Mapping the User Experience
Skype UX maps constitute a visual toolkit to characterize, design and discuss the conversational ecosystems around Skype users and services. Following the method of “bootstrapping” visualizations, we used visualizations extensively in order to find the right visual language for the Skype UX maps.
How to find the right visual language
At first, we deconstructed existing approaches to mapping the Skype User Experience in order to find out what elements could go on the maps and what the most important dimensions were. The results were presented in large, loosely organized concept clouds.
One of the approaches to organizing the resulting conceptual dimensions involved building sentence structures, or templates. As a playful inspirational tool, we produced a random sentence generator, producing statement after statement about non-standard communication modes – some absurd, some quite realistic.
Working with different features of conversational activities, the dimensions of audience, communication channel and richness of the experience turned out to be central for understanding communication via Skype. This diagram positions different Skype features according to these dimensions. Based on these conceptual explorations, we defined a concise, flexible visual language to construct diagrams and maps for different perspectives on the Skype user experience.