I may now be a "born again product guy." Yesterday, I came to love the practice of UX (User Experience). My revelation came towards the end of a 5 hour-long UX marathon/hackathon we had at AnyClip, led by our (amazing) UX consultant Lis Hubert and AnyClip's own lead designer, Gabi Moore.
In the hackathon, we went over several user "personas" and related research Lis and Gabi had compiled over the past few weeks and looked at our current site navigation and interface relative to how users would expect to experience the site. Then we started planning for some major updates to our site with all this in mind, constantly checking our ideas against the research, and allowing our user feedback to guide major decisions.
None of this would be that revolutionary, had we actually done some of this in the past. But this was our first time really starting from user stories and research, rather than the "pages" and "features" us creative "product guys" like me LOVE to start with.
The results were awesome.
Not only did we start designing a better product, but I felt more confident about our decisions, because they were backed by real work -- not just our gut.
So, as a "product guy," this whole UX process has been tremendously eye-opening. I certainly want to thank Lis for her time spent working with us at AnyClip (I whole-heartedly recommend her) and thank Gabi for encouraging us to put more resources into User Experience. It was a great call and our company is better for it.
Now the challenge will be to bake User Experience into our process going forward. It was valuable now, and forever will be.