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Glossary » best practices

best practices

the things that we do in recognition and presentation of natural workflows, hierarchies and priorities, cues, integration (physical vs. mental), etc. Labels, on the other hand, come and go — best practices endure, for the most part, longer than labels because they’re more about patterns of behavior rather than convention. While patterns may change, they don’t change as quickly as convention. Vocabulary in the English language is a good example of how quickly conventions change; but “best practices” for how to communicate really haven’t changed a great deal over time. Why? Because we have uncovered patterns (via cognitive psychology, etc.) that people respond to with respect to verbal communication, and we have based our practices accordingly.

So, while baseline can get us a certain distance, we transcend baseline by application of best practices in ferreting out user goals and task/domain expectations. Other definitions of best practice include:

  • A recorded description of process that is recognized by experts as an effective, efficient and/or appropriate method for accomplishing a task. Because a best practice is selected from among competing processes that can yield similar results, it is in effect documented wisdom.
  • A method or technique that is recognized by experts as superior to alternatives in its effectiveness and efficiency. Experiences that contribute to success support but are not in themselves best practices.
  • Methods and tools that lead to sustainable improvement in quality, productivity, time to market, and/or, communication.
  • Processes, practices, or systems identified in public and private organizations that performed exceptionally well and are widely recognized as improving an organization’s performance and efficiency in specific areas.