Coping with complexity

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Memi Beltrame

Less A Mess

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Case Study

Complexity in web interfaces has many dimensions. Often it is only perceived on a technical level, mostly dealing with devices and display. The answers to those problems are mobile first, responsive design, multi-device ready and so forth. These approaches are all fine. But they are incomplete - they focus on the delivery of content. The content itself is secondary.

Designing for digital media is more than handling the delivery by adapting to devices. Digital media must adapt to individual user roles, needs and behaviour. The key to a flexible adaptation is content.

Understanding complexity is understanding content and its function. This session is about content driven design in prototyping. The point of content driven design is to simulate everything users can do with data in highly interactive prototypes.

I would like to explore some of the dimensions of complexity by looking at some challenges I faced when prototyping for 3 of my dearest projects. First we'll look at a case study of a foreign exchange platform for professional traders. Foreign exchange is time sensitive and intense. This meant that interactions had to be designed in a way that met the traders' need for speed.

As a second project I'd like to take a look at an application that helps organisers to manage large scale events with thousands of participants and dozens of parallel tracks. The extreme amount of data forced us to come up with patterns that would make it easy to flexibly handle changes.

The third and final project is the prototype for the mobile application for Switzerland's biggest online auctions platform. The content driven approach helped us find out about how much users focus on relevance when it comes to searches and suggestions and get proof of what users felt was relevant to them.

About the Speaker

Memi Beltrame is a UX designer based in Zurich, Switzerland and has been working in the web industry for almost 20 years. He started his own agency, Less A Mess, in 2013, focusing on strategy and data driven prototyping specialising in complex scenarios. He is also the author of Protostrap, a content-driven-prototyping framework for highly interactive and heavily content-oriented projects. He has been giving talks since 2008, mostly about UX and content strategy.