The structured execution of design steps, the incorporation of qualitative usability know-how, the utilization of style guides, the integration of alternative interaction techniques, and efficient and creative prototyping are important steps towards an increase of a system's value for its users. Based on the user-centered requirements research we identify a detailed interaction strategy. Based on this interaction strategy further design steps are executed.
Conceptual Design Research
Within the conceptual design, the overall interaction strategy is worked out, containing e.g.
The identification of subparts within the user interface
The identification and definition of structural dependencies
The definition of general navigation, workflow and layout strategies
The definition of general user interface metaphors and principles.
Based on the overall interaction strategy, the conceptual design of all system modules (subparts) is established. The resulting design concept, containing the definition of all interaction structures, guides the detailed (visual) design process. The conceptual design steps are iteratively connected with user evaluation steps.
Detailed User Interface Design Research
Based on the conceptual design, the detailed appearance of the user interface is specified (e.g. visual elements for menus or navigation structures, concrete wording and appearance of menu entries, general graphical language, visualization means). This results in templates and user interface prototypes that can be used for early user based evaluations.
Style Guide Research
A style guide defines user interface strategies, user interface elements, and usability principles together with a guidance of how to apply them within a given context to achieve optimal user experience for the specific context. The style guide combines conceptual and detailed designs. The style guide supports also the quality management of user oriented application developments.
Creative User Interface Prototyping and Simulation Research
Innovative prototyping means are elaborated and set up which are in particular oriented towards highly innovative environments. These methods enable us to conduct early user tests of systems that usually need long development times before first results can be shown to users.
Alternative User Interface Research
User interface innovations and new interaction paradigms have to be developed and studied from the user's perspective (user-driven innovation). Innovations are predominantly derived from users' needs and requirements, not from the perspective of the new technology.