UX Lead / Dec 2012 - Feb 2016
UX Director / Feb 2016 - Present
UX Design Team Strategy
In Collaboration with
Development Team Process Design
Low Performance Management Process
Game Development Framework
UX Design Team Strategy. Studio Leadership.
My goals, as a studio leader, are to spearhead design thinking, to assist creating roadmaps and strategy for our products, to improve efficiency, and to support staffing and studio growth plans through various company projects.
As a support for our UX discipline, I continue advocating user-centered design methodologies, mentoring, empowering, and supporting the UX team across all levels of the job family. I am still supporting project teams — Marvel Contest of Champions and two new projects — with roadmap, reviews, and staffing.
As a team, we strive to be better designers. We take a careful approach to design by incorporating qualitative and quantitative data to build a user experience that aligns with our business goals. We validate our design by measuring its impact on KPIs such as retention, revenue, engagement, and session length – though we plan to create a system that measures customer satisfaction and its relationship to their LTV. We motivate each other every day to teach ourselves different views, processes, and methodologies, to have empathy, and to apply a user-centric approach to our design.
My notes below are mostly on my mian focus - if you’re curious about any other contribution, or you want to chat about how the shift in UX department came about at Kabam, feel free to ping me!
Development of UX Process and Education
In order to champion UX education in the company, we gave multiple presentations and workshops internally and externally on what User Experience is and how we would like to define our roles and responsibilities within Kabam.
We worked on creating better processes that bring in multiple disciplines and encourage their participation at different points throughout the design cycle. Our team members are strongly encouraged to share their work with other disciplines so they can be exposed to our design thinking process and get a better understanding of how we approach a problem. These checkpoints also opened up opportunities for other stakeholders to provide meaningful feedback and raise any concerns that we may not have covered in our design.
Sample of work processes developing over time. This living document can be updated by anybody on the team.
We believe that a good idea can come from anywhere, so we also created a platform for anybody in our company to provide feedback to us about our products. We use this to educate our company on how to provide feedback to UX team, and how to focus on problems rather than providing solutions.
Fun mad libs structure to send user experience feedback to UX team (top) & slides from UX education (below)
For our deliverables, we created two distinct phases with two separate deliverables. One is the UX Design Document (UXDD) and the other is the User Interface Design Document (UIDD).
UXDD includes defining problems and/or opportunity areas, supported data or research, primary and secondary target audience for the feature/task, clear KPIs at feature/task level as well as usability levels, minimum marketable feature sets, competitive analysis, user journey, user flow, and wireframes with high level functionality annotation.
UIDD includes design style, interaction notes, storyboard of any interactions and animations, and detailed level of functionality annotation.
We wanted to push beyond these education sessions and changes in the processes and delieverables, and luckily, my interest in Organization Design and Organizational Behaviour and the learnings from these studies came in handy. We’ve physically moved our seating, we changed our org from an Art umbrella to a separate User Experience org, and re-branded our department. Our titles clearly outlined who we were, and our responsibilities were clearly communicated through our Career Progression Map, Job Descriptions, and Team Mission Statement. We chose our words carefully on how we communicate and how we address ourselves, and quickly, others started correcting themselves when speaking to us. It catapulted the changes in our company in terms of how UX is seen.
We feel strong together as a team and equipped to teach new members about User Experience, in or outside of our discipline.
This continues to improve thanks to the amazing team members who are like-minded and passionate to push UX forward.
Preparing for Growth
Pages from our UX Value Book - Our Mission Statement & one of the Value Posters
Our team started fairly small. When there were only a few of us, sharing ideas and thoughts every day and communicating our expectations from each other were very simple and easy. As we welcome more members into our team and prepare for new projects to take off, we understand the value of having a united vision for our team. Along with the continuing conversations & discussions with our team members, I want to create a solid foundation for our team to scale up in the future. We’ve done many lunch meetings to define what we value as a team, where we believe we are now, and where we want to see ourselves in three years and why. The learnings from these exercises were translated into our UX Team Value Book.
Pages from our UX Value Book - How our team is structured
Once we were aligned on our Values and Mission Statement, it was rolled into many areas that shape our UX team’s culture. Our design process was updated again to align with our values, and interview kit for potential candidates was also updated to include value questions to ensure that we are not only reviewing candidates on their skill sets but also on their passion to contribute, improve, and advocate for culture that we believe in.
Our Appetite for Learning
In our discipline, many of us dedicate our time to learning. Whether that means reading books or taking courses, we are driven by the desire to know and understand more. We host learning sessions with professionals outside of work and knowledge sharing sessions with each other to share cool ideas, and we upkeep a long list of education sources to help us “one-up” ourselves. While doing so, we developed, borrowed, and used variety of tools, methodologies, and frameworks to problem solve from many different sources - from Business, Marketing, or Psychology. These can be applied to our everyday design decisions, and we constantly review and improve the tools to fit our business and user needs.
Marvel Contest of Champions >
TF: Forged to Fight >