Developing a Process

Due to my professional projects being of the “hush, hush” variety, public examples of my work are few. This past year and half has been a blur of new financial software brought to life through fast-moving projects that I am involved in every step of the way. Working as the Lead UX on many projects simultaneously, I developed patterns of design, research and collaboration which are iterated and improved upon over and over. My company recently switched from a waterfall to agile software development process and we, the UX team, have adapted and experimented with various methods for staying ahead of the agile process.

Start with an Idea

It doesn’t matter if it was yours, mine, a PM, a user, or the President of the company, let’s get this written down!

Collaborate

Collaboration involves a variety of invested people; PMs, architects, dev leads, QA and of course, the UX team.

Wireframe

My person favorite tool is pen and paper. Sometimes Balsamiq. I can quickly develop an image of what this product/idea will look like.

I then create a new deck for my project in InVision, an online mockup collaboration app, import all my wireframes, add clickable hot-spots to show workflow, and share my vision with PMs and the rest of my team.

At this stage, depending on the product, it might be time for some user testing, the right ones though, the ones who understand that this isn’t exactly what the product will look like, just a sketch.

Collaborate

The lively discussions begin! If my idea sucks, someone will let me know.

This is a great place to begin involving clients (user testing). I may set up several half-hour sessions with our clients to get design feedback. Does this workflow make sense to them? Would they see themselves using this new feature?

Update wireframes

Take those suggestions seriously (or don’t) but be ready to back up your decisions with research.

If dev is ready to start working on the project, I will pass them the wireframes. The wireframes are not 100% law but they are enough to start on the plumbing.

Collaborate (yes, again)

Get another thumbs up from your team before investing hours into a pixel perfect mockup.

High-fidelity mock-up

My tool of choice is Illustrator for it’s vectors and ease of re-usability in projects.

Again, import the various states of the product into InVision and add hot-spots as before. I frequently connect my high-fidelity mockups to my previous versions so that I can keep track of the direction of the product and as a demonstration of all the work I’ve done (Sometimes I need examples of my work process to show company execs. I simply point them to InVision project decks.)

Collaborate

That’s right, folks. I do it again. More time talking about my designs with my team, the project PM, clients, architecture and lead developers. Time to get these designs in front of users.

Rework of high-fidelity

There’s always something to tweak

Pass on the high-fidelity to the development team.

I work very closely with my dev teams throughout the whole project; I attend their scrums, stay active on email chains and am always ready to jump in and assist in any way possible. This sometimes includes:

Programming the UI myself

Fixing the UI. If your not busy coding every UI, do some more user testing, especially as soon as you have a semi-functioning prototype.

Updating designs to accommodate development time, resources or budget.

Helping to make development decisions on what in the MVP and what features will have to wait until the next sprint.

Document the design cycle of this product and create new mockups for the next time this project is sprinted upon.

What was not accomplished this time?

What new features should be considered as a result of the sprint?

What was the user feedback? How will incorporate the feedback into the next iteration?

Update designs for next iteration

Repeat