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When I was in a graphic design class, an assignment we got was to create 50 different logo concepts and to avoid creating a single concept and iterating on it 50 number of times. This way you could identify many different approaches, decide the right one (or few), and then iterate on it until the design is right.

So how many alternative approaches do you take when designing an interface? Do you think the idea above applies to UX and UI design?

The reason I ask is for the project I'm working on right now I've taken one design and have iterated on it and received positive feedback -- but I still wonder even though people like it, are there alternative, overall approaches to the UI that I could have explored and that would have been better?

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This describes the style of thinking used to generate alternative designs: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_thinking –  ccnokes Sep 17 '13 at 16:50
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Two. One that is the actual version that we intend to build, and one wildly crazy one that we show the client as well so that they can discard it and feel like they're involved. (Note, this comment is only partially a joke!) –  JonW Sep 19 '13 at 10:54

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"As many as you need to."

I don't think one could give an integer value answer to this question. You need to iterate broadly to explore various methods, some of which will be obvious dead-ends, others which "feel right". Depending on the task / workflow you are designing for this could be two, or it could be fifty.

The important thing is to always do more than one concept, even if the obvious answer is staring you in the face. This helps me because it either reenforces the right answer, or leads me to unexpected places that either can inform the final solution, or come up with something I hadn't conceived of yet.

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I keep going until I have what I believe is an elegant solution to the problem I'm trying to solve. Sometimes I nail it on the first try, other times it takes a few attempts. If I have tons of time to spare, I might try my hand at coming up with a new concept. But, I like to get my designs into a working prototype as quickly as possible so that I can test them and get real feedback.

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  1. Sketch 6 new solutions for the same problem.
  2. Put your first ideas down.
  3. If you get stuck try opposite or think about design principles.
  4. Pick the most promising ideas from 6 sketches.
  5. Sketch one higher fidelity version.
  6. Show team members.

Find more here: http://www.slideshare.net/pboersma/good-design-faster-at-ux-sofia

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Can you summarise the contents of that presentation? Currently it's not really an answer to the question as you're expecting everyone to have to go off to that site (that may potentially not exist in future) and find the answer themselves. Link-only answers such as this tend to get removed because of this, but if you can add some summary info and keep the link as the reference source that's ideal. –  JonW Sep 19 '13 at 10:52

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