About UX Frameworks

UX Frameworks was created by Allison & Natalie, two interaction designers in solving human-centered problems with research, design & technology. Over the past decade, we've designed for a variety of companies and industries, with many talented teams, for lots different types of users. We also design and facilitate design thinking workshops with c-level execs and innovation teams.

We see teams struggle at the same point in the design process. We've been there, too.

Synthesis.

The research is done. And now staring back at you is a bunch of data and a big blank wall, where you're expected to produce something insightful and meaningful to design against.

What is design synthesis?
Design synthesis is the spark. ✨It’s the sensemaking that happens between phases in the design process. Making meaning of volumes of data and a blank canvas for solving a lofty design challenge is intimidating.

For the most part, designers are left to their own devices and inner circles and teams to learn and adopt frameworks for rapid design research & synthesis.

The visual part of interaction design and the implementation of them is romanticized and glorified. Inspiration and references are plentiful.

But finding design thinking frameworks for research and synthesis remains a scavenger hunt, scraping and referencing books and blogs, past experiences, and other designer’s brains – if you’re lucky enough to work with ones who are good at externalizing their approach.

There isn’t enough easy to consume information out there about design synthesis, and lacking is a place to share it in a consumable way. All of these frameworks and mental models are repeatable and applicable regardless of industry or context, yet every time it feels like starting from scratch.

Research

Research is the first phase in any design process. Ideally, it's a combination of qualitative and quantitative research. Secondary "desk" research also happens during this phase, where the goal is to understand the industry, competition, and relevant technology and design trends.

Raw Data

Data collected during research without any synthesizing or modifications. This can take the form of field notes, transcripts, audio and video recordings, photos, screenshots, or artifacts.

Intercepts

Intercepts are a research method used to gather on-site, timely feedback from users as they're engaged in activities/services/tasks you want to know more about. They're usually short (3-5 mins) and informal.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research is exploratory research during immersion used to understand user's behavior and underlying motivations. The goal is to find emerging insights and develop hypotheses to design against. Examples of qualitative research are interviews, observations, intercepts.

Ideation

Ideation is the phase of design where designers brainstorm ideas around a given opportunity or impact. This can be a very narrow, focused session or open-ended. The ideal output of an ideation session are concepts that can move the project forward.

Convergent Thinking

Convergent thinking attempts to find the best, most obvious and appropriate solution to the problem during ideation.

Convergent ideas:
✨ Generated through a [yes, but] process 👎
✨ Easy to present & convince stakeholders
✨ Logical, familiar and safe

Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking attempts to explore what could be through blue sky thinking, generating a lot of ideas and suspending judgment until later on in the process.

Divergent ideas:
✨ Are original and unexpected
✨ Riskier and unpredictable
✨ Generated through play & curiosity

Visualization

Visualization makes concrete what was before, just an idea. It's a method of externalizing content into something tangible that can be shared, stored, and critiqued. As designers, we should constantly be visualizing concepts and ideas.

Innovation

Innovation is the process of generating and executing on new ideas that reinvents a method, product, or service. Innovative ideas can be small or significant – but always create value to meaningful problems.

Future of _ Activity

Ideation

Ideation is the effort of coming up with ideas around a given opportunity or impact. The ideal output of ideation are concepts that can move the project forward.

Idea Framework
The vision for UX Frameworks.

Luckily, Natalie and I love to talk about and share methodologies, frameworks, and activities for design research, synthesis, and ideation. What started as a Google doc evolved into this site, and I envision it evolving into something even bigger.

We'd love to see UX Frameworks become a community where we can share, celebrate, and talk about these frameworks in an approachable way.

Design thinking isn’t magic – let's break down the complexity and make it easier for everyone to get that “spark.”