The 3 x 3: A Unique Approach to Conceptual Modeling

Session Title

The 3 x 3: A Unique Approach to Conceptual Modeling


Carol Righi and Janice James

Session Type: Presentation

Need a fairly fast method of developing a conceptual model that involves the input and feedback of real users? The 3×3 is just that!

We’ve used the 3 x 3 successfully to arrive at a conceptual model that the client feels comfortable and confident moving forward with to the next phase of design. The technique is iterative and most often uses low-fidelity prototypes, combined with usability testing, to successfully arrive at a conceptual model. The 3 x 3 is based loosely on traditional advertising agency practices of creating multiple unique design approaches to a solution, presenting them to a client, and then allowing the client to choose one with which to move forward. The 3×3, however, involves interaction designers and usability specialists creating three unique approaches to a solution, and testing each with targeted end users until a final conceptual model is defined.

Janice and Carol will show you the details of how this technique can work for you and your clients!


Carol Righi
President, INC.

Carol Righi has been a practitioner of User Experience and User-Centered Design for more than 20 years. She is widely considered a UX thought leader, is published extensively, and has presented at numerous professional meetings worldwide. She is co-author of User-Centered Design Stories and User-Centered Design: An Integrated Approach.

Carol developed the 3×3 technique in the mid-90s while working on a project at Chrysler. She later wrote several articles on the 3×3 and has been using it and teaching it extensively for the past 10+ years.

Carol’s professional activities have included:

* Designed user interfaces for the Web, and for desktop, kiosk, and mainframe applications
* Planned, managed, and conducted extensive user research studies and design efforts
* Introduced the UCD competency to a number of organizations
* Managed teams for mid-sized and large technology organizations
* Developed many traditional and e-learning courses in UCD
* Trained thousands of students

Carol is a member of the Usability Professional’s Association (UPA) and SIGCHI. She is a long-time member of the UTEST Advisory Council. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Usability Studies.

Janice James
Director of User Experience
Perficient, Inc.

Janice has more than 21 years of experience in the field of user experience. Prior to joining Perficient, she was principal of Simply Usable through Design, providing user experience expertise to companies such as CNet, AOL/Netscape, Hewlett Packard, Intuit,, eBay, AARP and McGraw-Hill. Janice’s career also includes developing and managing UX programs at three major corporations: Netscape Communications, AMR’s Sabre Travel Information Network and Electronic Forms Systems (EFS).

In 1990, Janice recognized the need for a practical-oriented organization dedicated to enhancing usability professionals’ skills and professional success and became the principal founder of UPA. She served as President for five years, developed four association conferences, and served on the Board of Directors through 1999. She co-authored UPA Chapters Guidelines and directed other leaders in the development of many of the early UPA chapters. Janice also co-founded the STC Professional Interest Committee on Usability.

Janice is a published author and frequent speaker at professional conferences. She was a contributing author of Usability in Practice and is the co-author of User-Centered Design Stories: Real-World UCD Case Studies.