User Experience (UX)
B2S have been designing and building digital solutions for over twenty years and have been designing and developing mobile apps since their conception. During this time, we have developed a process for researching and identifying the elements required to develop the best User Experience (UX) in all the applications and solutions we build for our Clients. B2S resources are comfortable working as standalone entities or as part of a collaborative team.
B2S has continued to develop and implement systems and methodologies for great UX outcomes. UX means more than just the product interface; it encompasses the whole experience a person will have with the application, its language and its function and how it relates back to the brand and the user’s identification and understanding of that brand. This leads to an overall improvement in user satisfaction with a product.
UX is continuing to evolve and B2S makes a point of evolving with it. B2S has proven experience with NZ govt agencies such as NZ Customs, CAA, and Nursing Council as well as private and commercial companies. B2S proven methodologies are often adjusted to best fit our customer needs, but we propose to build our bespoke practice.
Partnership Delivery Process
B2S has worked with several organisations and adopted the Agile approach to project management and are familiar with Prince II methodologies.
While we are happy to adopt the methodologies above we have found that these processes and procedures can be problematic and sometimes cumbersome. Our collaborative approach, while closest to the Agile methodology, significantly reduces the costs but also provides the same robust outcomes, whilst stripping away some of the bureaucracy involved that can often stifle a project and considerably delay the outcome.
We work with our clients to identify their needs and build solutions accordingly, using some or all of the following process components.
Various elements from the following list are selected to create a tailored or bespoke plan for each individual client project. B2S also uses various online development PM tools such as Jira to allocate specific design and build tasks to the appropriate software development team.
Examples of our UX Methodologies
Service design blueprints – tool for simultaneously depicting the service process, the points of customer contact, and the evidence of the service from the customer’s point of view.
End to end experience design – how a product is promoted, how a user is onboarded, how the user interacts on multiple devices, how engagement and retention are measured and fed back into the development cycle.
Consumer journey maps – a diagram that explores the multiple (sometimes invisible) steps taken by consumers as they engage with the service. Allows designers to frame the consumer’s motivations and needs in each step of the journey, creating design solutions that are appropriate for each.
Personas – a snapshot of the target audience that highlights demographics, behaviours, needs, and motivations through the creation of a fictional character. Personas make it easier for designers to create empathy with consumers throughout the design process.
Value proposition – in the early stages of development we walk through this with clients to try and reduce the product definition down to its key tasks of what it is, who it is for and when/where it will be used. This helps the team narrow down and create consensus around what the product will be.
Ethnography – sometimes called deep hanging out, this is the systematic study of people and their culture. It allows the observation of how people work rather than why, what language they use between themselves and looks at the shortcuts and methods users devise to achieve outcomes their way.
Stakeholder interviews – stakeholder interviews both internally and externally help to gather insight into the requirements, needs, and goals. These interviews help to prioritise features and define KPI’s.
Brainstorming – the collective process of generating constraint-free ideas that respond to a given creative brief. Allows the team to visualize a broad range of design solutions before deciding which one to stick with.
Mood boards – a collaborative collection of images and references that will eventually evolve into a product’s visual style guide. Allows creatives to show clients and colleagues a proposed look for the product before investing too much time on it.
Storyboards – illustrates the series of actions that consumers need to take while using the product. Translates functionalities into real-life situations, helping designers create empathy with the consumer while having a first look at the product scope.
Task analysis – a breakdown of the required information and actions needed to achieve a task. Helps designers and developers understand the current system and its information flows. Makes it possible to allocate tasks appropriately within the new system.
Taxonomies – an exploration of multiple ways to categorize content and data: topics in a news site, product categories in an e-commerce etc. Assists designers in defining the content structure to support the user’s and the organization’s goals.
Content audit – the act of listing all content available on a website. This list will come in handy at various stages of the project: see the big picture, define the content strategy, and check the details of each page.
Heuristic analysis – a detailed analysis of a product that highlights good and bad practices, using known interaction design principles as guidelines. Helps you visualize the current state of the product in terms of usability, efficiency, and effectiveness of the experience.
Wireframes – a visual guide that represents the page structure, as well as its hierarchy and key elements. Useful to discuss ideas with team members and clients, and to assist the work of designers and developers.
Sitemap – one of the most iconic IA deliverables, consists of a diagram of the website’s pages organized hierarchically. It makes it easy to visualize the basic structure and navigation of a website.
Features roadmap – a product’s evolution plan with prioritized features. It could be a spreadsheet, a diagram or even a bunch of sticky notes. Shares the product strategy with the team and the road that needs to be taken to achieve its vision.
Use cases and scenarios – a comprehensive list of scenarios that happen when users are interacting with the product: logged in, not logged in, first visit etc. Ensures that all possible actions are thoroughly considered, as well as the system behaviour in each scenario.
User interview / Focus group – a panel of people discussing a specific topic or question. Teaches about the users’ feelings, opinions, and even language. Useful when the target audience is new or unknown for the team.
Usability testing – one-to-one interviews in which the user is asked to perform a series of tasks in a prototype or a product. Validates and collects feedback of flows, design, and features.
Card sorting – a technique that consists in asking users to group content and functionalities into open or closed categories. Gives you input on content hierarchy, organization, and flow.
A/B Testing – offering alternative versions of your product to different users and comparing the results to find out which one performs better. Great for optimizing funnels and landing pages.
Prototypes – a prototype is a simulation of the website navigation and features, commonly using clickable wireframes or layouts. It’s a quick and dirty way to test and validate a product before fully developing it.
Pattern library – a hands-on library that provides examples (and code) of interaction design patterns to be used across tools (websites, apps). It not only promotes consistency but also makes it easier to improve elements as needed.
An Example of a Bespoke Methodology
Due to funding and project restraints, only certain methodologies can be initiated on a project. As a result, we create a bespoke methodology that fits the client’s procedures, internal processes and project requirements.
Below is an example of a recent project. Due to an NDA agreement, we cannot give you the details of the client, but we can show what methodologies we used and the different stages of the process. We have also shown images to illustrate the process. The images do not necessarily belong to the project discussed but do show some of the deliverables discussed below.
The client wanted to create a more usable online application form for international users to apply for the right to work in New Zealand. Depending on which country the applicant was applying from, the forms architecture would create different questions or requirements to upload different documents for the user. As the process could take three years to complete, the form had to allow users to log in, fill in certain data, wait for feedback and provide either different uploads or new information.
The project started with the creation of the following:
- Value propositions
- Stakeholder meetings
- Heuristic evaluation
- Customer service maps
- Detailed task analysis
- Use cases and scenarios
The above documents gave B2S an overview of the project and what the client wanted to achieve. B2S then created the following:
- Fully working prototype
- Usability testing