UX Research & Visual Design

A2Agile Inc. provides businesses with workshops, training, and materials on Agile Methodologies.


Kristina Rudolph | Product Design — Ux Research & Design
Helene & Tom | Product Owners/Stakeholders
Duration | Sept. 2019 – Mar. 2020
Software/Materials | AdobeCS, Google Slides, Agile Methodologies


Infographic shows two sets of counterclockwise arrows forming two different circles. Inside the left circle of orange thin lined arrows sit blue words saying story map with a simple set of four blue filled rectangles across with a few blue outlined white rectangular boxes below. 
The word vision in a blue block uppercase font at 12 o'clock sits with three silhouettes of people standing on podiums marked 1-2-3. At the 9 o'clock position is a simple set of three blue outlined boxes with the words value stream map below the words. At the 7 o'clock position are the words persona map with small icons of 2 stacked Polaroid pictures with black bust silhouettes inside and a small target to their left with an arrow through the bullseye.
This is the value cycle. 
To the bottom right an arrow leads to the other counterclockwise circular arrow with a small black outlined circle at the 2 o'clock position that says 24h. In the center of the main circle reads Skrum, kan-bon, lean, and safe
Below this circle the words read the development cycle
My completed infographic (as part of training material outcomes)
See below for how the full process unfolded

Overview

Why / How / What

  • WHY: Product owners wanted a lower cognitive load for workshop participants and training materials and brand clarity.
  • HOW: Qualitative Ux research in the field revealed formatting and design improvements for training materials, graphics, and icons.
  • WHAT: Product owner & material outcomes (below)
Three images from left to right.
1. Flat screen wall TV shows a slide filled with black text on a white background surrounded by giant poster cards with words hung in neat rows.
2. White wipe board filled with phrases and words in blue.
3. Tom writes on a giant white wall note making horizonal lines. Around him are different words around him written in blue on the white wipe board.
Cognitive overload resulting in too much information on slides, walls, and wipe boards

Outcomes

  1. Raised awareness of potential design and material clarity
  2. Simplified the “Value Cycle” and developed building block icons transferable to workshop materials and slides
  3. Formatting improvements were addressed
  4. Improved cognitive load through simplified materials and slides

An orange circle in the center says strategy ethnographic research. Around the circle six arrows branch away to smaller circles outlined in yellow, red, and green each with a tactic such as photographic ethnography, tactic visual anthropology and more. Around the graphic are small images of people in the workshop and in-class reference materials that were given. Small red or yellow circles identify hand or body gestures implying confusion. Three words around these images say frustrated, confused, and information overload
September Training: field research “empathy map” highlighted
Frustration, confusion, and cognitive overload

Discoveries

  • Product owners training materials were cluttered, slides and materials were very text-heavy and lacked consistent iconography
  • The product owners wanted a consistent look for lecture materials and slides to articulate an efficient flow of their two-day workshop
  • The product owners proprietary “value cycle,” infographic was hard to read on slides and overly complex to read on printed materials

Original Layout & Flow

Value cycle infographic

Two line drawing images.
1. image is a quick sketch showing articulate what the stakeholders wanted to convey in a new graphic. It shows some curvey arrows moving to the right with small boxes in the center and a two level loop of arrows toward the right side.
2. Image shows a bunch of arrows in various directions with small black lined graphics that are impossible to read.
Right side shows the original layout with arrows and thin-lined graphics
Left: A quick drawing to articulate the new vision for an infographic
Right: Original graphic with multi-directional arrows and hard-to-read line drawings

Initial product owner meeting

A 5-page report was released and a 2-hour meeting with the product owners revealed:

  1. Field research gathered from in-class materials and slides
  2. Field research gathered from workshop attendees
  3. Formatting issues discovered on slides and materials
  4. Design and content display recommendations to establish consistent iconography
  5. Feedback to specific slide content and microcopy opportunities

Research

Three images.
1. a flat screen tv shows an unreadable slide with a long list of black text on a white background
2. a wall covered in colored notecards, large white paper with post-it-notes and other illegible text written on a white board.
3. A spiral bound page from the workshop notebook shows some illegible text and some brand logos below it which mimic earlier slides. To the right of the notebook is a piece of white paper with three drawn columns and yellow sticky notes are stacked down the left side of the first drawn column
Some of the ethnographic research gathered during the 2-day workshop

Pain points of focus

A pink notecard with black cursive text reads with four bullet points (as outlined below the image next).
  • “Value Cycle” redesign
  • How the “Value Cycle” ties in with the SCRUM cycle
  • Formatting PowerPoint consistency using templated slides
  • New images and icons for slide materials

Three images from left to right.
1. A simple sketch showing a few loops moving down and to the right with arrows following them.
2. A more complex line drawing of arrows with a bunch of central boxes and boxes at the 3 o'clock position which have tiny typed illegible text inside of them. It says story map in the center, below that there is a small illegible white square which says person map below that and in larger orange text centered at the bottom it says The Value Cycle.
3. The final design of the graphic previously explained in detail at the very top of this study.
Left: Version of a simple process sketch, Center: Old value cycle graphic, Right: new version

Interviews / Observations

5-pages of typewritten letter head sized paper are fanned out against a wood table. The content of the typed notes is not meant to be legible but it covers each page in a 12 point font. A few phrases are hand written in the margins of the top sheet and the bottom right sheet on the right sides.
Original 5-pages of drafted field research
  • No personas were created
  • On-site interviews and qualitative feedback were gathered
  • Recordings and photographs revealed quotes, questions, and body language discoveries
  • 5-page observational research was shared with product owners.

Addressing pain points

  • Improvement of the visual identity was requested to help attendees better navigate and retain workshop content.
  • The flow of slides and workshop booklet materials and exercises was inconsistent and confusing at times.
  • There were issues with consistency on slides and a common brand identity theme.

Design

Below design process shows value cycle training with SCRUM elements. Other information, icons, and slides from training have been omitted.

Two images from left to right.
1. A2Agile logo shows A2 in a orange san-serif font with the word Agile at it's immediate right in a soft blue. Underneath these words it says Advancing Your Agile Journey with a subtle light blue arrow pointing to the right after the Y in journey.
2. Three rows of number letter combinations to the left of three small colored boxes. Each number combination represents the A2Agile Pantone colors of orange, blue and light blue stacked respectively.
Logo, font, and Pantone color pallets were the only initial design restrictions

Process

Agile Scrum sprints were done every couple of weeks dependant on scheduling availability followed by an hour-long virtual review with the product owners.

Feedback and iterations were discussed and elements of the design continued to be carried forward through each sprint.

Initial debrief “low-fi” visuals:

Two line drawing images.
1. image is a quick sketch showing articulate what the stakeholders wanted to convey in a new graphic. It shows some curvey arrows moving to the right with small boxes in the center and a two level loop of arrows toward the right side.
2. Image shows a bunch of arrows in various directions with small black lined graphics that are impossible to read.
Right side shows the original layout with arrows and thin-lined graphics
Left: Product owner’s original drawing Right: workbook map showing complex process

“High-fi”Visuals

Sprint 1:

First version of a cartoon looking infographic reads The Agile Scrum Journey. The elements site on a blue gradient background going from a darker blue down the page to a lighter blue.
There are two sets of thick round colored arrows with lots of small icons and words and text everywhere. There is also illegible text written at a 45 degree angle.
Initial sprint: All potential decisions in one image to establish elements and a direction.
Notes taken during the first sprint review are written at 45 degrees.

Sprint 2:

A still busy but somewhat simplified version of the infographic with red line scribbles and digitally handwritten red comments written around the two sets of arrows and icons. The repeated word DRAFT is typed in a light gray font across the page in a block capitalized font.
Post second sprint: Style elements established. The handwritten text shows product owner feedback prior to this sprint review.

Sprint 3:

A cleaner version of two circles features thinner arrows (left arrow is orange and right arrow is black). Cartoonish icons are at the 1, 3, 6, and 12 o'clock positions. A blue arrow goes from the right side above both circles. These images are on a white background with the repeated word draft in large gray lowercase letters down the page
Third sprint: Icons and arrows established. Orange type represents retrospective notes. Red circled elements were the product owner’s feedback prior to this review.

Sprint 4:

A version much closer to the final version (as explained at the top of the page).
This version shows some gray notes typed underneath the iconography. The words story map sit inside the left orange lined arrow circle with illegible text and boxes inside of it and to the right of it.
Fourth sprint: Sprint retrospective notes articulate the failure of clearly seeing the text inside the story map and value stream map areas. Small value cycle icons and content were redirected and simplified in the following sprint.

Sprint 5:

Just the value cycle part of the graphic shows the left side orange thin arrow circle.
At the 12 o'clock position an icon shows three silouettes standing on podiums marked 2, 1, 3, and the word vision reads above it.
Following the arrows to the 9 o'clock position counter clockwise the words value stream map show three horizontal boxes underneath.
At the 7 o'clock position the words persona map showing a graphic with silouette stacked polariods and a target logo with an arrow in the center bullseye point to the center where the words story map sit. This is close to the final image for the value cycle graphic.
The Development cycle and value cycle are separated. During the workshops, these elements slowly build upon one another to reduce cognitive load.

Final deliverable & components:

Three experiences were created to be used in different areas of the presentation materials to lower cognitive overload.

This image shows the same information explained above with an additional blue circle counterclockwise circle to the right which reads the development cycle underneath it. Inside it reads Skrum, con bon, lean, and safe.
There is a small black arrow outlined circle atop the 2 o'clock position with orange text inside that says 24h.
Version 1: Full overview displays main goals of the Value Cycle while showing a simplified version of the development cycle.

This image shows just the right development cycle graphic with additional icons added. From a left arrow working right it says product backlog in blue uppercase blocky text with 4 small index card icons above the words, next to this heading right there are five single blank sticky note icons above one another with the words sprint backlog below. 
Where the black lined circle sits at the 2 o'clock position sit the busts of 4 silhouetted people appearing to chat. Under this icon daily scrum meeting is written. At 11 o'clock there is an open cardboard box icon with the words sprint review underneath. at the 7 o'clock position there are two small comic-like talk bubbles in black outlines with the words sprint retro below. 
The final graphic is a closed cardboard box reading increment below it. It sits to the far right away from the looped arrow showing the end of the process journey.
Version 2: Detailed overview of just the SCRUM development cycle which is shared separately during training as to reduce cognitive load.

Stand-alone icons used as building blocks:

For use in slides to carry through concepts throughout the training, slides, and booklet materials.

4 icon images from left to right.
1. Persona map shows words in blue with target and 2 stacked Polaroids of silouette busts pictured inside them and stacked.
2. The vision graphic shows three black silouettes on a golden podium for 1st 2nd and 3rd place
3. The value stream map icon below these words shows three long rounded boxes in a row with short arrows between each box.
4. The story map icon with four blue filled-in rectangles in a columns showing a few blue outlined boxes below. On the left side of the boxes there is an arrow headed downward.
Value Cycle stand-alone icons. The value stream map and story map icons also had a version where the empty boxes contained text (not pictured here).

Seven images from left to right with the words sprint backlog, product backlog, sprint review, increment, daily scrum meeting, sprint, and sprint retro listed in bold blue fonts.
Above each word is it's icon.
Image 1 shows a column of five single sticky notes, indicating the sprint backlog
Image 2 shows a column of four index cards indicating the product backlog
Image 3 shows an open cardboard box icon indicating the sprint review
Image 4 shows a closed cardboard box icon indicating an increment
Image 5 shows 4 black silouette busts of people appearing to talk representing the daily scrum meeting.
Image 6 shows a bar graph with the word sprint written in black and the words skrum, con bon, lean, and safe below that
Image seven shows two talk comic bubbles outlined in black representing the sprint retro.
Development Cycle stand-alone icons and word elements, used as building blocks for slides and training materials.

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