Innovation is becoming a revolutionary component for a lot of businesses. You’ll hear the echoes of industry leaders asking, “How can we be better? What will make us different? How can we give the best possible experience?” That thought process is no different for Hannah Stocks, the Innovation Manager at Save the Children.

Hannah has worked alongside legendary UXers and helped implement sustainable frameworks and business models. Although each project is unique, she follows a general structure of:

  1. Research to identify problems and opportunities
  2. The creation of potential solutions through ideation and design
  3. Concept testing with the target audience
  4. Reassess further development based on feedback, followed by additional testing
  5. Feasibility and viability assessment, followed by a small MVP

We like to ask every UXer what their rule of thumb is for their processes and designs. Hannah said,

“Design in every organisation is different. I use a combination of design thinking, human-centred design and lean startup. You need to find what works for your situation or organisation.”

We’ve found there’s a range of books UX designers love to reference for their rules of thumb; Lean Startup, Lean UX, Design Thinking, Don’t Make Me Think and heaps more.

We asked Hannah what she found most valuable from her involvement in usability tests and analysis in previous projects.

“When we did an analysis and usability test on the current state of the website, it helped to point out all the gaps that we needed to focus on or consider in the redesign. The usability test was used along with a heuristic review and a landscape review to help us understand what was or wasn’t working, and then identify best practice solutions to those issues”

There’s the general preconception of usability tests, someone sitting in front of a computer while an observer watches and takes notes. Let’s take that preconception and throw it out the window, we’re all about innovation after all. Hannah has taken part in different ways of customer testing including card sorting and low-fi paper prototyping with a potential audience. These strategies can help to structure pages and the overall architecture of a site.

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Top tips from Hannah on running your user test

What are your assumptions?
Before you head into a session, be very clear on your core hypothesis and any relating assumptions. You need to know them to validate them, right? It’ll make observing a lot easier if you know what you’re looking out for.

Be hyperaware of your biases
Everyone has biases. You have biases in your everyday life, so you’re going to have a lot more bias when it comes to your masterpiece being judged. Be hyper aware of your own biases and be open to receiving critical feedback, you may not like it but you’ll appreciate it.

Don’t direct, observe
It’s easy to quickly fall into a directive role. You need to keep your questions open and make sure you’re not leading your participant in any way. That can lead to skewed data.