We’ve compiled five UX tactics that are helpful not only in website design, but can improve the quality and effectiveness of your next team brainstorm.
1. Research & Objective Setting
Arguably the most important step in the UX process, research allows a designer to focus in on their end goal. Prior to your next meeting, perform a landscape analysis to help draw conclusions about common problems and user goals. Poll the meeting attendees to find out: What are you ultimately trying to get out of this meeting? What has worked in previous meetings and what has not? By uncovering these insights, you will start to get a sense of general attitudes and expectations which you can then translate into:
Normally personas are created based on an analysis of a user base. In this case, the personas are an amalgamation of the meeting’s attendees. Look at the extremes that exist in attendees and try to combine them to make two different personas. Personas allow a designer to see shared goals across demographics and attach a human importance to finding the right solution. Consider ways to even out any power dynamics that would derail the meeting and find out what your personas may share with each other.
Similar to how UX designers use wireframes and lo-fi sketches as a launching pad towards a final design, putting pen to paper in your next meeting helps solidify goals and introduce novel solutions. Our team utilizes the Brainwriting technique to invigorate brainstorms. Starting in the lowest possible fidelity is an effective way to negate conflict and power struggles. Writing an idea down allows the attendee to contribute without fighting for the floor.
Refinement is a skill we use in UX that can clear any brainstorm clutter. Use the latter part of your meeting to perform a similar tactic. Pass sketches out randomly and challenge the attendees to expand on or challenge the idea written on the paper. Next, find duplicate ideas. Discard the weaker option or combine the duplicates into something new. Now is the time to remove any distracting or unrealistic ideas that will hinder the goal of the meeting. Now that the ideas are gleaned out, the attendees can choose their favorites. The most popular ideas get pushed forward, while others are tabled for another day. Users appreciate touches of personalization. Add in small details that will strengthen the most popular ideas.
Just like websites, your meetings can and should improve over time. Challenge the room to repeat an activity without repeating ideas. Develop a library of brainstorm techniques to avoid a dead end. Document the results of the meeting by taking pictures or notes. Take advantage of new tools and adapt the meeting as goals evolve. Ask for feedback on the meeting’s approach. Spend as much time reflecting on the structure as you do the outcome of the meeting. The research is never over.
Once you’re done brainstorming, try applying these five phases of UX to other areas of your work life, and treat yourself to a coffee.