Sneak peek: Designing for the Digital Age

Designing for the Digital Age Cover

Today is a big day for me. At long last, my book is going to press. It’s a soup-to-nuts how-to with tons of detail on every aspect of the method as it applies to a wide range of design problems and business situations. Visual, industrial, and interaction design are all integrated in the discussion, as are communication and project management. People have been asking for this book for years, so hopefully it will deliver what you’ve been looking for.

The writing is done. The 300 or so examples, exercises, and illustrations are finished. 750 pages of editing and proofreading and layout and color tweaking…all done. Now, whatever typos exist are going to be there for all time. Of course, there’s plenty still to do between now and when the book lands on shelves around the end of February: a Web site to assemble, a launch party to plan, and a sample chapter or two to select and share with all of you who read the Journal. For now, though, I thought I’d share a peek at the table of contents.

[You can pre-order the book on Amazon; they aren't listing a date yet, but it should be coming out in mid-late February.]

1 Goal-Directed Product and Service Design

Digital Product and Service Design

Goal-Directed Design

    • Origins of Goal-Directed Design
    • Components of Goal-Directed Design

2 Assembling the Team

The Design Team

  • Interaction designers
  • Visual interface designer
  • Industrial designer
  • Design team lead

Close Collaborators

  • Project owner
  • Design engineer
  • Business or systems analyst
  • Subject matter expert
  • Usability tester

Other Product Team Members

When You Don’t Have the Ideal Team

  • Understaffed design team
  • No design engineers or subject matter experts
  • No clear project owner
  • Too many people in working meetings

3 Project Planning

The Ideal Project Starting Point

Determining Your Project’s Parameters

  • Revenue or cost focus
  • Desire to innovate
  • Length of time horizon
  • Understanding the problem before solving it
  • Willingness to invest
  • Risk factors

Developing the Project Plan

  • Research
  • Modeling and requirements definition
  • Framework definition
  • Detailed design
  • Ongoing support

4 Research Fundamentals

Benefits of Doing Research

Barriers to Doing Design Research

  • “It will cost too much and take too long.”
  • “We already did market research.”
  • “Our subject matter experts know the users.”

Components of Design Research

User Research Methods

  • Usability testing
  • Focus groups
  • Individual interviews
  • Direct observation
  • Combining observation and interviews

The Research Team

Essential Research Skills

  • Active listening
  • Capturing the data

5 Understanding the Business

Identifying Stakeholders and Scheduling Interviews

Officially “Kicking Off” the Project

Conducting Stakeholder Interviews

  • Getting started
  • Things to watch out for
  • Topics applicable to most stakeholders
  • Marketing stakeholders
  • Engineering stakeholders
  • Sales stakeholders
  • Senior executives
  • Subject matter experts
  • Other product team members

Project Management for Stakeholder Interviews

When You Can’t Interview Stakeholders

6 Planning User Research

Identifying the Number and Type of Interviewees

  • Step 1: Identify likely roles
  • Step 2: Determine the base number of interviewees per role
  • Step 3: Multiply for important factors
  • Step 4: Trim the sample and incorporate other factors
  • Step 5: Adjust for no-shows and poor interviews

Introducing the Practice Design Problems

  • Consumer device and service: LocalGuide
  • Business application: Room Finder

Recruiting and Scheduling

  • Enterprise site visits
  • Recruiting individuals
  • The interview schedule

Dealing with Challenges

7 Understanding Potential Users and Customers

Interviewing Customers in a Business Environment

  • Useful questions for customers
  • What not to do when interviewing customers

Interviewing and Observing Prospective Users

  • The interview setting
  • Essential techniques
  • What not to do in user interviews
  • Structuring the user interview
    • Getting started: introductions
    • Essential interview topics
    • Observation and the guided tour
    • Wrapping up the interview
  • Dealing with challenging interview circumstances
  • Project Management for Interviews
  • Between interviews
  • Staying sane

Team roles and responsibilities

Communicating outside the team

8 Example Interview

(Interview transcript with running commentary)

9 Other Sources of Information and Inspiration

When You Have Less Time

When You Have More Time

Supplemental Research Methods

  • Public-space observation
  • Mystery shopper
  • Diaries
  • Surveys
  • Web analytics and customer support data
  • Focus groups
  • Card sorting
  • Competitive products and services
  • Literature and media

10 Making Sense of Your Data: Modeling

Synthesizing Stakeholder Findings

  • Topics to cover
  • Handling controversy
  • Preparing to communicate stakeholder findings

Analyzing Customer and User Data

  • Qualitative analysis
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Explanations and relationships
  • Risks and opportunities
  • Preparing to communicate your user findings

Project Management during Modeling

11 Personas

Definition and Uses

  • What personas are good for
  • Why personas work
  • What personas are not
  • How many personas do I need?
  • How often do I need to create personas?
  • Personas who aren’t users

Creating Personas

  • Step 1. Divide interviewees by role, if appropriate
  • Step 2. Identify behavioral and demographic variables
  • Step 3. Map interviewees to variables
  • Step 4. Identify patterns
  • Step 5. Define goals
  • Step 6. Clarify distinctions and add detail
  • Step 7. Fill in other persona types as needed
  • Step 8. Group and prioritize user personas
  • Step 9. Develop the narrative and other communication

Validating your personas

When Time Is Limited: Provisional Personas

Persona Pitfalls

Project Management for Creating Personas

12 Defining Requirements

The Problems with Requirements

  • Requirements cannot be “gathered”
  • Requirements are not features
  • Requirements are not specifications

Generating Effective Requirements

Sources of requirements

Types of requirements

The process for generating requirements

  • Brainstorming
  • Scenarios
    • Why use scenarios?
    • How Goal-Directed scenarios differ from similar tools
    • Crafting effective context scenarios
    • Extracting requirements from scenarios
  • Other Requirements from User Personas
    • Mental models
    • Environments
    • Physical and cognitive characteristics
    • Skills and knowledge
    • Goals
  • Requirements from Business and Other Needs
    • Customer persona goals
    • Stakeholders
    • Lawyers and regulations
    • Competitors and media
    • Accessibility
    • Sustainability
  • Experience Attributes
    • Step 1: Compile desirable qualities from research
    • Step 2: Group related qualities into clusters
    • Step 3: Refine and filter clusters
    • Step 4: Optimize terms to guide visual decisions
    • Step 5: Choose the best term from each cluster
    • Step 6: Describe and optimize relationships
    • Step 7: Develop additional communication tools

Project Management for Developing Requirements

13 Putting It All Together: The User and Domain Analysis

Typical Structure

  • Introduction of the project parameters
  • Research activities: what you did
  • Research findings: what you learned
  • Personas
  • Context scenarios
  • Requirements
  • Next steps

Developing an Effective Document

Developing an Effective Presentation

Conducting the Meeting

  • Before the meeting
  • Delivering the presentation and leading the discussion

Project Management for Developing the U&DA

14 Framework Definition: Visualizing Solutions

Essential Principles of Framework Definition

  • Consider the whole system at once
  • Learn by sketching and failing
  • Focus on structure, not details
  • Design for the long term

Process Overview for Framework Definition

  • Process for design on a novel platform
  • Process for design on a known platform
  • Process for designing services

Project Management for Framework Definition

  • How many directions to explore
  • Planning your time

Essential Skills for Framework Definition

  • Sketching and storyboarding
  • Collaboration
  • Capturing what happens in meetings

15 Principles and Patterns for Framework Design

The Importance of Context

Principles for Form and Behavior

  • Design values
  • Minimizing unnecessary work

Patterns for Form and Behavior

  • Organizing objects and activities
  • Combinations of patterns
  • Organizing by nouns or verbs
  • Additional ways to manage real estate

16 Designing the Form Factor and Interaction Framework

IxDG and IxDS: Define Data Object Types and Relationships

Full Design Team: Define Possible Functional Elements

  • Functional elements in product design
  • Functional elements in service design
  • Making decisions

Full Design Team: Define Possible Platforms

  • Input and output methods
  • Other form factor considerations

Full Team: Brainstorm with Sketches

  • Brainstorming for software on a fixed platform
  • Brainstorming for services and new platforms

ID: Refine the Form Factor

IxDG and IxDS: Define the Interaction Framework

  • Develop a first draft of the framework
  • How to approach specific design situations

Full Design Team: Iterate Form and Behavior Together

Typical Challenges in Designing the Framework

Project Management for Defining Platforms and Frameworks

  • Internal design team check-ins
  • Project owner, SME, and design engineer review
  • User feedback

17 Principles and Patterns in Design Language

General Principles

  • Visual information + context = meaning
  • Visually communicate what elements do
  • Have a purpose for every element and a reason for every decision
  • Repeat elements for unity
  • Be decisive, but use the smallest effective difference

Patterns and Principles for Specific Elements

  • Color
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Line weight and style
  • Type
  • Texture
  • Images
  • Materials and manufacturing
  • Signature elements

18 Developing the Design Language

The Process of Developing the Design Language

  • Look for inspiration
  • Determine how many directions to share
  • Determine what elements to represent
  • Decide what choices best represent primary attributes
  • Adjust for context as needed
  • Begin to render the studies
  • Adjust for secondary attributes as needed
  • Review, iterate, and finalize options to present

Example: NetApp

Example: Executive Telephone

Project Management for Design Language Exploration

19 Communicating the Framework and Design Language

Preparing Stakeholders for the Meeting

Crafting the Story

  • Project summary and expectations
  • Review key personas and requirements
  • Introduce the big ideas and major anatomy
  • Show how it works using scenario storyboards
  • Revisit anatomy in more detail
  • Describe how the design serves persona needs
  • Introduce the design language(s)
  • Discuss and get agreement on direction and next steps

Managing Your Time and Preparing for the Meeting

Conducting the Meeting

  • Presenting the material
  • Facilitating discussion and handling concerns

20 Detailed Design: Making Your Ideas Real

Essential Principles of Detailed Design

  • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
  • Drive to complete detail, but maintain a systems view
  • Touch everything a second time after it’s documented
  • Design for the appropriate time horizon
  • Settle the big issues quickly
  • Consider the cost-benefit equation
  • Reinforce the experience attributes

Process and Project Management for Detailed Design

Expanding the team

Integration with engineering methods

Typical detailed design tasks by role

Drafting a work list and detailed project plan

21 Detailed Design Principles and Patterns

Principles: a Bit of Science, a Bit of Common Sense

  • Communicating Flow, Priority, and Relationships
    • Map visual flow to workflow
    • Align elements for readability and simplicity
    • Use visual properties to establish a clear hierarchy
    • Use visual properties to establish association
  • Communicating Data: Information Design
  • Using Icons to Communicate about Objects and Tools
    • Making icons recognizable
    • Making icons understandable
    • A summary of useful icon guidelines
  • Text and Type
    • Type size
    • Additional principles
  • Widgets and Data Entry
    • Use widgets appropriate to the task and input method
    • Allow flexible input even in bounded widgets
    • Use custom controls only with good reason
    • Considerations for touch screens

Managing Large Data Sets

  • Search versus categories
  • Detailed queries

Audible and Speech Interfaces

  • Personality, emotion, and anthropomorphism
  • Minimizing frustration

Products Involving Safety Concerns


“That Little Extra Something”

22 Detailed Design Process and Practices

Evolving the Interaction Design: Round One

  • Supplemental research
  • Detailed design meetings
  • Additional iteration through individual work

Defining the Visual System: Round One

  • Incorporating early stakeholder feedback
  • The visual system first draft: archetype screens
  • Continued expansion and evolution
  • Personas, scenarios, and experience attributes
  • Shared Image Files

Evolving the Industrial Design

  • Refining the form and materials
  • Refining color and surface details
  • Appearance models as design and communication tools

Design Reviews and Collaboration

  • Within the design team
  • With design engineers, SMEs, and business analysts
  • With other stakeholders
  • Remote collaboration

Iteration After Feedback

Common Challenges During Detailed Design

  • Framework flaws
  • Unavailable or unhelpful SMEs or engineers
  • Shifting assumptions and constraints
  • Team member time management
  • Consistency within a brand or product family
  • Uneven depth

Using later work to improve earlier work

23 Evaluating Your Design

Why, When, and What to Evaluate

Types of Evaluation

  • Focus groups
  • Expert reviews
  • Usability testing

Comparative evaluations

24 Communicating Detailed Design

The Form and Behavior Specification

  • Background
  • Executive summary
  • Personas and critical requirements
  • Product or service overview
  • Interaction framework overview
  • Scenarios for each interface
  • Overview and details for each screen or function
  • Visual system or style guide

Ways to expand or cut back: the F&BS as a product roadmap

Qualities of an Effective Spec

  • Prescriptive, not suggestive
  • Clear and professional, not pretentious
  • Unsurprising
  • Persona-focused
  • Standardized
  • Effectively formatted

Documentation Process and Practices

  • Documenting as you go
  • Managing images
  • Technical review and document QA

Documentation tools

Presenting Detailed Design

  • Structuring and delivering a stakeholder presentation
  • Comprehensive walkthroughs

25 Supporting Implementation and Launch

Supporting Software Construction

  • Asset production
  • Questions and reviews

Supporting Hardware Manufacturing

Common Challenges

  • Specification as suggestion
  • Insufficient engineering skills or resources

26 Improving Design Capabilities in Individuals and Organizations

Realizing Your Own Design Potential

  • Academic programs
  • Self-education
  • Experience and mentoring

Expanding Design’s Role in an Organization

  • Characteristics of successful change efforts
  • Instigating change from the bottom (or the middle)

Concluding Thoughts


Dan Saffer
Can't wait to read it!
Donna Spencer
Congratulations. I'm so looking forward to it!
Bill DeRouchey
Wow Kim, this looks incredible.
kim lenox
Congratulations. This is going to be a great resource for so many!
Liz Danzico
Looks terrific. Very much looking forward to this!
andrew korf
preorder! - looks fantastic - we needed an update... as so much has changed in the last year or two.
Ben Arent
Nice looking book. I look forward to using it at work, it seems like it will be nice complement to face 3.0, with what seems like more practical guidelines.
agree with the rest, this really looks fantastic! looking forward!
Geof Harries
That table of contents looks incredible. No doubt this will be a must-have book.
Congrats Kim!!! I'm a huge fan of Goal-Directed Design and read "The Inmates are Running the Asylum". I can't wait to get my hands on this book and add it to the shelf next to the aforementioned book and About Face 3. I may even read it too! LOL. Now if I could only find a job in Houston doing this =)
Christine Bauer
Can't wait...congratulations!!
Jason Poriss
The timing of this book couldn't be better for me. I've got the ear of our senior leaders here and are establishing a goal-directed design program. Thanks for all the hard work on the book!
IA Television
Kim, well done! Congrats :) --
Mark Lowe
This looks to be an invaluable and detailed end-to-end design process reference guide. I've already pre-ordered a copy on! A nice complement to Dan Saffer's excellent introductory Designing for Interaction text.
suzette Keith
It'll be great to have a book that sets out your methods - just one question as I am looking for materials for universal/inclusive design, are there are any examples/case studies involving older or disabled people/personas?
Kim Goodwin
Wow, thanks for all the kind remarks, everyone! We've been pretty excited about the book here at Cooper, so it's great to see that it's not just us ;-) Suzette: the book does briefly address Universal Design as something to which designers should aspire, but there are no specific case studies or examples. At Cooper, we've certainly done our share of older personas (especially for consumer-oriented devices such as TV remotes, or for products and services with large older audiences, such as glucose meters or online prescription ordering). When older or disabled users are not big part of your population, my experience is that accessibility guidelines are more helpful than specific disabled personas, especially since it would take a large cast of personas to represent people with a full range of sensory, physical, and cognitive challenges. There are quite a few books on accessible design for environments and physical products, but not a lot for software--certainly a gap that needs filling. One book on my "reading to catch up on" list is: Universal Design for Web Applications: Web Applications That Reach Everyone) by Wendy Chisholm and Matt May. Please feel free to share any other resources you've found especially helpful!
Kim - Congratulations. The table of contents looks great and I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of the book!
John McSwain
Your book looks like it will soon become required reading @ schools and institutions across the world. I'm a graduate student in the HCI Masters Degree program @ Iowa State University and I would love to review your book for my blog and for Is there any way I can get a review copy? Looking forward to your book becoming a classic.... Real or Imagined John McSwain's Amazon Profile
Pat Fleck
Kim, Congrats on the book!!!! It looks incredible. Get ready to earn some frequent flyer miles. I sense some speaking engagements are coming!
Abhi Hupare
Congratulations! Kim for your new book. The table of contents really look good and the book seems to be more informational. I am really looking forward to get a copy of your book. I hope, I could get it in India :) My best wishes for your book.
Canan Akoglu
very much looking forward to reading it!
Business Process Management
well designs are so much important these days.
Andrew Schechterman PhD
Kim, Give us a digital version too, yes?! Kudos . . .
Paul Thurston
This looks great, saw the link at I'm particularly looking forward to hearing your thoughts on evaluation. An often overlooked element of the design process.
Charlie Roche
This looks very comprehensive. I'll definitely be getting a copy. It's a pity I don't live in San Francisco any more, I would definitely have come along to the book launch.
Tim Knight
Seems my copy just shipped from Amazon and will be here Monday - I love it when they release early. Kim, great job - I'm really looking forward to reading it.
Andy Polaine
Congratulations on getting it finished! We're planning to review it on The Designer's Review of Books too.
Thank you for writing this book. This has become my new UX bible.
Just Ordered the book :) . . cant wait to read it . . .
Is there anywhere to buy a digital copy of this book? I'd love a PDF version for my iPad! If a digital version is not available, well I'm sure you see the irony.
I'm also wondering if there is a PDF version for iBooks or Kindle reader. I have a copy of the book but it's just a bit to bulky. The content is great though. Do you know where I can get a digital copy?
Gilberto Starry
This was helpful for me and it really gave me allot to think about. Thanks for this!

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