How to streamline the construction of digital products with UX consulting


How to streamline the construction of digital products with UX consulting

June 9, 2020

At talPor We’ve been running remote UX consulting sprints and want to share what we built and learned in the process.

You can also read a Spanish version here.

We work with Startups and companies around the world to create products that people love to use. It is usually a demanding job but it leads us to constantly be in the development of new methodologies and experiments to help our clients from the birth of their projects to achieving their goals and success.

That is the main reason why we created a UX consulting service, a new approach that allows us to transform our clients into co-creators throughout the entire product construction process and provide them with modern tools and technologies to align with their business strategies, the real needs of its users and eliminate obstacles in the work process.

In general, our work proposal during the consultancy covers the following points:

Sprint stages

Phase 1: Discovery

Objective: Co-creation sessions for a deep understanding of the needs and insights of users, business and feasibility.

Result: People profiles, Priority map, Brand attributes.

Phase 2: Ideation

Objective: We conceptualize insights and seek to create powerful ideas that generate value for both business and people.

Result: Information architecture, Definition of graphic line.

Phase 3: Prototyping

Objective: We validate concepts and hypotheses with the end user and iterate to obtain the ideal solution.

Result: Wireframes, low-fidelity prototype, user stories.

Phase 4: Execution and implementation

Objective: We make learning tangible and we design the interface to take it to testing and production.

Result: Complete interface, assets, high fidelity prototype.

This is not the first time that we have used UX methodologies to help Startups and companies develop better digital products. To mention a few, we recently worked hand in hand with Procter and Gamble to design a mobile app that tracks the menstrual cycle and in turn helps to gain insight into the use of its products and the possibilities for improvement.

We have also made use of a wide range of tools and methodologies with Xara Cloud in the last year to improve the experience of using the web app and create new solutions.

Let’s explore in depth

One of the most important points to highlight about this methodology is being able to involve our team in work sessions with stakeholders, key project members (that is, decision makers), and at least one person outside the target.

This allows us to make better decisions, stay aligned, and co-create in real time. We do it remotely and then we capture everything with asynchronous documentation.

Discovery stage

The discovery phase (or stage) of the project is when we analyze the market and the target user, define product adjustments thinking about the real needs of the market and gather all the requirements and objectives of the project.

Some people skip the discovery stage and mistakenly view it as a waste of time and money. However, this stage helps companies better understand their users and launch products that will truly solve their customers’ problems.

As a result, the discovery stage helps to better organize the development process and connect customers’ business goals with the needs of their users.

From the point of view of people-focused design, this is the essential stage and where realistic insights are achieved in order to generate innovation.

For this stage we decided to use the Miro tool to document and streamline sessions collaboratively and online. After each session we share via Slack the minutes of the meeting and a brief summary in video format using Loom.

Creation of user profiles

The objective of this session is to understand in depth the context and the needs of the actual and potential users of the product to be developed. The most important data to investigate are:

  1. Demographic data.
  2. Psychographic Data.
  3. Problems and needs.
  4. Solutions.
Example user profiles session for the design of a mobile app
Example user profiles session for the design of a mobile app

Brand Attributes

The second session consists of discovering the purpose of the brand to build a product allied with the attributes of communication and impact. We analyze the following aspects: Culture, co-creators, voice, feelings, impact and what sets them apart from the competition.

Extract from a Miro Board to understand the brand attributes of a Startup
Extract from a Miro Board to understand the brand attributes of a Startup

Selection of priorities

Determining the focus of the product, key functionalities and creating a map of priorities to implement, is essential to prepare a development roadmap and provides clarity while aligning efforts.

Having the support of development experts at this point allows being completely realistic between what the design proposes to achieve and what is technically feasible.

This session was created under a Design Thinking approach to speed it up, however it was guided by one of our development specialists, who would later be in charge of leading the implementation at the code level and the technical team.

Priority map for a web app
Priority map for a web app

Ideation Stage

Ideation stages usually seek to generate many ideas that then inspire to create some better ones or encourage innovation.

In our case, we try to be more concrete and we start from the idea of creating a collaborative process that helps us not only to generate ideas, but also to approve them more clearly. That process is the construction of Stylescapes.

The biggest challenge is to translate the ideas that are in the client’s mind to translate them into a sensible and coherent graphic line.

We seek, then, to define at this stage the look and feel of the product and to begin assembling the structure.

Stylescape base from TheSkool
Stylescape base from TheSkool

Prototyping Stage

The main objective of this stage is to validate the strategy, architecture and navigation of the product.

We usually create a Prototype in Figma or Sketch and make it navigable in inVision. We can summarize this stage like this:

  1. Creation of the information strategy and architecture.
  2. Low (or high) fidelity prototyping.
  3. Hypothesis validation with key users through a usability test.
  4. Evaluation of findings and adjustments.
A prototype is not created just by creating it. It is important to choose study objectives and build it around this.

It may be, for example, that you want to validate a specific module of the application, study if the navigation is intuitive enough or discover if users quickly understand what a button is for.

Execution and implementation stage

Once the route is clear and the initial ideas have been validated, the complete interface design is launched and development work begins in parallel to make real what until now is only design.

“Our role is to imagine products that do not exist and guide them to life.” — Christopher Stringer, Designer at Apple.

The life cycle of this stage is quite direct, but it can be cyclical if the product requires it. For example, a web or mobile app is usually in constant evolution.

  1. Complete UX / UI design.
  2. Usability testing.
  3. Settings.
  4. Implementation of development in the selected technology.
A/B Testing example for Xara Cloud
A/B Testing example for Xara Cloud

Let’s create a great product together!

It is quite common for startups and large corporations to encounter obstacles in workflow and decision making. That is why more and more companies contact us about our experience in product design and development, our strategies to improve workflow and our product definition processes.

We live in times of high risk where companies need to trust the support and collaboration of a product design partner who participates in the discussion of the project from the beginning, to improve the quality of their products and in turn, reduce risks and costs of production.

Impact of the UX process for your company

Making an impact on people’s lives through a digital product is based primarily on creative problem solving to spread the story. However, I want to focus this on 3 main aspects for which this methodology is effective.

For your business:

  • It saves time and avoids reprocessing.
  • We get more realistic insights.
  • It is possible to align business objectives with customer needs in a more accurate way.
  • It saves on development costs.

For your clients:

  • They obtain a product more attached to their reality and needs.
  • They are also co-creators in the process.
  • The functions, visuals and experience are focused on them.

For your digital product:

  • We will validate ideas before launching the product.
  • It will have a greater chance of being scalable.
  • We will create a stable process of future iterations and improvements.

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