I don’t offer a “UX process”

My current employer is much like others in that it has a product management process, an engineering process, a design process, a customer onboarding process, a customer support process, etc.

What do you notice? That’s right – each discipline group has a separate process. But what is it we are trying to ship?

If you turn on a machine, and hammers come out, it’s a machine designed to make hammers.

Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children’s Zone (paraphrased from memory)

We’re trying to ship a problem-solving, efficient, coherent, usable, pleasant, and effective piece of software. So our process, the design of our organization, needs to be arranged such that this is what the machine produces. We’re not trying to ship a little bit of engineering, a little bit of design, a little bit of support, and a little bit of product management all shaken up in a bag.

So I don’t offer a UX process. I talk about what the product development team needs to do informationally to get from the customer need to the satisfaction of that need. You’ve heard this before from me:

  • Benefit: What benefit do our customers need? What problem are we solving?
  • Concept: What concepts can we come up with to deliver that benefit? Which concept should we deliver? How should it work?
  • Detail: How should it work specifically? As we work on this are we maintaining or improving usability, intelligibility, functionality, appeal?
  • In Use: Are users successful in using it? How might we help them be more successful?

You’ll note that “In Use” folds right back into “Benefit” and the cycle continues.

The specifics of each informational phase might be organization-specific, but you’ll need to harness all of the faculties of the product development organization, including (but not limited to) product management, design, engineering, customers, and users to do a good job in each phase. So this should be a single, integrated process.