Which_UX_Deliverable_which_Audience

Which UX deliverables for which audience?

Usability reports are one of the core deliverables for most audiences, with the notable exception of developer audiences. Presumably, this indicates that there isn’t a need to convince developers that usability issues exist and that deliverables for this audience focused on technical and implementation details.

Generally, outside of prototypes, there is no one-size-fits-all deliverable that will be equally effective with every type of audience. Each type of deliverable is an available tool in the UX professional’s toolbox, and it can become an effective communication tool in the right context and with the right audience.

UX work can and does happen in many different contexts. From very lean start-ups that employ Agile methodologies and embrace little documentation, to consulting engagements for third-party clients, all the way to large corporate or government environments with a strict process and clearly defined documentation requirements. However, what is common in these work environments is the need for UX professionals to communicate design ideas, research findings, and the context of projects to a range of audiences, although we often communicate our work in a lot of conversations!

So, what is a Deliverable?

Traditionally, in the context of user experience, a deliverable is a document that serves as a record of work that has occurred. The deliverables for a project are the tangible record of the work that occurred, whether that work was research or design.

According to research by the Nielsen Norman Group, 82% of UX professionals collaborate with other team members on the deliverables they produce. In many cases, the deliverables are agreed upon before the work begins, and are noted in a contract or statement of work; however, in other cases they are created as needed to communicate specific ideas throughout a project’s lifecycle. Even if you’re a solitary UX person who produces a document for your own delectation, it’s a deliverable.

A Comprehensive List of All Formal UX Deliverables:

  1. Static Wireframe
  2. Poster / Infographic / or Comic
  3. Mood Boards
  4. Content Inventory
  5. Paper Prototype
  6. Personas
  7. Findings Tracking System
  8. System Map
  9. Pixel Perfect Visual Mock-up
  10. Competitive Analysis Report
  11. User Journey Map
  12. Style Guide & Pattern Library
  13. Usability Report
  14. Analytics Report
  15. Site Map
  16. Flowchart or Activity Diagram
  17. Interactive Prototype

These are what are consider to be “classic” UX deliverables, but one important point to keep in mind is that while these deliverables are produced and shared with others, many other types of deliverables will be produced but never shared. Often, management, clients and other team members are interested only in the type of deliverable that helps them advance their tasks, as well. Given this, the types of deliverables you produce should produce value for whom you are going to share them, too.

Following are the Top 10 UX Deliverables Most Commonly Delivered:

  1. Static Wireframe (88%)
  2. Interactive Prototype (82%)
  3. Flowchart or Activity Diagram (79%)
  4. Site Map (68%)
  5. Usability Report (62%)
  6. Analytics Report (62%)
  7. Style Guide & Pattern Library (60%)
  8. User Journey Map (58%)
  9. Competitive Analysis Report (52%)
  10. Pixel Perfect Visual Mock-up (50%)
  11. Personas (50%)
  12. Findings Tracking System (49%)

Which UX Deliverable for Which Type of Audience?

UXDeliverable_v_Audience

Deliverable for Developers and Engineers

When it came to communicating ideas to developers (both for collaboration and for delivering specifications for implementation), interactive prototypes are the most effective. Other deliverables most effective and important are flowcharts, site maps, and style guides. These types of deliverables are focused strongly on structural details and interaction specifics that are critical for implementation purposes and thus are the most useful whilst communicating to the Developers and Engineers.

Deliverables for External Clients

When working with external client audiences, interactive prototypes were one of the most effective deliverables. An alternate and often seen as the next best option is the Pixel Perfect Visual Mock-up. The reason perceived for this is, external client audiences who may have a limited level of experience with UX deliverables, a premium is still placed on visual design, and that for this type of stakeholder, there is a perceived advantage in showing functionality, information architecture, and interaction design embedded in beautiful and realistic mock-ups. For external clients with more established UX practice and understanding, a Usability Report, User Journey Map, and a Competitive Analysis report are also deemed as very effective.

Deliverables for Internal Management

When it came to communicating with managers and internal stakeholders; Interactive prototypes, Usability Report, and Analytics Reports. Interactive prototypes offer an interactive experience that’s most reflective of the final product, and, thus, are a powerful tool for showing what the user experience will ultimately be like. Usability reports and other research information are especially useful with management, since these present clear evidence for the specific UX recommendations being made.

Final Opinion

Interactive prototypes are the most popular deliverable across multiple different target audiences, and most UX professionals consider them an effective communication tool for convincing these audiences to move forward with a plan.

Between static wireframes and interactive prototypes: static wireframes were the most frequently produced deliverable overall, but is not the most effective deliverables for any audience. This suggests that noninteractive wireframes tend to be artifacts that UX professionals produce for their own benefit, whether as a natural part of their design process, or for use in usability testing, but they don’t frequently share them with others. However, interactive give audiences a feel for the product’s user experience, and so they’re less abstract representations than block-diagram wireframes.

UXDeliverable_v_Audience_Venn

Usability reports are one of the core deliverables for most audiences, with the notable exception of developer audiences. Presumably, this indicates that there isn’t a need to convince developers that usability issues exist and that deliverables for this audience focused on technical and implementation details.

Generally, outside of prototypes, there is no one-size-fits-all deliverable that will be equally effective with every type of audience. Each type of deliverable is an available tool in the UX professional’s toolbox, and it can become an effective communication tool in the right context and with the right audience.