Archives for February 2017

February 22, 2017 - No Comments!

Product Owners – 7 Tips for a better Design

Working in agile methodologies empowers the product production in a very fast velocity. Therefore most likely we jump some steps along the way to launch the product to the market as soon as possible to get people’s feedback.

But wait, as Product Owner you are super good with communication skills you are dealing with sales, marketing and dev teams. Meanwhile you also need to work with designers but looks like you don’t speak the same language. I am here to help you. Along the way as a designer and working with multiple teams I realize where these gaps are. I’m stating some key points to you so it will ease the conversation.

Sell the Vision

As a product manager you always start your initial engagement with your vision. A product vision should be dream like, tell what the ideal product is. Yes, that one that doesn’t even sound possible. It’s time to get designers excited and understand where you are coming from and where you wanna be. It will be up to the designers to lower the bar and saying what’s not possible to design.

User Research

You are probably thinking that reasearch is a long process and you won’t have an initial budget to run one. Gimme one sec! There are many ways to conduct user research, by this I mean it can be short of long. Be honest with your time scale and designers can help you to propose the best one for you. I am a big lover of online surveys and they can be ran quickly and 5 replies are enough to see a trend. The results will help you to identify priorities and key features for your product.

Personas and their scenarios

It is also a designer responsibility to engage with your potential clients so they will help you to understand what will be the markets desire to use your product. If you jump this step you most likely end up in a cycle to review design mockups about colour and layout and all that should be decided by your potential user. The UX – User experience of the product relies here at this stage. The designers are responsible for the product interaction with users. To the outside world and its needs. Give the team a possibility to have chat with potencial or existing clients of your product.

State the problem

Oh boy! This one is a big one. I had customers that they say they don’t have a problem because they already found the solution. They just want a colourful and engaging design. What they really meant by that is they think designer will only cover the aesthetics. The interface.

As a designer we are problem solver oriented people. We need to state the problem so together we can come up with solutions and decide what will be the best design solution for your product. This is a team job to be done.

Ideation

Allow one meeting be creative and come up with multiple solutions for your product. This is a multi cross disciplinary exercise that means it’s good to be a maximum of 8 people with different backgrounds: Marketing, Dev, Designer, Copywriter, Stakeholder. Pick one feature for your product and explore how each individual would solve it and present to the team. You can vote, mix different solutions to come up with the final version. Try the crazy eights exercise. This helps the team to be aligned and to make sure you are not mistreating the feature because everyone comes from different backgrounds.

Usability Testing

Hurray! You got your MVP out and you can’t wait to see how people will enjoy the product you designed together. Is important that you measure the success and the engagement of the app. The designers will benefit from an observation how people are interacting with your product. That benefits exploring new ways of the interface to do the same job. This definitely help to explore layouts, colours and understand what is not really working from the design / interface. Invite someone in to your office and let the designer observe how people play, desire from your product.

Iteract

Your product is a life cycle that means you will need to iteract on the features and the design from time to time. What the market is desiring now is probably not desire anymore in 6 months time. Get the opportunity to review your product features with the design team. The design team is also responsible to understand what is the market demands and you should work together on that.

Let me know your experiences and thoughts

I hope this tips will help you to understand what designers do on there field. If you enjoy this post and have more questions about what designers do and what are there responsibilities I would love to know and answer your questions. Maybe as my next post.

My aim is to bring business and design together. No matter what technology you use.

February 3, 2017 - No Comments!

How to overcome user research on a Mendix application

It’s great to build applications in a short time frame as Mendix allow us but how often do you run user research before your project begins. Especially using an agile methodology where everything goes so fast. You got a structured business plan and your head is full of ideas to start your new application. You just did not have the time or budget to know who will be the users of your application and what are they expecting to get from it.

 

The solution is to run an online survey

During your first week of the project, you are normally required to to fill in your product canvas template and also start writing user stories for your backlog. What if you spend 10 more minutes gathering a couple of questions to post it online, so you can get users feedback while you are on your preparation week. If you are not involving your users, you are not building a user-centred application. The benefits of user research are enormous, you will have more confidence in your design decisions, it will avoid expensive rework and it will give you new insights of your product and bigger space for tacking all experience of the application upfront.

 

What do you need to know to run a survey

 The benefit of running an online survey is gathering large number of responses very quickly. So, I advise you to define your research goals. Think about what points of your business that are not very clear yet. Is there something online already that you can ask for improvement? If it is your first application, focus on the answers you want to hear. Are you picturing already? Great! What are questions popping up in your head for your consumers? Perhaps, where or when they might use the application? What are the tasks they want to accomplish? Are there any pain points in the current way as they go about these tasks?
The downside of running an online questionnaire is that you learn about the problems but not why they occur and is also hard to get rich responses. If you really want to invest in user research there are other research methods you want to consider but this one is the best approach for the shortest time.

 

Let’s get started

  1. To run an online survey you can use free tools online, I personally prefer Google forms, I already got a google account and it’s simple and easy to use but you can also try Type Form it’s also free and gives you more fancy interactions and different roots to take your users based on their answers.
  2. Now, that you have your tool of choice, you want to focus on the first questions. Ask open-ended questions. and Avoid leading questions Remember the 5 Ws + an H: Who? What? Where? When? Why? … and How? Let’s start to get to know your users, demographically. What’s there age? What’s there educational level? What’s there household composition? Do they have prior knowledge of your content? Have they heard about your brand or product? What’s there employment status or their role in the company?
  3. Let they tell you if they know about your brand or product. Have you heard about x? if yes, where and how. What do you think about the product? How’s make you feel? is it helpful? Where do you use it? Morning or evening? Routinely or occasionally? At home, on the transports, while driving. How are they accessing? Desktop? mobile or tablet? what browser of the operating system do they use?
  4. Optional you can summarise your questionnaire by requesting their contact, so if something relevant comes in you can also call that person for more detailed feedback but don’t force them to fill in the contact form. You might block all the answers by coming in by asking their personal details. Post your questions online and share the link on your social media accounts or email your co-workers, friends and family to share your questionnaire. Lucky enough you will have lots of answers very shortly. I advise to keep advertising and let it run for at least 3 days.