Maria has written 10 posts for maria emerson

User-Centered Sprints

For agile development teams who work in rapid sprints or iterations, user experience best practices may seem unattainable due to high cost and time requirements. Instead of sacrificing things like user research, user-centered design, and usability testing, try following these painless patterns for iterative user experience. Just-in-Time Research @ Sprint N-1 Good user research doesn’t … Continue reading »

Starting on the Right Foot with UX

The Agile Process The agile process can be accomplished with methods as unique as the teams who use them, and integrating user experience methods into the mix helps keep it lean and effective. Here is one combination of methods that facilitates the first two phases highlighted in the diagram to the right. This choice of … Continue reading »

UX Pigs and Scrum

Many agile teams follow good scrum techniques, but fall short of delivering a quality user experience. Roles on a scrum team are often described using the story of the chicken and the pig, which illustrates the difference between team members who are involved (chickens) and team members who are committed to the point of sacrificing … Continue reading »

Predicting Performance with CogTool

Empirical evaluation of user experience can be challenging in an agile environment since it typically relies on extensive access to users or complex modeling techniques. CogTool is a lean method for objectively evaluating designs with human performance models based on extensive cognitive psychology research. These models are useful for: Predicting the effectiveness of a proposed … Continue reading »

Design Maps

Design maps are a tool for collaboratively planning the solution to a user story. Integrating developers into the design process produces user-centered solutions that are both creative and technically-aware. Design maps… Bring user research closer to design and development. Give designers insight into development challenges and limitations. Empower developers to make decisions based on user … Continue reading »

Lean Personas

Personas, or archetype users, allow teams to concretely talk about users in specific roles and to understand needs outside the scope of user stories. In an agile environment, you may not have the time or resources to build traditional personas. Instead of eliminating the concept altogether, try a leaner version. Gathering Data Personas are typically … Continue reading »

User Experience Maps

A simple map key User Experience Maps can be used throughout the lifecycle of an agile project to model experiences and keep a user-centered focus (Reality Maps are an example). The backbone of a map is a series of steps describing the user’s workflow for accomplishing a goal. The remaining elements of the map can … Continue reading »

Writing Good User Stories

User stories are the building blocks of agile development. They show the objectives of a project in a user-centered way, making these objectives accessible to both stakeholders and team members. Essential Parts of a User Story The user’s ROLE Each type of person who uses your product has a unique workflow and set of needs, … Continue reading »

Visual Backlogs

Visual backlogs provide a complete understanding of the scope of a project by showing the full set of user stories and their relative importance. They make it easy for every member of an agile team to participate in defining a successful project by frequently re-evaluating user stories and their priorities. How to Build the Backlog … Continue reading »

Reality Maps

Reality maps are a way to collaboratively model people’s work and quickly gather the information needed to move forward with building user stories. They are a good choice for agile projects with short planning periods or for projects with limited contextual research opportunity. Reality maps… Make it easy to get a diverse group of people … Continue reading »