Jesse James Garret's methodology for designing digital products

Jesse James Garrett is an information architect based in San Francisco.

Garrett authored "The Elements of User Experience", a conceptual model of user-centered design first published as a diagram in 2000 and later as a book in 2002.

Although originally intended for use in web design, the Elements model has since been adopted in other fields such as software development and industrial design. He also created the first standardized notation for interaction design, known as the Visual Vocabulary.

In the Elements of User Experience Garret describes UX design as a process applied in order to ensure all actions of the user happen as planned, to accomplish this goal he identifies 5 planes that allow to understand the user’s expectations and behavior, which will affect how the product you are designing looks, how it behaves and what it allows the user to do.

Strategy Plane

This is the first plane, “the foundation of a successful user experience”. It defines both what businesses and users want to get out of the product. Sounds simple, but this has to be clear and straightforward. Every decision in the process has to be backed up by this definition. It’s also essential at this stage to define the success metrics, indicators that will be used to track whether the product is meeting the right objectives.

Scope Plane

When your strategy is determined, you need to start focusing on the scope, which is fundamentally defined by the strategy itself. In the scope you identify the content, features and functions that are going to be used in your product. By going through these requirements, you’re forced to address potential issues right at the beginning.

Structure Plane

At this stage the scope turns into a conceptual structure of the product, which cares about how the system behaves in response to the user. It’s also about the arrangement of elements that will facilitate the understanding of the user about the product being designed. It’s important to define which options patterns and sequences will be presented to users, how they will perform and complete tasks focusing on delivering the right information to the user.

Skeleton Plane

Here the structure is further refined, where aspects of interface, navigation and information design will be identified. This will “make the intangible structure concrete”.

Surface Plane

Here is where “content, functionality, and aesthetics come together to produce a finished design that pleases the senses while fulfilling all the goals of the other four planes”.
You need to decide how the design will be presented. Depending on the product designed, difference senses (vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) should be used.

Davide Andreazzini

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