The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” with Design Sprints – Part 2: Adapting The Sprint Model

Jared Spool

October 27th, 2017

In this week’s article Kathleen Barrett continues to examine the ACT, inc. team and how to overcome doubts regarding design sprints using planning and communication.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Design sprints were a revelatory experience for the team at ACT. They opened up the business to tools and a process for understanding their audience better, and exploring and brainstorming new ideas. They could think big and fail safely in a low-risk environment, and every member of the team had a voice and a hand in the process.

Preparing for sprints is in many ways as critical as running them. Sprint leaders should spend time designing a process that fits their culture. They also need to communicate the process to teams before they begin to alleviate any fears or misunderstanding. Sprints often gather people in a room who don’t have a history or experience talking to one another, or sharing their opinions, and it can make teams uncomfortable.

Read the article: The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” with Design Sprints – Part 2: Adapting The Sprint Model

Do you have concerns about implementing design sprints?  Share your thoughts with us below.

Use Scenarios to Support Design Decisions at the Pixel Level

Jared Spool

October 26th, 2017

What are user scenarios and why are the useful? To begin, they are based on real data, a firm understanding of your customers and their habits. With a scenario, we take that data and inject it with life. We can imagine, given a specific set of criteria that is based on what we know about our customers, how they might behave in a situation with our products.

Scenarios can help teams reach the brass ring of team alignment. Teams visualize potential problems better by using them. And more importantly, scenarios help product managers understand product requirements, designers to influence those requirements, and engineers to get a very clear sense of what the requirements are aiming to do.

Scenarios minimize gray areas where teams can fall into confusion about what the product is, how the customer may respond, and what the product goals are.

These days alignment doesn’t extend to just teams, but to all departments, offline and online, across an organizational that touches upon the user’s experience. With scenarios, we can use the power of story to imagine our customer’s future experience with our products, illuminate our intentions, and brings groups together on a shared vision.

The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” With Design Sprints – Part 1

Jared Spool

October 20th, 2017

In this week’s article Kathleen Barrett examines the ACT, inc. team, and discusses how to use design sprints to explore innovative concepts and diversify products.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Consensus, says Richard Banfield, CEO of Fresh Tilled Soil, is often conflated with democratic vote. “The funny thing is consensus doesn’t improve the quality of the decisions. It allows you to improve the quality of the inputs but not the outputs. We are good at asking for opinions to the point where it stymies our ability to make decisions.” Richard’s company worked with ACT early on to demonstrate how design sprints could help the organization explore new product ideas and solve problems.

Adrienne and her team trained with Fresh Tilled Soil, but before they began, they had to develop a process, a common language, for internal teams to use. Product managers had been using different criteria for evaluating ideas.

The product innovation team at ACT chose a “see one, do one, teach one” approach to design sprints. The team wanted to understand how the model worked first before they could apply it to a problem they wanted to solve. The first step for ACT was a training exercise with Fresh Tilled Soil, before they eventually moved toward adopting sprints on their own.

Read the article: The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” With Design Sprints – Part 1

 

Design Sprints: An Ignition System for Teams

Jared Spool

October 13th, 2017

In this week’s article I talk about the importance of design sprints.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In many projects, people ramp up slowly, finishing up their old obligations before starting. Without having everyone in the same room and focused, the project takes forever to get to speed.

With a design sprint, everyone starts at the same time with this focused activity on the new project. Even if, the following week, they have to return to their previous project to tie up loose ends, the sprint has given the team this focused burst to start with.

Read the article: Design Sprints: An Ignition System for Innovation Project Teams

 

Align Teams And Persuade Stakeholders With Story

Jared Spool

October 12th, 2017

Integrate Storytelling into Your UX Practices

The stories we tell in our work are drawn from real data, real people. They are not based on fanciful, anecdotal collections of assumptions. We learn about the why of our customer’s behaviors by doing the hard work, like the many varieties of qualitative research we use, including interviews, ethnographic studies, and more.

When we create an effective, data-driven story that encapsulates a certain experience, we can pull members of a team together toward a singular product vision. We can use stories to set up scenarios for teams to problem-solve around and address those pain points that our customers experience along their journey. We can use them to connect the dots between our customer’s experiences and our design challenges.

Get hands-on and creative with the stories you tell and analyze by using personas, journey maps, sketches, cartoons, and storyboards to find your customer insights, and bring teams and stakeholders to agreement with solutions.

Help! Is There a Cardiothoracic Surgeon in the Room?

Jared Spool

October 6th, 2017

In this week’s article, I examine the skills needed to build an 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?

Does your team have the right skills? Let us know below.

Put Your Money Where Your Maps Are

Jared Spool

October 5th, 2017

Drop the buzzwords that prevent user engagement

The boundaries between our offline and online worlds have blurred. The connective tissue between them is the liminal space we explore when we map out customer journeys. Why is it important for us to have a deep understanding of our customer’s behavior?

Because the customer experience, explains UI22 workshop leader Marc Stickdorn, is the new battleground. Businesses are losing billions of dollars to poor customer experiences every year.

Look to the airlines, everyone’s favorite punching bag these days. The airlines were once an industry that epitomized luxury, a pampered way to travel even for us schmucks in the back of the plane near the toilets. Flying has since devolved into an experience akin to a third-rate bus speeding through the Lincoln Tunnel in flames in a post-apocalyptic Stephen King novel, with complimentary stale pretzels.

How do we collect data to inform our customer journey maps? Research is often conducted with limited budgets and time. Don’t be dissuaded, explains Marc, from qualitative research because of these constraints. As teams, we need to know the right questions to ask when we define our research; otherwise, we’ll drown in data. Qualitative research provides the why in the data that quantitative cannot do. Make sure you’re observing your audience: their habits and patterns of behavior.

Zoom-in on those moments of your customer’s journey that are failing, that can be improved upon to heighten the customer’s experience, and your bottom line.

How Designers Turn Into Design Leaders

Jared Spool

September 27th, 2017

In this week’s article, I discuss effective ways to identify, support, and develop design managers into design leaders within an organization.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Just having a person appointed as design manager won’t get the organization great designs. Design leaders have to emerge for that to happen. Those leaders have to formulate a vision of what great design could be for that organization. And they have to gain followers among their peers throughout the organization, and support from the executive team.”

Read the article: How Designers Turn Into Design Leaders.

Do you have your own methods for cultivating design leadership? Let us know below.

Incorporating Content Strategy into Your Information Architecture

Jared Spool

September 22nd, 2017

In this week’s article, Margot Bloomstein shares examples of how organizations are successfully incorporating content strategy into their information architecture.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

What’s in, and what’s out? “In my experience, it is very easy for brilliant information architects (or UX people who do information architecture) to underestimate the importance of editorial planning, voice and tone, and detailed guidelines for content creation. And conversely, it’s very easy for highly skilled content people to underestimate how much information architecture has to do with things other than content: the finicky details of application behavior and interaction design, in particular. I’m a huge fan of collaborations between information architects who care about editorial concerns and content strategists who love structure and talking about data. But whatever your situation, it’s important to know your way around structural design, if only so that you can provide useful feedback and support.”

Read the article: Incorporating Content Strategy into Your Information Architecture.

Are you incorporating content strategy into your company’s information architecture? Let us know below.

When “I Don’t Know” Is The Most Powerful Thing You Can Say

Jared Spool

September 21st, 2017

Inject Innovative Techniques into Your Design Process

Design Sprints have, perhaps, a less publicized but high value outcome, in addition to providing an effective model to rapidly test and prototype products. Sprints afford an opportunity to level the playing field of ideas.

At the start of a sprint, all ideas are put forth to be tested and validated, whether they come from the highest paid executive in the room to the most junior team members. It’s okay in a sprint to say “I Don’t Know,” because the team is free to explore, test, and validate the assumptions they have at the start.

Free yourself and teams from the expectation—and limitations—of certitude. Understand the problems you are trying to solve and for whom you are solving them with design sprints.