T21 - Beyond sketching features: UI design as natural, intuitive human conversations

Sunday, 28 July 2019, 13:30 – 17:30
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Everett McKay (short bio)

Principal, UX Design Edge, United States



Participants will learn a practical alternative to feature-based design and an entirely new approach to thinking about design, and apply it to a realistic design challenge.


Content and Benefits:

Many teams design UIs using the following process: come up with a list of features, determine their users, sketch how to best present those features to the target users, and iterate, iterate, iterate. In fact, this is the process recommended in the iOS Human Interface Guidelines.
But is this really the best we can do? The focus of this typical process is the physical placement of features to achieve mechanical usability. Creating a great user experience comes later through refinement and iteration—if at all. A better approach would result in a great design deliberately rather than accidentally.

Enter communication-based design. A user interface is essentially a conversation between users and technology, so we can make better design decisions by focusing on effective human communication. The results are more natural, intuitive, and user centered—by design instead of by accident.

In this tutorial, you will learn:

  • Feature-based design, and why it often fails.
  • Scenario-based design and its benefits.
  • UIs as conversations and the principles of communication-focused design
  • Using scenarios and conversations to make design decisions
  • Using scenarios and conversations to evaluate designs

The tutorial ends with a one-hour hands-on, communication-focused redesign and evaluation.


Target Audience:

There is no prerequisite knowledge, but intermediates and experts will benefit the most.

Bio Sketch of Presenter:

Everett McKay is Principal of UX Design Edge and a UX design trainer and consultant with global clientele. Everett’s specialty is finding practical, intuitive, simple, highly usable solutions quickly for web, mobile, and desktop applications. Everett has over 30 years’ experience in user interface design and has delivered UX design workshops to an international audience that includes Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa.

Everett is author of "Intuitive Design: Eight Steps to an Intuitive UI", the definitive guide to designing intuitive interactions, and "UI Is Communication: How to Design Intuitive, User Centered Interfaces by Focusing on Effective Communication", a groundbreaking approach to UI design using human communication-based principles and techniques. While at Microsoft, Everett wrote the Windows UX Guidelines for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Everett holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science from MIT.