Interaction 08: Concept Models

Posted on: February 26, 2008

Concept Models: A Tool for Planning Interaction by Dan Brown

My Notes:

You are trying to build a web application and you have scenarios or use cases, now what? You could do a flowchart and start thinking about steps and screens. However, this limits you to the screen approach when attempting to do interaction design. To break free of the screen, we can utilize concept models.

What is the process?

You take your requirements document and circle relevant nouns (concepts). Then you create relationships among concepts. The hardest part is selecting the right nouns and relationships. It is important to think about which concepts/relationships are important.

A concept model bridges the gap between requirements and design, especially if the requirements are not clear and you need to have a solid understanding of the design problem.

In the least, a concept model will allow you (and your team) to agree on a vocabulary, and at most you will learn something interesting or new.

So, a concept model is bunch of circles connected by lines. Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge (Novak, originally came up with concept models)

What are concept models for?
To Analyze and Understand
Synthesize and Design

Creating Concept Models…

Gather concepts through research
Make a list of nouns
Start with most important concepts
In the beginning, more is better
Ask questions
Start creating connections
Research and elaborate concepts
Validate concepts and connections
Economize connections
Eliminate redundancy

Sharing Concept Models…

Determine purpose and objectives
Set expectations and keep an eye on the crowd
Remember the purpose of the document – why are you creating it?
We are going to look at something abstract, but here is how it can help
Go into the meeting with a set of questions – trying to generate a conversation
Be transparent with client
Generate questions and explain implications
What’s missing?
Are these relationships correct?
Do these relationships matter?
Can we enforce the relationships?

If A has a relationship with B, A will always be in the context of B on the webpage
If we take away this node, users will lose X

Final Ideas

Use concept models to clarify underlying structure (when product or feature is unclear)
Use concept models to escape the “page” metaphor
To bridge the gab between understanding a problem and solving a problem

Technorati Tags:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Alla Zollers

I design products and services that just. make. sense.

When products make sense, customers are happy.

If customer are happy, they sign-up, stay on site, engage, share, and buy your product or service.

Happy customers allow companies to profit in both senses of the word.

I provide the following services:

• Heuristic Evaluations
• Discovery Research
• Strategy and Vision Development
• Information Architecture
• User Experience Design
• Usability Testing

You can find me on:

Twitter Updates

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.


%d bloggers like this: