“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
Why and How We Do UX/UI in The Agile Way?
In the software development industry, we all know that there are several methods of SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) each method has different pros and cons, depending on the project’s characteristics, resource limitations, and many other factors. Therefore, as an essential part of an SDLC, we need to carefully consider the best approach for applying UX process in a project, in order to deliver the most “luxurious” outcomes of UX/UI design within the limited resources.
Choosing the right process ensures the execution runs smoothly — Easy as “bike”
Our favorite one to apply is “the customized Agile UX”, and the reasons are:
We love to create the most user-friendly product for end-users, so we are willing to adapt “wisely” the changes, in order to be aligned with the user’s needs (which could be changed regularly).
We love to boost client’s business, so we are willing to make improvements in the product to keep it to be always “competitive” in the market.
So how could we manage UX/UI in an Agile way? We briefly describe our UX process in certain topics below. (Keep in mind that every party has different approaches on applying the process to daily work, so below process could work perfectly for our team but not 100% feasible to adapt to any other team, depending on team characteristics)
“The best process is the one which is customized to boost the productivity of actors while still ensuring the quality of deliverables.”
# UX Product Backlog
UX team and stakeholders, who could be Product Owner, Project Leader or Marketing Managers sit together and define the UX product backlog based on product strategy, with prioritizing the features and the tasks in order to help the UX team have an overview on which are the most important things to do.
How the backlog should look like in the beginning
# UX Sprint Backlog
Based on the UX backlog, we prioritize the most important tasks to do within a sprint, so it is easier to manage the scope, easy to plan for the development team as well as for the product strategy.
And this is how it looks like after having Sprint planning
# UX Sprint Cycles
In the sprint, we implement/execute the UX sprint backlog, the tasks could be a variety as listed below:
Research and Analysis: The team will do the research on the business domain, user personas, competitors products, target markets etc. you name it. To have a deep understanding of the going-to-be-built product and the end-users.
Architecture: Based on the outcomes of the Research and Analysis phase, the team starts making the architecture of the product, it could be varied from the sitemap, screen flow/user flow to IA (Information Architecture) or UML diagrams with user interactions/business logic. Doing this helps to have an overview of product scope and architecture, so it is easy to maintain the flow whenever there are changes and make sure the flow goes smoothly or the user can reach needed elements with minimum interactions.
Wireframe: The team starts the iterations of sketching and wireframing and validating, in order to demonstrate quickly the functionalities of the product. This will be a continuous improvement process, containing usability testing as well as review meetings with stakeholders to make sure the flow and the function we are making adapt user’s needs/business needs.
Hi-Fi User Interface: After finalizing the wireframe for specific functions within planning sprints, we will start making pixel-perfect User Interface, to visualize the final look and feel of the functions. Sometimes this includes prototyping as well to demonstrate exactly how the product reacts to user’s interactions. This will be also the continuous improvement process by executing usability testing and review meetings regularly.
Assets Generating: With the supporting from a powerful tool like Figma, we can easily communicate the assets with the development team, by delivering the element specifications so the developers can use them to implement the product.
Let’s see if we can clean the stickers effectively
Depending on the projects, the team usually use world-class tools like Jira or Confluence to store the document properly, we embed the design from Figma to corresponding Confluence page in order to deliver the design to the stakeholder. This makes sure (1) the project documents are stored in proper place, cloud-based (2) stakeholders can always refer to the latest revision of the documents and (3) it is easy to share the documents to relevant people.
The Lego bricks are now pixel-perfect arranged and visualized exactly the final product
# Evaluation and Improvements
Delivery is not the end of our process, as we continue receiving feedback from users or customers to improve our design, whenever there is feedback, we gather them into UX improvements backlog, evaluate the critical impacts to see how critical the improvement is.
The stickers are back again, ready to improve the product!
# Wrap up
With the huge number of projects we have been working on, we see Agile UX is one of the best approaches to execute UX/UI Design in the projects, which have unstable requirements in the beginning. Of course with the huge advantages of Agile and how flexible it is, it also requires a lot of experience and proactiveness from the designers, in order to apply the process smoothly and boost the productivity to the highest.
Still, at the end of the day, the process is only considered as good, when the quality of deliverable is good within limited resources. So it’s not all about which process you choose, it’s about how you apply/custom the process properly.
- Author: Ky Pham - UI/UX Designer from Sioux High-Tech Software -
Sioux is active in various international high-tech markets and focuses on developing and making software with impact and smart modules for OEMs. We increase the quality of products and processes, speed up the time-to-market and reduce costs. Sioux knows the clients' knowledge areas and critical market processes to allow accurate multidisciplinary innovative hardware and software solutions.
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