The User Experience Brief: The What and Why before the How

We IAs spend a lot of time discussing the “core” documents in information architecture—wireframes, site maps, prototypes. But we often jump into these very tactical, design-oriented deliverables too hastily.

The user experience brief takes on a more strategic role. Early in the project, it’s our vehicle to summarize what we know so far, particularly requirements and research results. More importantly though, it lays the foundation for the UX design approach, with the goals of gathering consensus and identifying sticking points early on. The user experience brief illuminates the organizing principles—user experience fundamentals to be followed and referenced throughout the project.

We’ll talk about the value of this early-project document, its role in shaping the user experience approach, how its composed, and its limitations. We’ll look at a number of great visual examples too. Introduced the right way and at the right time, the UX brief can be an invaluable stake in the ground with clients and internal stakeholders.