Fabio Demarchi

by | Jan 16, 2020

3 imagicle steps to designing a strong user experience.

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Consistency and ease in the user experience are huge undertakings, but here at Imagicle we have embraced them! In fact, UXD is fully integrated within our Agicle process: the 9 phases of the UX are treated as an item in a product backlog, and managed as any item during the entire development lifecycle of a feature. Find out our three Imagicle steps to provide relevant and significant experiences to users based on their behavior analysis, improve the way they interact with the apps and thus enhance overall user satisfaction.

User Experience: 3 Imagicle steps

It’s difficult to find a single definition for User Experience Design (UXD). Maybe it would be better to start from what UXD is not.  

 
 
Well, first of all, it’s not just design. That, indeed, would be a partial definition that doesn’t include all the skills involved in the process. As I wrote in my previous article, we can say that helping people “to complete their tasks easily and smoothly is my job; making people happy while using Imagicle products is my vocation”. 
User Experience design, then, is more about understanding and studying the users’ behavior and needs to achieve a better product experience: not simply finding the right place for a button. joystick 
 
The most correct thing to do, therefore, seems to be a more holistic analysis of UX Design as a discipline.
 
Here at Imagicle, we started following a UX path made up of several steps (9 main phases to be exact). As the study for a new feature or improvement begins – after the first context and business analysis, corresponding to phase 1 – we enter the second phase: Planning.
 
In this article, I’m going to tell you about the 3 steps of Planning:
  • User stories: analysis of personas, stories, and scenario; 
  • User flows: the creation of users’ flow based on the scenarios, useful for designing user journeys and wireframes;
  • Red routes: definition of priorities and obstacles along the user’s journey.

Step one: user stories. 

The main questions at this stage, which allows us to lay the foundations for writing our users stories are (they may seem trivial and obvious, but they are not at all!):
 
  • Who are the users?
  • Do they need what we are working on?
  • Is this feature useful, and does it solve problems for the user?
  • Is this feature easy to understand and use?
 
To answer this questions at best, we must work on personas. Basically, we build cards based on the behavior, pain, and goals of every group of users involved. In this way, we can always take into consideration the peculiarities of each user without losing sight of the final goal.
These cards are also useful to track user stories as accurately as possible, taking into consideration the objectives and problems that our customers may have. 
Once the base line has been drown, we are ready to start with our user stories, running through all the possible scenarios of use and iteration. 
 
At this stage, the main thing is empathy
Identifying yourself with your users and creating usage paths is the most complicated part of this job. 

Step two: user flows.

Thanks to case studies, usage data, interviews, and studies of psychological profiles, we can trace the paths, identify the key points, and start evaluating the scenarios we have imagined.

Here the horizon begins to lighten, and we start seeing the first practical applications of our features. We can now analyze the problems in detail and set the first metrics that will allow us to ascertain whether the results obtained reflect the users’ expectations.

 
In an early stage, user flows can be represented as flow charts. The simple structure of the flow charts allows you to concentrate better on the passages and on the various roads that the use of a feature can take.
 
Here are some examples:
  • What happens if the user presses the button?
  • And if he/she presses another one?
  • Once the operation is completed, what type of feedback should he/she get?
  • If he/she doesn’t complete the operation, can he/she resume it later?
 
And so on… 
It is a continuous matter of questioning, progressing, validating, reworking, modifying. As long as all the pieces of the puzzle aren’t in place and the flow isn’t clear and functional, you can’t proceed to the next stage! The story must progress smoothly from the start to the end, from the entry point to the exit point, evaluating all the middle conditions that can intrude or facilitate this journey. 
 
Details such as animations, microcopies, and graphic elements will be inserted and evaluated only later. They can wait: here we are working on the real user experience, the one that gives added value to the product.
 
As the flow takes shape, levels of detail are added: you start knocking out wireframes, thinking about the hierarchy of information and consolidating the user journeys. Now that we have all the elements to make our assessments, we can move on to the next step: Red routes

Step three: red routes.

In this last step, the red routes are defined to allow prioritization of the elements so that we can break down the obstacles by examining the user journeys. To do this, we can draw a graph crossing the use frequency of a feature (from rarely to always) with the amount users that will use it (from few to all).
Now, thanks to the research and the steps done previously, we are able to insert the elements into the correct boxes. This way, we can have a global vision not only of the usefulness of specific functionalities, but also to establish an order of priority in their development.
 
This type of exercise allows us to review each stage point by point, measuring it on a more user-centric than feature centric order.

So does it all end here? 

Not at all! From here on, everything becomes more colorful and detailed, and our ideas can finally take shape turn into reality, entering fully into the Agile development process as described in the posts collected in our Agile Handbook.
All these processes require a lot of attention to detail and a lot of time to ensure that the product is really able to match the needs of users and the market opportunities based on an ever-evolving technology. 
 
Our constant commitment to UX and our dedication and attention to detail is what makes us proud of each release. 
In the next articles, we’ll see the next Imagicle steps to make our products more useful and more pleasant to use.
 
Do not get lost!
There are some nice surprises along the way!
 
 
 
 
#stayimagicle

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