“What are the desired outcomes?”
Interview, Observe and Empathize with users.
I think it is vital to job shadow, interview, and talk to users. I will then talk with stakeholders about requirements and User Stories for features and flows we want to build out. I have created interviews, surveys, and task-based usability test prompts to see how the users will be using the product. I will typically work with Users, Subject Matter Experts, Business Analysts, Project Managers and Lead Developers in the initial phase. Getting knowledge from support staff, managers, and trainers is also super important to building realistic Personas and Journey Maps. Stepping away from my desk and talking to as many people as possible about the problem will help immensely in the long run. Collecting and weeding out user stories and requirements also is a big part of this step.
Define the Problem.
What are the desired outcomes? What are the goals for this project? What are the KPI’s? What are our questions for the stakeholders? Are we asking the right questions? There is always an aspect of a piece of software that could use some improving and based on the qualitative research, we can run quantitative tests. Sometimes the problem means a simple UI refresh, adding features, eliminating steps for the User and eliminating friction in their work flow.
Sketch out Ideas.
This happens on pen and paper or on whiteboards. We can quickly iterate through designs and layouts with simple boxes and rectangles. Nothing fancy, just getting ideas out of our heads. Capture these and save for the next step.
I use Balsamiq, Axure, Photoshop, Illustrator, InVision, and Sketch. I usually just mock up a new feature to quickly test, or build a full scale clickable app mockup to put in front of users or stakeholders in order to validate our ideas.
Test out Hypotheses.
Bring these prototypes back to the initial interviewees and Users and see what they think. Does this make sense? Can you find an member account? Can you book a reservation? Can you Order a Cake? Can you add a new Churro Cart’s Revenues to the financial tracking software? Can the user track their child’s left ventricular hypertrophy and send their physician a status update for their condition? Sometimes to test I will also run an A/B test to different groups of users and measure the results.
Implementation and Repeat the Cycle.
Lean UX / Minimum Viable Product mixed with the Agile process is a great way to work. Breaking up a large scale project in to manageable 2 week sprints is the key to this. Bringing the work back to the team in a collaborative environment and presenting and sharing our learnings. Tackling a set of UX Users Stories at a time, and progressing through the development cycle. Testing, Demoing, logging defects, and communicating with the team throughout process.