Function Point user-centric design process

In 2014, I was brought in as the first designer in Function Point to work with stakeholders to envision and embark on the product
redesign journey.

Since then, I have worked closely with product managers, developers and testers in implementing the new user-centric iterative design and development process. This ensures we deliver useful and desirable solutions to streamline creative agency workflows and help our customers stay profitable.

Function Point

Users & Subject Matter Experts interviews

The fp. Product Team receives many product ideas. Our first step is to conduct an opportunity assessment on each idea. We gather background information about the topic both internally from our customer-facing teams as well as directly from users. This is used to construct user scenarios and mental model diagrams. Promising ideas move forward into the Discovery phase.

fp. opportunity assessments funnel

Discovery: focus on experimentation

A huge part surrounding UX is in digging deep and understanding the “whys” instead of taking user suggestions at face value. For example, in the realm of Project Management software, users often demand conventional tools even though these may not necessarily solve their underlying problem. Therefore we often supplement user interviews with creative experiments to prove or disprove assumptions.

Hands-on experiments help the user focus on their task without being distracted by their expectations of what the interface ought to look like. It allows us to observe the user’s natural inclinations and answer the question “Do we need a better/different mouse trap?”

fp. experiment

Design Sprint

We’re testing out a new agile discovery process at Function Point based off of the Google Ventures (GV) Design Sprint. A cross-functional team consisting of members of the Product, Development and Testing team get together in analyzing the problem, prototyping a solution and testing it with users within a 3-week time frame.

The key emphasis is in involving the entire team right from the beginning so everybody fully understands the user problem. It allows us to identify an innovative solution collaboratively, and provides the team with the knowledge necessary to make adjustments without compromising the solution when unexpected issues arise during implementation.

Because we work with complex user workflows, we prefer to kick off a new project by involving the team in a scenario exercise. This helps everyone experience the problem in the shoes of our user. We typically invite a subject matter expert to join us. Together, we talk out the problem and build out a solution by hand (e.g. with stickies, lego etc). We found this to be a much better process for learning as compared to reading lengthy documents or sitting through a presentation.

Next, we utilize techniques from the GV Design Sprint in mapping out the problem, ideating and rapid prototyping. The lightning presentations and sketching exercises are particularly helpful in coming up with innovative ideas. The team can then critique all the ideas and put the best ones into a prototype for user testing.

We see the Design Sprint as an iterative process, where we refine our ideas and test out assumptions until we arrive at a solid solution.

fp. design sprint scenario exercise

fp. design sprint generate heat map

Specification by Example

Once we receive the green light from Management, we work with the team in collaborative requirements writing through specification by example. UX provides overall wireframes and mockups for the solution. We then sit with the product manager, a developer and a tester to write up test case examples. This ensures we cover the boundary cases, and confirm everyone has the same understanding of what needs to be done.

Pre-release testing

Depending on the size and the complexity of the work, we may conduct beta testing prior to a general release. UX works with our product managers in organizing and capturing user feedback during beta tests. Depending on the test results, we may choose to release the feature as is, follow up with subsequent enhancements or may even potentially hold back the release until problems are resolved.

Post-release monitoring

We track system usage metrics and review in-app user feedback to evaluate the success of a release. We may also file additional enhancement items and bug tickets into our backlog based on user feedback.

fp. specifications ui