Begin with the End in Mind

Here at Axis group, we believe very strongly in Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. So much so, that “begin with the end in mind” is part of our core ideals. This is reflected in our approach to delivering analytics. We don’t just start building. We don’t even “gather requirements” in the traditional Software Development Life Cycle sense. We take a fundamentally different approach.

We begin engagements from a design perspective. Through ethnographic interviews and creative design exercises, we elicit input from a myriad of stakeholders to create Persona models; abstractions of users that root the remainder of the design process. And we don’t just ask “what do you want to see? What do you get from your current reports?” We delve deeply into “How do you know you’re being successful? So what? What actions will these decisions lead to? Why is that important?”

From Personas, we then ideate and iterate into high level solution concepts, persona to view mappings (shown below), wireframes, and finally high-fidelity mockups or fully functional prototypes.

In this particular example, we interviewed 20 different stakeholders resulting in 6 unique personas (across the top). From the personas, we devised a solution with 7 different views and mapped them based on usage. We then created high level page layouts while conceptualizing dozens of different potential visuals:

At this point, we reviewed the initial concepts with the original contributors to help hone the design. We finally created high fidelity mockups for each view and went through another round of iterative feedback. These mockups ensure we have a very clear target for the final application before any development is invested (begin with the end in mind).

The result was a design that all stakeholders were not only supportive of, but excited about. Because we had been going through a data blueprinting analysis at the same time, we were able to then quickly implement the solution bringing data and the design together.

For a more detailed analysis of the below single design mockup, check out our latest Mock-Up Monday post here.

Note, these analysis tie back directly to answering questions specific to a given Persona’s needs, in this case, Rose: Who are my top customers and suppliers? How are sales managers performing to target? Is there a customer that I’ve been selling to and they’ve suddenly dropped off?

The Contributors:

Liza George has a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction from Georgia Tech with a background in architecture. She enjoys all forms of design, from buildings to screens. Liza likes reading, kickboxing and playing video games in her free time.

Alex studied both Computer Science and Operations Management at Georgia Tech. A certified Project Manager, he oversees complex engagements for various Axis Group clients. Alex’s free time is spent chasing his young daughters around the house and headbanging to heavy metal.