Product name: Casetext (


“Where’s the clipboard?”

A customer wrote this in to our support team after using our “Copy with cite” feature. This feature allows customers to copy snippets of text from a court case, and paste them into the document they’re writing with the case’s citation appended to the end. It’s a huge time saver for lawyers when writing legal documents, and is Casetext’s most heavily used feature.

When I first saw this feedback, I assumed it was an anomaly. The success message says “Copied to clipboard,” but who doesn’t know what the clipboard is? …

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In my previous article, I described how we transformed our Agile development process at Optimizely to include research and design by implementing our own flavor of Discovery kanban. This process gives designers and researchers space to understand our customer’s problems and explore solutions before we commit to shipping new features. In this article, I’ll go a level deeper to describe all the stages research and design work moves through during the discovery process.

Updating work on the Discovery kanban board


The Discovery kanban board is based on the double-diamond model of design, which visualizes the design…

Discovery work planning meeting

How we transformed our Agile process to include research and design

Want help using this process at your company? Hit me up.

Like most tech startups, Optimizely uses an Agile process to build software. Agile has been great at helping us plan what we’re building, coordinate across teams, and ship iteratively. Agile’s focus, however, is on shipping working software, which meant design and research were awkwardly shoehorned into the process.

Scrum, according to HBO’s Silicon Valley

Practically speaking, this meant we got into a habit of building a feature while it was being designed. This put pressure on designers to produce mockups of a feature in order to “unblock” engineers, which…

Action is the bedrock of drama. Action drives the play forward and makes for a compelling story that propels the audience to the end. And an engaging play is just a series of connected actions, according to David Ball in Backwards & Forwards.

Like a play, the user’s journey through your product is also a series of connected actions. Every click, tap, and swipe is an action users take. But unlike the audience of a play, which is just along for the ride, your users are in the driver’s seat trying to reach a specific goal. …

In October of 2015, Optimizely launched its newest product, Personalization. The design process led us down many paths that ultimately weren’t taken. We decided to revisit all of those lost ideas by creating a gallery space for the company to walk through that displayed the various sketches, mockups, prototypes, and visual design ideas we explored. This was a great way to educate the company about the design process, and for the development team to look back at all the work that went into the final product.

The finished gallery before it officially “opened.”

We decided to use the gallery format because it’s physical, which immediately communicates the…

A key role on Optimizely’s Design team is the UI Engineer. They turn designs into functional HTML, CSS, and Javascript. This structure is not common, and I often get asked why this role is on Design instead of engineering. The reason is that they have the same goal as the Design team: to create great customer experiences.

Designers create great customer experiences by designing the user flows, wireframes, layouts, visual design, and more. These artifacts communicate the design’s intent, but they aren’t what our customers actually use. Our customers interact with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. In other words, frontend code…

Optimizely’s Design team is on a mission to design great products that enable our customers to turn data into action. To achieve this goal, we have 3 product roles and 2 marketing roles to define the entire customer experience, from the first interaction with our brand to successfully using our products.

Product Roles

The goal of the Design team’s product roles is to make our products easy to use and essential to our customers.

Product Designers

Product Designers create the products our customers use every day, from concept to completion. …

Optimizely’s Design team is a diverse bunch, ranging from researchers to coders to designers. In the course of working with them, I noticed that everyone has their own unique note-taking style. Some people draw detailed sketches, some encode their notes with symbols, and some use a combination of doodles and words. Some people scribble notes in one big sketchbook, some carry around Field Notes in their pockets all day, and some use a combination of post-its, notebooks, and scrap paper. In noticing these idiosyncrasies, I thought it would be interesting to document everyone’s unique style.

Aurélia (UX Researcher)

EJ (Design Producer)

One of our Senior UI Engineers, Tom Genoni, wrote a guest blog post on CSS-Tricks about his open source Chrome plugin, CSS Dig. CSS Dig analyzes your CSS and exposes the explosion of colors, font sizes, spacing, and other styles on your site to help you eradicate inconsistencies.

Read the full post here:

Jeff Zych

Head of Product Design at LaunchDarkly. Formerly at Gladly, Optimizely, and UC Berkeley’s School of Information

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