Inexpensive UX Display Boards: Cheap Tools & Good Process

When I travel to new office environments, I’m always on the lookout for interesting facilities practices to bring back to Atomic.

When I attended the Balanced Team Conference last September at Hot Studio in San Francisco, I saw some neat foam core board displays showing their new facilities layout (the new facilities are very cool by the way). I took pictures of the displays so I could remember what they looked like and how they were used.

Atomic teams use our magnetic whiteboards for impromptu diagramming or project management data radiation. Whiteboard space always seems to be a scarce resource despite the amazing job Mary has done installing our massive east wall whiteboards.

On a current project, I’ve been working with design considerations that include:

  • Collaboration between multiple devices and applications
  • Context scenarios spanning multiple usage environments
  • Wayfinding functionality
  • Varied personas
  • Complex technical design constraints

When it comes to big-picture design artifacts, I like to have them visible and accessible. Big-picture artifacts keep implementation details grounded and governed by guiding light. I get frustrated when wall space availability limits the amount of artifacts that can be displayed.

I decided to create a UX display board using foam core stands similar to what I saw at Hot.

UX display board

Our board currently displays:

  • Project milestones and deadlines
  • Personas
  • Context scenarios
  • Environment definitions and photos
  • Application flow map

We’re going to expand the board to display lo-fi interface concepts as we work through the application interfaces.

Having the guiding big-picture artifacts visible and accessible has proven to be immediately useful. Conversation is sparking between team members working on design and development. Discussions flow easier by being able to easily point at and reference artifacts on the board. Sketches and dev prototypes are easily validated against context scenarios and flow maps.

To build our UX display board I ordered foam core and stands from the following vendors:

  • 12pk of 48″x96″ 1/2″ boards
  • Large stands with 1/2″ slot
  • Conversation
  • […] the event, I spoke about the UX display boards we have been using at Atomic and how they complement some of the developer-centric data radiators […]

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