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The Collaborative UX Professional's Toolkit


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Presentation from UXPA Boston 2013: The Collaborative UX Professional's Toolkit
Presented by Andrew Wirtanen and myself.

Published in: Design, Technology, Business

The Collaborative UX Professional's Toolkit

  1. 1. The Collaborative UX Professional’sToolkitCOLIN BUTLERANDREW WIRTANEN2013 UXPA Boston Annual Conference
  2. 2. The presenters and the presentationWhy are we here?
  3. 3. Agency lifeHow to survive it
  4. 4. Keep communicatingMeetings and kickoffsEmails and phone callsDocuments and specifications
  5. 5. Keep communicatingMeetings and kickoffsEmails and phone callsDocuments and specificationsBut…That won’t solve everything
  6. 6. Keep communicatingMeetings and kickoffsEmails and phone callsDocuments and specificationsReally cool collaborative design methods
  7. 7. Create a process that:Allows the client to relate their knowledge and expertise both up-frontand throughout the processExposes exactly enough of the process to the client to satisfythem, involve them in their strengths, and no moreLets both parties stick to what they do best
  8. 8. Internal UX teamsYou have stakeholders who are your internal clientsCreate a process that:Allows the client stakeholders to relate their knowledge and expertiseboth up-front and throughout the processExposes exactly enough of the process to the client stakeholders tosatisfy them, involve them in their strengths, and no moreLets both parties stick to what they do best
  9. 9. Remember:Your agency is an expert at creative and technical processesYour client is an expert at clienty thingsDon’t try to be an armchair expertDon’t let someone else do the same to you
  10. 10. Proto-persona workshopWhat it is
  11. 11. Also known as: ad hoc personas, brainstormed personasCraft a set of user archetypes to represent the user baseBuilt using the client’s specific experience and knowledgeThis knowledge is often anecdotal and not based on data
  12. 12. Proto-persona workshopWhy you should do it
  13. 13. Can be done in only 2-3 hours and clients often find it funAllows you to base design decisions on documented assumptionsCan serve as a good starting point for real validated personas if thebudget allows for surveys or interviewsBut…
  14. 14. If you have the time and budget to do research, real personas arealways betterBe wary of creating a culture of making proto-personasMake sure your client is aware of the risks of using unvalidated proto-personas
  15. 15. Proto-persona workshopHow to do it
  16. 16. Before you startAlways ask if the client has done any UX or marketing researchInvite between 1 and 5 stakeholders that are in a position to knowabout the usersAlways try to invite someone who is customer-facing, e.g. customerservice, sales, or support
  17. 17. LogisticsGather Sharpies and 11”x17” (or comparably large) pieces of paperReserve a conference room for 2-3 hoursConsider inviting a project team member to help you take notes
  18. 18. Creating the personasExplain personas and create an example persona for an unrelated orfictional product or serviceGive participants 10-20 minutes to build personasProvide guidance and help participants create consistent, usefulpersonas: data should be specific and cover some relevant aspectse.g. Oscar, 43 year old male, prefers Apple products, drives an Audi
  19. 19. Revising the set of personasHave each participant present his/her personasDiscuss which personas are similarConsolidate personas based on similaritiesIf necessary, plot key characteristics to visualize similarities/differences
  20. 20. If your clients are remote…Ask participants to create personas on their own and send photosReview the personas yourself for correctnessPresent personas to the team via web conferenceConsolidate personas yourself based on similarities
  21. 21. Page description workshopWhat it is
  22. 22. Everything about a wireframe except the layoutList the things that need to be on a pageAssign priorities to page components
  23. 23. Page description workshopWhy you should do it
  24. 24. Your clients are probably not designersWireframes are very easy to misinterpretDecisions on layout and visual style don’t need to be made yetIt only takes about 2-3 hours
  25. 25. Page description workshopHow to do it
  26. 26. Before you startWe’re going to need post-its. Lots of post-its.Supply each seat with a stack of notes and a SharpieInvite around 2-6 stakeholders who know the business goalsTry to include marketing and project leadership from your side
  27. 27. Step one: the standard stuffIntroduce yourself and your purpose in the workshopGo around the room and have participants introduce themselves andexplain their rolesExplain what a page description diagram is, provide an example, anddescribe the workshop concept
  28. 28. Step two: make 3 columns on your boardHIGH priorityThese features are vitalto a user’s understandingof the fundamentalconcept and goals of thesite.MEDIUM priorityThe site should includethese features tofunction well andprovide for the majorityof a user’s needs.LOW priorityThese features areuseful, but not vital tothe user’s operation orunderstanding of thesite.
  29. 29. The car analogy:High priority items are the engine. Without it, the car is in no way a car.Medium priority items are seats. They make the car work right.Low priority items are cup holders. Including them make the car a morepleasant, effective experience.
  30. 30. Step three: gather business goalsTake 5-10 minutes for participants to write down componentsCommon items: identity message, call to action, navigation menuCollect items on post-it notes and place them in columnsLike brainstorming, do not reject anything yetFeel free to place items on column boundaries for now
  31. 31. Step four: turn it all into this
  32. 32. Create a “parking lot” at the bottom of the boardWalk through each item from high priority to low with the groupDiscuss and debate priority positions – try to move all items off theboundaries if you have anyItems that may not be used get bumped to the parking lot andredundant items can be removed completelyOptionally sketch some components
  33. 33. If your clients are remote…Have your clients brainstorm page elements and send you the listReview the lists yourself for correctnessSchedule a web conferenceUse a screen-sharing app and a tool like or Visio to replacethe whiteboard
  34. 34. Participatory expert reviewWhat it is
  35. 35. Think expert review, but live and with experts from both sidesOne or more UX specialists and client stakeholders locked in a roomwith the product for a few hoursA good way to exercise UX oversight of pre-release iterations
  36. 36. Participatory expert reviewWhy you should do it
  37. 37. UX professionals may lack domain knowledgeClients often misinterpret reviews or ignore them altogether due tolack of engagementThe evaluator effect – where different reviewers may come up withdifferent results or different evaluations of those results – is mitigatedby multiple reviewersImproves engagement when you are not responsible for development
  38. 38. Participatory expert reviewHow to do it
  39. 39. Before you startInvite between 3 and 10 experts across UX and the client domainSet up a room with a whiteboard and a projector if possibleThe projector is more important than the whiteboardOne UX professional should be set up to take notes – on thewhiteboard if available, otherwise just type them into a document
  40. 40. Getting startedEveryone in the room introduces themselves and their rolesExplain UX, expert reviews, and heuristics to the clientOpen the product and display it on the projector where everyone cansee clearly
  41. 41. The walkthroughOne UX professional “drives” the group through the interfacePause, discuss, and record issues in red and positive findings in greenDomain experts (clients) may need to drive or help drive at timesOne UX professional documents issues on the whiteboard or in a doc
  42. 42. After the walkthroughReview the collected issuesRate each issue on its severity – low, medium, or highIf an issue is a particularly quick fix, it can be given a special “trivial”severity rankingProvide a recommendation for each issue if possible
  43. 43. After you leaveTranscribe the issues, severity ratings, and recommendations in adeliverable formatSend the issues to the client and have them review the results and offerany further input they may haveFollow up after a week or two and offer help resolving or clarifyingissues
  44. 44. If your clients are remote…Use a screen-sharing app and a tool like or Visio in place of awhiteboard
  45. 45. Summing upCollaboration. Yay.
  46. 46. User Experience professionals are facilitators as much as they arecreatorsThe worst thing you can do is work against your client instead of withthemInvolving the client improves their experience and fosters engagement
  47. 47. The endThank you, etc.
  48. 48. Questions?Answers!