Our UX Brings all the Boys to the Yard
It's been a while since I had a minute to sit down and do some brain-dumping here. For me, that's what this "blog" is; a place to put it all out there. A place to be vulnerable. A place to... well... write.
My wife just hopped in a car headed for Vegas for a few days and the kids are watching some cartoons as they are exhausted from playing outside in the summer heat. So I thought this would be a great time to sit down and put my fingers to the keyboard and see what comes out.
A couple of weeks ago we attended a Product Design conference here in Utah called Front that Nate and Gil had the opportunity to present at. It was amazing seeing the response from the product community here in Utah as multiple people came up to me and the rest of the team after they spoke to see how they could be a part of what we are doing. For me it was huge validation for my decision to leave Qualtrics. I knew the team was amazing (that's why I initially made the decision to leave) but this response has helped me realize that our process is very uncommon in most product organizations.
So what are we doing?
Research Research Research! We're scientists, bro! From the very beginning, we are researching. Then we research some more. Every product decision begins with an extremely detailed knowledge of the personas that will be interacting with our product. Those personas direct us towards actual humans that we sit down and chat with in what we call VoC calls to see what it is they are looking for in a product. The secret here is that we aren't listening for specific recommendations from people about what we should build. We are reading between the lines to find out what they REALLY want. These calls are what inform our first round of wireframes and design exploration. From here we are, yet again, getting on calls with real people and watching them react to our wireframes so we can iterate again and again. After we have the chance to go through multiple rounds of these CPT's (Customer Preference Tests) we are generally VERY confident about what we should be building. Hold on... you may be asking, "who is WE?" At Pluralsight, something we believe that this WE is a critical element in the process of building a kick-ass product. WE = UX+PM+ENG. Every team is comprised of a UX Designer, a Product Manager, and a team of Engineers. No product decision is made by the UX/PM team and handed down from on high to the engineering team. I have never worked in an environment quite like this, and I must say it is refreshing.
Admittedly, this is a half assed description of what our team's process is, but it gets the idea across. The thing that is surprising to me is how many teams/people feel that they could never implement this process in their organization. But I get it, getting buy in from the executive team is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when it comes to building a healthy product team. That is why I feel so fortunate to be a part of the team that I am on now. Big things are coming from our team and I feel honored to be a part of it. My wish for the rest of the UX world is that you all can be a part of a team as amazing as mine.
Image provided by New Old Stock