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Designing with the customer in mind

Posted by Mark Cossey on Nov 12th, 2014 | News and opinion

A designer laying foundations | Crunch

I joined Crunch as Head of Design and User Experience in July 2014. During the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with big name brands such as Nivea and The Post Office and have held lead roles on the British Gas Hive project and the Barclays Mobile design team.

Having spent a number of years commuting to London, I decided to look for a new challenge closer to home, which would allow me to spend more time with my family and train for my first marathon. As the first design and UX manager at Crunch, it has also been an exciting opportunity to build a first class design team to shape our future products.

One of the first things I wanted to introduce at Crunch was a process that would allow the design team to integrate faster and deeper into our product development.

By introducing design sprints that precede development sprints, we can spend some time understanding the problem, facilitating sketch workshops to think about solutions and then build prototypes that we can test with real users. This means we can start to develop something that has been through a phase of validation.

We are fortunate to have a team of highly creative designers and developers. A team that are agile enough to respond quickly and effectively to product and feature developments. We often use sketch workshops where we can problem solve together with product owners, developers and engineers. Having all those people in the same room, gathered around a piece of paper with sharpies at the ready, is a very exciting and creative process.

A big part of the designers’ role is to facilitate these workshops by providing insight, equipment, space and structure. The designers are then able to quickly prototype ideas born from these workshops and that helps to communicate to a wider audience. A shared vision and a wide angle perspective of the Crunch service is really important for our designers, as well as understanding our customers and business needs.

We often listen in to sign-up calls for new customers. Its so important to hear their voices, pick up on their emotions and frustrations. Having a connection with our users helps us make better decisions based on feedback rather than taste or personal preference. We do use personas but these are snap-shot personas that use keywords to convey traits and personalities – they act as reference points. Personas are useful to get the teams talking and really understand our customers. We talk to them and show them what we are doing, then listen to what they have to say.

We organise regular usability tests with our customers where we can test out our prototypes for new features. This allows us to validate our decisions as well as iterate our designs.

design 2

What next

There are some really exciting projects on the Crunch roadmap that will take our service to the next level. Design is at the heart of everything we do, which is why it’s important we attract talent to our team. We aim to constantly provide a fun and creative environment with shared visions and goals so that we consistently produce high quality work. If you would like to be part our team, please check out our careers page and send over your CV with a cover letter introducing yourself.

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