General UX activities & process overview


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Here's a somewhat somewhat lengthy (by still far from comprehensive) presentation introducing and detailing the process and activities involved in Agile UX. The content focuses on introducing the basic steps of UX and explaining what they are.

It's liberally referenced from anywhere I could cut and paste from, and includes lots of links for more reading, where more comprehensive explanations of each activity can be found.

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  • User-Centred Design is about putting end-users at the centre of the design process and involving them in decision-making throughout.
  • There are many different layers and levels that make up a user experience, some more obvious than others. Testing and validating each of these levels with actual users is the best way to create a great product.   By conducting research and testing prototypes early in the project lifecycle we are able to validate the less obvious levels of UX that aren’t easy to change once the product has been designed and built.
  • The traditional approach to UX design is to do all the design work up-front before delivery begins. This can cause problems with the hand-over from Design team to the Delivery team. When design is done up-front in isolation it often is unable to account for capture all the user requirements or unforseen technical challenges. Leading to wasteful rework and project team friction.   The Agile UX approach removes the need for a disjointed handover by involving the Delivery team during the initial envisioning phases and then collaborating with them throughout the project on just-in-time basis.
  • UX Activities happen throughout the entire product lifecycle: Envision : Create, explore and evaluate value propositions and concepts. Deliver : Design, develop and deploy the product. Evolve : Measure, test, learn and improve the product.
  • General UX activities & process overview

    1. 1. Ben Melbourne Experience Design Consultant UX Activities & Process Introductory Overview
    2. 2. <ul><li>We embrace a user-centered design approach to software development. </li></ul><ul><li>We design for the needs, wants and goals of our customers ; whilst balancing business requirements and technical capabilities. </li></ul>The UX Philosophy
    3. 3. User-Centered Design
    4. 4. <ul><li>Talk to users to understand their needs, wants and goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Use this research to drive design and development. </li></ul><ul><li>Design in collaboration with Stakeholders and the Development team. </li></ul><ul><li>Produce clickable prototypes , rather than detailed documentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct usability testing on a regular basis. </li></ul>Guiding Principles
    5. 5. Levels of User Experience Appearance Visual and UI Design Interaction Navigation and interactive elements Information Content & Information Architecture Structure The relationship between the product components and the organisation Concept The idea of how the value is delivered to the user/customer Proposition How product provides value to meet the users needs, while being financially viable and technically feasible
    6. 6. Waterfall UX Agile UX UX & Delivery Project time UX Dev Work Effort Work Effort UX Dev
    7. 7. UX Process & Activities User Journeys Development User Research Background Research Prototype Sketchboards Usability Testing UI Design & Iterate Story Card Writing QA Testing User Research Background Research Usability Testing Deploy Metrics Business Strategy Prototype Sketchboards Personas UX Research & Design activities Delivery & Business activities Usability Testing
    8. 8. <ul><li>Collecting any existing knowledge about the target audience and domain best practice. </li></ul><ul><li>The first step in any project is to collate any useful data or insights about the topic. This includes anything from researching external industry trends to talking to internal teams who have contact with existing customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>Collect existing internal knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Analytics review </li></ul><ul><li>Support issues log </li></ul><ul><li>Competitor review </li></ul><ul><li>Existing product expert review </li></ul><ul><li>Output: </li></ul><ul><li>Mood board </li></ul>Background Research
    9. 9. <ul><li>Collect existing internal knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>The first starting point for any project research is to collect any existing knowledge or insights that exist with the company. </li></ul><ul><li>  This can include simply informally talking to other project team members, stakeholders or subject matter experts about any research or knowledge that they have. Canvassing the extended project team for ideas should always be the starting point, and will more often than not identify other worthwhile sources of information to pursue. </li></ul><ul><li>More formally, Solutions Managers and Support Centre staff who have direct daily contact with customers are an invaluable source of customer needs and existing pain points. </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder interviews </li></ul><ul><li>An important part of kicking-off a project is to identify the key stakeholders involved. At a minimum these will include the project sponsor, owner, consumer and customer. </li></ul><ul><li>Once they have been identified the UX team should take the time to informally ‘interview’ them on a one-to-one basis. The use of semi-structured interviews (where rather than having a set script to follow you have a list of discussion points that you use, allowing the conversation to run in a non-sequential order) is usually the best way to ensure that you cover everything you need to, while allowing new and interesting topics to surface. </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder interviews will often have a ‘snowball’ effect, where you will identify more stakeholders or subject matter experts who are worth talking to. They are also a great way to build a personal repour with stakeholder and ensure that their needs are well represented in the project. </li></ul>Background Research Analytics review Quantitative research (analytics) = a view of what users do. Qualitative research (in-depth interviews) = why they do it. Analytics provide a view of what happens when people use an existing product. Other qualitative user research techniques focus on the characteristics, needs, and behaviours of individuals. Analytics looks at the aggregate effect of these characteristics in action. By reviewing usage analytics it is possible to peaks and troughs in usage, patterns such as trends and cycles, or pain-points and barriers. More reading: User Research for Personas and Other Audience Models - UX Analytics, Part I: A Call to Action Support issues log The existing support issues log is an invaluable source of the existing pain-points of an existing project. Taking the time to review any issues relating to the product will help to paint the full picture of the current customer experience.
    10. 10. <ul><li>Competitor review </li></ul><ul><li>Companies that spend more time analysing their competitors than understanding their own customers are likely to be followers rather than market leaders. That said, a good designer should spend enough time on the competitors to understanding their vulnerabilities and any opportunities for differentiation. </li></ul><ul><li>Start by identifying who the competitors are. The product owner or marketing team usually have a good list. You can also look at who else shows up on a web search or ask interviewees what products and services they view as competitors. Keep in mind that a competitor isn’t just someone selling a similar product or service; it’s any other solution a customer could choose. </li></ul><ul><li>When reviewing competitors, look for alternative or interesting approaches they have taken in creating a user experience. This can include anything from the strategy and proposition to how they used a design pattern on a specific page. </li></ul><ul><li>More formally competitor reviews can be done by compiling feature audits to compare specific product offerings. A more informal and lightweight approach is simply to take screen shots or pages of interest, print them out, and then add them to a mood board as inspiration. </li></ul><ul><li>Existing product expert review </li></ul><ul><li>In an expert review, an experienced design or usability professional steps through the product or design looking for likely problems and evaluating their severity. Expert reviews are generally quick and inexpensive (usually taking a couple of days) compared to other forms of user research. However, their limitation is that they are based on the opinions of one person, albeit an experienced on. </li></ul>Background Research Expert reviews are most effectively used as a starting point for reviewing a product or conducting more detailed research. They give a general indication of what problems can exist and when followed-up by talking to actual users/customers can be an efficient tool for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the existing product. Mood boards A mood board is a collage that may consist of images, text, and samples of objects, or any other relevant materials. Mood boards are a tool used by designers to help provide direction and inspiration for a project, enabling the design team to illustrate visually the direction and style that they are pursuing. Put simply, mood boards are a collage of items such as screenshots, photographs, sketches, clippings, etc, posted on a wall, which can be referred to throughout the project. They are a technique that has been used in various design disciplines, such as visual design, architecture, movie, marketing, etc for many years and are increasingly used to great effect in user experience design. When used for UX design they will usually contain screenshots of interface design patterns, functionality, page layouts, visual design examples, background research or any other material that is relevant to the product. When done at the beginning of collaborative design process they allow everyone in the project to share their ideas and inspiration about what the end solution should contain. By sharing these and putting them up a wall it allows the team to develop a shared understanding and can se used as a constant reference point during discussions about design. At any point someone is able to point at the wall and show an example of what they are referring to.
    11. 11. <ul><li>Interviewing users about their needs, wants and goals. </li></ul><ul><li>User research typically includes in-depth one-one interviews with the target audience to discuss their current behaviors and mindsets. This does not centre around their use of a particular product, but instead focuses on understanding their day to day practices and workflow. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth Interviews (lab based) </li></ul><ul><li>Contextual Inquiry (on-site interviews) </li></ul><ul><li>Job shadowing </li></ul><ul><li>Diary studies </li></ul><ul><li>Card sorting </li></ul><ul><li>Usability testing existing products </li></ul><ul><li>Output: </li></ul><ul><li>User goals and behavior pattern trends </li></ul>User Research
    12. 12. User Research
    13. 13. User Research
    14. 14. <ul><li>A character set that describe the goals and behavior patterns of your target users. </li></ul><ul><li>Personas are a storytelling tool for representing the findings of user research. They help the team to visualise and understand user behaviors by giving a face and name to the users. This focuses the design on their needs, along with identifying the primary the types of users. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>Analyse behavior trends in research findings </li></ul><ul><li>Identify roles and goals </li></ul><ul><li>Identify mental models </li></ul><ul><li>Output: </li></ul><ul><li>Primary & Secondary Personas </li></ul>Personas
    15. 15. Personas
    16. 16. Personas
    17. 17. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. <ul><li>Motivations </li></ul><ul><li>Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non. </li></ul><ul><li>Sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. </li></ul><ul><li>Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non. </li></ul><ul><li>Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non. </li></ul><ul><li>Sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. </li></ul><ul><li>Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non. </li></ul><ul><li>Pain points </li></ul><ul><li>Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non. </li></ul><ul><li>Sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. </li></ul><ul><li>Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non. </li></ul>Name <name> Type <type> Role <role> “ Insert quote that characterises this persona in one sentence.” Behaviours <Persona name> A behaviour Opposite behaviour Variable description A behaviour Opposite behaviour Variable description A behaviour Opposite behaviour Variable description A behaviour Opposite behaviour Variable description A behaviour Opposite behaviour Variable description A behaviour Opposite behaviour Variable description
    18. 18. <ul><li>A map of the steps and tasks that a user goes through to reach their goal. </li></ul><ul><li>User journeys map out the process that a user/persona goes through as part of their normal workflow. They typically represent a high-level view of steps a user has to complete and how they interact with a system, across channels and over over-time. The journey is told as a narrative that includes relevant surrounding context. In some situations the journey map will contain very little reference to a product, instead focussing completely on the phases and processes that user goes through do their day-day job. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>Task flow mapping </li></ul><ul><li>Context scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>Outputs: </li></ul><ul><li>Scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>User journey map </li></ul>User Journeys
    19. 19. User Journeys
    20. 20. <ul><li>A place to explore flows, sketch ideas and collaboratively build up the vision for key areas of the product. </li></ul><ul><li>Sketchboards are a low-fi sketching technique that makes it possible for the UX designers, together with stakeholders and devs, to rapidly explore a range of product concepts. By hand-drawing ideas and putting them on a wall it allows everyone to both understand and contribute to the concept solution. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>Problem Statement & Design challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative design workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Whiteboard sketching </li></ul><ul><li>Output: </li></ul><ul><li>User journey sketchboard </li></ul>Sketchboards
    21. 21. Sketchboards
    22. 22. Sketchboards
    23. 23. <ul><li>Creating a ‘working’ version of the concept in a way that anyone can try, understand, and see how it would work. </li></ul><ul><li>Prototypes provide a proof of concept that can communicate the concept in a concrete and tangible way. They are low-cost to produce and can be tested with real users to ensure that the concept and value proposition meets the target audiences' needs. They can be iterated and improved quickly to get the concept right before more costly development begins. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>Paper prototyping </li></ul><ul><li>Lo-fi digital prototyping – Balsamiq, PPT, Fireworks </li></ul><ul><li>UI Design & sketching </li></ul><ul><li>Output: </li></ul><ul><li>A functional prototype </li></ul>Prototypes
    24. 24. Prototypes
    25. 25. Prototypes
    26. 26. <ul><li>A wireframe is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework and content of a product. </li></ul><ul><li>Wireframes depict the page layout or arrangement of the product’s content, including interface elements and navigational systems, and how they work together. Wireframes usually lack typographic style, colour, or graphics, since the main focus lies in functionality, behaviour, and priority of content. In other words, they focus on “what a screen does, not what it looks like.” </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>UI Design & sketching </li></ul><ul><li>Output: </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed set of wireframes </li></ul>Wireframes
    27. 27. Wireframes
    28. 28. <ul><li>Evaluating a product by putting it in front of real users. </li></ul><ul><li>Usability testing is all about getting direct feedback from the people who will actually be using the product. It uncovers usability issues and ways to improve the product. Feedback can cover anything from the value proposition to detailed UI design. </li></ul><ul><li>It can be done with anything from a lo-fi concept, polished UI designs, or an existing product. There is value is conducting usability testing at any stage of the product lifecycle. It should be done often and early. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>Usability testing sessions </li></ul><ul><li>Team Observation </li></ul><ul><li>Finding analysis and solution workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Outputs: </li></ul><ul><li>User behavior insights </li></ul><ul><li>Usability issues </li></ul>Usability Testing
    29. 29. Usability Testing
    30. 30. <ul><li>Evolving and improving a product/concept. </li></ul><ul><li>Test, Learn & Improve. Once a has product has been tested, the learning's from that research are used to refine and improve the UX Design. Iterations can be of any size, but are most effective when done in small, regular amounts. Typically the iterative design process results in a product becoming more refined and higher fidelity with each iteration. An iteration can involve any or all of the activities previously listed. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>Sketchboards </li></ul><ul><li>Sketching </li></ul><ul><li>Prototypes </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction Design </li></ul><ul><li>UI Design </li></ul><ul><li>Usability Testing </li></ul>UX Design & Iterations
    31. 31. <ul><li>The practice of planning for content creation, delivery, and governance. </li></ul><ul><li>An important (and often overlooked) part of the user experience is the copy and content used within a system. The copy embedded within a products’ interface conducts a conversation with the user and becomes an integral part of how they perceive the product. </li></ul><ul><li>Well written content that uses a consistent tone of voice and meaningful language/terms adds layer of polish to a product and improves usability. </li></ul><ul><li>Activities included: </li></ul><ul><li>Copy writing </li></ul><ul><li>Content planning </li></ul>Technical Writing & Content Strategy
    32. 32. Recommended UX Books