LumApps Heightens Focus on UX Design with New Team
LumApps has always considered the user experience of its intranet. This is especially true since an intranet’s core reason to exist depends on company employees actually using it. Even though our design team and our devs already have a strong UX sensibility, we started 2018 with the ambition to create a brand new team, fully dedicated to the user experience.
Updating our UX Process
Essentially, the UX team works ahead of the other teams, in order to meet our clients and our end-users in the early stages of each project. The main goal of the UX process (also named “User Centered design”) is to include the users in all phases of a project: from defining the needs, to implementing the final product, in order to conceive a product that adapts to our users’ needs. We strongly believe that this approach will improve our product and helps us to offer the best user experience possible.
Our current UX process: how we design a LumApps intranet
Our current process is inspired by our previous design process, the double diamond model suggested by the Design Council and the similarly-inspired process Google follows for their design sprints, which best illustrate our way of working and our methodology at LumApps.
The diamond analogy reflects the divergent and convergent thinking during the exploration phase, and the generating phase.
PHASE 1: EXPLORE NEEDS
The first phase of the UX process is dedicated to some internal and external research:
- Share and understand the functional aspects of the project and identify what are the desired outcomes.
- Meet our users to understand who they are, what their needs are, behaviors, activities, expectations and frustrations.
- Lightning talks with various stakeholders and “How Might We” sessions.
- User interviews, focus group and surveys.
- Tests: if we already have a first version of a feature, we start empathy exercises and tests with some users.
PHASE 2: ANALYZE
After gathering all inputs concerning the project, we analyze the data to create a big picture of the project in various forms. It helps us to clearly identify the main issues that need to be addressed in the next phases.
- User stories
- User journey maps
- User flows
PHASE 3: SKETCH
During this phase, the design team sketches as many ideas as possible guided by all the information gathered during the exploration phase. The aim is to explore the possibilities.
- Competition and design monitoring
- Brainstorming session
- Design studio (6 to 1, crazy 8, use of ideation cards)
PHASE 4: DECIDE
Once sketching is done, we present and share our ideas with the design team, front-end and back-end teams and the product owner. We all work together to review all ideas. Interfaces and features are discussed challenged and evaluated. Finally, we decide by voting which idea to prototype.
PHASE 5: PROTOTYPE THE SOLUTION
During this phase, we identify the different steps of user interaction and the flows that need to be prototyped. We use mid-fidelity designs, such as wireframes, that help us to work on the structure, the information architecture and the global rendering of all interfaces. And high-fidelity designs like prototypes, after the UI team has applied the graphical part. This helps us to work on the visual aspect and interactions.
- User flows
PHASE 6: TEST IT!
The final phase is testing our prototypes with users, tech teams and other stakeholders to get feedback. The aim is to examine each interface, feature and interaction to identify additional pain points and incoherences. Then, we rework the product – re-sketch, re-prototype, re-test – until we choose a finalized solution to develop. When the final product is live, we continue to test it and collect feedback from our users.
- Usability tests with scenarios
Starting in UX? Here are a few definitions of concepts and methods we’ve mentioned. Stay tuned for future articles about these!
- Persona — A persona is a character who has the same characteristics, needs, and activities as a group of real users. We give it a name and social demographic characteristics to foster empathy.
- Storyboard — A short illustrated story that narrates the interactions between the user and our system.
- Usability — test The user follows a test scenario within our system. The UX team observes the user progressing in the system in a real usage context, which allows us to identify pain points, problems, hesitations, misunderstanding, etc.
- User flow — User flow describes all the actions required for a user to accomplish a task. It helps to understand the complexity behind each task.
- User journey map — A user journey map gives an overview of a user’s journey inside the product and enables us to understand their actions and emotions throughout their path.
- User stories — A user story is a small sentence which tells us who the user is, what they need to do, and what is the goal of a particular action.
- Wireframe — A wireframe is a low fidelity design which represents the skeleton of the interface. It helps us to identify the structure.
September 17, 2018