Student Walking: Rapid Iteration and Creative Problem Solving
I’ve been re-designing an existing personal banking mobile application for the past eight weeks. Despite a 20-year career in marketing, much of the coursework is new to me. My former roles with digital products ranged from product manager to relationship management of the agency partner, and to project sponsor where I had accountability for success serving as a link between the project, business departments/divisions, and leadership.
Stepping into the role of interaction designer has been challenging and informative. Before now, I was flying by the seat of my pants and relying on partners and team members to do much of the heavy lifting. I came to understand and learn a replicable process to bring digital products to life: systems mapping, drawing and sketching for quick feedback, improving fidelity over time with Adobe Xd, usability testing and customer insights to drive iteration, and critique from others to make it better.
The usability test methodology was eye-opening for me. Throughout my career, usability tests were not a priority. It reminds me of design research: many executives and businesses do not see the value or understand the process. So I heard statements like, “just have someone bang up against it,” and “isn’t it your job to know if this works or not?” And from respected agencies, I’ve heard that usability tests are not included in the project fee because it would either take too long or cost too much.
In our course, I learned to use the Think Aloud Protocol for the usability tests. The method evaluates the usability of an application by encouraging a person to think aloud as they use the product. By verbalizing their thought as they use the prototype, I was able to understand what a user feels as they go about a task. As a person completes a function during the test, I provided one instruction: please keep talking.
Similar to the fast-paced real-world of business, the client made an acquisition and that changed the scope of work. In this scenario, a bank acquired an analytics company and will integrate the new features into the app on an accelerated scheduled. Stop what you’re doing, and now do this! In addition to incorporating baseline functionality of the newly acquired features, I set out to make the designed mobile application look more real than before.
Below are the screens I developed specifically for the functionality. As I come to the end of the quarter, I’m reminded of the phrase crawl, walk, run. As of this moment, I’m not sure if I’m crawling or walking with interaction design… But there’s on thing I know is true. I am growing, learning, and stretching in new ways as a person with his eyes set on becoming a designer.