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“A good UX process should have a sense of empathy to everybody”

Berlin, November 6th, 2018

With headquarters in Berlin, bytepark is an owner-managed, technology-driven digital communications agency founded in 2001. It offers first-class web development and create high-performance classical and mobile applications, with a focus on open-source technologies.

Bytepark has gained a great deal of experience from over 300 client projects, including content management systems, online shops and framework applications. UX and Product Strategist Tina Ličková has been a key part on many of those projects. In an interview with TIA, she gave an inside look on the agency’s work on UX design.

How do you define UX design?

As a process for a better knowledge of the users, their needs and behavior. UX process also helps to facilitate that this finding is properly implemented into the design. A good UX process should, has to have a sense of empathy to everybody – not only the user, but also the stakeholders, participants of the project.

What is your design process? Describe what methods you follow

You can sum up our process into 4 basic steps: 

1. SCOPE: Together, as one team, we get to know the stakeholders, analyze customer needs and business models. On this foundation we plan the time frame and set achievable goals for the design. 

2. RESEARCH: To further deepen your understanding of the needs of your users, we offer you the right support and the necessary expertise in multi-faceted research. 

3. IDEATION and DEFINITION: Before we start prototyping, we define the product’s functionalities and its look and feel. We proof concepts and collect initial feedback to evaluate it.

4. DESIGN and TESTING: In close collaboration with our developers we create wireframes, followed by initial designs. Our prototypes get tested iteratively. Progress is captured in living style guides. Together we launch your product.

In all this steps, we have a portfolio of various methods, but we are just really trying to choose carefully which to use. As we say, “don’t fall in love with the method, love the problem” which describes our pragmatic approach. Design Thinking, Human Centered Design or Lean Startup Methodologies are a big inspiration for sure, but it’s the context that decides which of them and how we use them.

How do you prioritize which product features to keep or discard?

It really depends, but the three famous circles showing an intersection between technology, business and people is a good guideline. Features should also be decided upon this scheme: do we help the people somehow with the feature? How important is the feature for the business goals? Is our technology ready for it? Adding to it how much time is it going to take, how much manpower or energy will it take, that help us rate the features, to decide on the important ones and it also helps to build a product roadmap of the features.

But the most important thing is – we do not decide alone. It’s a very important decision with the client, who is the real expert on their business, who has a deep understanding of the impacts of those decisions, in this we help as advisors, as an external power with noninfluence perspective. Our role is to help and advice on those decision and also inspire for experiments. 

How do you work design taking into account your target and users?

Our mission is to make technology understandable and usable for the people, by great design. As designers and UX specialists, of course we take the user needs very seriously. We start every project with the discussion about the people who the product is aimed for, about their desires, needs etc. We also try to test and get feedback as much as possible from the users: sometimes it starts by testing the paper prototypes already, to get (or not) a proof of concept from the users.

What would you say will be the next big trend in the UX Design industry?

As anything else, UX in a part of this world and especially of the design world. That means the people are affected by changes and so is design and UX. As the world evolves, so does UX. We are looking to design for AI and autonomous products. We should become designers of algorithms, but with a deep understanding in behavioral science. Exciting, isn’t it?

The client is upset with a particular element of design that you have done. They believe that you have not created what they asked for. How would you handle this?

We start by understanding why they are so upset, why is it so important, what exactly makes them upset about it, basically to start a constructive conversation. Sometimes it takes time that people can articulate constructive feedback towards design. We see it on everyday basis, design is literally everywhere. To be specific about our dislikes we all have to learn to express our concerns. When we understand, we can decide if we stay loyal to our design or we make changes, or we make both. Communication, in its deep and human meaning, is here the deal breaker. 

How do you organize team and tasks in order to guarantee quality assurance (QA)?

We listen to our project and product managers. Our process helps us to create an organization of our work. We are pretty organized when it comes to storage of our work. We also communicate on daily basis or even few times a day. Like theater, design is a team sport. There are only few good theaters plays with one actor, and that usually has also a director, a screen artist etc. And as mentioned, we test a lot: internally – getting feedback from each other, our colleagues, externally from our users. That helps us optimize the products we design, guarantee their quality.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Honestly, no idea. With UX I have the advantage of the dynamics of business world, but I still have a feeling of helping to create a better world in overall. I got lucky!

Thanks Tina!

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