Adjust Your Fidelity

UX on a budget.

Adjust your Fidelity

During the Q & A session for CS & UX: Putting the Pieces Together, my friend Josh Feig had a smart, very practical question (paraphrased) that I wanted to expand on:

How do you best apply the UX process to a project that has a tight timeline and limited budget?”

Whether you’re designing a digital product at a startup or you’re at an agency building a website for a client, budget and time will always be two constraints that have direct effects on the UX process. Designing an interface can be time intensive depending how much attention you allocate to each interaction. On top of that, explaining to a client how user experience design is an iterative process, which requires even more time and money, is a tough sell.

My suggestion is to lower the fidelity of your UX deliverables. Detailed wireframes created in Omnigraffle (or similar software) can be time-consuming to create while the same design problems can be solved by quickly sketching on paper or a whiteboard. Sketching is an undervalued technique that allows you to visualize tough design challenges without having to jump on a computer. It’s also a communication tool to convey complex interaction to the other members of your team more effectively than an email or wireframes alone.

Many agencies frown on presenting anything less than polished deliverables to the client, which is understandable. Clients pay good money for your expertise, and they deserve refined deliverables that inspire confidence in your abilities. Though, in my experience, clients are accepting of sketches as deliverables if you include them in the sketching process.

That’s right, bring the client in and sketch with them, then capture everything with your phone camera or an iPevo. Not only will you both have a better understanding of the project scope by defining the interactions together, you’ll save valuable time and budget by eliminating the need for formal wireframes, client presentations, revisions, and all the other unnecessary protocol that comes with the traditional agency model.

CS & UX: Putting the Pieces Together

Come out and see me speak with my super smart sister, Anna Hrach, at the next Phoenix Content Strategy Meetup. It’s also one of the featured events for Phoenix Design Week 2013.

Content Strategy (CS) and User Experience (UX) might seem like completely separate disciplines. But the reality is they’re working towards the exact same goal: amazing digital experiences that satisfy both business objectives and user needs. So, instead of separating them shouldn’t we really be asking how the two could come together to create solutions?

Join us to hear how brother-and-sister duo Jon Hrach—UX Designer at Modest UX—and Anna Hrach—content strategy manager at ethology and co-organizer of the Phoenix Content Strategy Meetup—had to do just that when they went from tight-knit siblings to real-life coworkers.

I’m pretty excited about this one. Book now, though. There’s only a few spots left.

Update: Wow, sold out. You guys are amazing.

Update 2: It was great! Thank you to Phoenix Design Week and the Phoenix Content Strategy Meetup for having me. Thank you also to Aaron Smitthipong and Andi Robbins for saving the day with AV support. You guys are amazing. Embedded below are a few photos from the event and the presentation slides.