Imagine you are on a team that needs to create a new app/product/service proposed by the executive team for your company. The business team scrambles to figure out which problems they are solving for, nevermind what the solution should be. As a UX professional, you are waiting to hear from the business as to what they want to do, but they want you to just dive in and help them “see it.” In the early stages of defining a product/project, the only way to get started solving a problem is to use various visualization styles to help define the problem and create a solution simultaneously. Prototypes can help define project scope, but sometimes a simple flow diagram, site map, wireframe or other visualization tools help the business figure out what this could be – short- and long-term. The challenge with prototypes is that they can sometimes give the impression that a problem has been solved and on its way to be built when in fact the project is still only a nebulous vision that could change the next week.
UX and the business need to partner to create a vision and effectively communicate the problem and solution to the technology team. Everyone needs to be talking a similar language – and only visualizations can help.
I outline a methodology that addresses how UX can work with all teams and help the business gain clarity during the those early, nebulous phases of a new project.
— Step 1: The Big Vision: discuss what could it be, where could it go, where could it grow – everything but the kitchen sink (and then some) is included (and encouraged to be discussed)
— Step 2: Reality Hits: prioritize what’s needed to go to market
— Step 3: Define Release: define structure to determine release schedules and launch date
This takes longer than a couple of weeks, but it is a fast-track approach to helps a team focus to get something to market. The types of visualizations used span from traditional site maps and wireframes to other maps and models (included in the talk) that give life to a changing idea.
This concludes with an activity/discussion with the audience as to how this approach could help give definition before a team gets started with Iteration One.