Three months after I joined Moven I started working on the a redesign of the Moven App. Working under the direction of Brett King, I facilitated collaborative design sessions for proposed features, created hi-fidelity prototypes and conducted remote mobile user testing sessions to refine the concepts. Brett and Alex Sion demoed the redesigned app at FinovateSpring 2015 where we won Best of Show among 60 banking and financial industry leaders.
I just finished watching Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview and I wanted to share an excerpt that is particularly relevant to product designers. The interview was filmed in 1995, 18 months before Steve Jobs returned to Apple and well, you know the rest. In this excerpt, Steve Jobs shares his views on product design team culture and dynamics.
If you like the excerpt, I suggest buying the DVD.
This excerpt had additional meaning for me. A few years ago I had created some polished stone icons for OSX under the GNU public license. Apple contacted me about using the icons and I donated the set to their product development team.
I never understood their interest but interesting coincidence nonetheless.
From http://guidelines.usability.gov and a few other sources…
“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
-William Strunk Jr., in Elements of Style
In an agile organization, the User Story replaces traditional requirement documentation. While traditional requirements like functional or user interface specifications try to be as detailed as possible, User Stories break down the business requirements into the smallest piece of business value that a development team can deliver within an iteration.
That said, there is an art to writing effective user stories and UX designers cannot simply rename their User Interface Specifications to User Stories. Use the following guidelines to consistently deliver requirements that can be easily understood by your development teams. Continue reading A guide to Writing Effective User Stories
A few years back, I was leading an integrated UX practice in a well known Digital Ad Agency. We had dedicated UX designers aligned to development teams. Each UX designer took on the responsibilities of Product Owner working with Product Managers and Customers, kicking off sprints, running grooming sessions and facilitating collaborative requirements discovery with their dedicated development teams.
Here is a short video demonstrating the work and outcome of “Sprint 0” for a new product.
The following exercise is an effective way of determining what product features a UX designer should consider prototyping when considering a large set of features.
“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” That was the advice of Arthur Brisbane, Editor The Syracuse Post Standard March 28, 1911. Despite originally referring to newsprint, the adage still holds true in the digital age.
“Sketching for understanding” is an efficient and effective way to gather tons of ideas in a short period of time while cultivating shared understanding across agile teams.With the right structure and active participation, sketching with Scrum teams can really pay dividends throughout the release life cycle.
Use the following guide to help plan and facilitate your next agile sketching session. Continue reading Agile UX – Sketching and Scrum
Although many businesses follow agile practices, they don’t realize the true benefits of an agile culture and unwittingly fall into routine at the expense of collaboration.
A good UX Designer can help get a team back on track by establishing a shared vision or “Collaborative Charter”. Created with any agile team, the charter can do the following:
- Identify direction and purpose
- Build loyalty through involvement
- Inspire enthusiasm and encourage commitment
- Set standards of excellence that reflects high ideals and a sense of integrity
- Bring meaning to the work
- Mobilize the team to action
Use the following guide to plan and run effective Collaborative Charter workshops…
Continue reading Agile UX – Collaborative Chartering
The role of product owner was born of the scaled agile framework. Product owner is a role, not a title, and the responsibilities for the role vary.
In “The Scrum Papers: Nut, Bolts, and Origins of an Agile Framework“, author Jeff Sutherland emphasizes the product owners’ main responsibility of ensuring Return on Investment (ROI) for a given product feature:
“The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing return on investment (ROI) by identifying product features, translating these into a prioritized list, deciding which should be at the top of the list for the next Sprint, and continually re-prioritizing and refining the list.”
A few years back I was leading an internal UX Practice for a large Digital Ad Agency known for creating and serving digital ads for Americas’s top advertisers. Our team had a daunting mission – redesign the legacy application and task flows to significantly reduce complexity and time on task.
To that end, I made a short video to demonstrate the result of our work and the thousands of hours of productivity our new system would recoup for the company.
The split screen video below shows and expert user using the legacy system completing 3 common tasks on the left and a novice user completing the same tasks in our new system on the right