Designing for Mental Models

First, you need to find out how people think something works—by having a conversation with them to figure out what their preexisting mental model is (see Chapter 2, Job Shadowing and Contextual Interviews). Then you do a card sort to find out how people think things fit together (see Chapter 8, Card Sorting). Next up is usability testing with paper prototypes (see Chapter 11, Paper Prototype Testing) to come up with designs that match people’s mental models. You show them your design, describe an interaction, and ask them what they expect to happen. (“If I type some text and then close this document, what do you think will happen?”)

Using the information you’ve gathered from conversations and usability testing, ...

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