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Experience, Interface and Usability: Quo Agency UX Projects

To understand users' true needs, we focus on Human-Centered Design, for this reason, Quo's vision is based on three aspects.
By
Nelson

Quo’s UX projects focus on the creation of products that work easily, that are appealing, but above all, that satisfy the users’ needs (AKA products that do their job). If the latter is achieved, the product will be a successful one. Thus, our projects work based on three aspects: experience, interface, and usability. This means that for Quo, the psychological effect in the user when it comes to the architecture on the screen is as important as the simplicity in the handling of the features distributed in it.

Another important aspect is that we understand the impact of UX in the business world, given
that good design raises a website’s conversion, therefore sales, and ultimately profits. Furthermore, proper investment in good UX during the product design, can avoid inefficient expenses during the development stage, and will avoid marketing failure associated expenses after the product is released. Fixing problems at earlier stages is a cost-effective approach when building a web product.

User experience by Quo

Often (and sadly), the design of websites and apps is based on business goals or its technical aspects, leaving the user aside. From our perspective, this can be a serious mistake that translates into a waste of time, effort and money, because by neglecting the user, a business obtains a product that has unnecessary features, it’s hard to comprehend and use, won't do its job, and will eventually fail (commercially). This is the reason why the Quo's vision is based on three aspects: experience, interface, and usability. By doing this, users become the targets for our designs and their experience will determine what’s on the screen and what functions are offered. We can say then, that we focus on Human-Centered Design to understand the true needs of users through a process that may be called "Problem Definition". This “problem” is approached through observation or research tests, which leads to a process that generates a prototype that goes through a second iterative filtering process that allows us to go deeper and deeper into the solution at the end of each cycle.
The final product is a form of growing innovation, where the solution is progressively optimized. It should be noted that our processes are constantly evolving because there are things that become irrelevant or transformed into something completely different.

Stages of a UX project at Quo

During the development of UX projects, Quo organizes a set of tasks grouped in small stages that begin with a detailed process of iteration; which scheme can be detailed below:

  1. Research stage: This stage’s goal is to gather information and elements that our clients have concerning their needs and the needs of the product’s potential users. This way we can: get to understand the brand's message, to comprehend the value of its offer, to identify a target market, to realize what their needs are that the web product can solve, and to figure out other basic business-driven aspects. All this is attached to a summary document that compiles our perception of the basic aspects of the brand, and the observations that later will let us continue with the designs. This process contributes to the problem definition that consists of synthesizing into two or three words what is being created for the client, what the service or product being provided to the client is and what the target audience is. Once this is done, the creative process begins with brainstorming, which leads to the setting-up of a prototype.
  2. Design stage: This is when the iterative design process itself begins. By sketching a user interface and low-fidelity diagrams called wireframes, which goal is to gather feedback from the product's brand representatives and to promote discussion between them and the Quo designers. In here, our outcomes are design files and a prototype discussion panel with a desktop view. At Quo we always push barriers out of the comfort zone. In this matter; we strive to give our customers the first view of a variation that is very close to the final product. This is made through a process that is divided into two stages of creation: Heijunka, and the Final Design.
  • Heijunka allows us, first of all, to create wireframes quickly and very realistically, and secondly, to offer a prototype that is very similar to the final product in a very short time. Heijunka acts on a repository of editable files, which, like legos, allow building or deconstructing the structure of the site to continue working to obtain a final and functional design. One of the advantages of this process is that our repository gathers models of other sites from big industry players that are currently proving to work well. It’s not simply an aesthetic library, it is also a really useful tool backed by the experience of the greatest industry references that serve as its base. This process has proven to be very efficient since immediately previewing the final product gives our designers space and time to focus their attention on the creative aspects, allowing us to offer our clients up to three design variants with the same functionality for each section of their site or app. Our process stimulates the birth of big ideas based on the previous ones and it also increases the possibilities to innovate. In addition, our clients get different designs from which they can choose with the certainty that no matter what their choice will be, the functionality will be the same, because the variants presented are of aesthetic order and not functionality. In other words, we present the same proposal with views from different angles. Finally, Heijunka not only gives us a library with design elements to quickly create wireframes that allow us to speed up the process to get to the final design but it also provides us with HTML for speeding the creation process for those design elements. As an outcome, at the end of the design stage, the HTML is 90% completed. It is clear that this fact has a positive impact on a standard project price because by optimizing the time based on the final quality of the product, Quo Agency is able to deliver more for less, resulting this in cost savings for our clients.
  • The Final Design: At the end of the Heinjuka stage we possess a wireframe of the web product that’s detailed enough and the closest possible to the final product. So when working on the final design, we speed the process of delivering a technically correct and functional product, with a user interface that works and runs error-free. Then, at the end of this Final Design stage, our clients can remain sure about having a 100% functional product. However, experience has taught us that our Clients not only want a functional product, but they also want to convey their "personal taste" on it to improve it. Thus, even if the design is ready to go for development, it is very common that changes in color, shapes, distribution of buttons and alignments are made in order to enhance the user’s experience. It is then understandable and important to make some changes to please the art tastes and else needs of a client; this is why we also have a revision stage.
  1. Reviews stage: Reviews are managed on the basis of our hourly rate service. They will be responded with estimates to complete them, and once they are approved, they will be executed. We will continue listening, preparing and performing changes until all of them are fulfilled, or until the reviews time covered by the agreement has been reached.
  2. Editorial Content stage: This stage is related to the text and artworks that will be provided by the client for being added to the web product. This process will be done in dynamic collaboration with the client's contents editor. Basically, we try to compile and organize the editorial content for the site or application we work on and we also do our best to provide contents for what is in our reach. We use clients’ editorial contents for creating other contents not requiring technical knowledge, such as SEO tags and Open Graph data.  We can also make improvements in writing or organizing text blocks on pages for which we already have editorial contents from the client. Nevertheless, the following, we cannot do: Writing legal pages, writing about a product or service (for we do not produce it nor know about it as the brand behind of it).
  3. HTML stage: At this stage, the interface code is created, and the HTML, CSS, JS and active media files must be delivered to the client. It should be noted that, since we have a library in Heijunka with elements to streamline the design and also the development, at the beginning of this stage we already are at an 80% of being done with the front-end code.
  4. Implementation stage or backend: Generally speaking, until the end of the previous step, what we have of a site or app consisting of a lifeless and empty code structure (HTML, CSS, JS). For the HTML to be alive, we are required to integrate it into a back-end app allowing users to actually use whichever the features of the app are, plus the admins to manage whichever the contents for the web product are (AKA, CMS, E-commerce Admin, else). A standard website is a good example to take for this, for websites are often associated with a term called Content Management System or CMS, which refers to an app that allows admins to manage the contents a final user interacts with when navigating throughout the HTML. The CMS, then, is what’s behind what the final user looks at on their screen and, it is worthy to mention each web product has its own particularities, some websites, and apps with special functions that have a quite unique treatment, and this is why the decision on what back-end approach to go for, is discussed and defined into the earlier stages of the project negotiation.
  5. Test and Release stage: Finally, we make tests in order to find possible errors; and, if there are any, they will be fixed. Once this is done, a fully operational and error-free code will be technically ready to be published.

Quo’s Purpose

Just as stated above, at Quo, we push barriers out the comfort zone, so we exert to give our clients products that work and satisfy. So, for its staking out processes, Quo can deliver at an early stage of the production, a preview of the final result, which allows us to optimize time and focus on the creative aspect, giving ourselves the possibility to innovate, create and be efficient, as we give you more, for less.

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