Design has gone a long way. Roles have expanded from being a last minute add ons to product strategy influencers. Design is no longer seen as the last step of a process that makes a product look pretty to defining product scope. UX design as a profession has been creeping in businesses, as ‘user needs’ start being taken into consideration at board meetings. Now, managers are actually curious about their target users. They want to understand what makes them tick and what is a turnoff. This is all great, but too early to call it a day and go home…
Mom are we there yet?
No. We’re still not there yet. We seem unable to shake off the industrial mind set no matter how agile we are. Our industrialised minds are still programmed to deliver efficiently, we want fast returns to our investments and love performance charts that point upwards. We most certainly don’t like cards that go back, against the flow.
The question is: How can UX and design be integrated in the development process?
At Red Badger, we work in agile. That means we talk to each other all the time (occasionally about work stuff), we change things, we question the decisions we made, check in with users and do it again until it is right. The designers, developers, testers they all sit together and work together.
However, that process of close collaboration is difficult to capture on the Kanban board. The project board is there for a reason, it should be a mirror to team activities, it should communicate the process and the goal we work towards. But does it really?
Out of sight, out of mind?
The issue with keeping UX as an isolated step in the process is that once the stories pass through and get closer to Done, the goals change. After a certain point, the goal becomes efficiency and you find yourself focusing on just delivering features, making sure they pass cross platform tests.
We’ve talked about how crucial it is to keep your personas close and introduced Bob. If you haven’t seen that post do it-here and now.
We suggested sticking a picture of your version of Bob next to your computer, on the wall, by the project board. Somewhere you pass, and will see-daily.
ALWAYS keep in mind that there will be people using your product (unless of course your target group is animals, insects, aliens..) It is important to have check-ins with users. Just like daily stand-ups you have with the team or weekly progress meetings with your client, make sure you check-in with the end users, and take a step back to make sure the greater goals and the purpose of your project are still there.
- Discovery: This is a good point to discover why you should get started in the first place. Find out about the strategic goals as well as the technical feasibility. Test the concept, go and get a feel for what the intrinsic needs and behaviours are. What people might like doing, what do they enjoy, who do they follow and most importantly why they do so. Use this space and time to go wild. Explore and question everything.
- UX: You know the drill here. Use all the wisdom you have to do your magic.
- Design: Make sure the design reflects the brand direction, the look and feel is consistent with your intended messaging
- Dev: Check that the high-tech features make sense to people who will be using the product
- Test: Try to find out the different use scenarios, validate the assumptions you’ve made
- Done: Watch usage, do some proper testing, measure and watch behaviour. Use all the data you’ve collected to write up new use cases, start thinking about improvements
Disclaimer: We’re still testing this out. It's already changed within a week. The user testing section doesn't have to be a physical test with users, .
It’s merely a suggestion rather than a solution- as always. Do try it at your own risk- we suggest collaboration over supervision.
Until next time..