The User Experience Honeycomb Explained

What the heck is the user experience honeycomb? Is it a delicious cereal? Is it a new navigation pattern or model of standards and testing? Nope, it’s none of these things, but rather, just a simple visualization method for the seven goals which a UX team must strive to achieve the maximum compliance with, in order to achieve maximum value of a design.

You may expect the user experience honeycomb to be complex, as a lot of honeycomb-inspired graphics and charts depict intricacies and complex interrelations which make for a lot of time to come to terms with, even with visual representation to take the sting out of it. Well, that’s not the case with this one.

Basically, it is a honeycomb of seven cells, each one containing the different core aspects and attributes to weigh for UX. It’s kind of a remix of a Venn diagram. I’m a bigger fan of Venn diagrams because while this one does show relationships of the different components by their proximity, it’s not nearly as precise or helpful. I don’t like this representation.

But, since a lot of UX people seem to be married to the UX honeycomb, let’s take a look at the cells, and what each value means. We will be discussing these in a clockwise manner from twelve o’clock, and closing with the middle value.

Useful – The design must actually have something to offer in functionality versus existing designs and empower the user to accomplish real goals, better than solutions that already exist. We can’t just be happy with meeting expectations.

Desirable – Leading from this, we must ensure that the visuals and presentation are pleasant to use, and make the user think “I like how this handles it, versus other solutions”.

Accessible – While it’s doing something to make it more useful than other designs, and presenting itself in a new and intriguing way, it also must not raise the learning curve or alienate those experienced with old, standard models of the solution. So, this points out balance and not making things over complex.

Credible – We must present our design in a way that users will respect it as a professional solution, or if it is a website, that we’re professional and what we say is believable and reputable. This one’s a bit ambiguous, and things like the Website Credibility Project provide insight into this, but … eh.

Findable – This is all about eye tracking and recognition, that different elements and components of a design are easy to spot, and there’s no blankly staring at the design, trying to figure out where anything is. People should be able to start poking at it right away, even if only with limited productivity and success.

Usable – It needs to work properly, with no major glitches or inconveniences. This one’s pretty obvious.

Valuable – This one’s at the center, and we see how this goes full circle, as this connects to all the other attributes, and no matter where we start on the honeycomb, by process of related goals to reach, we wind up right back at the same place.

I can see how the user experience honeycomb might actually click with some people to show interrelations, once you demystify it. But, again, I’m not really a fan of this model, and few of my personal colleagues are either.

Related materials can be found on user experience news page.

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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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