Research and Design for the UX Team of One

Based on a UIE virtual seminar by Leah Buley available here.

4 Main Stages in Developing a Product

1 Stakeholder interviews and research

  • Project Brief
  • Competitive Assessment
  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • Content Inventory
  • User Research
  • Research Analysis
  • Personas
  • Scenarios

2 Strategic Planning 

  • Conceptual Model
  • Design Principles
  • Strategy Brief
  • Storyboards
  • Vision Movie

3 Design

  • Requirements and Use Cases
  • Task Flows
  • Content Strategy
  • Taxonomy and Metadata
  • Site Map
  • Sketches
  • Wireframes
  • Prototype Development
  • Usability Testing
  • Visual Design Comps
  • Styleguide Development

4 Development

  • CSS/HTML Development
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • Fixes and Edge Cases

What’s different for UX Team of One?

  • The need to be inclusive. Create oppt’s for your colleagues to participate
  • The need to be cross-functional. You facilitate a process that is welcoming to all types
  • The need to be self-documenting. Stuff you make becomes the shared record
  • The need to focus on prioritizing. The stuff you make together helps you make decisions together

Sample Product Lifecycle–23 Steps

Planning and Discovery

  • 1 UX Questionnaire (team including approvers, strategy, tasks and scenarios, business goals, user goals [not our assumptions], dev goals)
  • 2 UX Project Plan (see details below)
  • 3 Listening Tour
  • 4 Opportunity Workshop
  • 5 Project Brief
  • 6 Strategy Workshop (state goals, create project brief [vision and requirements ie why and how], write an elevator pitch, create an artifact from the future about product [can be homework done before workshop], storyboarding and moodboarding)


  • 7 Learning Plan (what don’t you know about the user, and how will you learn it? Create mindmaps, assumptions vs certainties chart, journey lines, proto personas, heuristic markups w actual users)
  • 8 Guerilla User Research
  • 9 Proto Personas
  • 10 Heuristic Map
  • 11 Comparative Assessment (track your experience w other products for       comparison’s sake)
  • 12 Content Patterns


  • 13 Design Brief
  • 14 Design Priciples
  • 15 Sketching (fine and thick black markers, fine red marker, gray shadow marker, non-photo blue pencil)
  • 16 Overall Product Sketchboard (made up of smaller sketches including task flows)
  • 17 Task Flow
  • 18 Wireframes

Testing and Validation

  • 19 Paper and Interactive Prototypes
  • 20 Black Hat Session
  • 21 Quick n Dirty Usability Test (paper to validate early concepts, lofi clickable prototype to test flows, hifi prototype to simulate product as closely as possible. Must everything be prototyped or just the major/complex interactions? You can do it task by task)
  • 22 Five Second Test
  • 23 UX Health (Measure baseline quality of UX over time and how to fix things)

UX Project Plan

  • Worksheet w Activity, Time Estimate, How Complex?, Worst-Case Estimate, Risks
  • Place Milestones in a inforgraphic chart
  • Create shared documents
  • Consider using a whiteboard and distributing photos
  • Include calendar in presentation decks at major milestones


How do you do this for Agile? Try and keep these techniques a sprint ahead of the dev team. Create sketchboard for each sprint w/ tasks written out

Forrester has extensive papers across UX for usage data, patterns, trends


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