Tag Archives: deliverables

Research results don’t always have to be a work of art

Jennifer Blatz UX Design user journey and deliverable
There are times when just sharing the findings takes priority over high-end design and deliverables.

Q&D is a term I would hear told to reporters from my days working at daily newspaper. It stands for Quick and Dirty. And it’s a type of story that reporters are requested to write quite often. Just turn in a quick story to help fill the pages of the newspaper. It doesn’t have to be in depth; it doesn’t have have to be a Pulitzer-prize winning piece; it just has to be done.

I think we have all heard the request to turn something in ASAP. It’s not only the nature of the business world, but it certainly is the nature of the the UX world.

“We need to just get the results to the group so we can move forward.”

And it’s requests like this that cause UX professionals to produce their own Q&D.

Recently I was researching a very manual process. This process was creating monthly or quarterly reports for customers. One person would have to pull information from a variety of sources: enterprise software, web and customer data. Then they would have to place this information by copying and pasting (sometimes including calculating it manually) into Excel and Word. Then it was cleaned up in Excel and turned in to a PDF to email to the client. Sigh….

You can see how many steps are involved. The funny (or sad, actually) thing is that no one really knew how many steps were involved in this process. Not even the person creating the reports. That is, until I conducted my research and mapped out the process in detail. Wow it is a tedious task!

The reason for mapping out the process is because they want to automate the system. Which I think would be great! But in order to automate the process, they have to know what they are dealing with.

So after several side-by-side observation  sessions and interviews, I had a strong idea of what the report-building process consisted of. I needed to share these findings with my development team – and fast! Enter not pretty results. Wah wah.

Thus, we come to the point of this story: Results don’t always have to be a work of art. There are situations when you don’t don’t have time to create a beautiful journey map. You can’t create a high-fidelity deliverable, spun from a program like InDesign, because you need to share your results fast. So what do you do? Deliver the deliverable that gets the job done.

So what is a gal to do? Create the journey using a spreadsheet like Excel and get that to the team as soon as possible.

There are a few advantages to a Q&D deliverable:

  • Easy to put together.
  • Can be done rather quickly.
  • Can share with members of the team in a format they can easily read.
  • Others can even make edits to the spreadsheet if needed.
  • It’s a living document, and if there are changes that need to be made, they don’t have to be made through you.
  • Getting this deliverable off your plate frees up your time to move on to the next project.

Sure this spreadsheet is not going to be a design portfolio piece. But it does the job. This journey map communicates the process, resources and tools used, as well as time on task. This is all important information. And now it is in the team’s hands as an action item. They are not waiting for me to produce a “pretty” piece of design. In the end, my research is moving the project forward more quickly and accurately. Sometimes you just have to do what you’ve gotta do to get a job done.

UX deliverables and skills

Jennifer Blatz design UX and UI design clips and work samples

As part of my 2016 professional development, I’ve decided I am going to use my blog to showcase more of my UX skills. A tough decision any designer must make is to only show a select examples of my best UX work. I try to show my diversity of skills, as well as my breadth of design. So since I cannot show all of my clips in my portfolio, I am going to use my blog as my second clips stage.

Feel free to search the word “Showcase” for future examples of my UX work. But until then, examples of my work can still be viewed on my website www.jenniferblatzdesign.com.

Create UX Deliverables to Build up your Portfolio

There are many people trying to figure out how to make the jump in to the UX field. I too, not too long ago, was trying to transition (or to use the buzz word “pivot”) in to the field of UX.  Thankfully, I made the transition and I am now a UI Designer. However, it took a lot of hard work, networking, self discipline, education and pushing myself to learn more about UX every day.

Jennifer Blatz UX design deliverables
Use all levels of fidelity to show your progress through the UX design process.

One way I went about getting experience about UX was to learn as much as I could about the deliverables in the UX field. I would hear a term like “personas” or “wireframes” and decide that I was not only going to learn as much as I could about these topics, but I was also going to put it in to practice.

UX deliverables like performing a competitive analysis can show progress in a project.
UX deliverables like performing a competitive analysis can show steps in a project.

Here’s an example. Say you are a web designer for a flower shop. Sure, you could just design the website per the shop owner’s request. But why not take it a step further? Why not do a bit of discovery and research before starting the design project? You could interview the owners and customers to find out what the business goals and customer goals are. You could do a bit of ethnographic research by observing people shopping for flowers or employees performing a transaction. Sketch our a few concepts before diving in to the code.

Jennifer Blatz design UX deliverables
Creating a mood board helps set the tone of a project and informs you of what designs already exist in the same arena.

If you are trying to get experience in UX, and want to build up your portfolio, use some or many of these methods to show that you are so much more than a visual designer or developer. Show off your analytical skills and how they are applicable to a career in UX.

Here is a brief list of UX deliverables to get you started:

  • User Stories
  • Personas
  • Competitive Audit
  • Sketching
  • Stakeholders Interviews
  • Brainstorming Sessions
  • Moodboard
  • Prototypes
  • Annotated Wireframes
  • Storyboard
  • Information Architecture (Taxonomy)
  • Task Analysis
  • Interviews
  • Ethnographic Observation
  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • Examine Business Goals
  • Examine Customer Goals
  • Content Audit
  • Sitemap Creation
  • User Flow
  • Usability Testing
  • A/B Testing
  • Card Sorting
  • Pattern Libraries
  • Site Map and Architecture
  • Whiteboard and Sticky Notes
  • Functional Specifications
  • Interactive Mockups
  • Style Guide
  • Surveys
  • Market Research
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Use Case Scenario
  • Creative Brief
  • Diary Study
  • Navigation Model
  • Web Analytics
  • Persona Empathy Map
  • Affinity Diagrams
  • Ideation Workshop
  • Task Model
  • Cognitive Walk Through

Now take all of these deliverables and practice creating them. Then,  use the most important UX skill of all: Tell us Your Story.

Keep up the competitive analysis for CoCo

For CoCo’s redesign, I examined a number of website that CoCo said was similar to theirs, as far as the organization, not necessarily the design. It’s very helpful to see what other organizations that are similar to yours are doing on their website. What CoCo particularly liked about Homeboy Industries‘ website was the prominent “Donate” button that was on every page and was sticky at the top of the screen as the user scrolled down through the content.

Homeboy Industries website for the CoCo Competitive Analysis. Jennifer Blatz UX Design
Though Homeboy Industries has a different focus, than CoCo, they can reach the same audience in some ways. Not to mention both organizations are based in Los Angeles.

 

What are other sites like CoCo doing?

Competitive Analysis of the website for Empower Los Angeles.. Jennifer Blatz Design UX
Competitive Analysis of the website for Empower Los Angeles.

It’s competitive analysis time! As part of any redesign, not only is it important to understand what your website is doing. It’s also helpful to see what other organizations that are similar to yours are doing on their website. For CoCo’s redesign, I examined a number of website that CoCo said was similar to theirs, as far as the organization, not necessarily the design. Here’s what Empower LA have going on at their website.

Creating More Personas for CoCo

I wanted to create more than one persona since there are a few groups that use the CoCo website. So a part of my Community Coalition of South LA Taproot project, or better knows as CoCo I am working on some deliverables to accompany the project. Based another one of the stakeholder interviews I performed this week, plus additional resources that were provided by the organization, I came up with this fitting Persona.

CoCo Persona Jennifer Blatz Design UX
A good way to keep the CoCo project on track is to create Personas to always keep the website’s users in mind.

Creating Personas for Coalition website

Persona for Community Coalition UX Jennifer Blatz Design
Persona for Community Coalition

As part of my Community Coalition of South LA Taproot project, or better knows as CoCo I am working on some deliverables to accompany the project. Based on one of the stakeholder interviews I performed this week, and other resources provided by the organization, I came up with this fabulous Shelia Persona.