Our Process has 3 parts, all work together (and a la carte) to save you time and money in your product lifecycle.
UX Analysis & Strategy
We conduct a multitude of usability interviews, reviews, and tests to determine the touch/pain points that are most direclty effecting your product. These definitions provide us the ability to outline metrics of success before we enter the branding and UI stages of development.
Stakeholder & User Interviews
We schedule and conduct interviews with key stakeholders, project sponsors, and actual users. These reviews help define overall project strategy, prioritize features and functionality from the perspective of business needs and to clarify product goals and objectives. We ensure that we have an understanding of what’s driving the project from your point of view and how you intend to measure its success.
We perform an in-depth review of web sites and software applications against a standard set of user experience heuristics, comparative best practices, and our own experience. We walk through defined user tasks to identify potential usability problems and recommend possible solutions. We always review from a functional, content and technology viewpoint to ensure we are creating a holistic report.
We look at and review competitor sites and products. The comparative set can include direct competitors or, for more general areas (such as cart and checkout for an e-commerce site) a wider range of examples. Competitive analysis helps to identify strengths and weaknesses, find best-in-class examples for the different aspects of a project, sets the user experience benchmark, while also providing inspiration for new approaches.
We conduct user centered tests of your product by guiding users through a predefined set of tasks. Testing results help us understand user goals and behavior and identify weaknesses with existing implementations. This creates a baseline against which we can measure improvements in user experience throughout the project lifecycle. The testing results in qualitative information on the ability to use the site as well as feedback on any specific issues we choose to investigate.
We observe users as they interact with sites or software in their normal daily environment. As opposed to user interviews, tells us what users do, not what they say. This deeper understanding of user behavior and context helps us to more accurately determine user needs, and to define and prioritize features and functionality. It also allows insight into untapped needs within a product or market.
We uncover the scope and complexity of a given user’s or group’s needs for your product. This is broken down into the smallest possible discrete steps and analyzed to identify redundancies and repeated functionality. Task analysis ensures that applications are designed with functionality that will help users complete their underlying tasks successfully, leading to a more relevant and useful user experience.
We create an overarching long-term vision encompassing business goals and objectives, user needs and motivations and documenting key strategic areas. In short the who, what, and how of your product.
Personas are archetypes of users developed through qualitative research to illustrate strategic user groups. Using personas in design discussions helps make interface decisions more empathetic and more relevant for key user groups. You can also use personas to validate user needs, motivations and tasks by applying the findings against a given scenario.
User Journey Maps
A user journey map is a visual representation of a user’s needs and goals, along with the touchpoints or interactions that are necessary to fulfill those needs or reach those goals, and the user’s reactions or emotional state at different points in the journey. We utilize user journey mapping as a means of condensing contextual user research and task analysis data into a compelling visual summary. User journey maps can cover multiple channels and platforms, to help unify the user’s online, mobile and offline experience.
User flows are visual diagrams – flow charts, essentially – that show the relationships between different pages within a site or application, along with user decision points or choices, system responses and actions and state changes. We create user flows to show how a user would navigate an interface to find information or complete a task. They also specify how an interface should behave and illustrate how each element is related to each other.
Branding & Identity
Visual application of strategy
Great experiences and great brands go hand in hand. We bring branding in before the UI process to develop a cohesive feel and experience, not just slap a logo on at the end and change colors. A succinct identity is key to product success.
Don’t send the wrong message to your customer base! By leveraging your UX research we can determine a visual language that will guide your users where you want them to be. This also enables you to determine where you fit in the market in order to differentiate your unique product.
Language & Messaging
A tagline and an elevators pitch are key jumping off points, but building a system with them is the goal. Focused brand language is just as telling as a distinct logo.
Look & Feel
Logos are only signals of your brand color, imagery, movement, and many other variations mean just as much to your users. Pulling these elements together and defining rules of usage will keep your brand professional.
Product UI Architecture
Applying the plan for success
We use rapid design iterations to quickly solve our scenarios. Testing assumptions early and often in the prototypes ensure a great product at launch.
Conceptual & Site Mapping
Concept or site maps are visual representations of hierarchy and association. The level of detail can range from purely conceptual content groupings or high-level information architecture, to very specific site maps showing individual pages or screens. We use concept or site maps to develop and illustrate the organization of a site or application. Site maps are a fundamental building block of user experience design, determining how content is organized and prioritized, and how navigation systems will operate.
Wireframes are the user experience architect’s fundamental technique and deliverable. Simply put, they are blueprint drawings a proposed interface, without design treatment or final content. Wireframes show how pages are laid out and organized, and how navigation systems function; they indicate the relative priority and hierarchy of content, and demonstrate how functional elements will operate. Wireframes can be developed and iterated quickly, reducing design, development and revision time.
Invision and other software tools allow us to build wireframes as interactive HTML prototypes that simulate live functionality. Prototypes can be used for simple user testing during the design phase, to validate navigation and user flows. With interactive prototyping, user experience architects can develop dynamic interface behaviors in the first phases of concept design, to take full advantage of current web and mobile technologies.
Using interactive prototypes, we conduct usability tests of sites or software by guiding users through a predefined set of tasks. Testing results help us understand user goals and behavior, identify weaknesses with current versions, against which we can measure improvements in user experience and establish a baseline prior to redesign.
Product Specifications & UI Kits
We build a document, based on the prototypes or wireframes, that details the specifics of the interaction design. A good specification will provide background that typical user experience doesn’t detail in-depth. This additional information will allow the development effort to be conducted with much higher precision. In addition, this will allow a better analysis of any existing technical or organizational gaps prior to the start of development.