UX in a Digital Asset Management World: Transforming a development centered organization into a design centered organization

The RUXERS newsletter is our monthly share out about ux, design, and research.

August of 2015, I joined Widen Enterprises as their first UI designer in a development centered organization. Little did anyone know, the role Widen hired me on for was actually a user experience role. This opportunity led to a world of learning, professional development, and incredible change at Widen from a development centered organization to a design centered organization.

Key Accomplishments

  • Helped create and grow a UX team from 1 to 6 team members
  • Established a foundation for usability testing
  • Successful launch of new product Portals – Visual Webpage Builder
  • Designed new data insights tool for Digital Asset Management
  • Key player in transforming a development centered organization into a design centered organization
  • United design and marketing on brand revamp
  • Designed and established Widen UX/UI Pattern Library
  • Object Oriented UX and designed App Icon Family
  • Redesign of DAM and IA for Suite of Apps

While, I played a major role in the evangelism of design in Widen and the growth of UX and Research I also contributed heavily to the user experience and design of new products: Portals (Visual Web Page Builder), Workflow (Creative Proofing Tool), and Quick Insights (asset consumption data in one click).

Portals

See it in action

Portals was my first project at Widen. This was a brand new initiative that sparked the growth of UX and design in the organization. I started this project with the VP of Product, Deanna Ballew, and ensured that we were in alignment with our visions. This involved many meetings and lots of questions and discussion. It became apparent that before we jumped into wireframing that we needed to gain developers trust and ownership in the project. To do this, we facilitated design workshops full of sticky notes, ideation, and discussion around what would be possible from a development viewpoint (and also recognizing our timeline).

Once we established a list of ideas for Portals we were able to compare them to the established product roadmap and determine where we could fit certain pieces of functionality — and if not discuss why. From here, the wireframing process began. I utilized sketches and then the Sketch App for medium and high fidelity.

As I sketched, I constantly asked developers and stakeholders for feedback. How does this flow look to you? Can you tell me more? Can you tell me more? Tell me more became Deanna and I’s mantra. We found that after the third ask you really got to the answer. And it brought development closer to product and design.

Once, we had all aligned and agreed on flows and sketches for the initial product I created a simple click through prototype using PowerPoint. This was before Widen had Invision, Axure, or any other prototyping tool for usability feedback. I used these prototypes to gain feedback from anyone I could find in the office. (This project led to showcasing the value for usability testing and sparked funding in tools like UserTesting and Axure.)

Moving forward in time… Once we had high fidelity prototypes in place Deanna and I travelled across the nation to companies like Quicken Loans, Pampered Chef, and Trek. (After launch team members even visited Facebook and Google, and companies in Europe for feedback).

The overall process for designing Portals was: Define, Align, Discover, Iterate, Design, Iterate, Approval and Handoff. Over and over until we got the MVP just right. After launch, Portals became one of Widen’s best selling products in comparison to Digital Asset Management.

To this day, Portals is still growing and flourishing.

Axure Prototypes for Usability Studies

Workflow – Creative Proofing

I took on the UI and information architecture revamp for Workflow. Workflow launched before I completed the Widen UX/UI Pattern Library and you can see how the experience and visual design evolved below.

Zack Gehinhttps://ruxers.com
Hello, I am Zack! I founded RUXERS. I am an entrepreneur, and UX leader residing in Denver, CO. Thank you for reading RUXERS!

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