I collaborate with the executive and engineering teams to conceptualize features and help shape the direction of our applications. I guide a small UX team through the various phases of our design process, and coordinate with our customer service team to quickly resolve usability issues causing our customers headaches.
Our interface ideas often begin with a series of quick sketches on paper where we can iterate through ideas quickly. Often times we end up refining those concepts with professional wireframing tools like OmniGraffle Pro to get a higher resolution of information. We post dozens of wireframes on the wall so we can review process flow, interaction design patterns, and features together, catching problems before fleshing out the interface further.
Prototypes provide a higher resolution perspective of an interface, and lets us do some preliminary user testing to identify challenge points before we invest a lot of time into development. Sometimes we do simple user tests on our prototypes with folks in our support team. We even bring in users to test prototypes further, which often points out further revisions we need to make to the interface before we build it out.
Once the work flow and elements of the interface are refined, we work through the aesthetics considering color, type treatments, and brand relevance. Visual design is more than making the interface attractive, it’s about communicating an information hierarchy and contrast between elements to guide the user through their task.
At MailChimp, we believe the user experience extends beyond making the app usable. We want it to be pleasurable. The sense of humor in our brand is also part of the application experience. It’s something we call emotional design, and it’s a big reason our users are so passionate about the things we make. Easter eggs often find their way into the app at this point in our design process.
Usability testing is a sobering experience, because the results often expose the holes in your designs. We conduct user tests in our offices and at our users’ homes or businesses. We follow the Steve Krug, informal approach, which keeps users comfortable, honest, and willing to provide critical feedback rather than putting them in observation labs. We record user test sessions using Silverback.