A user interface is very crucial for businesses. It must be easy to use as it helps to create a positive experience for the user. For businesses today, when everything is moving to the digital world, the saying “first impression is the last impression” has become a reality. Every business wants to have a web-based application, which not only asserts a positive impact on the user but also aids in branding the business.
This is where UX plays an important role. Therefore, a lot of time and effort is invested to ensure that the UX of the application can enhance the user experience as much as possible, without compromising on any of the critical features like security. So, a structured method, also referred as UX workflow is required. Having an efficient UX workflow will ensure that all the critical steps involved in UX designing are covered, starting from information gathering, doing a research, using the specifications for designing, defining the process flow and the most important of all, gathering user feedback.
Although UX workflow is complex enough, efforts are on to align it with Agile framework, so that it can be structured even more and in an affective manner. To enable this transition, common grounds are being identified between US UX workflow and Agile framework. One of the most important factor which helps aligning these two are “Common Goal”. All the functionalities in a software development project, be it the UX developer, backend developer or API developer, they all have a common goal, to build a product as per the requirement specification from the customer.
Integrating UX with Agile has been very challenging as Agile deals with quick sprints whereas UX is based on multiple level of research and feedbacks from the users. Hence, it is of utmost importance that the complete project team should be aware of the activities being performed by the UX team. To do so, the most convenient way will be to breakdown the UX designing into smaller bits and integrate it with the Agile framework. Consisting the following three steps, this method is known as Chunking:
- Understand the user requirement properly and conceptualize the application.
- Identify the UX activities required to transform the concept into an actual product.
- Break the activities further into subtasks or user-stories. These user stories can be prioritized by the Scrum master.
Agile has been gaining popularity over the last few years as it is very iterative and incremental in nature and hence helps the organizations to track the development of the product.
UX designing has always been a very intuitive, human-centered and empathetic as the primary driving force of the UX has always been user experience. Hence, restricting this practice to well defined methodology or framework can often cause conflicts. But, the result has been superb as the organizations realized that although there are too many frictions, the UX designing can be structured as a time bound activity. Although there will be dependencies like getting feedback from the users in a timely manner, but putting UX through Agile, will ensure that the overall development of the final product is able to meet the deadlines.
To enable the alignment of UX & Agile, it is very crucial that all the team involved in both the processes are completely in sync. This can be achieved only when all the stakeholders work together to address all the pain points. The primary pain points in UX design are task analysis & time management. Often the UX developers work in complete isolation and can’t let time management come into play, as their product is completely based on the feedback of the users. Hence, Agile tries to keep things together, so that even the UX development is bound with the same guidelines which drives the entire project. Here’s how you make your UZ workflow agile.
- Time Track to Set Accurate Estimates
This task helps in laying the foundation of a successful project. Any lapse in this stage can falter the complete project development. This will not only set a timeline for the developers to complete the project, this also sets an expectation for the customers for who the product is being delivered. Based on these timelines, the customers start building their business strategy for the product. Hence, misses in the timeline will not only impact the organization, but will also have a huge impact for the customer’s reputation.
2. UX Activities to be Time Boxed
Scrum master needs to take this responsibility and ensure that the UX activities are clearly estimated & the designers can meet the timelines. In case there are any challenges for the developers to meet the timelines, the Scrum master should highlight it well in advance to the right stakeholders, so that necessary support can be extended which ensures that the timelines are met.
3. Value Assessment of Tasks
For each task and subtask, proper value assessment should be done. This is to ensure that the priority of the tasks is well defined. No one wants to be in a situation where the complete project is on hold as a critical part is yet to be finished.
4. Defining Tasks Clearly
The teams, both design and development, should join the daily scrum meetings. This should be treated as an opportunity by the Scrum master to clearly define the tasks of the teams to avoid any kind of ambiguity between the teams. Once the tasks are clearly defined, accountability can be set for each task.
5. Using Right Tools to Align Agile Team
Agile team should be supported by the right tools so that they can ensure that the handoffs between the teams is properly recorded to avoid any future conflicts between the teams.
6. Use a Parallel Track Approach to Ease the Design-development Hop
Design and development tasks should go together to ensure that any part of the project do not lag causing a last-minute rush or failure in on- time delivery of the project.
7. Learn When to Accept UX Debt
UX designers should be able to handle the fact that it is not always possible to deliver or design the product within a stipulated timeline. Hence, they should be able to compromise on the fact that situation is not always ideal for them to complete the design & if needed they might have to take some portion of the work to the next iteration.
8. Teamwork Driven Workflow
Last but not the least, this is probably the most important tip. A software development project is very like a car moving on the road. Till the all parts of the car co-ordinate & work together, the car will not be in motion. Similarly, it is very important that all the teams and individuals involved in the project delivery (front-end, back-end, database and project manager) should work together to achieve the goal and this should be always driven by the leadership team of the organization till the time this becomes a culture for the organization.