• Chasm Communications

Learning Loops - How We Use Them in Enterprise Application Design

May 10, 2018

Anyone who has worked on an enterprise-sized project knows how hard it is to keep all of the moving pieces in sync. Communication gaps, personal preferences and biases, aggressive timelines, budget bloat, scope creep, and skill imbalance are just a few of the factors that knock design and development out of whack and create interfaces and experiences that are mismatched and difficult to use. At Chasm Communications, we have developed a working process and methodology that allows us to continually test our solutions and keep all of the enterprise-sized moving pieces together. 

Learning Loops

learning loops: understanding and creating

A key component of our methodology focuses on the continual testing and refinement of our ideas throughout the process. This continual testing and refinement creates a cycle or loop which ensures that we never get too far into a design or solution without vetting it.. The stages in the loop are loosely defined as Discover, Define, Ideate, Design and Test. One important thing to remember is that none of these phases are ever complete. They build on each other and once we’re done with one iteration, we start over again.  

Discover

In the Discovery phase, our goal is to gain a shared understanding of the user and business requirements. We research our users - find out how many there are, what they currently use, what they hate, what they love, how many kids they have, how many days a week they jog. This is our opportunity to identify who our users are and how we can create an interface and experience that will resonate with them.  

Define

Time to blow the dust off the left side of our brains. In the Define phase, we look at the data that we’ve gathered from our Discovery and start to analyze it. We look for user pain points and start defining User Flows. We facilitate workshops to establish priorities and development roadmaps.  

Ideate

Quick switch back to the right brain. After we have a general idea of the prioritization of the problems we’re trying to solve, we start to nail them down a little bit further. Working with a cross-functional team, we use a variety of creative techniques and games to facilitate the free-flow of ideas.  

Design

This is where we start to think about how problems are going to be solved. Depending upon where we are in the design process and the maturity of the designs, the visual representation may be as simple as a quick sketch or as in-depth as an interactive prototype with hotspots and micro-interactions.  

Test

This phase is listed last, but it is highly encouraged to test as early and often as possible. If we have a hypothesis while we’re still in the Discover phase, we’ll do our best to have a user prove that hypothesis wrong or right. From a simple test to learn which icon options resonate the best with users to comprehensive usability testing labs, quick and frequent vetting can save development time and greatly improves the overall user experience.  

Here are some of the tools we use on this journey: 

learning chart: understanding and creating

Tools

While performing our UI/UX design services, our team utilizes a variety of industry-leading tools including, but not limited to:  

Axure RP Pro

Axure RP Pro is a wireframing, rapid prototyping, documentation and specification software tool aimed at web and desktop applications.  

Sketch

Sketch is a vector-based design software with useful features and powerful plugins that allow us to build symbols and libraries to be shared across files and projects.  

Hype Pro

Hype Pro is a keyframe-based animation system used for creating animated and interactive web content. This tool empowers our designers to animate elements with natural movements.  

InVision

InVision is an online tool for uploading design files, adding animations, gestures, and transitions to create a clickable prototype for review, discussion, and feedback.  

CodePen

Focused primarily on front-end languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, CodePen is a collaborative development environment that allows our UI developers to write code, see the results, and share with others.  

Stay posted for more insight into the tools we use in each step of our process!