Mind Maps

Source: UX Booth

Mind Map User Tasks

Getting your team to worry about user experience takes time and thought. A good way to spend your time is to remind everyone about the bigger picture: who the product is for and what it helps them to achieve. Mind maps are an excellent low-maintenance way to do just that.

More commonly used for brainstorming, list-making, summarizing a topic or learning new information, mind maps enable association-based thinking in a non-linear way.

Here are some other great things about mind maps:

  • They help prioritize features. Kurt Vonnegut once said that every line in a story should advance the storyline or reveal character. Similarly, everything we add to a website or application should build upon the existing story. Mind Maps help us visually assess new ideas and prioritize them based on their relevance.
  • They aid in usability test planning. When it’s time to test with real users, branches of a mind map can serve as self-contained test plans. Simply pick a few branches, write a test scenario around them, and you’re ready to test.
  • They quickly show us what we’ve tested. Along the same lines, mind maps help to get a visual indication of our automated testing coverage by pairing branches on the map with the names of feature files that exist in ourautomated testing system.
  • They keep the focus on the end user. Instead of focusing on “this screen” or “that page,” mind maps encourage stories: Whether or not a user can “upload photos,” “register with a new account,” or “learn more about someone.” Since the map is focused on tasks, it becomes a makeshift user proxy.
  • They ensure we plan for things that don’t go as planned. Part of planning a user experience is considering what happens outside of the best-case scenario. Our team uses mind maps to plan where to write helpful copy for errors and see what alternative routes we are missing. It’s also a great reminder to include a way out for the user – include a “cancel” option on relevant branches to allow the user to undo at any point.
  • They give QA a snapshot of the whole system. Finally, mind maps help our QA team understand the system more quickly and consider significant edge cases. It can also be used in exploratory quality assurance testing to create a quick overview of the system, discuss risks or changes, and display test coverage.
  • Remember to use verbs. The most obvious things MyDates allows someone to do are:
    • Set up a profile,
    • Manage a profile, and
    • Browse other profiles for possible matches.

    Start the sentence “as a user, I can [verb]…” In this case, “manage my profile” and “find matches.” These are the two, most obvious, high-level tasks. Using verbs means we’re focusing on actions and not on location.

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