What You Must Know about the 4D User Experience Map

When trying to find information about usability perspective mapping, and I found an article that helped immensely.

Not only have those of us in UX long been struggling with an appropriate way of communicating with stakeholders (without wasting their time) but it’s been difficult to find a usability map that is both effective and engaging while keeping with simple and interactive UX design.

That’s why this article, The 4D User Experience Mapby W. Szabo Peter helped me better understand just what could be accomplished with the right tools.

Why I liked this Article

I found the article insightful because as we know, the effectiveness of icons and images in communication with our users is enormous and we know the impact of mapping on our teams and management. And we know how powerful the use of icons are for clear design.

However, clarity when combined with “clever” make for a most interesting and engaging 4D map design and this article walks us through exactly what to do to make an impact.

What it’s all About

This article starts out outlining the way that 4D User Maps have been an effective tool. These visually intensive tools are quite effective and you can see this from the example provided.

The author uses a fun 4D Map entitled “How to Adopt a Cat” to showcase the impact of these 4D maps on UX. The author suggests that you first give your map a strong title. But what is the difference between these 4D maps and the regular old visual aid maps that we’re all so used to both designing and seeing from others?

The author uses multidimensional milestones to outline just how these 4D maps become more complex tools of communication. The first dimension is the horizontal dimension, which the author uses to left to right to outline the steps that the user takes to have a successful outcome. In the case of the adopt-a-cat example, the author outlined the types of things that will happen after you get your cat (sharing photos, setting up her new home etc…) Basically these are the most common things that will enter a users mind, left to right across the map.

The Second Dimension and Why It’s Important

The second dimension is the events or special milestones that your users will likely think about.

If you’re unsure, a simple focus group or sample will help you grasp what your users are looking for. The author then emphasizes the importance of line thickness of boxes and bubbles based on their importance.

This way the graphic stands out and sends the most important messages most emphatically. Using colors will also help to emphasize the importance of certain messages and it is critical to play with well known assumptions. Red as error, yellow as a caution, green as “go.” The possibilities are significant. Remember that this type of 4D mapping can also be made to be accessible. With less than 20% of the UX experts conducting regular accessibility testing, you have the opportunity to meet an untapped market. Make your map accessible to all and you’re on your way.

Why We Need Highly Visual UX Design Mapping

We know that 55% of potential customers could not complete their task because of confusion or bad/unclear content so we can definitely make the connection between unclear content and our need for highly visual and appropriate UX design mapping. If you or your team can provide a dynamic 4D map it will not only help your team but also benefit your stakeholders because everyone will clearly see exactly where the user is going, and how you’re going to get them there.

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Megan Wilson
Megan Wilson is user experience specialist & editor of UX Motel. She is also the Quality Assurance and UX Specialist at WalkMe Megan.w(at)walkme.com
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