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User Experience Design (UXD)

At PIVOT, we design products and services with the complete user experience in mind, using empathy to look beyond usability and function to consider all the relevant contexts of each individual interaction.

Creating exceptional user experiences begins with understanding people.

When we embark on UXD projects, our singular focus is on the people who are at the centre of our work, starting with users—their needs, goals, and motivations—and the best way to accomplish this is to make strategic use of the investigative tools available for harvesting this information: empathy and user research. Seeing the world through our users’ eyes, we set aside our own assumptions and preconceived notions to really understand the reasons behind their behaviours. By taking the time to understand real people in real-world scenarios, we uncover critical insights into their needs and motivations that guide our inquiry and directly impact design decisions later in the process.

Aligning the needs of users, organizations, and stakeholders.

Our Discovery process utilizes research to understand all there is to know about your users, but it’s not complete until we've developed the same level of understanding of you as well. A successful user experience balances the needs of users AND the organization; so from the competitive industry landscape to the challenges and innovations happening in the marketplace, we seek to go beyond mere features and technical requirements to fully immerse ourselves in the business you’re in. Importantly, we’ll develop a shared understanding of the overarching business objectives, precisely what it is we want to achieve, and what success looks like.

Design, test, and iterate to deliver superior product experiences.

Leveraging insights from our Discovery research and our experience design expertise, we use empathy to see beyond usability and function while considering all the relevant contexts of each individual interaction. As a result, our design solutions become more multi-dimensional and meaningful as they are grounded in research. However, UX isn’t only about finding out whether users like or dislike your product—it’s also about ensuring that it accomplishes what you want it to do and identifying and correcting problems early in the process. Prototypes are tested with actual users so that we are constantly learning and gathering useful feedback to strengthen the design strategy, cutting both time and expenses by reducing the chance of problems arising later when they’re more difficult and expensive to fix.

At PIVOT, we encourage a highly collaborative process, keeping you informed and involved every step of the way as we design, test, and develop viable solutions to meet your business goals and provide meaningful interactions for your users.

PIVOT’s UXD Services


At Pivot, we believe in the value of curiosity and collaboration. We’ve seen first-hand how bringing together a diverse group of participants to share their knowledge, explore and discuss a wide set of ideas and perspectives, and participate in the design solution generation process can unleash their creative juices and collective powers. Whether we’re kicking off a project, reframing a problem, building our personas, mapping a user journey, or co-designing and testing concepts, every session is carefully curated to enable knowledge exploration, project progress, problem solving, and better project outcomes.


Personas are archetypal characters that represent the real people who will use your product, with an emphasis on task-oriented user behavior. They explore user needs, priorities, motivations, and pain points — and how these traits and experiences impact the way a user interacts with a product. Personas allow us to get into the weeds of your target audience, see the world through their eyes, and bring an empathetic lens to our work. Throughout the design process, we refer back to our personas to ensure our design decisions are based on real needs, rather than assumptions, resulting in more optimal and targeted user experiences
 


User interviews are one of the most flexible and adaptable research methods at our disposal. Occurring early in PIVOT’s Discovery, interviews provide teams with a first look at the users’ attitudes, beliefs, desires, and behaviours – and how these traits impact their experience with a digital product. Interviews are an invaluable opportunity for Pivot’s design researchers to hear directly from real users, uncover what their needs and expectations are, validate our assumptions, and test the strategic goals of the project. They are an important first step toward determining the true nature of the problem, identifying the opportunities, and shaping our efforts in finding a meaningful solution.


Whether we’re designing a consumer app, a banking dashboard, or a corporate website, understanding the competitive landscape of existing solutions is a critical step towards setting the benchmark for the eventual design solution. Our goal is to develop an understanding of what has been effective or ineffective, look for relevant trends and indicators of good/bad design paradigms, identify gaps in the marketplace, and pinpoint opportunities for improvement and innovation. This approach allows us to imagine the realm outside of the possible beyond what already exists, combine existing ideas, pull from outside sources, and co-create solutions that produce a superior product experience.


With an understanding of your business, your users, and competitive landscape, Pivot will complement these insights with an in-depth audit and analysis of all of your current “materials” and any available and relevant research that will better inform our understanding. Our goal is to learn, assess, and think critically about how your users interact with and experience your current digital products in order to make strategic recommendations for improvement and guide the user experience design strategy.


When understanding users, context is critical, especially if users’ only interact with a product in a specific location(s), such as a noisy chaotic mall kiosk, or a dark office using desktop software. If the environment in which it’s used could impact the user's experience, there are likely to be fundamental shifts in our research and the way we would design for them. In the field, we’re a fly on the wall, observing users’ in their natural habitat, listening and taking notes, asking the right questions. It’s our opportunity to learn the unexpected and address problems and behavior that we otherwise would have never encountered or understood.


In this evaluation, we think critically about how your users interact with and experience your current product offerings. We take the time to put ourselves in the shoes of the user and fully assimilate how they would flow and progress through your product, how likely they would be to complete a task, and how their environment might impact their ability to reach the intended goal. Pivots designers apply our proprietary, standardized interaction design principles, usability heuristics, and mobile screen design guidelines as a mode of evaluation. By the end of this process, we’ll provide you with tangible recommendations for future product specifications and prioritized opportunities for improvement.


Working with the user personas and their scenarios of use, designers visually articulate the most optimal and logical path — or “flow” — a user would take on a website or app to complete an intended task or goal. From point A to point B to point C, D, and E, designers consider every step a user might take and the information they might need, when they need it, so they can easily and intuitively move toward a successful outcome and final action.


Pivot’s user experience designers leverage their understanding of the established user flows to determine the most logical and optimal flow of information on various devices, creating an Information Architecture (IA). The IA focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in a way that allows users to effectively and efficiently find information and complete tasks.


A wireframe is akin to a blueprint of a house – it guides the building process, provides a clear path, and offers a picture of the end result. Before building a digital product, wireframes are designed so the entire project team understands and agrees on what we’re building and how the content will live within it – without getting distracted by colours, fonts, and imagery. Visual designs should please the eye, but if they distract or create a barrier for the user, they’re useless. Ultimately, wireframes provide a foundation on which the visual interface is built, ensuring every interaction achieves a great user experience, both visually and functionally.


Before designers can begin the visual design of an interface they must first establish the visual direction for the eventual product design using Moodboards: a collage of colour palettes, fonts, graphics, and UI elements strategically assembled to elicit a feeling or emotional response, speaking directly to the needs of users. This approach saves significant time and money in the design process as we're able to gain consensus early and avoid wasting valuable design efforts on a direction that doesn’t appeal to all stakeholders. Once established, designers begin iterating through layouts, coming to a design that suits the priorities and contexts of use and the required AODA guidelines.


Following the completion of the visual design of a digital product, designers develop a UI style guide. UI Style Guides contain all of the necessary details and design elements related to the interface of your product. They are an essential, central reference point for anyone tasked with maintaining and/or updating the product and any relevant materials over time, ensuring all future design updates maintain continuity, consistency, and the proper applications of use.


During the design phase, web and mobile screens are converted into low to high fidelity, click-through prototypes allowing designers to simulate what a future product will look like and how users will interact with it. Prototypes provide a controlled testing environment where designers can engage real users and project stakeholders to validate certain functions and task flows, and identify design flaws and usability barriers before moving into final development. Prototyping is a proven method for reducing risk and ensuring project resources, time, and budgets are not wasted and/or increased.


Usability testing is an integral part of UX design. For both existing products currently in the market, or products still in the prototyping stage, user testing helps de-risk and validate design decisions before jumping into costly development. Rather than assuming what works and what doesn’t, we observe the user complete a series of interactions and tasks, assess the usability and identify issues that arise, and better understand the users’ reaction to the intended experience. It can both measure the effectiveness of the solutions we’re implementing (or already have implemented), and continuously move us towards achieving a viable solution and our end goal: releasing a superior user experience.


The development phase formally begins when all the learnings from the Discover phase and the completed user interface designs from the Design phase are programmed into a fully functional, production-ready digital product. Whether we’re developing a mobile app, a responsive website with a fully customized CMS, or a native software application, the timely and efficient delivery of good user experience is of utmost importance to us because we know this is, in part, how we build lasting relationships with our clients.


Curious about one or more of our UXD methodologies? Not sure what would work best for you? Take advantage of a complimentary discovery call.
 

Schedule a call
Worksessions

At Pivot, we believe in the value of curiosity and collaboration. We’ve seen first-hand how bringing together a diverse group of participants to share their knowledge, explore and discuss a wide set of ideas and perspectives, and participate in the design solution generation process can unleash their creative juices and collective powers. Whether we’re kicking off a project, reframing a problem, building our personas, mapping a user journey, or co-designing and testing concepts, every session is carefully curated to enable knowledge exploration, project progress, problem solving, and better project outcomes.

User Personas

Personas are archetypal characters that represent the real people who will use your product, with an emphasis on task-oriented user behavior. They explore user needs, priorities, motivations, and pain points — and how these traits and experiences impact the way a user interacts with a product. Personas allow us to get into the weeds of your target audience, see the world through their eyes, and bring an empathetic lens to our work. Throughout the design process, we refer back to our personas to ensure our design decisions are based on real needs, rather than assumptions, resulting in more optimal and targeted user experiences
 

User Interviews

User interviews are one of the most flexible and adaptable research methods at our disposal. Occurring early in PIVOT’s Discovery, interviews provide teams with a first look at the users’ attitudes, beliefs, desires, and behaviours – and how these traits impact their experience with a digital product. Interviews are an invaluable opportunity for Pivot’s design researchers to hear directly from real users, uncover what their needs and expectations are, validate our assumptions, and test the strategic goals of the project. They are an important first step toward determining the true nature of the problem, identifying the opportunities, and shaping our efforts in finding a meaningful solution.

Landscape Analysis

Whether we’re designing a consumer app, a banking dashboard, or a corporate website, understanding the competitive landscape of existing solutions is a critical step towards setting the benchmark for the eventual design solution. Our goal is to develop an understanding of what has been effective or ineffective, look for relevant trends and indicators of good/bad design paradigms, identify gaps in the marketplace, and pinpoint opportunities for improvement and innovation. This approach allows us to imagine the realm outside of the possible beyond what already exists, combine existing ideas, pull from outside sources, and co-create solutions that produce a superior product experience.

Material Audit

With an understanding of your business, your users, and competitive landscape, Pivot will complement these insights with an in-depth audit and analysis of all of your current “materials” and any available and relevant research that will better inform our understanding. Our goal is to learn, assess, and think critically about how your users interact with and experience your current digital products in order to make strategic recommendations for improvement and guide the user experience design strategy.

Field Research

When understanding users, context is critical, especially if users’ only interact with a product in a specific location(s), such as a noisy chaotic mall kiosk, or a dark office using desktop software. If the environment in which it’s used could impact the user's experience, there are likely to be fundamental shifts in our research and the way we would design for them. In the field, we’re a fly on the wall, observing users’ in their natural habitat, listening and taking notes, asking the right questions. It’s our opportunity to learn the unexpected and address problems and behavior that we otherwise would have never encountered or understood.

UX Expert Evaluation

In this evaluation, we think critically about how your users interact with and experience your current product offerings. We take the time to put ourselves in the shoes of the user and fully assimilate how they would flow and progress through your product, how likely they would be to complete a task, and how their environment might impact their ability to reach the intended goal. Pivots designers apply our proprietary, standardized interaction design principles, usability heuristics, and mobile screen design guidelines as a mode of evaluation. By the end of this process, we’ll provide you with tangible recommendations for future product specifications and prioritized opportunities for improvement.

User Flows

Working with the user personas and their scenarios of use, designers visually articulate the most optimal and logical path — or “flow” — a user would take on a website or app to complete an intended task or goal. From point A to point B to point C, D, and E, designers consider every step a user might take and the information they might need, when they need it, so they can easily and intuitively move toward a successful outcome and final action.

Information Architecture

Pivot’s user experience designers leverage their understanding of the established user flows to determine the most logical and optimal flow of information on various devices, creating an Information Architecture (IA). The IA focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in a way that allows users to effectively and efficiently find information and complete tasks.

Wireframing

A wireframe is akin to a blueprint of a house – it guides the building process, provides a clear path, and offers a picture of the end result. Before building a digital product, wireframes are designed so the entire project team understands and agrees on what we’re building and how the content will live within it – without getting distracted by colours, fonts, and imagery. Visual designs should please the eye, but if they distract or create a barrier for the user, they’re useless. Ultimately, wireframes provide a foundation on which the visual interface is built, ensuring every interaction achieves a great user experience, both visually and functionally.

Visual UI Design

Before designers can begin the visual design of an interface they must first establish the visual direction for the eventual product design using Moodboards: a collage of colour palettes, fonts, graphics, and UI elements strategically assembled to elicit a feeling or emotional response, speaking directly to the needs of users. This approach saves significant time and money in the design process as we're able to gain consensus early and avoid wasting valuable design efforts on a direction that doesn’t appeal to all stakeholders. Once established, designers begin iterating through layouts, coming to a design that suits the priorities and contexts of use and the required AODA guidelines.

UI Style Guide

Following the completion of the visual design of a digital product, designers develop a UI style guide. UI Style Guides contain all of the necessary details and design elements related to the interface of your product. They are an essential, central reference point for anyone tasked with maintaining and/or updating the product and any relevant materials over time, ensuring all future design updates maintain continuity, consistency, and the proper applications of use.

Prototyping

During the design phase, web and mobile screens are converted into low to high fidelity, click-through prototypes allowing designers to simulate what a future product will look like and how users will interact with it. Prototypes provide a controlled testing environment where designers can engage real users and project stakeholders to validate certain functions and task flows, and identify design flaws and usability barriers before moving into final development. Prototyping is a proven method for reducing risk and ensuring project resources, time, and budgets are not wasted and/or increased.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is an integral part of UX design. For both existing products currently in the market, or products still in the prototyping stage, user testing helps de-risk and validate design decisions before jumping into costly development. Rather than assuming what works and what doesn’t, we observe the user complete a series of interactions and tasks, assess the usability and identify issues that arise, and better understand the users’ reaction to the intended experience. It can both measure the effectiveness of the solutions we’re implementing (or already have implemented), and continuously move us towards achieving a viable solution and our end goal: releasing a superior user experience.

Development

The development phase formally begins when all the learnings from the Discover phase and the completed user interface designs from the Design phase are programmed into a fully functional, production-ready digital product. Whether we’re developing a mobile app, a responsive website with a fully customized CMS, or a native software application, the timely and efficient delivery of good user experience is of utmost importance to us because we know this is, in part, how we build lasting relationships with our clients.

Curious about one or more of our UXD methodologies? Not sure what would work best for you? Take advantage of a complimentary discovery call.
 

Schedule a call
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