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Getting The Most Out Of A Design Review

A design review is a step in the product design process. A review serves a very specific purpose where the design is evaluated against its requirements, particularly those affecting user and business needs. It offers an opportunity to clarify assumptions, ask questions, and seek advice. It is an important milestone where the designer shares his or her work and receives feedback. Never skip this step. I’ve Been Framed! If conducted incorrectly, these sessions can turn well intentioned collaboration into a farce. Egos and Hippos come into play. However, even a poorly conducted design review is better than no review at all. Framing a review impacts the type of feedback received, which greatly increases the review’s usefulness. Different stages in the design process will require different ways of framing the review. There are the basics that provide context for the review participants: • Project goals and timeline • Stage of the design process • The level of fidelity of the designs But by framing the discussion with the type of feedback you’re looking for you’ll (perhaps rather obviously) get better insights on your design. Kim Lenox, the Director of Product Design at LinkedIn, calls these Divergent and Convergent Design Reviews. Divergent Design Review A divergent review is intended to expand the design, uncover opportunities, and come up with many possible solutions. These are more aspirational in nature. The point is to explore all viable design possibilities and ensure that no stone is left unturned. Divergent reviews typically occur early in the design process because the feedback shapes the direction the design will take. In fact, sometimes feedback can lead to a complete pivot during the next iteration. Remember, decisions are not being made during a divergent design review. This feedback is for the design team to consider based on what is best for the user. Convergent Design Review Conversely, a convergent design review is intended to narrow the focus down to the best design option for users and the business. These reviews are more concrete in nature as they’re based on actual evidence from user research. The design team makes evidence based decisions after a convergent review. They consider the user needs and feedback from their team to refine their designs down to a single solution. As always, the user needs are central to decisions being made In Practice With UX Guys, we hold design reviews early and often. Informal design reviews occur with the client up to twice a week with formal reviews often happening once a week, depending on the level of involvement the client wishes to have. We do this so that our clients can become co-designers of their product. The format and presentation of design reviews vary depending on the project – sometimes it’s an interactive prototype, other times it’s a simple wireframe on a whiteboard. Either way the result is the same: the feedback we’re looking to receive is framed by the style of design review. From the feedback we can make decisions (either independently or with the input of our client) and the end result is a design both parties are happy with and that is ready for user validation.

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Never Let A Designer Do Their Own Usability Testing

At a recent meeting for the design of an app a client asked if we offer usability testing as a distinct service from our design process. I answered yes, but asked why she wanted to use separate vendors.

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Why Should I Bother With User Research?

User research is the fundamental foundation on which good user experiences are created. According to Neilson Norman (aka the UX authority) it is a quintessential part of the user experience design process. This type of research is focused on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations. It helps us understand people’s lives so we can design the right product for them. Ideally user research is done throughout the product lifecycle, but always at the start, and always near the end in the form of usability testing.

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Lessons Learned From Designing Top Notch E-Commerce Experiences

No e-commerce experience is the same, but over the years we’ve come up with some key takeaways from our major projects. Consider these tips when designing your e-commerce experience.

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Speeding Up The Product Development Lifecycle: A Better Approach To The MVP

An MVP is a product with just enough features to gather validated learning about the product and its continued development (Thanks Wikipedia!). Depending on which methodology you subscribe to there are a variety of means of getting to an MVP. There is, however, a better way.

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How To Gather User Feedback That Is Actually Helpful

User feedback is required if you’re going to make decisions based on data. In fact, one of the primary pillars of a data driven organization is customer insights. Unfortunately, the thing with user feedback is that it can be pretty unhelpful sometimes. If you set up your research objectives, methodology, and validation correctly you should be in a good position to gather helpful feedback from your users.

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Your Site Is Worse Than User Testing Says It Is

While user testing is an important and necessary part of the product lifecycle (don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!) it’s not a catch all. Users tend to do better on a site during usability testing than they would over normal circumstances. Which means… that your site is actually worse than your users say it is! *gasp*

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How UX Designers Build Trust Into Products

The trustworthiness of a product is a huge concern for designers and product managers. The sharing economy, e-commerce, and most financial products (just to name a few) are hugely dependent on user trust. What is considered trustworthy varies by user group, product, and industry, so it’s important that you understand your users, and what they’ll trust, before you start designing.

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The Digital Experience Your Customers Really Want

What kind of experience do your customers want from your product? Well, that depends heavily on what the product is and its use case. Generally, users are only using your product because they’re trying to achieve something – not for the pleasure of using it. This can be hard to remember for designers, who are dedicated to providing a delightful experience, and for the business which has its own goals.

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Three Really Big Reasons Why You Should Be Prototyping

The concept of a Minimum Viable Product has permeated the world of tech since the popularization of the lean startup mentality. The problem with an MVP is that people sometimes build it based on market research or a hunch before they start their testing. Prototyping on the other hand is a far faster, cheaper, and less risky way of getting to the MVP.

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