On the Harness blog, we’ve discussed practices and success stories of how Harness has helped organizations move fast without breaking things. The core belief is that developers should have autonomy in delivering their code. In short, the software delivery pipelines that we create and manage service development teams. This experience varies for organizations and teams. In order better service other product teams this post will share some User Experience (UX) practices that you can use to help create better user experiences.
A user persona is a character-based profile of your target users and audience. Personas allow product teams to design and build a product that fits a specific type of user based on their recorded motivations, goals, and requirements. Personas offer an entry point to human-centric design as it creates the opportunities to empathize with a user, customer, or audience.
Use personas to give teams:
- A shared understanding of users,
- Help for prioritizing and driving planning,
- A reduction in the risk of other activities when testing, marketing, or selling a product.
When creating a persona, give them a real-life profile, including a name, demographic information, and short bio that includes their role, pain points, and motivations. It’s common to have many types of users and, therefore, more than one persona for a product. Different types of users will experience the product differently use your personas to build and design specific features needed to address a better user experience.
If you are interested in building personas, a starting point could be creating proto-personas. A proto-persona requires minimal effort to start your product design journey quickly because you develop personas based on assumptions from your stakeholders. I recommend checking out this resource for creating a proto-persona.
After creating a proto-persona, continue to iterate on the personas in the future, taking into account new user information and revalidating the assumptions made through user testing or user interviews.
Consider an empathy mapping session for understanding and gaining new insights about the people who impact the growth or use of a product. This session brings everyone together to step into the shoes of a user.
To guide the session, you should use the empathy map below. Through a series of questions and responses, fill out the diagram summarizing the user’s needs. You may modify the map’s sections to suit your session. Read the resource on Adapting empathy maps for UX design to host your empathy mapping session.
Empathy mapping, like persona building, is a practice that helps explore the journey of a user. Let’s discuss the next practice, which allows teams to evaluate their design and incorporate real user feedback.
A common practice in UX is to answer a research question by studying a group of users. User research comes in many forms, such as usability testing, interviews, and or surveys. The core of user research is the research question you hope to answer as this question drives the design of the study plan.
Utilize the methods of user research to get to the core of the research questions asked. Developing a research plan will help you navigate the process while creating a repeatable playbook that ensures your process is sound.
Use the research question to define the following components for a research plan:
- Project Title
- Purpose of the Study
- Potential Outcomes
- Expected Participant Eligibility
- Eligibility Criteria
- Enrollment number
User research can help anyone on a product team as it gives you a point of view on how individuals engage with technology. Particularly around software development, in health care or data-intensive industries, it may be worth asking “how they[users] seek, access, contribute, and use information; and how and why they demonstrate these behaviors and do what they do.” A user study is a route to consider when designing such systems. I recommend the resource called ‘Designing User Studies in Informations’ By Gondy Leroy if you are interested in User Studies.
Let Harness guide your Journey
Harness allows your design process to scale. Whether you’re just starting a human-centric approach to design or already implementing these user experience practices Harness gives you the foundation for delivering your designs faster. Get from prototype to production faster without the hassle of scripted pipelines. Try Harness for free here.