Process

Our clients come to us with a unique set of UX challenges, a near non-existent UX practice, or both. Because of this, we’re often called to create hand crafted solutions that are a distinct combination of strategy and implementation, plus mentoring and training.

So it’s hard to describe our process since no two projects or engagements are alike.

What can tell you is that we like to work in agile loops and help our clients score quick-wins along the way. And what constitutes a quick win is up to the client, with a little help from us ;)

Alright alright — if we had if we had to pin it down…

ONE // Deep Dive

Every engagement begins with a deep dive of some sort. This is where we go beneath the surface to learn about you, your hopes and dreams, and why you built what you built. We scope out your competition and everything in your “space.” We suss out what’s really preventing you from achieving an ideal experience. We dissect your work on empathy, if you have any. We peep inside your toolkits and design libraries, if you have any. We may even examine your work cycles, if you have ‘em.

We’ll also challenge your assumptions about what UX is and how it should work.

The downside is that this step can be quite excruciating. The upside is the it can be a total eye-opener.

Here are some of the tools that we like to use during the deep dive. Note that we don’t use every tool for every project or engagement. And what we use depends on the project or engagement itself.

  • competitive analysis
  • content audit
  • data analysis
  • design audit + review
  • heuristic evaluation
  • stakeholder interviews
  • workflow review

TWO // Strategy + Planning

Now that we understand what’s happening for you, we’ll make our recommendations and help you devise an open and adaptable plan to overcome those obstacles.

We typically solve problems and seize opportunities in a agile fashion. But if you’re new to user-centered design, agile development or lean startup methodologies, or if your leadership is leery of such approaches, then we may recommend a different strategy altogether. Agile-fall, anyone?

During strategy + planning, we’ll define

  • documentation requirements
  • flow of communication
  • milestones
  • sprint cycles
  • team structure and hierarchy
  • ultimate decision-maker (you gotta have one)

THREE // Implementation

More like research, analyze and design. Though it depends on how things stand after Deep Dive and Strategy + Planning.

We like to utilize the following tools during implementation. Note that we don’t use every tool for every project or engagement. And what we use depends on the project or engagement itself.

Research

  • A/B testing
  • card sorts
  • data analysis
  • field observations
  • stakeholder interviews
  • usability testing
  • user interviews
  • user testing

Analyze

  • empathy maps
  • journey maps
  • personas
  • story boards
  • user flows
  • user stories

Design

  • A/B testing**
  • collaborative design
  • sketching
  • site mapping*
  • stakeholder feedback**
  • user feedback**
  • wireframing

* Site mapping technically falls under Information Architecture, but for most of our projects, it gets rolled into design.

** If we can, we’ll test designs to make sure we’re on track.

FOUR // Prototype

If you’ve made it this far, then chances are you’re a builder-type who knows a thing or two about prototypes. (You’ve probably built some yourself.) So this is self-explanatory. At least it should be :)

The level of sophistication required varies per client. Some are okay with a clickable skeleton. Others want a close-to-real front-end. While some prefer to have that close-to-real front-end hooked to a back-end plus database so they can absorb the full experience.

Here are some other things that happen during prototyping. Note that we may not get to everything. And what happens will depend on the project or engagement itself.

  • debugging
  • QA testing
  • stakeholder review
  • usability testing**
  • user feedback**
  • user testing**

** If we can, we’ll test the prototype with actual users to make sure we’re on track.

FIVE // Deploy

We don’t handle actual deployments. The developers on our clients’ product teams have that under control.

However, there are things that happen shortly after deployment that we do get involved with:

  • A/B testing
  • user feedback
  • usability testing

We also conduct a not-so-small retro and apply that learning to the next work cycle.

FINAL THOUGHTS // On our process

This is how we would describe it if we had to pin it down (for long-term engagements). Also, some clients prefer to handle some steps on their own. And some steps may be eliminated altogether.

Our One-Day Consults are a blend of review, analysis and strategy, plus mentoring and training. The rest is all you :)

If you have any more questions or want a better sense for how much work would be required for your product or project, let us know and we’ll be in touch.