The most empowering thing about design is that you don’t have to be a genius to come up with good ideas that can solve problems and create success.
Observe, understand, strategize
- Competitive benchmarking, understanding market needs
- Observational research and interviews
- Analysis of collected data using tools like affinity clustering, as-is scenario maps, and needs statements
- Hypothesis posed by the Design and Product Management Teams
- Discovery sessions with stakeholders, working with Product Managers to understand business needs (Engineers, Product Managers, C-Suite)
- A success story: Although we did not initially have a budget for UXR, we did conduct field studies and interviews with our in-house estimating team, part of the service division of Snapsheet. With some research wins for our estimators and active listening to our leaderships’ concerns, we were able to understand their reservations and convince them of the value of on-the-ground client research. In December of 2019, I traveled internationally with our Strategist to conduct pilot client field studies, interviews, and user tests. The initiative was extremely successful and provided us with key insights for improving our product.
- Synthesis of research data into digestible materials such as graphs, charts, user personas, user journeys, and stakeholder maps
- More discovery sessions with stakeholders!
Lead ideation sessions
- Address findings and develop KPIs with ideation tools like “How Might We…” statements and abstraction laddering
- Utilize brainstorming sessions to generate product ideas
- Narrow down objectives using tools like importance-difficulty matrices
- Lead whiteboarding sessions, scribble feverishly on post-its of all sizes, keep sharpies away from dry-erase markers
- User flows in Lucid Chart
- Low-fidelity wireframes in Sketch, shared and annotated in Abstract, referring to the design system to define elements
- Rough prototypes in Axure
- Even more discovery sessions with stakeholders!
- Because we did not initially have the budget for testing, I would ask friends from the estimating team to stop by, play around with my “quick-and-dirty” Axure prototypes, and answer a few key questions
- Eventually, we were able to receive permission from estimating managers to set this up as a standard practice and record use sessions with zoom
Iterate & collaboratively implement
- As we received feedback on the accuracy of our hypotheses, we were able to craft our product into something that solves problems at every user touchpoint
- Because we were an AGILE environment, development began after the early tests of our prototypes, and the granular details of the UI were layered on in the following weeks
- We checked in regularly with front-end devs and tracked design requests/bugs using JIRA
- When the product was complete, we would test it in-house again. Then we would integrate and test with our client. Did it have the expected result? Was it as efficient as we’d hoped? Ideally, we had ironed out most of the risk.
- Sometimes, there would be opportunities for improvement. Honesty with ourselves at this crucial junction is a great form of success. and so of course, our final step was…
Start over again at step 1!