Back in May 2014, we’d completed a proper User Centered Design (UCD) cycle for MOO’s website application that specifically caters for businesses. We’d launched our MVP as an alpha site to a hand full of customers for user testing a few months before. The background of the MVP is detailed in one of my blog posts, An Obligation to Ship. As UX Designer, I had introduced a way of working with walls (or foam boards in this case) that really took off in the facilitation of Lean/Agile UX Design throughout the entire m4b project. I also led wall ‘walkthroughs’ with the team to frame and support collaborative ideation and design thinking sessions.

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Team: Me, UX Designer; Yasmin Momoniat, UI Designer; Albert Zaragoza, Project Manager; Keri Lamden, UI Designer; Alistair Cohen, Product Owner; James Broad, FE Developer (taking the photo)

In addition, with a lean UX approach, I set up a series of validation testing (research) sprints using Silverback to challenge our design assumptions.

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Feedback from our Customer Success Manager, Mona Al-Hakim, using Silverback

This included the education of the m4b scrum team on the importance of Assumptions Declarations and Market Signals to capture a richer picture of customer needs and behaviors and not to rely solely on usability testing for feedback.

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Framing the need for multiple Market Signals using assumptions and hypothesis

I also provided a series of scenario test plans to our then burgeoning UX Research team who took them and implemented an expert review and diary study with our alpha trial customers.

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Preliminary planning input to the research team for usability testing

I initiated the use of a technique called Design with Forces to synthesize all the user feedback and validation results. We were then able to readily rank all our customers’ issues and distill the top most critical customer problems which we needed to solve asap.

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Good and bad ‘forces’ acting on the pack creation user journey using the words of the customer

I lead a Design Jam, based on the Design Studio Method, with the entire team where we did rapid fire sketching to produce the best ideas that we felt addressed the top issue.

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A day workshop offsite with the entire m4b product team

This outcome informed an R&D spike and a series of sprints that iterated on the design towards our improvements. As a team we came to grips with the fact that the initial approach of capturing people’s card information up front was not working out. What seemed initially like a more efficient user journey ended up causing more confusion to the user in terms of feedback and orientation. Also what had surfaced were some fundamental flaws in our art production QA process which could have potentially broken the intended user experience of the initial design.

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Converging with all of our sketches at the day offsite workshop

The result was our decision to revert back to the creation builder that allowed our users to add their information as they created their business cards providing instant visual feedback.

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Creating a pack of business cards using a predefined template

Although it was tough to work our way through the (in)validation phase, we launched with a better experience for our users and managed to avoid the pain of learning all this too late in the post-production phase.

Hally Bowman

As a User Experience (UX) Designer, I'm continually experimenting with new methodologies for improved problem solving and design thinking within teams. Prior to working in the digital design world, I was an electrical engineer designing integrated circuits and prototyping hardware. I’ve helped build start-ups through to an IPO as well as worked for larger more established companies. My main interests are to work with exceptional teams delivering innovative products that are easy to use and improve people’s lives.

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