User Experience Design world is a well-established kingdom of acronyms and buzz words like UX, Agile UX etc. Today we are swimming in the sea of strange words risking catastrophe of miscommunication of our own field. Sometimes these strange words may differentiate important phenomenon and sometimes they’re… well just buzzwords trying to promote people who coined them.
What is Agile UX?
Agile UX is one of the most prominent software development methodologies. It has taken over the software-development world. Agile development has a lot of benefits: an incremental approach, the ability to change direction based on customer and stakeholder feedback, short time frames that keep the teams focused. The ultimate goal of Agile UX is to unify developers and designers in the Agile process of product development.
Another type of Agile UX method that is used in software development is Scrum. Agile software UX method with Scrum is often perceived as a scrum methodology
Scrum methodology: What’s Involved?
In the agile Scrum world, instead of providing complete, detailed explanation of how everything is to be done on a project, much of it is left up to the Scrum software development team. This is because the team will know best how to overcome the problem they are presented.
Within agile development, Scrum relies on a self-organizing, cross-functional team to perform specific roles. The first is a ScrumMaster, who can be thought of as a coach for the team and the other is the product owner who represents the business, customers or users, and guides the team toward building the right product. The last is the team, For software projects, a typical team includes a mix of software engineers, architects, programmers, analysts, QA experts, testers, and UI designers. Each sprint (run at full speed over a short distance), the team is responsible for determining how it will accomplish the work to be completed. The group has freedom and efficiency to achieve the goals of the sprint.
When several teams work on one product, they should generally use a single Product Owner and a single Product Backlog with customer-centric requirements. Each member of the team should try to build a feature team. And provide a complete part of the product which could be given to a user.
An agile workflow helps teams complete projects quickly, so industries like law and marketing have adopted similar methodologies. As per estimates, 69% of UX practitioners use an Agile UX workflow
Integrating UX into Agile
We are still solving the same problems and doing the same tasks. We need to change the way we work and find a different pattern for our UX workflow.
Agile is absolutely brilliant option for the UX Design discipline. Agile UX Design is completely a teamwork. Designers, developers, and managers make a team work on the different stage of the same problem continuously. This process help to solve problems fastly. The process is seen as a series of stages or increments. At each stage, it gives more focus on user experience and demands, after correcting their problem only it moves to next stage.
UX Agile best practices
The main aim of the Agile project is the user experience means user satisfaction. The software or design process reach it success mode, only it fulfills the user requirements otherwise it is a failure.
To make UX design more user-friendly, Agile planned a new concept called Chunk UX Design. It makes information easier to understand and remember by breaking it down into smaller groups, or chunks. Chunk UX design helps accommodate our limited capacity for processing information and storage in short-term memory.
Within agile development, It helps to divide the activities into small tasks. Each requirement should be ordered and give responsibility for each section by including user needs.Every decision must directly depend on user choice.
Google’s Design Sprint
When current process come to failure, don’t be upset and go back. Before that take a step back to re-iterate because strong design processes always space for iteration.
Google has developed a methodology to make the Agile UX design process fast and still offer valuable insight. It’s Design Sprint involves five phase
In the unpack phase, we bring everyone together and “unpack” all the knowledge of the problem within the team. The ideal team will include all representatives of sponsors, senior managers, marketers, designers, developers, customer service etc. Unpack sprint process is designed to be run by teams rather than individuals. That means everyone together and targeting in the same direction.
Sketch phase is just opposite to the first phase because it is an individual effort, not a team task. Here, the task is divided and give to everyone and aiming with a detailed solution to the problem. Sketch Design Sprint is very fast and it takes no time when things need changing it. The aim of sketch day is to get as many ideas down as possible.
3. Decision making
Making a decision is really about working out how our solutions may conflict with our objectives and factors like users, technology capacity, Business Drives and Budget. We should have an objective in our mind during the review and we want to review each factor and find its conflicts and also ideas to overcome it. Last part to note all ideas or prototype on a storyboard for specifying that each solution is apt for the user.
Prototype is a model of a product built to test on a single day by the user. Google suggests prototypes that are build using keynote templates or other tools help developers to make the model in a single day. Here we can use any tool of our choice and select one of the best that is suitable for rapid prototyping. Invite everyone to involve in each and every step.
The last stage of google sprint design and user involvement is a must factor for this phase. Everyone who involved in the test should note their findings and want to take these notes and summarize them at the end of the day. This will help us to conclude what needs iterating and improving.
When we make our UX design by using Google methodology, the ideate and test ideas can be predict quickly but we can’t substitute it for all design processes. Maybe it should take several months to finish it in the other design process. So Time is a precious factor in every process and our life. For the agile process, Time management is essential and make it so productive.
Time Management and Time Boxing
Today no one has time to wait and now we are living in “Want it now” world. Time never waits for anyone, we want to use it efficiently according to our needs. Likewise, we can not go back to what we were doing, so just limit our time per session of our process.
In Time management, timeboxing allocates a fixed time period, called a time box, to each planned activity. It helps to avoid this pitfall while working Agile is to learn to timebox.
There are many tools and techniques to help with timeboxing. “Focus” is one of the tools that help to use on our desktop, iPhone or Apple Watch. It helps us to set up several tasks in for a short span of time and also give 5min breaks between the task.
The Pomodoro Technique is another practice that helps teams work together in an Agile environment. This technique is used to breaking the project into several time-boxed tasks and help to scope the project, as well estimating the cost. Both apps can be download from App Store.
Another well-known tool is Rally. This software that helps teams record tasks in a time-boxed manner a and very useful in an agile environment. We will get frequent feedback and adjust the scope to meet your business goals. This frequent feedback helps the team to reject ideas that not effective and accept the one that shows more efficiency.
Agile better called ‘Team Work’
Teamwork is something that most people take for granted. Agile forces people from different backgrounds to work together on the Agile team . Agile practices in Design process provide the time and space for teams to collaborate and build relationships with each other.
Any team can be collaborative, but it takes a lot of motivation and effort from everyone.
Multidisciplinary teamwork is one of the success criteria in both user-centered approaches and agile method. It helps to find suitable team members. Multidisciplinary teamwork depends on
- Putting together, creating and supporting team.
- Doing all significant teamwork in given workshops
- Imagining and citing the team’s achievement from the process.
In the Agile environment, The Teamwork can only be beneficial if the team members enhance the goals and planning of the process. So it is important that they actually show the different aspects of the problem or solution space and are aware of their own role in the team.The team must treat people’s ideas and concerns as equally important, irrespective of each team member’s position or power, or they won’t feel motivated to contribute. The team must also have the flexibility to change its course then only we can easily abandon one idea for another.
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