To achieve the best result at the end, I strongly believe in collaborative, participative work. Good user experience results from the interplay of all parties concerned. The more people are taken into the work process, the more time consuming and sometimes exhausting it can get sometimes, but it helps extremely to asks the right questions from beginning to end. To stay on track for the best user experience I find it crucial to in between question results, finding the right questions and iterate processes.
To find a solution for a problem, use case and/or user group it's important to me to first question initial assumptions. User needs and pains should be discovered and profound customer behaviours and opinions to be taken into the working process at and from the early beginning. Going out into the field, observing and listen to people is a first step to get important insights. The direct contact, interacting and speaking directly to clients and users will deliver the best results. If time is short or clients and users can’t be directly approached I also gathered important findings from interviews and surveys. Depending on the project and user groups, choosing the right methods will discover real problems and needs.
Sorting and evaluating all information gathered will reveal core needs and problems. I always have ideas before even starting a project or task and going into research and fieldwork, but just after nailing it down to open core questions and defining the real problem the ideation process can really start. I experienced, that the best ideas come from collaboration and letting users and stakeholders participate in the process to build a product that meets their needs. A wide range of ideas from different teams and participants encourages creativity. Sometimes it can lead to a bunch of hilarious unrealistic and silly ideas, but that is also important to narrow it down to the best fitting idea and create a concept out of it.
Working on the concept and final solution I find it most important to not start a sprint as soon as the goal seems to appear on the horizon. Testing between phases and iterating processes helps to avoid making mistakes. The earlier user tests are made, the better. To get to know what works and what not and if the whole process is going into the right direction, no pixel perfect and fully functional prototypes are needed. Depending on the phase, designs and functions to be tested, I love to work with quick paper prototypes, simple klick prototypes and the “wizard-of-oz” method. In between surveys, interviews, UX and A/B tests will deliver more insights and feedback on details from the end-user as well.