Conceptual Models

Your constantly-updated definition of Conceptual Models and collection of topical content and literature

What are Conceptual Models?

Conceptual models are abstract, psychological representations of how tasks should be carried out. People use conceptual models subconsciously and intuitively as a way of systematizing processes.

For example, a common mental model for creating appointments involves calendars and diaries. Knowing about the prevalence and power of conceptual models guides designers to tailor software that matches users’ conceptual models.

By creating interfaces and apps that echo conceptual models, designers build on existing knowledge and frameworks, making it easier for the users to learn how to use the new product.

Typically, conceptual models are identified at the beginning of the design process and are referenced to constantly for direction and inspiration throughout the design process.

Literature on Conceptual Models

Here’s the entire UX literature on Conceptual Models by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Conceptual Models

Take a deep dive into Conceptual Models with our course Human-Computer Interaction - HCI .

Interactions between computers and humans should be as intuitive as conversations between two humans—and yet many products and services fail to achieve this. So, what do you need to know so as to create an intuitive user experience? Human psychology? Emotional design? Specialized design processes? The answer is, of course, all of the above, and this course will cover them all.

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is about understanding what it means to be a user of a computer (which is more complicated than it sounds), and therefore how to create related products and services that work seamlessly. It’s an important skill to master, because it gives any company the perspective and knowledge needed to build products that work more efficiently and therefore sell better. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the Computer and IT occupation to grow by 12% from 2014–2024, faster than the average for all occupations. This goes to show the immense demand in the market for professionals equipped with the right computer and IT skills.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction and deep dive into HCI, so you can create designs that provide outstanding user experiences. Whether you are a newcomer to the subject of HCI or a professional, by the end of the course you will have a deep understanding of what it means to be a user and how to implement user-centered design for the best possible results.

This course is based on in-depth videos created by the amazing Alan Dix. You'll be in great company with this renowned professor and Director of the Computational Foundry at Swansea University, a specialist in HCI and co-author of the classic textbook, Human-Computer Interaction.

All Literature

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