INSIDE MY PROCESS

 

HERE TO SERVE

When I think to myself, "Someone should..." I change the sentence to, "I should."  I look to improve the quality of life around me and lead others to contribute. A project begins when I:

  • Learn a new way of doing things

  • Receive feedback from coworkers, users, or target audience

  • Hear of a business challenge to solve

  • See an opportunity to collaborate with another team

My approach to storytelling, documentation, research, design, and user-centered strategy expands and contracts based on the project. This process does not have to be linear. My mission is to facilitate a better life for those around me using my creativity and generosity. 

 

"Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection"

Mark Twain

 

HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN

Through evaluation, research, and design a team can improve the experience of its users. You can achieve a deep understanding of "why" a user is doing something through observation and testing. Improving the ease of use and efficiency of a product can help meet both the goals of the business and users.


After analyzing the research, I take ownership of the product vision, strategy, and buying experience, creating a tailored end-to-end experience. I generally follow a Design Thinking model with 6 stages but to keep it easy to remember let's go with:

  • Discover 

  • Design

  • Develop

  • Deliver


During this process, we will discuss the goals, challenges, tools, and artifacts that will be used. My approach is flexible and can expand or contract based on the project. I like to think in terms of good, better, and best instead of right or wrong. Give a problem to a team and you will receive more answers than people in the room.


Many of the solutions might work because of cost, complexity, or creativity. One idea is best now and another will be better 6 months from now. The process is there to help make projects repeatable and reliable but can evolve over time.

 
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DISCOVERY PHASE

 

COMMON DISCOVERY ACTIVITIES

USER INTERVIEWS

WHY: I conducted user interviews in order to get a better understanding of the problem. Over the years, I have collected questions and organized them  by customer service, task flow, closing, etc

  • What do you think this product/feature does or will do?

  • How would you go about performing this task?

  • Was anything surprising or did not perform as expected?

  • When in doubt, always ask “why?”

STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEWS

WHY: Interviewing key people in the organization can provide you with an understanding of the business goals. Stakeholders receive feedback on products and are actively looking for new market opportunities. I've been asked to review services when there are changes in:


  • Corporate policy

  • Global regulations

  • Company acquisitions

  • Slow sales

  • Increase satisfaction

WORKSHOPS

WHY: Workshops are a fun and fast way to align a team. When I run a workshop it is an opportunity for me to share as well as discover.

  • Kickoff Workshop: Builds trust in UX process, gets the team on the same page, create project plan, review process and challenges  

  • Assumption/Question Mapping Workshop: By identifying deep-rooted assumptions and unknows we can draft potential research questions. This is also an additional round of prioritization. 

  • Affinity-Diagramming Workshop: Designers, stakeholders, and users have an idea of what self-evident is for a project. By taking the insights and observations and grouping them we can uncover themes around the obstacles, causes, and needs for a project.


Additional common workshops are Problem-Framing, Discovery, Empathy, Design, Prioritization, Critique workshops, and Service Blueprinting Workshops.

 

DISCOVERY DELIVERABLES

So far the discovery phase has allowed our team to use research as a way to describe the problem, understand why it is important, write our hypothesis, and set our goals. Now we can make some deliverables.

Empathy Maps

Personas

Journey Map

This quick exercise can reveal behaviors and attitudes as well as uncover the holes in your knowledge of the user. A moderated empathy interview can gather your user's emotions and motivations. Us their responses to build a persona and get your team on the same page.

While working at Robert Half, I used data from Google Analytics, interviews, and user research to build personas. Developers and the Interactive Media Services team used them to improve services, sites, and apps. I enjoy updating my templates and process between projects.

A Journey Map is a tool I use to design a better outcome for the users, leading to better outcomes for the business. I have often joined teams where a Journey Map is used only as a visual representation of the customer's journey. I

 

SERVICE BLUEPRINT

Service blueprinting focuses on the backstage and behind the scenes of how you deliver and operate. This has helped to provide better, quicker, and often cheaper service to your customers by reviewing your employee's process.

LOW FIDELITY WIREFRAMES

In my experience, users don't provide the same feedback when the process looks finished. If I provide a user with a paper wireframe, they are more likely to contribute. Wireframes save designers, developers, and business partners time and effort. Those savings can be used where needed.

 

DISCOVERY SUMMARY

By now we are discovering a clear intent for the experience, goals, and objectives of your product. We have done the work in getting to know the user and potential paths for them to travel. Now that we have some research it is time to organize and analize the results.

 

DEFINE PHASE

 

COMMON DEFINE ACTIVITIES

USER NEED STATEMENTS / STORIES

This step articulates a specific user's problem and how we can solve it. 

What the user needs? 

How we can help? 

Why we should do it? 

Defining the problem for the team and providing an actionable why helps me to differentiate the differences between user segments, especially in B2B situations. This step shares similarities with development tasks, user stories, epics and can be called Problem Statements or Point-of-View Statements. 

5 WHYS

By repeating why five times, you can begin to uncover the nature of the problem as well as its solution. This is a way to help me define potential problems based off our findings. Here is the original example from Taiichi Ohno, the architect of the Toyota Production System during the 1950s:

  1. “Why did the robot stop?”
    The circuit has overloaded, causing a fuse to blow. 

  2. “Why is the circuit overloaded?”
    There was insufficient lubrication on the bearings, so they locked up.

  3. “Why was there insufficient lubrication on the bearings?”
    The oil pump on the robot is not circulating sufficient oil. 

  4. “Why is the pump not circulating sufficient oil?”
    The pump intake is clogged with metal shavings. 

  5. “Why is the intake clogged with metal shavings?”
    Because there is no filter on the pump.

AUDIT YOUR CONTENT AND COMPETITION

Here are some additional steps involving potential content. ​

  • Take inventory of the content you plan to create

  • Group your content for desired user segments

  • Define your Information Architecture structure such as flat, daisy (return to main page after task), industry segments, or filtered/faceted navigation

  • List what differentiates you from the competition

 

“Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.”

Savielly Tartakower

 

DEFINE DELIVERABLES

PROJECT CHARTER

A charter document can help with large organizations. Mine contains an: 

  • overview of the project scope 

  • requirements 

  • milestones

  • budget and

  • team roles 


The scope, objectives, and people involved should be clear and concise. This document is more the marketing and project management side of me. Creating a charter means it gets approved quicker, everyone knows their part, and scope creep is less likely due to documentation.

MOOD BOARD

Mood boards help especially with companies who have not solidified their brand or have no style guide. This can give guidance and communicate visually to the team what you are aiming for on the project. For established companies, I pull from my swipe file and stock photo services with potential images we can use on a project.

FINALIZE YOUR DECISIONS

Documentation now looks a little more detailed and some decisions should be finalized. 

  • Goals and objectives

  • Sitemap listing major categories 

  • Mid-fidelity Wireframes

  • Finalized features and functionality

  • Navigation Models

  • End-to-end user journeys

 

DEFINE SUMMARY

The define phase is a perfect stage to glean insights from your research. This is the time to create a clear path for your users, don't leave it to chance. Organize the team's observations and make connections. Look for common pain points across each user segment? Plan ways to meet their needs.

 

DEVELOP PHASE

 

COMMON DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

PROTOTYPES

Here we want to test the prototype and not the user, making ideas tactile. See how your users interact with and react to your product's design. Here are some objectives I have learned over time. 

  • Prototype Basics: Choose the prototype best suited for the stage you're at, clearly define what your prototype is meant to achieve, use the right tool for interaction, and prototype often and as necessary.  

  • Provide Users with Options: Users can tell you which they prefer by making comparisons. Just change a variable at a time and they will review what they like and dislike.

  • Low Fidelity First: When I started out, I would skip this and go to high fidelity. User's provided less feedback with prototypes that look complete, thinking choices have been made about the process. The price of a bad design is high so I suggest you don't rush. 

  • Watch Them Work Through It: Ask users to talk through their experience. You are here to observe. If they are off track just ask them "What are you thinking right now as you are doing this?" Negative feedback is how we learn.

TESTING

Your first solution rarely looks like your final solution. Great ideas come from everyone. I like to keep design iterative and  based on feedback, focusing on continuous improvement. Testing, improving, and testing again until you have obtained the minimub viable product.

DELIVER REGULARLY

This is hard for perfectionists. I struggle

 

DEVELOP SUMMARY

The development process can overlap between the design and delivery phase.

 

COLLECTING FEEDBACK

Not every project needs a survey but every company needs feedback. Rhino Construction wanted to rediscover its user's needs and wants. I conducted interviews and managed surveys. My goal was to: 

  • Discover clear and actionable insights

  • Write clean, simple, and unbiased questions

  • Ask the right types of questions in the best order

  • Focus on completion time instead of the # of questions

PROJECT  SURVEY

5 sample Rhino questions:

  1. Was the quality of the work what you expected?  

  2. Did the job start on time? 

  3. Were the workers on the job courteous and professional?

  4. Was the job completed in a timely manner? 

  5. Would you refer our company to someone else? 

BRANDING SURVEY

5 sample Rhino questions:

  1. Share 3 words you'd use to describe Rhino Construction?

  2. What do you think this company does?

  3. Is this logo trustworthy?

  4. Would you change any of the colors of this logo?

  5. What comes to mind when you look at this logo?

CONTRACTOR SURVEY

5 sample Rhino questions:

  1. How would you rate your experience with our contractor?

  2. Were they able to answer your questions or concerns?

  3. Would you like to work with this person again?

  4. Overall, how would you rate their performance?

  5. How could they improve the Rhino experience?

WEBSITE INTERVIEW

5 sample Rhino questions:

  1. Was the Rhino website easy to use?

  2. What would you change about it?

  3. How would you describe the Rhino site?

  4. What are you hoping to accomplish by visiting our website?

  5. What were you looking for on the website?

 

SURVEY SAYS!

My branding survey for Rhino Construction informed the owner and marketing about their image and what they could do. It was important to back up my findings with examples of best practices to help the client understand and not take results personally. Here are some telling questions:

  • What comes to mind when you look at this logo?

  • What do you think this company does?

  • Is this logo trustworthy?

The survey results came back with answers like Kids Sports Team, Toy Company, and Aggressive. I delivered these findings in person, prioritized the problems we can solve, and provided a plan for addressing those problems.

 

UPDATING THE BRAND

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STRONG & SIMPLE

Some of my early sketches were based on survey feedback. Customers requested: Stability, Experience, Reputation, Communication, and Professionalism.


I wanted the logo to show who Rhino is, what it does, and who Rhino is for. Most of my logos revolved around the theme of construction, rhinos, and the letters RC.

AS SOLID AS A RHINO

The logo font requirements were strength, free to install on every computer, and be legible. After presenting 6 options, the Google Font Black Han Sans Regular was chosen.

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"R" MAIN FOCUS

By incorporating a "residential home" or "industrial site" into the logo it might exclude potential clients. So I decided to focus on an R, a rhino, and use of color to indicate construction.

MEET MICHAELI

I named our main rhino Michaeli after the Latin name (Diceros Bicornis Michaeli). The profile of a rhino best displayed its features, appeared less aggressive, and a realistic image provided a more grounded feel.

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PUTTING IT TOGETHER

After streamlining the rhino silhouette, removing the r's counter, and reducing the aperture size between the diagonal stroke our logo was done. In our sample follow up survey, we asked which colors best represented our services and yellow & orange were the winners.

 

RHINO CONSTRUCTION

 

Meet the new Rhino Construction. Based on our survey results, interviews, and branding updates, it was time to implement our findings. We had identified our audience, gotten to know our competitors, and developed our messaging.


Now it was time to decide what channels, assets, and campaign tactics will be the most important. The promotional plan was set to be completed before fall. My job was to lay the foundation for a better user experience. 

 
 

MAKE IT EASY FOR CLIENTS

There were some changes we immediately made to the site, like adding a "Request a Quote" option to every page. Other ideas came about through iteration and testing.

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DESIGNING A FLOOR PLAN

Before you can jump into building a house, you need a logical floor plan. I used my UX Kits - Website Deck to help remind the clients of possible options and wrote down additional ideas with dry erase on the back of the cards. 

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE: SKETCH

I wanted to take both the clients' and users' needs into account, improving upon the site's current functionality. In Sketch App, I've constructed a sketch web-flow library. It helps speed up IA tremendously and is something I can maintain myself.

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WIREFRAMES

We approved these wireframes in two rounds, skipping a mid-fidelity mockup. Content creation was clean and quick. Our mantra was, "show don't tell." The copy was kept brief, allowing images and testimonials to shine.

 

SERVICES PROVIDED

Rhino Construction acts as a new company. A company who's branding and accomplishments match. The new homepage helped them connect with new clients. To the tune of over 84% growth in online signups, surpassing phone requests.

 

DISCOVERY & STRATEGY

Baseline Evaluation
Research
Interviews & Surveys
Branding Strategy
Experience Strategy

UI/UX DESIGN

Information Architecture
Content Strategy
UX Strategy and Design
Interactive Design
Visual Design
Responsive Design

BRANDING

Branding Strategy
Visual Identity and Assets
Illustration
Brand Guidelines

COMMUNICATIONS

Messaging and Positioning
Verbal Identity
Communications Style Guides
Content Strategy
Content Production

 

FINAL RESULTS

INCREASED ONLINE QUOTE REQUESTS

GREW MARKETING
PRESENCE

DECREASED CLIENT TIME SPENT ON SITE

 

TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF

 

©2020 by Shawn Amaro