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Sophia V. Prater

Founder of Rewired UX and Chief Evangelist for OOUX

and
Certified OOUX Strategist

#OpenForWork

Teaching OOUX, Ed Tech, Sustainable Design, Real Estate

A game-like process to create elegant UX and IA

I've loved UX since my first day on the job in 2009. But in the early days of my career, I'd often feel like the process I was a part of needed more rigor. We seemed to wait until late in the game to tackle complexity—and this just led to a ton of rework. We'd try to break up the complexity by siloing features and functionality—and this just led to "frankenstein" designs. By studying human psychology as well as the object-oriented UI practice that were popular in the '90s, I created a rigorous methodology for breaking down complexity while also ensuring holistic, elegant, systemic UX and information architecture. This game-like process completely transformed my professional life. With OOUX and the ORCA process, I facilitate effective collaboration, break down team silos, and have a ton more fun doing my job as a UX designer. I honestly cannot imagine designing a digital environment without leveraging OOUX.

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Featured Resources

054 - The Full ORCA Process Overview plus 15 Pro Tips
054 - The Full ORCA Process Overview plus 15 Pro Tips

In this solo episode of the podcast, Sophia gives a great bird's eye view of the ORCA process, outlining each step, how it can stand alone on its own, and what the main "tripping point" is for each part of the process. Plus, a teaser for the advanced training, March 1, 2024. Buckle up and grab something to take notes!

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051 - (ORCA Series #7) - Object-Oriented User Stories from Santa's Workshop
051 - (ORCA Series #7) - Object-Oriented User Stories from Santa's Workshop

In this seventh installment of the ORCA Series, Sophia brings some holiday cheer while covering CTA Requirements. Revisiting the Santa Delivery App from ORCA Series #6, Relationship Requirements, she explores the four ways you can upgrade your basic user stories, plus how to use AI to help you fill in the gaps you might have missed.

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050 - (ORCA Series #6) - My Cat Saving Fire Department with Holiday Vibes
050 - (ORCA Series #6) - My Cat Saving Fire Department with Holiday Vibes

Sophia delivers episode #6 in the ORCA Series: Relationship Requirements. Sophia expands on "My Cat Saving Fire Department," the power tool for analyzing object relationships. Using the example of Santa delivering presents, she illustrates how to apply this tool to understand relationships between objects, plus a rule of thumb for recognizing tree systems!

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049 - (ORCA Series #5) - Object Guide Strategies for Ridiculous Clarity
049 - (ORCA Series #5) - Object Guide Strategies for Ridiculous Clarity

In this fifth installment of the ORCA Series, Sophia discusses Object Requirements, how to skip ORCA steps & loop back to them as needed, as well as ways to customize the ORCA sprint, plus the potential use of artificial intelligence in generating object guides.

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048 - (ORCA Series #4) - Top Attributes to Consider for Every Object
048 - (ORCA Series #4) - Top Attributes to Consider for Every Object

In this fourth installment of the ORCA Series, Sophia discusses the 15 attributes that you'll want to consider for every single object in your system. Think about this like a gut check or a question guide for each object.

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The Attribute Discovery Guide
The Attribute Discovery Guide

In this FREE guide, learn the 15 most common attribute types in UX as featured in episode 048 of The OOUX Podcast, (ORCA Series #4) - Top Attributes to Consider for Every Object.

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047 - Nine Traits of a High-Value UX Designer
047 - Nine Traits of a High-Value UX Designer

What makes a UXer high-value? In this solo episode of the podcast, Sophia outlines the nine traits that a "high-value" UX Designer should have.

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OOUX Happy Hour - Extending the Nested-Object Matrix: Show and Tell
OOUX Happy Hour - Extending the Nested-Object Matrix: Show and Tell

The Nested-Object Matrix (the NOM) is one of the most powerful tools in the OOUX arsenal. During this event, we will give a short overview of the "classic" NOM (and show you where the idea came from)...and then we will go off the beaten path to show you how you can use this framework to map the relationships between just about anything.

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046 - (ORCA Series #3) - CTA Disco
046 - (ORCA Series #3) - CTA Disco

In this third installment of the ORCA Series, Sophia discusses why objects aren’t more important than all the other parts of a system but are essential to understanding the system, plus she gives 8 tips for CTA discovery!

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What if…legacy software was a good thing?
What if…legacy software was a good thing?

I’ve got a question that I feel like no one is asking. Why is “legacy software” always considered a bad thing? Or perhaps the better question is: What if we could create good legacy software?

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OOUX Happy Hour - Noun Foraging Party with Sophia Prater
OOUX Happy Hour - Noun Foraging Party with Sophia Prater

During this game-like happy hour, we'll be going through three rapid-fire noun foraging challenges! You'll get some awesome practice at pulling out the objects (the core concepts) from a mess of user and stakeholder needs and you'll learn some tricks on how to hone in on object quicker and more effectively.

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Wrangling UX Complexity with Tree Systems 🌲
Wrangling UX Complexity with Tree Systems 🌲

Learn to recognize and leverage this ubiquitous hierarchy pattern that you've probably never heard of.

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041 - OOUX Yoga with Ewelina Nowakowska
041 - OOUX Yoga with Ewelina Nowakowska

Ewelina Nowakowska is a Certified OOUX Strategist and is the Director of UI/UX Design & Development at American Reading Company. In this episode of the podcast, Sophia & Ewelina discuss the ways in which OOUX is like mental yoga practice, how ORCA helps teams work faster, plus some exciting innovations that may be on the horizon from OOUX headquarters.

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040 - (ORCA Series #2) - Eight Hot Tips to Level Up Your System Modeling Prowess
040 - (ORCA Series #2) - Eight Hot Tips to Level Up Your System Modeling Prowess

In this episode of the podcast, Sophia explains eight ways to level up your system modeling skills, plus diagramming The Church of Latter Day Saints!

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OOUX Happy Hour: Systems Thinking For Designers
OOUX Happy Hour: Systems Thinking For Designers

How can systems thinking help OOUXers? Sheryl Cababa is the author of a new Rosenfeld book Closing the Loop: Systems Thinking for Designers. Join us for this event where we’ll go fireside chat style with a conversation between Upma and Sheryl. They will discuss systems thinking for designers and how systems thinking overlaps (or not) with object-oriented thinking.

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039 - Content Design at Wealthfront and Chewy.com, with Chase Roberts
039 - Content Design at Wealthfront and Chewy.com, with Chase Roberts

In this episode of the podcast Sophia and Chase discuss using Object-Oriented UX to onboard at Chewy.com, creating new objects at Wealthfront, how OOUX fits in with other design methodologies, plus how you can get started with OOUX in your organization. We nerded out in this one. Enjoy!

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038 - OOUX at HelloFresh with Jake Zukowski
038 - OOUX at HelloFresh with Jake Zukowski

In this episode of the podcast, Sophia talks to the VP of Design and Research at HelloFresh — Jake Zukowski. They discuss how a designer on his team started sneaking OOUX through the backdoor into their design meetings, they debate about the difference between a Product Manager and a UX Designer, and they talk about how PMs can bring OOUX to their teams.

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037 - Joe Natoli on OOUX (a sneak peak into our new course!)
037 - Joe Natoli on OOUX (a sneak peak into our new course!)

In this super candid conversation, Joe Natoli and Sophia sit down to talk UX process, sketching, creativity, agile, and how OOUX can fit into to all of the above, "meeting you where you are". We'll give you a look into the new course that Joe and Sophia are launching on April 1st, 2023 — a course that targets the fundamentals of OOUX and can get you rocking and rolling in about a weekend.

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036 - UXing in the Dark, Finding the Light
036 - UXing in the Dark, Finding the Light

Sophia goes way back to her childhood, high school, college days, and early UX career to make sense of the current state of OOUX and ORCA. Sophia gets into the frustrations of designing in the dark, shares a few juicy life lessons, and reveals the early principles that make up the foundation of her career — and the movement she’s built.

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035 - (ORCA Series #1) Start any UX Project with Noun Foraging
035 - (ORCA Series #1) Start any UX Project with Noun Foraging

In this episode of the podcast, Sophia kicks off the first in a 15-part series on her ORCA (Objects, Relationships, CTAs, and Attributes) process. This first installment will cover the process of Noun Foraging. Learn Sophia's 10 hot tips for getting started with noun foraging. Plus, how artificial intelligence can help you do the work, and how noun foraging might not be just for nouns. Enjoy!

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Episode 034 - Running ORCA Sprints at Autodesk
Episode 034 - Running ORCA Sprints at Autodesk

Sophia lays out her findings after successfully rolling out the ORCA Sprint envisioned in episode 033 from last season. She talks about manifesting the ORCA Sprint from concept to deliverable, what worked and what didn't work (and what can probably be skipped) while running the first ORCA Sprint, and why ending Day 2 of the ORCA Sprint with a nav flow is guaranteed to blow people's minds.

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UX Pathways - Season 2 Episode 5: Sophia V Prater
UX Pathways - Season 2 Episode 5: Sophia V Prater

In this interview with Sophia Prater on the UX Pathways Podcast, Sophia talks about how she got into UX back in 2008 and gets up on her soapbox about how the UX industry is failing and how UXers are often set up to design in the dark. If you are interested in the OOUX Masterclass, make sure to stay until the end.

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How to start any UX Project (It’s NOT sketching User Flows)
How to start any UX Project (It’s NOT sketching User Flows)

In this article, Sophia outlines why it's a bad idea to start UX projects with task flows and how OOUX can provide the framework you need to get started with any design project, no matter the complexity.

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The OOUX Launch Guide
The OOUX Launch Guide

In this FREE guide, get the inside scoop on the creation story behind OOUX, learn the most critical activities in the object-oriented framework, and guide you to the best resources for learning the foundations of OOUX. You'll get the rocket fuel you need to go from 0 to 60 in just a few hours.

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How Mapping Relationships Can Save the World
How Mapping Relationships Can Save the World

With the theme of "Sustainability in Design" at UX Sofia's 2022 conference, Sophia answers the question: "How can OOUX contribute to solving the climate crisis…or saving endangered species…or cleaning our oceans and air? Or…all of the above?" It all comes down to exposing the truth about the inner workings of the world by mapping connections and relationships.

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Prioritizing Prioritization for Product Designers
Prioritizing Prioritization for Product Designers

In this article, Sophia answers a common question about the ORCA process. Should the Prioritization Round come before the detailed work of the Requirements Round? Why not do all the trimming first, and then focus the detailed work on what’s left over?

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Design Thinking Games Podcast with Sophia Prater
Design Thinking Games Podcast with Sophia Prater

Sophia was interviewed by Service Designer, Michael Schofield, and UX Designer, Tim Broadwater, for their podcast, Design Thinking Games, a podcast that “examines the player experience of board games, pen and paper roleplaying games, live action games, and video games.” In this episode, they discuss the game-like aspects of OOUX and the guys give their play-tested review of the OOUX card game.

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Introducing ORCA: The Third Diamond in your UX Process
Introducing ORCA: The Third Diamond in your UX Process

ORCA is a 15-step meat-grinder of a process: put good research in one end and out the other, get clarity, structure, and everything you need to go into interaction design with confidence. It’s an iterative process that helps you synthesize research into naturally-intuitive UX. You need ORCA, the third diamond in your "double-diamond" design process.

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Five Signs You’re Practicing Advanced UX
Five Signs You’re Practicing Advanced UX

What does leveling up look like when you’re drilling down? In other words, what does it mean to practice advanced UX without “manager” or “director” in your title? If you ask 10 experienced UXers you will probably get 10 different answers. But, for what it’s worth, here are my top five.

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Episode 033 - The ORCA Sprint with Sophia V. Prater
Episode 033 - The ORCA Sprint with Sophia V. Prater

In this solo episode of the podcast (and final episode of this season), Sophia talks about a new concept called "The ORCA Sprint." A week-long OOUX journey teams can take to tackle their projects head-on with the methodology of ORCA (tackling objects, relationships, calls-to-action, and attributes).

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The Whimsical ORCA Collab Hub
The Whimsical ORCA Collab Hub

Collaborating remotely? This Whimsical template, which includes Discovery, Requirements, and Prioritization rounds, is an upgrade from our popular MURAL ORCA Discovery template. You'll gain incredible clarity by defining objects, relationships, calls-to-action, and attributes. This template includes video tutorials covering each step of the process.

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OOUX Happy Hour: Noun Foraging with Rik Williams, Sophia Prater, and Robots
OOUX Happy Hour: Noun Foraging with Rik Williams, Sophia Prater, and Robots

In this month’s Happy Hour Sophia Prater (your host and chief evangelist for OOUX) will be introducing what noun foraging is, where it fits into the ORCA process, and some of the best places to go foraging. Next, Rik Williams, UX Architect and Certified OOUX Strategist, will introduce a software-based method to mine diverse content sources. Plus a fun design challenge!

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Information Archaeology for Information Architects
Information Archaeology for Information Architects

What do archaeology and information architecture have in common? More than you think. In this short article, Sophia outlines the similarities and makes a tongue-in-cheek case for why information architecture should probably be renamed "information archaeology."

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Fundamentals of Object-Oriented UX Workshop
Fundamentals of Object-Oriented UX Workshop

In this workshop, you will learn the fundamental principles of Object-Oriented UX and core methodologies behind the ORCA process. ORCA will help you break down complex problems, organize research and requirements, and gracefully transition from discovery into design.

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Object-Oriented UX is the missing link for XR experiences
Object-Oriented UX is the missing link for XR experiences

XR (Extended, Virtual, and Augmented Reality) is traditionally a field saturated with game designers, animators, 3D modelers, and developers. But what is the role of UX design in the coming XR revolution? In this article, Sophia explains why "UX for XR" author, Cornel Hillman, believes Object-Oriented UX is the "missing link" for UX in XR.

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UI Breakfast Podcast. Episode 229: Object-Oriented UX with Sophia Prater
UI Breakfast Podcast. Episode 229: Object-Oriented UX with Sophia Prater

Sophia was interviewed on the UI Breakfast Podcast. How can object-oriented UX help designers solve complex product problems? You’ll learn why object-oriented thinking is well-suited for design processes, how a shared vocabulary enables collaboration, practical mapping tips, and more.

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OOUX Happy Hour: Align, co-create, and reduce rework with Object-Oriented UX
OOUX Happy Hour: Align, co-create, and reduce rework with Object-Oriented UX

In this talk given at the 2021 No Code Conference, produced by Webflow, you’ll learn the basics of OOUX and how it can help teams achieve a shared understanding of scope, strategically structure content, and shine light on hidden complexity — reducing rework in the process.

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The Dawning of OOUX - CNN Election Results 2012: An Object-Oriented UX Case Study
The Dawning of OOUX - CNN Election Results 2012: An Object-Oriented UX Case Study

This article is part of a series of case studies that follow my journey of practicing and refining my Object-Oriented UX process. In many ways this project is where my career as a designer of the design process really began. It was a project of many firsts: my first responsive design, my first time working very closely with the development team, and my first real system design.

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A Victory Lap for OOUX - CNN Election Results 2016: An Object-Oriented UX Case Study
A Victory Lap for OOUX - CNN Election Results 2016: An Object-Oriented UX Case Study

This article is part of a series of case studies that follow my journey of practicing and refining OOUX. I hope you are ready to continue the CNN Elections saga after I returned to the newsroom — three years after leaving the team. In this case study, I talk about the struggles of pushing for collaboration and research, content-based navigation, Skeuomorphism 2.0, stage diagrams, and more.

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Webflow No-Code Conference: Align, co-create, and reduce rework with OOUX
Webflow No-Code Conference: Align, co-create, and reduce rework with OOUX

In this talk, you’ll learn the basics of OOUX and how it can help teams achieve a shared understanding of scope, strategically structure content, and shine light on hidden complexity — reducing rework in the process.

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How to Sell UX Research with Two Simple Questions
How to Sell UX Research with Two Simple Questions

It’s why so many UX designers are frustrated in their job and why many projects fail. It’s also why we often can’t sell research: every decision-maker is confident in their own mental picture. In this article, Sophia shows you how to collaboratively expose misalignment in your team’s shared understanding by bringing them together around two questions. What are the objects? How do they relate?

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Episode 021 - Is OOUX just a useless IA rebrand?
Episode 021 - Is OOUX just a useless IA rebrand?

Sophia goes solo once again to address a question someone in the OOUX Self-Paced Masterclass Program brought to her from a senior UXer who just didn't see the value of OOUX when information architecture already exists. It's one she's heard more than once from those familiar with IA. Is OOUX just a rebrand of IA that no one asked for and no one needs?

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Leveraging the Power of Junction Objects
Leveraging the Power of Junction Objects

Now that I am aware of junction objects, I use them ALL. THE. TIME. In this article, you'll learn about an OOUX-power tool that helps you solve some super-sticky data puzzles.  This "design-technical" tool improves communication and collaboration with developers, while allowing us (UX designers) to create more dynamic experiences for our users.

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Episode 020 - How to Sell UX Research with OOUX
Episode 020 - How to Sell UX Research with OOUX

In this episode, your host Sophia Prater flies solo to show you how to sell more UX research using Object-Oriented UX—more specifically, the first two steps of the ORCA process. We will talk about how to make your stakeholders and biz folks aware of gaps in the team’s understanding and become more invested in important questions that need to be brought to users.

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Object Mapping Quick Start Guide
Object Mapping Quick Start Guide

In just a single sheet of paper (front and back), this guide gives you step-by-step instructions on how to create an object map.

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Mural ORCA Discovery Template
Mural ORCA Discovery Template

Collaborating remotely? This MURAL template will help your team come together around the first iteration of the ORCA process: Discovery. You'll gain incredible clarity by defining objects, relationships, calls-to-action, and attributes. WARNING! This template provides some help text but is not completely self-explanatory. You'll want some OOUX basic training before diving in.

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24 Minutes of UX: Object Oriented UX with Sophia Prater and Joseph Duteil
24 Minutes of UX: Object Oriented UX with Sophia Prater and Joseph Duteil

"Advice Giver" Sophia Prater and "Advice Seeker" Joseph Duteil discuss OOUX and how the idea is rooted in practice starting with a project for CNN in 2012, and how it has evolved into a repeatable approach, helping UXers tackle any type of app, site or software.

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Getting Curious about Complexity with Object Oriented UX
Getting Curious about Complexity with Object Oriented UX

All too often, we end up brushing complex business rules and information architecture aside in the name of “low fidelity.” In this talk, Sophia goes over four main sources of complexity and how Object-Oriented UX can help wrangle them. You’ll learn about the tough questions you should be asking early on—to make the rest of the project easier and more successful.

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OOUX Taste Test
OOUX Taste Test

Start here! Sophia talks through the top frustrations that she hears from UX designers and explains how OOUX can help. If you are enduring pixel-pushing sans strategy, an overwhelm of complexity, stakeholder buy-in, communicating with developers...OOUX is the answer!

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Episode 004 - OOUX As A Foundation For Interaction Design
Episode 004 - OOUX As A Foundation For Interaction Design

In this episode, Sophia takes us on an audio walk-through of the "calls-to-action" methodology of her ORCA process. She will guide you through how to get started designing complex systems, how to make a CTA Matrix that's based on real-world objects, and why doing so will pay dividends.

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Episode 002 - Get Your Hands Dirty With the ORCA Process
Episode 002 - Get Your Hands Dirty With the ORCA Process

This episode is an audio WORKSHOP that’s going to teach you the basics of OOUX and the ORCA process. If you listened to the first episode, you should have a zoomed-out, big picture Idea of what OOUX is all about. But in this episode, you’ll actually get to practice OOUX!

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Episode 001 - An Updated Look at "Object Oriented UX," the Article
Episode 001 - An Updated Look at "Object Oriented UX," the Article

October 20, 2015 was when Sophia's article on OOUX debuted on A List Apart. In this episode of the podcast, Sophia shows you how her philosophy and process have changed since then and how OOUX was forged in the crucible of CNN Election Night 2012.

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“Don’t dead him!” Why verbs are hard and what it means for our UX process
“Don’t dead him!” Why verbs are hard and what it means for our UX process

You name the language, human babies learn nouns easier and faster than verbs. In this article, Sophia explores research conducted by Dedre Gentner and lays out how her finding are relevant and important in the world of UX.

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How OOUX will Transform Your Product Design Thinking (OOUX for Biz)
How OOUX will Transform Your Product Design Thinking (OOUX for Biz)

Need to convince a boss or a business stakeholder on the value of OOUX? This talk speaks directly to leadership about how OOUX can help save time and money.

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Connecting the Hairy Bikers to Moorish Meatballs: A Recipe for Contextual Navigation
Connecting the Hairy Bikers to Moorish Meatballs: A Recipe for Contextual Navigation

The BBC has been basing their website design on domain models for over a decade. In OOUX, the design process focuses on objects, relationships, calls-to-action, and attributes. In this article, Sophia discusses how BBC Food is using OOUX to create a superb user experience on their website.

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Object-Orient Your Design System
Object-Orient Your Design System

"OOUX and Design Systems, a match made in design heaven." Object-Oriented UX should be an organizing principle for your Design System. In this article, Sophia talks about how OOUX improves the process of creating a Design System.

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Talking through Action-first Design
Talking through Action-first Design

In this quick interview before the Design Content Conference in 2019, Sophia Prater talks through the biggest danger of designing "actions-first", using an example from her Edtech days.

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UX for Lizard Brains (the Talk!)
UX for Lizard Brains (the Talk!)

Sophia outlines the four principles of intuitive design and goes deep on the subject of messy objects. Stay tuned 'til the end, when Sophia does a live demo introducing her iterative ORCA process (Objects, Relationships, Capabilities, and Attributes)!

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Adobe Blog: OOUX Review of EdX.org's Connected Content
Adobe Blog: OOUX Review of EdX.org's Connected Content

Examine how EdX accomplishes a refreshingly natural browsing experience — curious users can navigate from subject, to course, to instructor, to school, and back again without ever needing to pick through the hierarchical main navigation. This is one of the primary principles of object-oriented user experience (OOUX): contextual navigation through object relationships.

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Designing Digital Objects: A Crash Course in Object-Oriented UX
Designing Digital Objects: A Crash Course in Object-Oriented UX

In this talk at the Design & Content Conference in Vancouver, Sophia explains how OOUX can help you avoid the UX fails that confuse and frustrate users. Stay tuned because in the last third of the talk, Sophia gives a sneak-peek into her OOUX process and how to use Webflow to build CMS prototypes.

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UX for Lizard Brains
UX for Lizard Brains

In the digital world, anything is possible. But if digital-space interfaces stray too far from our expectations, users will become unsure, confused, and unhappy. This article spells out why we should design with lizard brains in mind to create intuitive interfaces. (In OOUX, we have a new definition for a Broken Object. In this article, think of the Broken object as a mean Shapeshifter.)

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Object-Oriented UX Interactive Lecture
Object-Oriented UX Interactive Lecture

This is a full-length, 90-minute Object-Oriented UX talk delivered in Warsaw, Poland during the MCE conference. Strap in and enjoy!

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The Object-Oriented User
The Object-Oriented User

Look into how users understand and process their world, how thought, communication, understanding, and perception are all object-oriented, and how when digital design aligns with real-world objects, better UX is the result.

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Taming Complexity with Object-Oriented UX
Taming Complexity with Object-Oriented UX

In this talk for the QCon Developer Conference, Sophia discusses all the factors that cause complexity, the three key ways to wrangle it, and how to fix it with Object-Oriented UX. She talks about how to "cheat" on our IA, reduce moving parts, and stop arguing so much about features and functionality.

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OOUX: A Foundation for Interaction Design
OOUX: A Foundation for Interaction Design

Interaction design helps users get things done in digital spaces. For UX designers, it's where we choreograph all the users' doing; the verbs. But what are the things being "done to"? Learn how defining your nouns (objects) first will set you up for more intuitive interaction design.

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Object-Oriented UX: a Post-Publication Retrospective
Object-Oriented UX: a Post-Publication Retrospective

Sophia reflects on the value of pushing your content, getting it out there, and telling imposter syndrome to take a hike.

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Object-Oriented UX
Object-Oriented UX

The original OOUX manifesto. You'll learn why designing "objects first" is pivotal and how it helps you define the core structure of your system. The process has evolved over the years into Sophia's ORCA process, but this 2015 article is still a great place to start.

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Sophia V. Prater

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