This post was previously on the Pathfinder Software site. Pathfinder Software changed its name to Orthogonal in 2016. Read more.

A couple of weeks ago a sales presentation was being prepared in our New York office; it was primarily focussed on the problem at hand, but the presenter wanted to include a single slide as a cue to talk about  User Experience Design [UxD]. He emailed me and a couple of the principles asking for a description in a single frame.

I wrote something, designed two slides because I could not shoehorn it into one, various documents were thrown into the air, then we were all consumed by other work as the train moved on.

Now I am rethinking it. UXD is a fairly complex set of activities to describe, and there is no shortage of areas claimed by related disciplines. All of them are occurring in an area of rapid market development that happens to be highly valued by the societies we are in. Which is a recipe to attract passionate debate driven by financial rewards?

So is there a good way to describe it, or state its value to a potential client in a single powerpoint slide? Assuming that no fly-ins, starbursts or window shade rolls may be used in place of meaning, we will start with those old standbys – words:
________________________________________

Concise version:
User Experience Designers create structures for understanding and manipulating information, designing consistent contexts which encourage cumulative learning. In doing so they raise the bar from “being able to do something” to “being able to do something easily”.

Their solutions go beyond code to model the most efficient and pleasing conceptual space that can be created within the constraints of time, budget & resources.
________________________________________

Verbose version:
User Experience Designers are typically employed on applications or sites with large amounts of features, complexity or information.

They create structures for understanding and manipulating information or parameters, designing consistent contexts which encourage cumulative learning.

They raise the bar from “being able to do something” to “being able to do something easily”. As a starting point they conduct research to find:
_Who are the users?
_What are their goals?
_In what context will they use the product?

Then they use any modeling technique available to propose solutions that go beyond code to model the most efficient and pleasing conceptual space that can be created within the constraints of time, budget & resources.
________________________________________

And this is just a starting point for discussion, and the slide itself is TBD. The concise version is hardly meant to be all encompassing, but it focuses on Orthogonal’s particular business goals. These are concentrated in application work, either in or out of a browser, and our communications tend to be directed toward fairly tech savvy folks. Interested in your comments.