status/1263161523616260096?s=20

3 take aways

  1. UX research increases the chance that you actually solved a problem

  2. You, as the designer, are the expert of the app you build

  3. The sooner you start doing research the sooner your product will align with the needs of your users

Practical Applications

Kent is releasing epicreact.dev soon and we are talking about a new lesson model where a lesson has multiple parts. Getting this in front of users as soon as we can before the launch will make everything go much smoother.

2.1 Introduction

Within this lesson we will cover:

  • Return on Investment on user experience design

  • Why you should conduct user research as part of your work process

2.2 How to Sell UX Design to Client

Benefits of UX

  1. Products that meet the user's needs - If your users are involved in the design process then your final product should meet their needs. That should deliver a more commercially viable offering and thus higher levels of profit for the company.

  2. Products that require less tinkering after release - It's cheaper and easier to tweak sketches, wireframes and prototypes than it is to tweak a product after launch. UX enables a company to work out what doesn't work and then abandon it before the development phase rather than after.

  3. Products which are less risky to the business's reputation - UX is a quality measure. When you release products that users love to use and that meet their needs; your business reputation will grow. Conversely if you don't get things right - your reputation will fall.

  4. Products which are relatively immune to scope creep - If you define the user's needs and then design with them in mind; there should be a whole lot less scope creep and that makes it easier to budget for a project and to define a delivery timetable.

  5. Products which are competitive - the research phase of UX means that you should know what competitors are doing and how your product will be "better". Design in this manner is based on the evidence and not on the "gut instincts" of the development team.

User experience should lower the cost of development and increase customer satisfaction.

Fank Spillers CEO at Experience Dynamics gives a talk about ROI of UX. It's very long.. I dont want to watch this.

2.3 What it is and why you should do it

3 reasons to do user testing

  1. create designs that are truly relavent

  2. create designs that are easy and pleasurable to use

  3. understand ROI of UX design

UX places humans at the center of your design. There are quantitative methods and qualatative methods to do User Research.

Quantative: Surveys and formal experiments Qualitative: Interviews and usability tests

create designs that are truly relavent

If you cant understand your users, theres no way to make your design relevant to them.

They mention Design Thinking here

Interviews and observing users in the context where they will use your design should be an inital step in a project.

Build the habit of testing your designs on users.

They cite an example where samsung did user research on tvs and found that people were using tvs more as furniture and not center pieces, keeping the tv turned off and hidden most of the time. This allowed them to adjust their designs to more minimalistic tvs.

create designs that are easy and pleasurable to use

The day where tools that can only be used by experts are long gone.

This reminds me of emacs. Only programmers can use it because its so configurable and honestly has poor ux.

You are the expert of how to use your own product. This blinds us from the Beginners Mindset

understand ROI of UX design

The idea here is that UX is often the first thing to get cut from the budget. This wont be an issue at egghead.

If you can show that the changes you made in the design generated more sales, resulted in a larger number of customers, or made work processes more efficient, you have a much stronger case for investing in UX.

extra resources

https://www.interaction-design.org/courses/user-research-methods-and-best-practices https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-02-20/innovation-firm-red-shows-clients-how-to-use-philosophy-to-sell-stuff




Meeting Notes

Cree Provinsal

Jobs to be done vs personas

"Think out side of the box" - not helpful

Core of Jobs to be done: Activity Theory


"Systemizing human emotion" - sounds like a contradiction

Will Johnson

Websites should be easy to use on the first experience.


Joel can't highlight and it makes him sad


UX people want to start over every time

^ "Webinar: Social Reading, Collaborative Annotation, and Remote Learning with Hypothesis" - hypothesis.is

Deep hanging out

Deep play


Mother of all demos

Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Tim Ingold

Comfort is the default to the survivability of our species

Lesson 3 Understanding User Experience


What I learned in a tweet

You aren't selling a product. You are selling the experience your product provides. How does that experience transform the people that use your product?


3 take aways

  1. People are buying an experience first and for most. They dont care about the technical decisions that are made

  2. Design is a conversation between the designer and the people that use the design. This conversation happens in time, so its important to consider the story your telling

  3. Products are an opportunity to change the behavior of the people buying. Design should facilitate this change with the motives of the people in mind.

Practical Application

Experience Design can be applied to how our members learn. Do they want to change their habits when it comes to how they learn? Can we provide an experience that changes their behavior in a way that makes it clear that there is a more effective we to learn? Learn in Public Really Good Notes

3.1 Overview

  • Why you should design for experiences rather than product features.

  • Guidelines for doing experience design

  • Future directions for experience design

3.2 Marc Hassenzahl introduction to UX

Marc dislikes user experience as a term. Experience is a broader field.

UX is a field of study.

2 ways to look at experience:

  • in the moment experience. What you do/in the moment. Focuses on the how.

    moment by moment is very small. the memory of the experience lasts a lot longer.

  • marc likes to design for stories or the experiences.

How can we tell a story in a product. He uses the wake up light as an example.

"Experiencial solution"

iPhone is an infrastructure. The experiences are in the applications. Marc likes to forget the whole product and provide an experience.

Talks about different shades of materialism. People are starting to want the experience. "post-materialistic."

This makes me thinks about how it doesnt matter what stack you choose for an application, is the experience you are providing the right one? does your software provide the experience that you need?

3.3 Marc Hassenzahl Guidelines for Experience Design

link to video

Design is a dialogue.

  • The user has their values and what they want

  • the designer has their values and what they want

  • the design is the medium this conversation happens

Experience Design

  • why? - be goals

  • what? - do goals?

  • how? - motor goals

The why gets ignored a lot of the time.

Design the why before the what and how.

What emotions do you want the user to have... then implement the product that fills those emotions.

Design is time dependent. Its not static. Experience Design, you are writing scripts or stories.


grape picking product. A grape picking bucket that you can turn over into a seat. The story comes from grape pickers needing breaks after they finish a bucket load.

Theres a responsibility of the designer to tell the correct story.

3.4 Marc Hassenzahl Future Directions for Experience Design

Think of the experience before the product.

Samsung doesnt manufactur tvs, they provide a tv viewing experience.

The methods reflect your background. We need to pull methods from multiple backgrounds.

You need to figure out the effects of your product before you release it.

Automation is outcome oriented. Automation can seperate you from the actual task you are doing.

Tea making example.

Shape behavior of people in a way that gives them an insight into why you want them to do that thing.

Transformational design

I want to behave differently but I need something to help me change.

Use the motives of the user to help drive your product. How can you align the motives of a user with what your product provides?

Meeting notes

journey mapping, story boarding

what assumptions are we making about our learners?


Edward Tufte, Bret Victor, Jessie Schell The art of game design, Christopher Alexander - Pattern Language

Raph Koster - A Theory of Fun

Kent Beck- Small Talk Best Practice Patterns

The Gang of Four

Kathy Sierra - Headfirst Design Patterns

Surveys of people who bought egghead

Ask Book Ryan Lavesque

Lesson 4 Three Aspects of Product Experience


3 take aways

  1. Don Norman teaches 3 levels of design: Viseral, Behavioral, Reflective. 2 of these levels are unconcious and drive a lot of the feelings we have towards a product. Reflective design draws on peoples identities and who they want/think of themselves.

  2. Behavioural design should reflect the real world. People come to your site with conceptual models of how things should work, understanding these conceptual models with make a more pleasurable experience.

  3. To design at the reflective level, we must undersant what a product means to a user.

Pracitical Application

This lesson reminded me of the 4 buckets that Joel mentioned in one of our meatings and how we can design a site that makes one of these feelings or aspirations apparent:

solid foundation - this is folks that are working on the basics to build a solid career foundation.

going deep - this is for folks that want a deeper level understanding of the tools they use. Algorithms, data structures, computer science topics...

stay current - this is for folks that are trying to keep their thumb on the pulse. What's new, what's changed, what are they missing...

shine at work - this is for folks that have real problems to solve and want to look smart and stay relevant on the job

What I learned in a tweet

When you are designing a product, a lot of the design will be processed unconciousl. The aspects your audience does process will be heavily tied to their story and what they are trying to do.


Meeting notes

Increment: Documentation




Quote backs -- Tom Critchlow


The idea of "transclusion" across the web


Email is a key way to communicate with your users.

Neuro linguistic programming


Pain Dream Fix - Amy Hoy

Be truthful and actually deliver value.


https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/Segment-The-Micro-Commitment-Bucket-Survey--A1oZI4opEg_sIAbYaOz8EwXFAg-BpvPSz7XYzREzpyjwxYpt Joel Hooks is reading Game Angry

Three games: Traps, puzzles, monsters

Finite games vs Infinite Game Paul Jarvis

UbD - adventure modules for learning.

Finite games produce competition, Infinite games produce collaboration

MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research - Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, Robert Zubek

Agency - the ability to do what you want. Levels to agency.

Open Space technology https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Space_Technology

Crees going through free code camp. He doesnt feel like hes learned anything until he does the project and is able to accomplish tasks.

Joel wants cree to create swipe files for code examples.

4.2 Norman's Three Levels of Design

The three levels are visceral, behavioral, and reflective. The visceral level is responsible for the ingrained, automatic and almost animalistic qualities of human emotion, which are almost entirely out of our control. The behavioral level refers to the controlled aspects of human action, where we unconsciously analyze a situation so as to develop goal-directed strategies most likely to prove effective in the shortest time, or with the fewest actions, possible. The reflective level is, as Don Norman states, "...the home of reflection, of conscious thought, of learning of new concepts and generalisations about the world".

Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things

Viseral Design

Concerns itself with appearances. How someone feels when they look at it.

There is a big focus on viseral design these days.

Behavioral Design

Has to do with pleasure and effectiveness of use.


The behavioral level essentially refers to the emotions we feel as a result of either accomplishing or failing to complete our goals.

Reflective Design

considers the rationalization and intellectualization of a product. Can I tell a story about it? Does it appeal to my self-image, to my pride?

Don Normon TED talk

Pleasant things work better.

Dopamine puts you into a breadth first search for problems

Fear causes depth first search. Focusing on one solultion

Automatic behavior is subconsious. Most of what we do is automatic.

Emotion is about interpreting the world.

Jake Cress - Chair with Claw

4.3 Visceral Level of Processing

At this level, the perceptible qualities of the product – primarily the physical appearance, but, wherever possible, this also includes the auditory, haptic, smell and taste information – influence and shape our impression automatically. Visceral processing is largely an unconscious event, which allows us to make judgments instantly, such as whether we like the appearance of something or whether it poses us any potential threat or danger.

The instantly perceptible characteristics of the product.

We must not confuse aesthetics with beauty.

Aesthetics is as much about representing your understanding of the intended users and how they will use the product

It may be trite to say, but beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. For this reason, we must investigate and understand who the beholder is, what they are looking for, and how to catch their eye in this respect.

So as to ‘grab’ potential customers, you must tap into their attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and/or general world view – primarily via your product’s visual aspects.

4.4 Behavioral Level of Processing

Norman emphasizes the importance of designing for positive and fitting emotional responses, arguing that this is an equally important consideration as the interactive experience

Much of our emotional experience is a direct result of how successful, enjoyable or efficient our interactions are with the things we come across in our everyday lives.

Conceptual Models: Core to Good Design

We want the user to accurately predict what they can do from a screen.

  • visible interactive elements

  • accurate conceptual models "mental simulations of devices that enable users to judge the means of operation and possible uses"

  • natural mapping A natural mapping occurs at a primitive level and trades on our state as innately spatial beings

  • Visible Results Physical objects have often give inicators about a change in their perceptible state

  • Proportional and meaningful Feedback Objects should change when a user interacts with them. These interactions must inform the user of the affordance. Graphical objects need to support behavioral processing.

Norman states, "The behavioural level is the site of most human behaviour. Its actions can be enhanced or inhibited by the reflective layer and, in turn, it can enhance or inhibit the visceral layer"

A bad behavioral experience can influence the visceral and reflective emotional experiences in kind.

4.5 The Reflective Level of Emotional Design

I can tell stories about this design.

Normon focuses on how the user feels when interacting with a design rather than usability considerations. This seems hard to test.

Reflective processing is the only conscious form of processing.

You have to know what your product means to your users to design for reflective processes.

An example of this is apple showing commercials of users just having a good time with their product. It doesn't show how to actually use the product.

What does reflective design look like for an education business? Is it Joels 4 buckets of people we have researched?

Advertising is just one way of tapping into the Reflective Level.

  • Branding

  • Packaging

  • Properties

  • Qualities

  • Functions

Reflective Operations

  • Analyzing superficial Qualities

    • regarding our presents likes/dislikes

    • Make descisions about how others will judge us

  • Reflecting on past experiences

    • how did we feel when using a product?

  • Attaching Meaning for personal development

    • we often project our hopes onto a product

    • exercise equipment is a huge benefactor of this

    • education also seems like a big benefactor of this desire

Lesson 5 Emotion and Experience


3 take aways

  1. There are three ways systems deal with emotion: emotion is the primary goal, eg a game, systems that detect emotion, and a system that is a conduit of emotion.

  2. When building software systems, we try to emulate feelings that people have in the real world. Alan used a cracker example

  3. Baked bean design vs Peak design. Individuals are looking for things that specifically fit their needs. Designing for this a small group of people will make your product focused and will generally beat a product that is designed for the general population.

Practical Application

At egghead, our design needs to be focused on web developers. We want to motivate our learners to take courses that are in their area of interest.

What I learned in a tweet

When individual choice is involved, systems designed for the general population will always lose to those that are target a small group of people.

5.1 Intro

5.2 Emotions in Systems

Alan Dix

Art, games, entertainment, the primary goal is emotion.

Some functionality is a support to the experience.

Systems and Emotion

Our systems should make users feel an emotion. Motivation, security, etc

Affective Computing

Systems should also detect emotions:

How are users interacting with your system that tell you what emotion they are feeling.

Sometimes the system is the conduit for emotion. Communication software. Emojis.

5.3 Application Areas

Snood game - its a bubble game but each bubble has a face on it. Gives more emotion to the game

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation is a stronger motivation

Persuasive interfaces - an add for stop smoking

He uses Home as an example of where emotion is the primary focus. The work of Home

How do we express identity with our technology?

SenToy - a game where you control the emotion of a wizard with a doll like controller

5.4 Crackers Case Study

Alan Dix company wanted to send e chrismas card.

Crackers usually are

  • cheap and cheerful

  • bad joke inside

  • a mask

Not just making a design, just trying to emulate the feeling

There are surface elements

Surface ElementsReal CrackerVirtual Cracker
Designcheap and cheerfulsimple page/graphics
Playplastic toy and jokeweb toy and joke
Dressing Uppaper hatmask to cut out
Experienced EffectsReal CrackerVirtual Cracker
sharedoffered to anothersent by email
co-experiencepulled togethersender cant see content until opened by recipient
excitementcutural connotationrecruited expectation
hiddennesscontents insidefirst page - no contents
surprisebang (when it goes off)WAV file (when it works)

*Listen to the emotional response and make sense of * it.

5.5 Designing for Peak Experience

There are products that you design for people to not hate. What is the general experence that people wont hate. Then there are products where you are designing for specific people.

Baked bean design

  • things others choose for us

  • things we have to share

  • corporate software

  • office systems, government web systems

Mars bar design

  • things we choose for ourselves

  • games, entertainment

  • some web services

The good enough product will always loose when the user has individual choice. Its important to be really great for a small group of people rather than good enough for most people.

Traditional interface design

  • user profiles

  • central personas

  • average and typical

These are good techniques for bakes bean design

Design for peak experience

  • individual user

  • niches

  • extreme personas

  • specific and eclectic ideas

When to Seek Peak Experience

  • Individual Choice

  • User Experience is central

If you always design for the average, you will lose to someone designing for a peak experience.

Lesson 6 Design Thinking

Meeting notes

Joel - JTBD Jobs to be done play book, competing against luck, when coffee and kale compete. Clay Christianson not a lot of implementations for JTBD. Jobs to be done from doubter to believe

Define the damn thing

Pam - disign thinking is good for defining the problem The harm in design thinking is who is in the room when the design thinking is happening develop questions around intent. design with the community not for

Who are you leaving out when you design for specific users?

Participatory design

Empathy is stepping into someone elses feeling, compassion is stepping out your own emotions



mighty minds clubhttps://www.themightymindsclub.com/



Stephen Anderson - the webinar on vimeo

Going over a tool a month

If you arent using a framework (for design or development) you are inventing a framework and relying on ad hoc randomness

Maggie - button copy

6.1 Intro

Its a non-linear process

The process:

  • Empathise empathise to help define the problem

  • Define

  • Ideate

  • Prototype Prototyping can spawn new ideas

  • Test Testing can create new ideas tests reveal insights that redefine the problem Learn about users through testing

6.2 5 Stages in Design Thinking Overview

Design Thinking is a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems.

Design Thinking model proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford


This involves consulting experts to find out more about the area of concern through observing, engaging and empathizing with people to understand their experiences and motivations, as well as immersing yourself in the physical environment so you can gain a deeper personal understanding of the issues involved.


Analyze your observations from the empathise stage and synthesise them into the core problems.

Be user centered. "User needs this because of reasons" vs "We need this because users think this way".


Human centered problems

There are many techniques to come up with solutions to problems:

Brainstorm, Brainwrite, Worst Possible Idea, and SCAMPER.


Produce a scaled down version of a solution

This is where user feedback comes in again. User Research


The final stage where designers and "evaluators" test the complete product

Design thinking is a non linear process.

6.3 Empathise

Most projects start with empathy because you need a deep understanding of your users to build a product for them.

Adopt the mindset of a beginner. Completely letting go of your assumptions is impossible

Question everything the user is doing

  • What?

  • How?

  • Why?


photo and video user-based studies

Users filmed in natural setting or with the design team/consultants.

personal photo and video journals

have your users record themselves doing the tasks you asked.


Focus on extreme users

These users often experience the problems your service provides at another level.

On the other hand, it is important to note that the purpose of engaging with extreme users is not to develop solutions for those users, but to sieve out problems that mainstream users might have trouble voicing; however, in many cases, the needs of extreme users tend to overlap with the needs of the majority of the population.

6.4 Define the Problem

This is likely the hardest part in Design thinking. You have to synthesise your observations of what the user is doing into a problem statement to solve for. This reminds me of the Forging process.

A focused problem statement makes creating ideas for solutions easier.

Is Design Thinking just a different Pattern Language for Shape Up or Jobs to be done?

You must first analyze and synthesise your data before comming up with problem statements.

analysis is boiling concepts and problems down into easier to understand parts. synthesis is piecing the problem parts together into a cohesive idea.

A problem statement should be human centered. Focus on the users you are trying to solve the problem for. Not the technology or product specification. Should be broad enough for creativity. Not focusing on technical implementations.

Ways to define a problem

Space Saturate and Group and Affinity Diagrams – Clustering and Bundling Ideas and Facts

This seems like using a whiteboard and a bunch of sticky notes to group related ideas/observations.

Empathy Mapping

Lay out four quadrants: Said, Did, Thought, Felt. Thought and felt require some observation skills

Point Of View – Problem Statement

Three elements: user, need, and insight

User... some description needs... verb because... compelling insight

“How Might We” Questions

Use your problem statment to generate how might we questions

Why-How Laddering

"As a general rule, asking 'why’ yields more abstract statements and asking 'how’yields specific statements. Often times abstract statements are more meaningful but not as directly actionable, and the opposite is true of more specific statements." – d.school, Method Card, Why-How Laddering

Why-How Laddering starts with asking Why to work out How they can solve the specific problem or design challenge.


Generate a large number of ideas.

“Ideation is the mode of the design process in which you concentrate on idea generation. Mentally it represents a process of “going wide” in terms of concepts and outcomes. Ideation provides both the fuel and also the source material for building prototypes and getting innovative solutions into the hands of your users.” – d.school, An Introduction to Design Thinking PROCESS GUIDE


Brainstorm Braindump Brainwrite Brainwalk Challenge Assumptions SCAMPER Mindmap Sketch or Sketchstorm Storyboard Analogies Provocation Movement Bodystorm Gamestorming Cheatstorm Crowdstorm Co-Creation Workshops Prototype Creative Pause

Brainstorming best practices

  1. Set a time limit

  2. Start with a problem statement, point of view, possible questions, a plan, or a goal and stay focused on the topic: Identify the core subject or the main aim of the exercise. For example, what are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to improve a certain feature? Are you focusing on ways to improve the overall experience? Condense the main issue into a problem statement and condense it into a short “How Might We” sentence. You may even be able to synthesise this into single word. Your ideas should always branch off from this central headline.

  3. Stay on Topic: It is easy to veer off and take lots of different directions during brainstorming sessions, especially when you are trying to be open-minded and unconstrained in your efforts to come up with ideas. It is important that members stay on topic. Focus is essential; otherwise, the process can become confusing, or ideas can become muddled and cross between solutions for other problems. Every effort should be made by the facilitator to keep members on the central theme and goal. You might even want to designate a particular brainstormer to maintain the thread and prevent team members veering off course.

  4. Defer judgement or criticism, including non-verbal: The brainstorming environment is not the time to argue or for questioning other members’ ideas; each member has a responsibility to foster relations that advance the session. For this reason, judgement comes later so rather than blocking an idea, you and your other team members are encouraged to come up with your own ideas that sprout off from those provided by the other members of your team.

  5. Encourage weird, wacky and wild ideas: Once again, as brainstorming is a creative activity, each member should try to encourage other members and create an environment in which they feel comfortable verbalising their ideas. Free thinking may produce some ideas that are wide off the mark, but brainstorming is about drawing up as many ideas as possible which are then whittled down until the best possible option remains.

  6. Aim for quantity: Brainstorming is effectively a creative exercise, in which design thinkers are encouraged to let their imaginations run wild. The emphasis is on quantity, rather than quality at this stage.

  7. Build on each others' ideas: One idea typically leads on from another; by considering the thoughts, opinions, and ideas of other team members during the brainstorming session, new insights and perspectives can be achieved, which then inform one's own ideas. Thus, the team will continue to build ideas which hopefully become progressively more refined and targeted towards the central issue.

  8. Be visual: The physical act of writing something down or drawing an image in order to bring an idea to life can help people think up new ideas or view the same ideas in different way. The brainstorming session is more likely to evolve if team members visualise and bring ideas to life rather than rely on discussion alone.

  9. One conversation at a time: Design thinkers (or brainstormers) should focus on one point or conversation at a time so as not to muddy their thinking and lose sight of the thread or current objective.

Ideation Methods to Select Ideas

  • Post-it Voting or Dot Voting.

  • Four Categories Method

  • Bingo Selection

  • Idea Affinity Maps

  • Now Wow How Matrix

  • Six Thinking Hats

  • Lean Startup Machine Idea Validation Board

  • Idea Selection Criteria


“They slow us down to speed us up. By taking the time to prototype our ideas, we avoid costly mistakes such as becoming too complex too early and sticking with a weak idea for too long.” – Tim Brown

Using paper prototypes for website designs can be one way of getting designs in front of users.