As UX designers, our goal is to create visually appealing, user-friendly products that are enjoyable to use and promote user retention.

To reach these goals, the experience must be easy to learn and intuitive to navigate.

The following is a presentation (reformated) that I gave to our UX teams in the US and India. My goal was to inspire other teams to incorporate this philosophy and maybe even this methodology into their processes, as I had in my team. I believe this is a fundamental process that all UX teams should embrace as our digital spaces are doing more and more.


Cognitive psychology informs us that humans create mental models through the recognition and understanding of “things” – or objects – in an environment.

When humans can recognize objects, understand the relationships between objects, and know what they can do with the objects, a clear mental model emerges.

In a digital environment, or when a user is traversing physical and digital environments in pursuit of a goal, it’s important that the digital objects they encounter are recognizable.

When we talk about recognizable objects in a digital system, we are talking about the things that have meaning and value to our customers and our business.

What is OOUX?

OOUX is a philosophy for designing digital systems that respects the fact that humans think in objects and need consistent, recognizable objects to understand an environment and create mental models that enable them to navigate their environment.

OOUX aims to ensure that the abstract digital worlds we design will be as naturally intuitive as the physical world in which we evolved.

Enter ORCA

OOUX as a philosophy is not new. However, it has gained a lot of ground in the last several years because of the designer Sophia Prater. She has developed a methodology to help UX designers create systems that adhere to the OOUX Philosophy.

Sophia has dubbed that methodology “ORCA.”

I have been certified in her methodology.

Find out More on Sophia's Site

As Object Oriented UX designers we should answer these questions before designing a single screen:


What are the objects in the users’ mental model?


What are the objects’ relationships to each other?


What calls-to-action do objects offer users?


What are the attributes that make up the objects?

What does this look like?

Object Discovery

Our first step to the discovery of Objects is called Noun foraging
We look for nouns in many places:
Current State Analysis, site analytics, Competitive Analysis, Comparative Analysis, Talking to Customer Service reps, Users, SMEs and Stakeholder interviews

We Start the ORCA process by looking and listening for nouns that are used over and over again — especially by users.

Object Relationships

Object relationships - The connection between two objects.
Understand and mapping relationships will pave the way for contextual information and intuitive navigation.
They are usually written in the following form:
has 1
has 0 to 1
has 1 to many
has 0 to many

CTA Discovery

A Call-to-Action; the affordances that an object offers to a user. THINK: The object “calls” the user to action.

We use a CTA Matrix to root all interactivity in the objects being acted upon.

We focus only on strong CTAs, actual manipulation or transactional calls

Attributes Discovery

Attributes are the elements that make up the structure of the object
Also known as “properties”
In the OOUX world, we have three kinds of attributes:

Core content
Meta data
Nested Objects