A key trait of a successful UX designer is the ability to think outside of the box. This is especially true behind-the-scenes, where we must navigate through a series of hurdles before a final experience is delivered. To effectively communicate our designs across users, design teams, product owners, clients and developers – sometimes we need to proceed in a way that expands on the standard approach.
There are certain points where a single design software, a testing methodology or a presentation style does not sufficiently achieve the end result we are looking for. At key moments, we need to blend, or “remix” the UX process to get past potential roadblocks.
Here are some occasions where remixing the UX process especially comes in handy:
Remix what software to use when sharing your designs
We share our in-progress design work with different people, for different purposes. While using one presentation tool can work at times, other times it is more useful to actually separate wireframes into completely different environments.
Here’s a recent instance of how we shared out the same design screens in different formats:
- We used Invision to share the latest greatest approved screens with our client
- We used Axure to produce a high fidelity prototype for unmoderated usability testing that followed a very specific click-through script
- We used Zeplin which stripped away all realistic content in order to highlight functional requirements and page states for developers
In this instance, creating silos via different software allowed us to fully control what each party got out of the same designs. As long as we ensured the links never got intertwined, this extra effort was completely worth it.
Remix how you test your designs
Typically, when performing usability testing, there is a tendency to stick with one methodology and prototype in order to capture consistent and structured feedback. Recently though, we have merged testing types and created multiple prototypes with great success.
Here’s an example of one approach we took:
- We ran unmoderated task-based testing using a prototype with lots of dead end paths. This allowed us to capture quantitative data around ease of task completion.
- We simultaneously conducted moderated interviews using a prototype allowing users to browse freely across a number of pages. This gave us strong qualitative feedback and general impressions of the experience holistically.
By running these two approaches within the same testing period, we updated both prototypes as we discovered improvement opportunities. Taking the best of both testing approaches and combining them into a single testing strategy, helped us come out of the testing with a robust findings and recommendations deck to strongly support our design decisions.
Remix how you present your work
It’s inevitable that some clients prefer your presentations in a story-teling approach while others seek a more streamlined, executive summary-style topline findings. This becomes especially tricky when these opinions differ within the same stakeholder group.
We have found that blending these two approaches into a single presentation document helps appease both groups.
The next time you present your work consider:
- Creating succinct, topline findings as bookends. Start with the executive summary, to set up a preview of what is to come and allow your audience to chime in up front if they have dire questions or clarification points.
- Use the middle portion of the presentation to show how you got to these larger conclusions. Introduce twists, turns, cliffhangers, and anything else to keep the audience on their toes. While some will really appreciate the design process, others will not. Treat this section as a “nice to know” but not necessarily required listening.
- End the presentation with another topline recap of what preceded. This sets up a clear time and place for Q&A.
While it is arguably easier to take a single approach to a presentation style, combining two strategies inside the same document will ensure you are fulfilling a wider range of expectations.
The old adage proudly states: “A great user experience is one that is not noticed.” But getting to that point is not necessarily achieved through a single path, and that is okay. As long as the interface is clean to users and the UX strategy is defined and understood by all, how we get there can be a little muddled.
Let us know: do you remix tactics to set yourself up for success?