Whether I'm working on websites or mobile applications, taking wireframes from vision to working prototypes, creating user flow diagrams, organizing usability tests, or contributing other UX deliverables to a project, my aim in a SDCL is to find a balance between the user’s needs and the business' goals.
Over time, I've learned how to work effectively as a liason between Business Analysts, Project Managers, Software Developers, Senior Management, Marketing staff and of course, users. I've gained experience in how to effectively apply UX methods to capture information necessary to build an interface that meets as many user and business goals as possible.
Perhaps most importantly, I've learned that to create intuitive UX you have to keep listening and iterating, responding to users' behaviors and evolving products accordingly.
While I enjoy working with UI teams where I can focus on smaller parts of the UI Process, much of my recent work has me providing a full range of SDLC UI deliverables--from the Concept Definition phase (wireframes/sitemaps/use cases/card shuffling/etc) through Design (creating color palette, design direction, prototypes) to UI Development (cutting up designs to HTML5/CSS3/SASS, JQuery, front-end scripting, template design) and finally documentation (post-development UI Style Guides and branding documentation).
When working as a UX Developer, the majority of my projects have been in Java/J2EE (JSP/JSF) environments–though I also have experience in building front ends for portals/CMS's (CMS Theming) leveraging other technologies. For (modern) version control, I am most familiar with GIT.
Web / Graphic Design
Human Factors / HCI
Accessibility Standards / 508
Usability Testing / Auditing
Mobile / Responsive Development
SASS / LESS
Every project has different resources, capabilities, timelines, budget and other constraints. I don't consider any one UX workflow to be a "magic bullet" -- I often pick and choose from a variety of UX methods, creating custom plans of action for each project. Here are a few of the methods I come back to again and again.
Use cases capture the workflow that needs to be built. They expose problems, limit assumptions, and provide a common ground between designers and developers. They also are typically quick to write (a feature I definitely appreciate).
Though sometimes not given their due,
from my perspective wireframes are an invaluable tool for refining navigation, basic layout, usability auditing, and organizing web forms. I create them early in the process for every project I work on.
I agree with those who see UT as part of the design process, not QA. When UT moves from being a one-time, report-oriented process to an iterative, action-oriented one, positive changes can be incorporated along the way, as the site is being built.
While the techniques for creating successful personas are argued, the perceived value of putting faces on who you are designing UI for is not. Running requirements through a filter of "would this person use this feature?" can help pinpoint what the users really need. What's more important?
When dealing with complex websites, coming to an agreement on how content should be organized can be contentious process full of varying opinions. Gathering stakeholders from different parts of the business for a CS exercise can help to apply reason and consensus to an occasionally difficult process.
Prototypes are a great way to evaluate designs before a lot of time and money is spent in development. From my perspective any way you can gather feedback from users in the planning phase is a good thing. I tend to favor the humble "click-through" over "high-fidelity" fully-functioning prototypes for my purposes.
The process of pitting two designs against one another is a tried and true technique for sites where conversion metrics are easily quantifiable. I like using the technique simply to help resolve conflicting opinions among staff inside organizations. The conundrum: what will be the definition of success for a design?
Though it can't replace usability testing, the data gathered by tools such as Omniture or Urchin give uniquely valuable insight into users "real-world" behavior. Server log analysis can also pay dividends--though I have found converting log data findings into successful site revisions to be much more an art than a science.
Accessibility benefits any website, but as I frequently work in the healthcare space, site accessibility often takes on great importance. When developing, I use a combination of WAVE, SortSite, TotalValidator, W3C validation and more to try to ensure my sites are as accessible to those with visual, motor, or cognitive impairments as I can possibly make them.
A lot of my recent projects are either considered proprietary by the companies I have worked for, subject to HIPAA regulations, or both. Though it's an inconvenience, as a result of these concerns I have decided to remove this area from public viewing.
If you are interested in details regarding specific past or current projects, please contact me by email or use the contact form below. Thanks for your understanding.