Totally Enhanced

Dawn Barber

Archive for the category “User Experience”

In the beginning there was the initiate phase…

If this is your first time starting on a project at the beginning of the initiate phase and feel nervous — you are not the alone.

There is a lot to weigh and to keep in focus when developing your strategy. Here is a list of things to keep in mind.

  1. Get a good understanding of the scope from the project manager so that you can see the big picture of what you will be able to do.
  2. You can ask for resources to help if the project has a tight timeline. You may not get all of the help you need if you have a small team. But asking for a business analyst to help you cover interviews for instance will get you closer to beginning the analysis of the data.
  3. Be flexible and learn about all of the techniques in the user experience professional’s toolbox.Know which technique gets the richest data and how long they take. Create a matrix of your list of techniques to quickly see which ones can be executed and/or paired in the given time.

For example: if you have a very short time line then pair phone interviews with help desk data. If your timeline is mediocre then pair task analysis with interviews and observations. If you have plenty of time then reality doesn’t exist for you.

Remember! Your strategy is a critical path and one of the most important pieces of the project the planning.

Lastly you may benefit from creating a project flowchart for your UEX team and PMO. The path will of course have some differences for each project. But keeping a best-case scenario to refer to is a nice solid foundation for you.

Design Documentation — Beyond CSS

I’ve heard it said that documents such as Functional Experience Design and Style Guides are a waste of time. Not always true (especially if you are on an ‘Over-the-Wall’ project).

At a recent party a friend said he only makes wireframes at his new job and doesn’t see any of the resulting visual design (consulting jobs can pigeon-hole you if you aren’t careful). “Gasp, you don’t get to see the visual design”? Our group was obviously stunned.

This is the perfect case for design documentation. Wireframes are not just a bunch of boxes and type. They can be loaded with concepts needing some sort of interpretation. If documentation isn’t part of your job description, then document your concepts anyway. If you don’t, you might be undermining the importance of wireframes.

The other case for careful documentation is the Style Guide. Even though CSS is ever reaching beyond font style and layout there is a need for a style guide. Particularly when sending overseas or even across country.

If you get word your documentation isn’t up-to-snuff, then find out why and fix it. Make it easier to get around the doc with jumps, easy-to-follow bullet lists or provide a quick reference list at the beginning of the doc for developers.

Improve your documentation just as you would your design abilities. I bet your clients will love you for it and the nay say-ers will bend their thoughts to support design documentation.

iPhone or no?

I have been mulling about getting an iPhone. That alone should be a good indicator I need one, right? But I love the phone I have already. It’s the Samsung Memoir. I bought it 2 years ago and has an 8mp camera. Does the iPhone have more megapixels these days?

My Samsung has all the zoom in/out, landscape, lighting capabilities you would expect. The only thing it doesn’t allow is true manipulation of depth of field. But it is just so handy. I’m afraid that if I get the iPhone I will hate it. But then I could be missing out. Any thoughts?

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