Day#80: Red routes and their importance on projects

Day#80: Red routes and their importance on projects

So something I notice happening a lot at various organisations is people not being sure of the core goal of a project. I always struggled with conceptualizing as a designer when I didn’t have enough knowledge. Organisations can sometimes leave creative out of the loop and expect them to come up with concepts because of the need to save time. Sometimes creative can actually be done without understanding the core concept, however for user experience design this is very important.

The core goal of a task in UX is called the red route, the failure to identify the red route can result in wasted resources and misusing the platform. Let alone conducting pointless research for mechanisms that don’t influence the core goal of the project. The end result will be a failed user experience and failure to meet business goals. Having the red route mapped out, can keep the Uxer on the right track and constantly have their various ideas relate back to the red route of the project. A great example of a red route would be from the Userfocus, straight from the man who taught me about Red routes in the first place David Travis

“Roads with red lines on them are known as red routes: these are the key road arteries in London. The idea is that these routes need to be kept clear in order for traffic to move smoothly through the capital (we’re told that just one driver can clog the roads). Transport for London is uncompromising in its enforcement of parking restrictions on red routes. Make the mistake of stopping your car on a red route to buy your daily paper and traffic wardens converge on you from nowhere.”

In defining red routes, it’s important to consider both the frequency and critical nature of the activity. Activities that customers carry out frequently are crucial to the success of the web site since they will determine customers’ perception of it. One example of a frequent activity might be search. In contrast, critical activities may be infrequent but users will hate your web site if these tasks are not well supported. An example of an infrequent but critical task might be editing my personal details stored on a web site. Finally, activities that are both frequent and critical are the web site’s bread and butter. Get these wrong and you may as well not be in business.”

Identifying and keeping red routes visible has helped me a lot in the past when I need to understand a project on a deeper level and understand how to ensure the user’s experience I am developing is the most suitable. See below for some resource material on Red routes

Red Route usability: The key users journey with your website

Red routes: Critical design paths that make or break your app

Happy reading, bye for now!

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