UCD Strategies Going Forward

Strategies going forward in creating a project that applies a thorough user-centered focus and follows a methodical process.

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So as one of my first undertakings as a lead, I was asked to lead the UX design team in the complete transformation of a 2,000+ page website from 950-fixed to Responsive. Whoa. Just a tad bit overwhelming, but as for the full story of the project, I’m sure I will write a case study about it one of these days, but there were a lot of learnings I came across, and different process and methodologies I learned as well. There were definitely some ups and downs, but here are just a few strategies I found on the interweb I would consider going forward.

DESIGN ITERATIONS PRIOR TO DETAILED DESIGN

  • “Just doing wireframes and comps” because that was what was required.
  • No analysis phase, no user research, no design iterations (cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product or process).
  • UCD compliments ROI.

USE CASES

  • Make sure the use cases don’t explicitly direct the design direction
  • In most cases, use cases are usually focused more on business rules and logic and less on what the optimal experience should be for users. You need both, and blind adherence to use cases can result in the creation of a solution that may not align with what users want and need.

USER TESTING

  • User testing is cut because of budgetary constraints
  • As good as your team is, design testing is far cheaper than designing in a bubble and then investing huge amount of money and time deploying an untested direction.

HIGH LEVEL DESIGN

  • Must have a direction that all the designers can align with and follow. It can be a set of best practices, a declaration of principles, or a conceptual model of usage, but SOMETHING has to exist to ensure consistent and successful work.

DESIGN COLLABORATION

  • If you really want to fail, put designers on separate features and don’t let them talk to one another. One major project started out doing exactly that, and the designers were also under tight deadlines. The result was a Frankenstein’s Monster of a design that was inconsistent and impossible to implement.

DETERMINING CLEARLY DEFINED ROLES

  • RASI Chart – Responsible/Approval/Support/Inform
  • Roles not clearly defined, everyone’s opinion will count leading to design-by-committee

MEETINGS WITH AGENDAS AND EXPECTED OUTCOMES

  • A meeting without a purpose is a waste of time and money that can be better spent creating good designs.

Photo Credit to: Fund Chat