Design Diary: 4-week venture UX

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In preparation for making another Skillshare class, I decided to do a Friday diary of what I do each week. I’m on a four-week UX design project for a new venture; here’s week one (only 2 days, post-vacation).

Background

CONTEXT: New venture in the insurance industry. Opportunities, insights, journey maps, and V1 concepts have been created. Brand strategy is in progress.

BRIEF: 4-week sprint to do the UX for three V2 concepts. With this agency, “UX design” usually includes product strategy, content strategy, low-fidelity wireframes, and high-fidelity mockups.

TEAM: A product manager/strategist, a business researcher/strategist, a brand/visual designer, and me (a product/UX designer/strategist)

Week 1

Prior to start:

  1. Design brief of framing questions I need answered

    • Background (business goals, previous design work)

    • Product audiences (for each: role, goal, current workflow, pain points, preferences)

    • Competitive landscape (threats, opportunities)

    • Project scope (process, deadlines, success metrics)

    • Tech or design constraints (platforms, devices, bandwidth, etc)

Thursday 1/7

  1. Onboarding meeting and reading, to understand past work and specific context

  2. Notion project page of resources for myself

    • Quick Links

    • Competitive Links

    • Meeting Notes

    • Email Notes

    • Jargon Dictionary

    • Design Priorities / Work Plan

  3. Sketchy wireframes of key moments, to make sure I understand jargon and project priorities

  4. Notes on vendor demo, to capture available functionality

  5. Flowchart of current system logic, to identify conditions that would trigger UI

  6. Diagram of objects in system (OOUX model), to feed feature ideas (with nouns and verbs)

Friday 1/8

  1. Content outlines (UI shorthand listing what people SEE and DO at each key moment in the journey), to get confirmation on my ideas for content and functionality

  2. IA research of structural models (list from Designing Interfaces), as possible formats for entire page or individual components

  3. Sketchy wireframe v1 of concept 1 with max dummy content, to develop and test structure

  4. Team review of wires, to refine strategy and content

CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS

  • Understanding jargon — made a list in Notion to refer back to

  • Creating content — revisited stakeholder notes for priorities and language, dug into journey map for features and workflows, created object model for nouns/verbs, dug through documents for dummy text

  • Page layout — did content outlines (aka UI shorthand / page description diagrams / information hierarchy / numbered lists) to clarify priorities and content with team

INSIGHTS

  • Lists are the best tool! UI is often distracting, and not as good for getting SPECIFIC answers on content.
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Week 2

(4 days because that’s my max for this kind of superdense cerebral work)

Monday 1/10

  1. (prep for and do retro of previous project)

  2. Sketchy wireframes v2 (concept 1 states), to stress-test template and define needs and draft content for discussion

  3. SME review of wires, to confirm most valuable features

  4. Flowchart v2 for SME review

Tues 1/11

  1. Desk research to clarify competitive differentiators and find analogous inspo

  2. Brainstorming on new HMW questions, to generate new feature/execution ideas

  3. Content strategy (detailed outline and colored-box wireframes), to clarify the information, functionality, specific language, and priorities, and try different layout variations

  4. Sketchy wireframes v3 (concept 1 details), to deal with the fuller scope of expected content

  5. Product manager review of wires, to confirm alignment with business strategy

Weds 1/12

  1. Sketchy wireframes v4 (concept 1 variations) — 3 different product models expressing 3 different value props, to facilitate discussion and selection of core value prop

  2. Team review of wires, to confirm leading direction and clarify differentiating features

  3. Sketchy wireframes v5 (concept 1 features), including null state for onboarding and microinteraction design for key elements, to prepare for SME review

  4. Brand design review, to see and discuss how the visual design direction is proceeding

Thurs 1/13

  1. SME review of wires, to confirm most valuable features and execution

  2. Clickable prototype (sketchy wireframes v6) of concept 1, for presentation to investors

  3. Product planning meeting to decide concept 2

CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS

  • Bike shedding (fixating on the small details instead of the big decisions) — it was hard to find the right level of design and discussion detail between strategic, conceptual thinking and detailed product interaction thinking (which shouldn’t be done until strategy is final); I just kept pausing in reviews to try to make sure we were staying high-level enough to be strategic

  • Misunderstanding — doing an insurance product involves a LOT of jargon, so it was extra important to confirm team members were interpreting words or layouts in the same way

  • End-of-week fatigue — my brain was melting so I started the last day by reorganizing some things in my apartment to satisfy my OCD-ness and create some momentum

INSIGHTS

  • Pauses are good! Working in sprints, it can be hard to stop running and take a breath to make sure you’re doing the right work

Week 3

(4 days)

Monday 1/17

  1. Sketchy wireframes v6 expansion (two more screens), to show one more differentiating feature for concept 1

  2. Concept 2 kickoff, reviewing the opportunities and context in the design brief

Tuesday 1/18

  1. Sketchy wires v1 for concept 2
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