User experience design is the practice of identifying the motivations and desires of users and creating solutions that meet their real-world needs
Also called user-centred design, participatory design, goal-directed design, cooperative design and empathetic design, it is grounded in research which focuses on the user.
But it’s not ALL about the user *gasp*
The needs of the user are only one part of the larger picture; they must be considered in conjunction with a thorough understanding of the domain and your technical and organisational requirements.
We understand that your organisation has goals and targets, technology has limits and that we don’t know everything about every industry. All of the factors must be researched, scrutinised, and carefully considered to create a successful solution. Because Venn diagrams are so passé, we call the process of balancing these various elements harmoniously, honourable compromise.
How do we do it?
We talk to and observe users in their natural environments through contextual enquiry and ethnographic research; or watch them use your (and your competitors’ websites) in our lab to identify issues and opportunities.
We talk to subject matter experts to understand the status quo, the company vision and the critical success factors.
We liaise with the technical implementation team to understand system capabilities and where we can push the limits. We pore over site statistics and scour the Internet to identify other systems that can be used as benchmarks and sources of inspiration (or to be avoided like the plague). Then we put it all in a big pot, stir it around and start brainstorming creative ideas and solutions.
What sets the Boomworks experience apart is our inclusive collaboration process.
We gather our user experience, creative and technical team members together and brainstorm at the outset. This allows us to draw on the collective experience and explore feasible (crazy) ideas that can be conceptualised immediately through visuals, wireframes and working prototypes. The best ideas are folded into a solution – sometimes there are enough good ideas to create two or three possible solutions which can be pitted against each other in the usability testing ring.
Test it. Rinse and repeat.
We believe in usability testing – so much so we built our own testing lab. It has a really big mirror. Some people don’t believe in mirrors, but we think you can learn a lot from a person’s body language and general vibe than can be conveyed in a blurry headshot on a TV (but if you like blurry headshots, we have those too).
We also believe in testing a solution that’s as close to the final product as possible; in the case of a website that means testing a site... on a computer.... on the web. Which is not to say there is no room in the world for paper prototypes (where users are shown print-outs of web pages and asked to interact with them as if they were a website), but any level of abstraction in the process can add noise to the results.
That’s why we build rapid prototypes that simulate the experience of the final design solution without the effort of actually building the site. This allows us to test visuals, interactions and site structure early and iterate to the best possible outcome.
We deliver solutions
In addition to static wireframes, visual layouts and style guide, our working prototypes complete the picture of a site specification allowing the implementation team to reference the interactions as they were intended. This closes the gap that can exist between design and delivery.