To learn more, you can explore the blog I created to post links to articles and podcasts about Design, Amazon, and Research so I can share with the rest of my product teams: http://ux-sellerlabs.tumblr.com/.
Opportunity Canvases, User Research & Competitive Analysis
My co-designer and I use Opportunity Canvases to evaluate features and ideas that come from stakeholders and team members by understanding how they address pain points in our customer journeys, our user goals, and the company's business goals. I currently conduct customer interviews, send out surveys, and connect with our Customer Support team to go over their customer interactions and troubleshooting to flesh out what jobs our customer's are trying to accomplish and what factors affect these desires and needs. One advantage of working with Amazon Sellers is the breadth of resources - all of which are customer touch points I have access to and can help me understand my customer: I consume the same Amazon Seller podcasts, subreddits, and YouTube tutorials that our customers learn from. Once I have a better understanding of what we're trying to solve, I'll create breakdowns of features, ideas, and competitive walk-throughs using Google Slides to share with my team.
Studying these problems form hypotheses, which are validated (or not : ) and will in turn become stories in my teams' backlogs. I spend 1-3 weeks looking into analogous solutions, constraints, and discoveries that I share with the team during our Storytimes.
Tools: Google Slides, Evernote to store all my customer and competitive research for its tagging system, searchable index, and collaboration. Download the PO Canvas Template.
Journey Maps & MVP Slicing
After committing to work on a particular problem or feature, I work with the product manager to review my research and create touchpoint maps of the many ways our customer would interface with our solution. We divide the feature or project into a "minimum viable slice" and organize the feature's development into sprints. After this session, we would review in a Grooming meeting with the engineers to give rough time and effort estimates and get feedback on our implementation plan.
Tools: I use Cardboard daily, because it's perfect for remote collaboration and it's super simple.
Sketches, Wireframes and High-fidelity Mockups
After the product team and I break down the feature into implementable slices, I'll begin incorporating sketches, wireframes, and simple mockups to the feature/idea map to flesh out the group's vision. I spend "workshop time" with my co-product designer to create wireframes and discuss how the designs affect her product teams, utilize our pattern library, and stay within brand guidelines. The wireframes will go through a series of refinements that are reviewed and groomed in our upcoming SCRUM meetings. After all implementation and design elements have been understood and discussed, I'll spend the final stretch polishing my mockups.
Tools: I use pen and paper, Balsamiq, and Sketch.
With a very engineering-oriented environment, the most important key to the success of my designs means deep shared understanding over both code implementation and the intended user experience.
It's often key that I've documented the versioning and the incremental build. I communicate heavily with the developers during their whole sprint to review changes, make compromises, and adjust on the fly.
Tools: I import final Sketch docs into Zeplin, which generates all CSS and creates a style guide. I make gifs with CloudApp to show interactions and often use full prototypes in Marvel or InVision to explain more complex flows.
As my company orients itself more towards usability testing, this is something we are still practicing well. The product manager and I will review features with our customers on phone calls together and evaluate whether our solution and increments should stay on track or whether we missed the mark. I design and create surveys, and collaborate with Customer Support to evaluate design changes and their success. I also utilize employees to test new designs with prototypes. This is an area I hope to grow more experience in and am working towards helping my whole team do so.
Tools: Marvel, InVision, Google Hangouts
A small example of how this part of the process often works. In this situation, I was working on displaying the Reports page in our analytics tool.