17 Jun

Indi Young on Mental Models

I was fortunate to sit in a lecture today by Indi Young, co-founder of Adaptive Path and author of the recently published Mental Models, Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior. Ms. Young described her framework for constructing Mental Models, which are models representing a user’s thought process as they interact with a system. A Mental Model endeavors to give designers and application developers a usable way to see the system under development through the eyes of a user.

It is an interesting idea and an obvious compliment Domain Driven Design and Behavior Driven Design. The intent of the Mental Model is to allow designers to envision a user’s thought process and although it isn’t out-of-the-box simple, it is inherently useful.

She had some great feedback for our teams on creating more effective personas and user scenarios. Specifically, keep the personas behavior focused. For instance, I don’t need to know that Harold is a 38 year old fat guy, but I do need to know that he struggles to find content he is after on the web. Make sense?

At any rate, I have every good intention of reading her book and look forward to augmenting my toolbox with Mental Modeling.

One thought on “Indi Young on Mental Models”

  1. Glad you enjoyed the talk David, and thanks for the pointers to Domain Driven Design and Behavior Driven Development. I am still getting my head around Agile environments in terms of the actual practitioners, so these links help. I’d love to hear any stories and experiences you have with respect to behavior driven development. There’s an upcoming set of presentations about UX in the agile environment at Agile08 in Toronto in August which could benefit from your perspective.

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