Documenting Design Discovery

Jared Spool

January 20th, 2017

In this week’s article Dan Brown tells us about discovery’s six assertions, as well as gives us great tips for creating discovery documents.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Thinking about discovery outcomes in terms of assertions focuses on the point of the artifacts you’re making. A wireframe represents the structure of a page or screen, but why are you making it?

This is the struggle with discovery: a single artifact like a wireframe or site map or mental model can be used for so many different things. If you don’t know the intention of your artifacts, you can’t rely on them to guide your decisions about the product.

Read the article: Documenting Design Discovery

How do do you create a discovery document? Let us know below.

Help! Is There a Cardiothoracic Surgeon in the Room?

Jared Spool

January 13th, 2017

In this week’s article I revisit my research on what makes the ideal UX team.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Some of you may know that during the past 16 years, we’ve been researching what makes the ideal UX team. One of our early results is that roles don’t matter, skills do. It doesn’t matter if a team has an interaction designer or information architect. It does matter that interaction design and information architecture skills are present amongst the team.

Teams with the right skills are more likely to produce great user experiences. Teams missing the right skills are very unlikely to produce anything exciting or delightful. (Of course, we can’t say ‘never.’ Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every so often. But, if I’m staffing a team, I want to do so in a way that will have the best odds, no?)

Read the article: Help! Is There a Cardiothoracic Surgeon in the Room?

What skills do you look for in your team? Let us know below.

The Dirty Dozen Roadmap Roadblocks

Jared Spool

December 16th, 2016

In this week’s article Bruce McCarthy tells us about the “Dirty Dozen” of product roadmap roadblocks.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A good roadmap inspires. It inspires buy-in from executives, inspires confidence from customers and salespeople, and inspires development teams to produce the groundbreaking products that drive significant growth.

In my experience, though, there are some specific areas where companies commonly break down in developing roadmaps, hitting roadblocks that often keep them from getting where they want to go. I call these roadmap roadblocks the “Dirty Dozen.”

Read the article: The Dirty Dozen Roadmap Roadblocks

How do do you create a successful product roadmap? Let us know below.

The Salesforce Team Model for Scaling a Design System

Jared Spool

December 9th, 2016

In this week’s article Jina Bolton tells us about the model Salesforce uses for creating design systems.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

I believe that even the best systems need human guidance to succeed and survive. For us, that means helping and empowering designers to produce high-quality, brand-aligned, system-minded work. Part of my job is to work with other product designers to ensure their designs are aligned with our system. We do this through working closely with designers to use our Internal Tools.

Read the article: The Salesforce Team Model for Scaling a Design System

You’ll want to hear more from Jina for sure. She’s presenting a live All You Can Learn Library seminar for subscribers—just $23/month—on December 15. It’s called Design Tokens: Scaling Design with a Single Source of Truth.

How do you create design systems? Let us know below.

Who Is on the UX Team?

Jared Spool

December 2nd, 2016

In this week’s article I revisit the various types of UX teams and who they’re made of.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The first big distinction between the struggling and successful teams was who they considered as part of their team. When we asked folks who was on their team, the members of the struggling teams limited their list to the other designers they worked with directly.

The successful team members, however, went beyond their immediate circle of designers. They included people we wouldn’t normally associate with design work—the developers, product managers, QA folks, support personnel, and even executives.

Read the article: Who Is on the UX Team?

How do you identify a successful UX team? Let us know below.

Differentiating with Design

Jared Spool

November 11th, 2016

In this week’s article we reprint an excerpt from Poornima Vijayashanker’s book “How to Transform Ideas into Software Products” on using design to create product differentiation.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

We know the impact design has on a user’s experience and a product’s adoption. But many product designers don’t realize that design can also be used as an effective strategy when it comes to positioning a new product.

Positioning is the process of creating an image or identity in the customer’s mind. You can position based on a number of factors: price, packaging, promotion, distribution, and competition. We’re of course focused on positioning based on packaging, a.k.a. design.

Read the article: Differentiating with Design

How do you use design to differentiate your products? Let us know below.

The KJ-Technique: A Group Process for Establishing Priorities

Jared Spool

October 19th, 2016

This week, we revisit my article on using the KJ Method to help groups establish priorities.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In design, our resources are limited. Priorities become a necessity. We need to ensure we are working on the most important parts of the problem. How do we assess what is most important?

For this, we’ve turned to a group consensus technique we’ve been using for years, called a KJ-Method (also sometimes referred to as an “affinity diagram”). The KJ-Method, named for its inventor, Jiro Kawakita (the Japanese put their last names first), allows groups to quickly reach a consensus on priorities of subjective, qualitative data.

Read the article: The KJ-Technique: A Group Process for Establishing Priorities

How do you reach consensus with your teams? Let us know below.

Getting The Most Out Of Subject Matter Experts

Jared Spool

October 12th, 2016

This week I discuss ways to more effectively utilize Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in design teams.

Here’s an excerpt from the  article:

Subject Matter Experts (also known as SMEs) can deliver great insight into how users work and what designs would be best for them. Unfortunately, we often don’t use them to their fullest.

While we bring SMEs into our project team because of their expertise, it’s that expertise that creates a problem. Though they have deep knowledge and expertise, they don’t know everything there is to know about every user and all of their needs. Their expertise only covers the experience they had when they did that job.

Get the most out of your user research. Learn the latest techniques from Cyd Harrell in her full-day UI21 workshop, Low Cost Guerilla User Research, in Boston on October 31. See more details here.

Read the article: Getting The Most Out Of Subject Matter Experts

How do you use SMEs on your teams? Tell us about it below.

Come to Boston and Change the Way You Design Forever. ​

Jared Spool

October 11th, 2016

Experience New UX Practices, Backed up by the Latest Theories in Effective Design

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Choose from these full-day workshops:

Hear their wisdom and transform what you build and how you’ll build it. The presentations will push you beyond your old practices, propelling you down the road to mastering your design craft.

Explore the Conference

UIE Article: Testing in the Wild, Seizing Opportunity

Jared Spool

October 5th, 2016

This week, we revisit Dana Chisnell’s article on the benefits of conducting quick and informal usability testing.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

When I say “usability test,” you might think of something that looks like a psych experiment, without the electrodes (although I’m sure those are coming as teams think that measuring biometrics will help them understand users’ experiences). Anyway, you probably visualize a lab of some kind, with a user in one room and a researcher in another, watching either through a glass or a monitor.

It can be like that, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, I’d argue that for early designs it shouldn’t be like that at all. Instead, usability testing should be done wherever and whenever users normally do the tasks they’re trying to do with a design.

Read the article: Testing in the Wild, Seizing Opportunity

How do you incorporate quick and informal usability testing? Let us know below.