Here to Serve
“Design Thinking on a sprint schedule” best describes my UX process for large organizations. The Design Thinking activities and deliverables I use on projects change depending on the problem, company size, and culture. However, my leading principles remain the same.
Understand the user’s big problems
Test High Risk / High-Value Hypotheses
Work in short cycles
Learn what we need to learn
No matter the chosen process, I enjoy humanizing technology. My motivation comes from the opportunity to improve someone’s personal and professional life.
"Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection"
Empathize - Define - Ideate - Prototype - Test - Implement
I am solving real user problems using a consistent and outcome-driven methodology. Design Thinking is both a process and an ideology. The names of phases can vary but the basics are the same. The Design Thinking model I subscribe to for large companies is from Nielsen Norman Group (NNG). You can explore the forest to learn more about each phase!
My Beloved BobNet
I discovered a lot about empathizing with my users while retiring BobNet, Robert Half's 10-year-old intranet. Its replacement would be a web-based, global workspace for 16,000 employees. The new SharePoint system would eventually:
decrease tech support tickets by 60%
boost mobile usage by 20,000 devices
raise adoption rates at our 345 worldwide locations
It surprised me when the discussion of a name change came up. Let me explain why, my first day at Robert Half was spent updating BobNet. It was dear to my heart. The name instantly described itself as an intranet for Robert Half employees. So changing the name never crossed my mind until we started conducting interviews.
While conducting user and stakeholder interviews, it became clear that calling the new intranet BobNet would negate all of our improvements. All the negatives would unfairly be projected on the new system. I listened to my users and remembered we were building it for them. In the end, our intranet got the fresh start it deserved and we named the intranet... Well, you can ask me in person.
To the right are screenshots of RH's external-facing site to show just how much things had changed in 10 years.
Begin with Empathy
Empathy is an essential part of the discovery process. Understanding the user helps us accelerate the decision process, putting us on the right path. As a UX designer, I prototype and validate ideas as efficiently as possible. We can understand another person’s expressions, needs, and motivations through the gathered research. Knowing the user's "why" allows us to work on the top challenge and provide true value to the customer. Customer Value = Business Value.
High Value & High Risk
How do you know which idea will bring the most customer value? Don't they all provide value? Test the High Value & High-Risk ideas first to minimize risk.
It is the risk we can to reduce through testing. Low-Risk features can often be implemented immediately since the risk is small. Treat this as a science experiment and turn your idea into a hypothesis:
We believe this [OUTCOME] will occur if [THESE USERS] successfully attain this [BENEFIT] from this [SOLUTION].
By using research and data analysis, we can find evidence that supports our hypothesis and move forward. If the evidence disproves the hypothesis then we can conclusively reject it. Let's start testing and see.
I average about 70+ projects a year. I've provided user findings for Burger King with three 14 hour days and I have spent 2 years on Robert Half's intranet, often juggling more than one project. Below are some activities I conduct most often during phases that involve Empathy and Discovery.
Define & Develop:
After organizing the team's observations and connecting common user pain points, I enjoy defining the path for my potential users, customers, and partners (B2B). I don't like to leave the user experience to chance. The following deliverables cover the Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test phases of Design Thinking.
Free User Testing
When you release a product, Amazon and iTunes customers provide free user testing in the form of reviews. You can either plan to test your product or have your customers do it for you. Testing prototypes allows companies to prevent customers from seeing avoidable failures. There is no perfect app or way to satisfy every customer. We can, however, provide an amazing experience for our target customer.
Say that five times fast!
It's time to launch your product and introduce your ideas to the market. This is why you started the project in the first place and it's the most important. This stage involves meeting deadlines, finalizing ideas, not settling for mediocrity, and exhaust every possible minute you have left until release.
Understand, Improve, Apply
Over the years I gathered many ideas from different Design Thinking methodologies: Deep-Dive from IDEO, Human Centred Design, 4 D's from Design Council of the UK, and What x 4. They are the map I use to navigate the project but only give you a general outline.
Now that I have over a decade of practical knowledge, I see the peaks and valleys of a project. I know when to tell the team we are almost at the top or take a different trail to save some time. This experience allows me to travel lean, bringing just what I need for this project.
I look forward to working with you.