Successful use of the Fast Track UX approach

Last April 2015 Jeroen Grit attended the Information Architecture Summit 2015 in Minneapolis, USA. This yearly event is thé place to where the leading community of Information Architecture comes together for multiple days of knowledge sharing, refining the craft, solving problems and breaking new ground. Jeroen was there and presented one of our cases in which the Fast Track UX approach was used. In this blogpost Jeroen will give you a summary.

“At the IA Summit I presented my vision on what we call the ‘Fast Track UX’ approach. The following poster was used to illustrate the elements involved in the redesign of the global Philips Lighting website:

The general public knows Philips Lighting products mainly from the lamps in their own homes, but this company offers much more than that. Their aim is to change the lighting market with innovative lighting systems. In the previous website, this was a goal that was hardly visible to the customer and the website was not targeted at all of Philips’ stakeholders. A digital step up was needed to go from being medium that was just present to an engagement and sales medium. Dynamics of a changing market, complexity of the subject and the amount of stakeholders involved combined with an ambitious planning made the project a real challenge. This is why the project is well suited for the Fast Track UX approach.

Fast Track UX is based on four key concepts to directly create powerful, validated solutions carried by the stakeholders:

1. Accept change

Accept and embrace it. Change is a long term investment: not a hit & run action! Be realistic in the insecurity of the future and handle planning accordingly. Realize that the road to the horizon is not a straight line from A to B. Work instead towards point B in smaller steps with shorter timeframes and with constant (realistic) adjustments of your goals within your own set boundaries with regard to budget, resources and organisational changes. This way you maintain flexibility and do not run the risk of developing a solution while the rest world has gone in different direction.
 An added advantage to this approach is that it gives you the opportunity to validate solutions with the customers. It allows for iterations and gathering and processing of user feedback along the way.

2. Work with visual thinking methods

Visual methods help creating overview and insight. In projects like this redesign of a global website, there is always an enormous amount of input and many stakeholders involved. In the Philips case this input amounted to over 1800 requirements and more than 200 identified stakeholders!
 To keep everyone aligned and informed, it is important to visualize all this information. A way to do this is to create a ‘war room’ with important information on the walls visible for the entire team, to make a mindmap to structure requirements and to translate the input into ux deliverables such as personas and visual user stories.

3. Break down the client barrier

It is important to really work together and be able to trust one another. Share responsibility for the end result. Regularly have progress meetings (in person) and find moments to work together and stay connected.

4. Utilize the collective brain

Trust and utilize the intelligence and knowledge present to come to stronger solutions faster. Bring all of the input together but also leave room for the team to write down their own key insights, for instance in a workshop setting. Because of the change program structure of management and the high involvement of the team you have the certainty that all of the important areas are covered, which gives you the peace of mind and freedom to also utilize the collective brain.

We know from experience that this approach works. It is a great way to work together, create good results fast and communicate to get and keep stakeholders on board.”

Want to know more?

This was just a short summary of what Jeroen presented at the IA Summit. Would you like to learn more? Please don’t hesitate to contact him. Would you like to see other presentations from the IA Summit? Visit this Medium blog from the organisation. Or check out Jeroen’s sketchnotes on his Twitter account.


Originally published at www.gridd.nl on June 6, 2015.