Seth Owings

Tag: Process

How should we be gathering requirements?

The Software Development Life Cycle

A quick Google search reveals that there is a fair amount of variation in the stages, how the stages are labeled, and even sometimes the activities happening within each stage. For the purpose of this post, I’m using the following model:

SDLC

 

In an earlier post, I talked about how UX fit into the development process and ways we could be adapting and improving collaboration. I feel like there is a lot that UX has brought to scene as our field has matured and there is a lot about solid UX principles that we can and should be leveraging in our design process/methodologies.

Continue reading

Scenario-Driven Design

We will sometimes get hung up on labels, but whether you call them scenarios or journey maps, or user flows; what I’m referring to here is the situation in which someone is engaging with your product.

Kim Goodwin had a great conversation with Jared Spool on scenario-driven design here. It’s only 30 minutes and well worth listening to, but here is the transcript if you prefer the written word.

Why should you care about scenarios?

Moore’s Law is still holding and as technology is rapidly advancing, we cannot accurately predict how tomorrow will solve today’s problems. Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect everything we build today to work for tomorrow’s users.

This is where I feel like scenarios can give us an edge in our design: by increasing the time to obsolescence.

If we design for features first (without considering the scenario), then we’ve really only addressed the symptom of the user’s true problem. That means all someone else has to do is actually solve the problem and their product will be superior, even if we have the better features. Users don’t want features, they want solutions to their problems.

Continue reading

UX Strategy Blueprint

Originally posted on Experiencing Information:

How do we consistently create UX strategy? Tough question.

Part of the problem is in the fuzziness of the term “strategy” itself. Many people blur it with detailed planning. Others consider strategy to be in-depth investigation, such as market research or competitor comparisons. Or, it gets conflated with vision or ambition.

None of these is strategy.

Strategy is about uncovering the key challenges in a situation and devising a way of coordinating effort to overcome them for a desired outcome. It’s an interlocking set of choices that aligns activity and shows causality: if we do this, then we expect to see that.

Analysis and planning, while necessary inputs and outputs in the strategy creation process, are not the core of strategy. You can’t analyze your way to strategy: the answers don’t magically emerge from data. And detailed roadmaps don’t provide the rationale for the activity they organize. Strategy does. It connects analysis and planning with an intentional logic that guides decision making.

Continue reading…

Scaling back to viable

I talk a fair bit about designing for the “best experience” and supporting fluffy concepts like “flow“, but only a lucky few of us live in a world where we can actually do that. For the rest of us, there are always limitations–both human (e.g. office politics, leadership mandates, etc.) and system (e.g. time or business constraints)–that prevent us from being able to actually create those experiences.

So that means you have to do one of two things:

  1. Design only what you can realistically build right now
  2. Design the best experience and then scale that back to something that viable

Continue reading

User Feedback Methodology

The 5 W’s

Getting feedback from users is a critical part of designing the user experience for a product. But gathering feedback can be a daunting task. What is the best format? What questions do I ask? How do I translate what they are saying into something usable? Here is my guide to making user feedback more successful, I call them the 5 W’s:

  1. What are your objectives?
  2. What are your assumptions?
  3. How will you collect the data?
  4. Who are you going to engage?
  5. Who is going to conduct the session?

Continue reading

UX Evaluation for Existing Products

I’ve done some freelance work and I really enjoyed it, but you don’t always get the opportunity to see things through to launch as a consultant. When you’re employed full-time in a UX role, you get to be part of the development team and are able to impact the product all the way through development to release. This level of continued involvement is what I have found to create the best-produced experiences. Here is my process for when I’ve been asked evaluate an existing project and manage the experience through to the new release of that product:

  1. Data Collection
  2. Product Review
  3. Prioritization
  4. UX/Heuristic Evaluation
  5. Wireframing/Prototyping
  6. Development

Continue reading

How does UX fit into software development?

There are benefits to both waterfall and agile methodologies. However, when it comes to creating phenomenal user experiences, waterfall cycles tend to come up short and here is why:

The user experience on paper can be VERY different from the user’s experience. There are often things that the researcher or business analyst might suggest that only address the symptom and not the issue, or the initial interaction design fails to address a major use-case, or the visual design detracts from the usability of the product in some way. All of the members of the team across all of the disciplines involved must work together to overcome these obstacles as they arise during the product development. Because, the truth is, you are never going to be able to account for every problem or scenario in the BRD that was written three months ago.

Continue reading

What is a UX Strategist?

I can’t really answer that question without defining the different UX disciplines and how they all work together. User Experience encompasses everything that goes into product design and use. That product could be a website, a piece of enterprise software, a kitchen appliance, or a car. Since UX includes such wide array of concepts and practical applications, there is often confusion about what a UX Strategist does (or should do). In the digital software space, UX has four primary disciplines:

  • Research
  • Interaction Design
  • Visual Design
  • Development

Continue reading

Copyright © 2018 Seth Owings

To the top ↑