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Ideation is the process of generating a lot of different ideas in a short amount of time. And in UX design, a broad set of ideas is more likely to lead to a more creative, more satisfactory solution for your users. In this installment of UX Design Techniques, Chris Nodder explores the variety of ideation techniques available, their benefits, and how ideation can help designers "think outside the box" when it comes to user experience.
Ideation widens the number of possible future paths your design could take. The design charrette process opens up the whole team's creativity, and then puts guide rails on that creativity to arrive at design alternatives that are achievable and that give you the opportunity to delight your users. Once the team gets passed their initial fear of doing design work, it's likely that they'll really enjoy the opportunity to think creatively and outside the normal constraints of the software development process.
If you channel that creativity, you may well find that you start to consider solutions that are novel, exciting and likely to delight your customers. You might be thinking that your team won't want to do this kind of creative exercise, or even that your design ideas are bound to be better than those of the rest of team. However, I think it's worth trying ideation exercises with every team. A design charrette session takes more than two hours. It gets everyone on the team invested in creating solutions to the problems you identified.
And in my experience, it always leads to unforeseen new ideas being generated. Who knows, one of those ideas might be the key to your product's future success. After ideation, the next step in the process is to narrow the set of potential future paths that you've generated and to turn them into something you could actually build. You do that by creating scenarios and storyboards that incorporate elements from several different ideation designs. Those scenarios describe how users would work with the concepts during their regular interaction with your product in its ideal new form.
Scenarios and storyboards are the topic of the next course in this series.
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