How can you bring UX into agile? Sketchboards and low-fi mockups

One of the great HCD methods I learned today at Leah Buley‘s session “Building a practice as a UX team of one” #Agile2011 is Sketchboards.

Sketchboards are like story boarding but with sketches, almost like a biomap of the system you are building or about to build. This method interests me most in relation to how to bring UX into the agile process.

Waterfall provides with time to work on the design up front, but when doing agile, designers don’t always have that luxury. So how can we insert UX and design practices into an agile process?

Sketchboards seem to me like a really good way to do just that. This is how it works in a nutshell.

- Take a 6 feet long butcher paper and stick it on a wall

- Add a few labels for the different stages or categories at the top

- Start adding low-fi sketches (thumbnails) under each

- Take it to the team, get their comments

- Refine and make labels permanent

- Make sketches higher-fidelity

- Make it a living and breathing document for the team to interact with

This could be something that is done at the beginning of a design sprint (which many suggest should run a sprint ahead of development), and that would allow the UX person or team to check back with the rest of the team periodically. Before starting a new product/project, it is a good idea to have a sprint 0 to do a big picture sketchboard that will provide an overview, which should help put the dots together between specific parts/sprints.

For more details, check out the video from the Adaptive Path post.

Another simple yet effective method is to bring low-fi mockups to sprint planning. Low-fi mockups can be used to stir discussion and make people talk about what the product should do from the user perspective.

09. August 2011 by ariadna
Categories: Agile, UX | Tags: , , | Leave a comment