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.