August 15 Mtg: Mental Model Diagrams: Supportive Content for Specific Folks with Indi Young
Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Wish you had more time to deeply understand customer reasoning before making communication and design decisions?

Mental model diagrams represent the underlying philosophies and emotions that drive people's behavior, matched up with the ways you support them with your organization's products and services. Empathizing with people's underlying motivations opens up different avenues for supporting their behavior. A true model illuminates the users' world and allows you to generate better ideas and tell a more compelling story to product developers and business executives.

In this presentation, Indi Young, author of Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior, discusses how to make sure this model truly represents the root of what is driving your users' natural behavior. It is easy to make assumptions; much research stops at a preference, task, or observation level. But there is so much more to find out about people. Indi addresses how to coax the model toward representing the true roots of people's behavior in order to provide a clear roadmap of where your organization should invest its energies, and also where it shouldn't, allowing you to stretch your limited resources and maximize your precious time. Mental models will also allow you to derive an information architecture from users' tasks that will last 10 years, and get everyone from discordant team members to busy executives on the same page with respect to design and planning.

About the Speaker:

Indi Young is an independent consultant, the first Rosenfeld Media author, and a founder of Adaptive Path. She specializes in generative research that is used for product and business strategy. She is passionate about empathy. In practice this means exploring the thinking, the emotional reactions, and the guiding principles of the people organizations are trying to support. Indi's work promoting mental model diagrams for business continues to spread, gaining traction as an "actionable" tool for bringing departments together to produce more successful tools and services.

Indi has consulted for a wide range of organizations, including start-ups, non-profits, universities, and large
corporations. She has written for A List Apart, Johnny Holland, and Scroll Magazine, as well as a set of essays on her book page at Rosenfeld Media. She has taught workshops at the IxDA, IA Summit, Web App Summit, J. Boye, Agile, UX Week, User Research Friday, Interacción, Web Directions Road Show, and UIE conferences, as well as private workshops for Rosenfeld Media, Adaptive Path, Cooper, and ClearLeft. Indi has presented at the Design Research, Society for Technical Communication, UX Marathon, Web Directions, @Media, Cyber Security, and Web Visions conferences, as well as several UX Book Club meetings and other events. She has also has presented at Google, Intuit, Zynga, Yahoo, as well as at the California College of the Arts and the Haas School of Business at the University of Berkeley. Her slide decks are available on and her book site is