Mathew Laverty

UX/UI Design Thinking in Gravenhurst, Muskoka

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Utilizing Design Thinking to create intuitive user-interfaces

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is very useful in tackling complex problems, by understanding the user needs, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, by creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing.

5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process

  • Empathize Define Ideate Prototype Test

Empathize

  • A process to gain an empathic understanding of the problem to be solved. This process allows me to set aside my own assumptions in order to gain insight into users and their needs.

Define (the problem)

  • Analyzing information created and gathered during the Empathize stage, and synthesizing them in order to define the core problem statements in a human-centered manner.

Ideate

  • After growing to understand the user and their needs in the Empathize stage, and analyzed and synthesized the observations in the Define stage to end up with a human-centered problem statement, I can start to "think outside the box" to identify new solutions to the problem statement. This allows me to start looking at alternative ways of viewing the problem.

Prototype

  • In this phase, I will now produce a number of scaled-down versions of the product or specific features found within the product, so I can investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage. This is an experimental phase. Solutions are implemented within the prototypes and are investigated and either accepted, improved and re-examined or rejected on the basis of the users' experiences. By the end of this stage, I will have a better idea of the constraints on the product and the problems that are present and have a clear view of how real users would behave, think, and feel when interacting with the end product.

Test

  • In this phase, the best solutions identified during the prototyping phase. The results generated during this phase are often used to redefine one or more problems and inform the understanding of the users, the condition of use, how people think, behave, and feel, and to empathize.

Design Thinking: A Non-Linear Process

Design Thinking: A Non-Linear Process

Creating intuitive user-experiences utilizing Lean UX methodology

Traditionally UX design is generally deliverables-based including:

  • Wireframes
  • Site maps
  • Flow diagrams
  • Content inventories
  • Taxonomies
  • Mockups
  • Detailed user-testing reports

It generally follows a waterfall development approach and looks like this:

  • Define Design Develop Test Deploy

Lean UX

  • Lean UX design moves away from traditional deliverables based design as it tends to make designers become documentation experts, rather than putting focus on the quality of the final user experience.

Deeply Collaborative and Cross-Functional

  • Lean UX needs daily (or as often as possible), continuous engagement with your teams to be effective. It strips away all of the heavy deliverables and increases a team’s ownership for the work by giving opportunity for all opinions to be heard much earlier in the process. Instead of talking about features and documents, teams can talk about what works. Combined with market feedback it allows us to reframe design conversations and allows us to measure what works. Then it’s just a matter of learning, and adjusting.

Typical Lean UX Design Process

Lean UX Methodology

Concept

  • This is the planning phase of the UX design process. It involves many meetings to brainstorm what the product will look like, how it functions, and most importantly if it is a good user experience.

    There are 2 key concepts to put into practice at this phase and throughout the rest of the UX process. The first is creating a hypothesis. The second is called MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

  • Hypothesis

    • This is created to help test our assumptions while we are going through the Lean UX process.

      An example: We believe that placing the content carsousel front and center on our home page is essential to keeping our users engaged by offering new content that is easy to digest. This will achieve getting our featured content seen by our users. We will have demonstrated this when we can measure an improvement in click through rates on our featured content.

      Start with stating the belief and why it’s important and to whom. Follow that with what you expect to achieve. Finally end with the evidence to prove that the belief was true.

      If there is no way to prove your hypothesis — you may be heading in the wrong direction.

  • MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

    • This is a core concept in Lean UX. The idea is to build the most basic version of the concept as possible, test it and if you don’t get any valuable results back abandon it. You then take all the MVPs that worked and incorporate them into your next design.

Prototype

A prototype is a representation of what the user experience will be. Choosing which tool to use for your prototype depends on:

  • Who will be interacting with it
  • What you hope to learn
  • How much time you have to create it.

Different Types of prototypes:

  • Paper
  • Low-Fidelity Prototypes: Clickable Wireframes
  • Mid and High Fidelity Prototypes
  • Coded Prototypes

User Testing (Validate Internally, Test Externally & Learn from user behavior)

  • User testing in Lean UX is much like user testing in traditional UX environments. The difference is that results need to be delivered before the next Agile Sprint starts; so there is much less focus on heavily documented user-testing results. The results can then be looked at to determine the changes going into the next Sprint.

Iterate

  • Repeat as necessary...

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