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Process


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Process


It’s taken us more than eight years and hundreds of projects to refine the process we use to deliver great digital products.

 
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Kickoff


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Kickoff


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Every new project, release, or phase begins with the entire team and stakeholders coming together to discuss the problem to be solved


Start with Why.

If we don’t care, no one else will. Let’s get clear on why we’re personally excited to embark on this journey.

Vitamins vs Painkillers.

Vitamins are "nice to have." Not "need to have." But try walking a mile with a rock in your shoe. It hurts! You’re going to be looking for a fix every step of the way. Let’s strive to understand and solve for people’s source of pain — the main problem we intend to solve. Is it a problem people care about? What’s the most important aspect?

Identify the Mission and Audience.

What’s our mission and who is our ideal user? Are there enough people who have this problem? Are we solving the problem for this market?

Output

  • Kickoff Deck
  • Rough Project Schedule
  • Setup Weekly Check-ins
  • Persona Development
  • Inspiration Gallery
  • Content Audit
  • Stakeholder/User interviews

Think Ahead: Investigate

We’re about to dig into more research, so gather up any relevant documents, data, and analytics you have.

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Investigate


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Investigate


Researching the problem and vertical. Understanding the customer’s needs, behaviors, and desires. Conducting stakeholder interviews, digesting documentation and analytics, competitive analysis

Unpack Everything.

Audit any existing content, brand assets, documents, data, and analytics. 

Talk. Listen. Observe.

Talk to users. Talk to competitors. Talk to users about competitors. Better yet, go see for yourself and make observations. There’s nothing more eye-opening than watching a real person struggle through an experience. Talk to people within the organization who have specific expertise. For example, the Customer Service department often has valuable insights about a problem. Find examples of competitors and non-competitors who solve a similar problem. Analyze how can we improve on the pros and avoid the cons.

Output

  • Persona Development
  • Stakeholder/User interviews
  • Survey Results
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Behavioral Analysis
  • Gap Analysis
  • Review and audit existing assets: UX, Design, Code
  • Experience Maps
  • User Flows

Think Ahead: Align

Now is a good time to look around for inspiration. Get curious. Check in on who is doing the best work right now.

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Align


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Align


Taking into account the latest research and recommendations, the team and stakeholders regroup to confirm alignment around project goals and priorities.

Get on the Same Page.

A team is made up of individuals — individuals with their own perspectives, beliefs and agendas. One of the most common mistakes teams make is thinking that everyone is magically on the same page, when that couldn't be farther from the truth. Better to err on the side of over-communication and ultra-clarification to make sure that everyone understands and can articulate the project mission and goals. Get it all down on paper for future reference.

Define Success.

What does success look like? Now is a great time to talk about success metrics. Check out Kerry Rodden’s HEART framework as a starting point.

 

Output

  • Project Brief
  • Product Mission Statement
  • Audience Definition
  • Use Case Definition
  • Success Metrics Summary
  • Early requirements gathering

Think Ahead: Ideate

The sooner we can get something clickable, the better. Solicit feedback regularly and consistently. 

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Ideate


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Ideate


Put Ideas on Paper (or Whiteboards).

Find the Flow.

There’s always a flow. How are the main tasks accomplished? What decisions are made along the way? How do people discover the product? Map it all out using whiteboards, sketches, and wire flows.

Solve the Main Problem.

Most of the team’s energy should be focused on solving the main problem efficiently and better than anyone else.

Be Empathetic.

Use empathy for inspiration. Imagine being in the user’s shoes. What emotions would you be experiencing? The team must wrap their heads around the user’s point of view before they can translate the story into words, visuals and interactions.

Output

  • Sketches
  • Inspiration Gallery
  • Brand Boards

Think Ahead: Prototype

The sooner we can get something clickable, the better. Solicit feedback regularly and consistently. 

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Prototype


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Prototype


Once there’s a solid approach to solving the main problem sketched out, it’s time to start prototyping.

 

See it in Action.

Prototypes can range from paper all the way to functioning interfaces with real data. It really depends on what needs to validated. We generally use a tool called Invision to translate our designs into clickable prototypes.

Set it in Motion.

Animation in software design is becoming increasingly important. Now is a good time to start exploring interface behavior using motionography. The right animatic could be the spark of innovation needed for a fresh new approach.

Output

  • Key Screen Mock ups
  • Concept Prototype
  • Motion Concepts
  • Brand Story Template

Think Ahead: Validate

Requirements are refined. Database and infrastructure are established while ideas and prototypes are in progress. 

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Validate


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Validate


Get the prototype in front of your audience. If that’s not possible, bribe friends, family and colleagues. 

Get People Tapping.

Get the prototype in front of your audience. If that’s not possible, bribe friends, family and colleagues. 

“The first rule of research is don’t listen to users. Instead, observe their behavior.” says Tomer Sharon, Google Search User Experience Researcher. 

Avoid yes/no questions. Skip numerical response. Focus on questions about repeated behaviors.

Test Your Riskiest Assumption.

At this point, we’re working off many assumptions and not much to back them up.  We need come up with a way to test the one most core assumption. According to Tomer Sharon, Google Search User Experience Researcher, “If the riskiest assumption is not true, then the whole idea falls apart,”

 

Output

  • Adjusted scope and estimates
  • User Flow Architecture
  • Feature Requirements Doc
  • Technical Research
  • Assumption Test
  • Pitch Deck

Think Ahead: Build

HTML and App Development begin as design elements and are completed and refined. It’s still a bit early to dive fully into branding, but we should start seeing some emerging themes or motifs that could be the foundation for the brand system.

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Build


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Build


We’ve validated our ideas and finally have a clearer picture of what we’re building. It's time to go into production-mode.

Focus on what's important.

You’ve entered the mysterious and magical domain of software engineering. It’s challenging, complicated, and frustrating. In a good way! As your engineering pals dig in, they will discover untold corner cases never accounted for to this point.

Product owners and leaders need to keep the team focused on what’s important and make key decisions about what should be prioritized. Features may need to be held for a future release or cut completely. The biggest risk is allowing developers to spin on something trivial, while areas of importance are not getting enough attention.

Love is in the Pixels.

For digital creators, love is expressed in pixels. Any project is filled with tiny decisions that may seem petty when looked at individually, but collectively they are the body language your brand wears out in the in the world — distinguishing you from other organizations.

Good Design Builds Trust. Great Design Builds Loyalty.

Design is subjective, but users have acquired certain expectations around what a quality piece of software is and is not. Good designers make choices that assure users your brand can be trusted and counted on.

Output

  • Copywriting
  • Content Organizational Plan
  • Pitch Deck
  • Logo Design
  • Iconography
  • UI Kits & Pattern Sheets
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Native Mobile Design
  • Native Tablet Design
  • Motion Graphics and Animation
  • Custom Illustration
  • Character Design
  • Marketing Website
  • Explainer Video

 


Think Ahead: Launch

If you don’t have a Marketing or PR plan in place, it’s never too early to start planting seeds. Our team may already be working on a video and website to support the product launch.

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Test


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Test


An Eight Bit Quality Assurance Analyst is ready for action, having already been part of requirements gathering, sprint planning, prototype reviews, and design annotation.

QA & UAT Testing.

The QA Analyst works closely with the project developers, recording issues and updates with our internal tracking tool other client documentation needs

We conduct thorough internal QA testing which is built into our project estimate. We also account for user acceptance testing (UAT) as a series of check points every two weeks, once integration begins between design, UX and application development.

Output

  • Functional testing
  • GUI testing
  • Compatibility testing

Think Ahead: Launch

Who’s going to respond to customer inquiries? You need a plan. If you’re expecting lots of traffic, let’s make sure we have accounted for it. If you don’t have a Marketing/PR plan in place, it’s time to get one in place. Our team may already be working on a video and website to support the product launch.

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Birth


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Birth


It’s time to have this baby.

Deploy

Time to hit send and release this beast into the wild. If only it were that simple. Depending on the application and platforms, there can be a lot to consider and plan for to ship this code. We have a 20-point checklist for the iTunes app store alone, which includes screenshots, app description, pricing and more, This isn’t our first rodeo, so we’ll guide the process. 

Output

  • Final source code
  • Deploy application to store(s)
  • Hosting Setup and Deployment

Think Ahead: Optimize

Remember way back in phase 1 when we defined what success would look like? Now is the time to check the graphs to make sure the data is being captured and flowing where it should.

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Now What?


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Now What?


If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. Now the real fun begins. You have a business to run and we have software to maintain.

Support and Maintenance.

Software is unpredictable and often frustrating. All the testing in the world can’t predict what’s about to happen when new users discover, download and dig into your product. We’ll be ready and willing to troubleshoot if and when issues arise.

Team Transition.

We can provide assistance and training to help with any knowledge transfer for your team up and running.

Watch and Learn.

You have data, analytics, and hopefully customer feedback coming your way. Are you looking at it? Shake off that one bad review, but if you start hearing consistent comments, investigate. Remember the advice from Tomer Sharon mentioned earlier, “The first rule of research is don’t listen to users. Instead, observe their behavior.”

Start with Small Tweaks.

Don’t make sweeping changes until you’ve done your due diligence. If you’ve ever played around with Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising like Google Adwords, you understand how small changes effect the big picture. Just tweaking headline copy or changing a few photos can draw people in or push them away. You’ll never know unless you try.

Innovate.

Remember way back in phase 1 when we defined what success would look like? Now is the time to check the graphs to make sure the data is being captured and flowing where it should. The technology landscape is ever-changing with new networks and platforms emerging all the time. It’s worth keeping an eye on these new developments. but before jumping into new waters, make sure the current product is serving the needs of existing customers.