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Mental Models

Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior 

Published: February 2008 Digital: ISBN 1-933820-19-5

by Indi Young

Mental Models

At Dow Corning, Mental Models offer understanding at many levels—from a high level overview of customers' generic unmet needs, to providing a detailed examination of the atomic tasks that they carry out as part of their jobs. So too for this indispensable book—it offers both a high level overview of the value of Mental Models for executives and leaders, as well as a detailed step-by-step guide to the technique for practitioners. Indi has eloquently captured the essence of Mental Models and offers her unrivaled experience to everyone."

—Simon Parker, Global Process Manager, Front End of Innovation, Dow Corning Corporation

There is no single methodology for creating the perfect product—but you can increase your odds. One of the best ways is to understand users' reasons for doing things. Mental Models gives you the tools to help you grasp, and design for, those reasons. Adaptive Path co-founder Indi Young has written a roll-up-your-sleeves book for designers, managers, and anyone else interested in making design strategic, and successful.

“Mental Models” Blog

Recruiting Across Behaviors

I received an enthusiastic, but bewildered cry for help from a UX designer in South Africa, Jeanne Marias. She wrote, “I am pioneering a service design project, part of which I’m wanting to do a Mental Model of ‘The New Member Journey.’ I’ve charged ahead and gotten the whole team excited about mental models, but …

Journeys, Experiences, & Mental Spaces

The other day a university student named Maria Hernando wrote to ask me my opinion about the relationship between User Journey Maps, Customer Journey Maps, and User Experience Maps … and how a mental model diagram might relate to any one of them. I told Maria that I think of the maps as the same, …

Picking Out Guiding Principles

Picking out an actual “guiding principle” (something that guides how I make a decision) from a transcript is difficult. There is so much “brush” we need to clear away before we can see the “specimen trees” for what they are. Here is a perfect example. It’s a page from an architecture firm’s web brochure. The …

How to Wield Empathy

At at recent workshop, I conducted a spontaneous interview as a demonstration of what I mean by “create a scope perimeter within which any conversation can happen.” I asked for a volunteer and for a topic. The volunteer was Daren. The topic was air travel. I scoped the topic down to “planning and booking air …

Just Diving In: Hypothetical Audiences Segments and Interview Skills

BK: I was just re-reading some of the book and I was wondering how important it is to define the task-based segments. I’m not sure anyone here knows what users do well enough to make those guesses. I’m thinking of starting to talk to a few people who look promising and see what they say, …