Lately I’ve been approaching my existing client work from the perspective of a seasoned UX designer (well, a newbie half-faking it and learning as I go) — and I’ve noticed that both my processes and my work deliverables have vastly improved.
My marketing copy is cleaner, leaner, and more intentional (thanks, microcopy!). Visual designs are formed deliberately around planned information architecture, rather than responding directly to an amorphous idea from the client. And final products are the result of round of feedback, revision, and improvement.
In the case of my freelance book client (the financial advisor publishing the part-memoir, part-wealth management instruction manual we discussed last week), the book, being part financial “how to” guide, is supported by a number of activities and workbook materials that supplement the text.
They give the reader a bit of at-home curriculum to work through, and apply to their own financial investment plan. As project manager, I took it upon myself to design and refine that content through a user testing process.
My client had no idea what “user testing” meant when I first suggested it. But observing just a few potential readers actually go through the financial planning tasks he’d created highlighted a number of pain points. For example, the instructions could be clearer (especially for readers unfamiliar with the financial industry), and the fiscal examples could be more realistic and relatable.
It only took a handful of tests to get these insights — they were all conducted in just one day, and at minimal cost to my client. His initial readers generously volunteered as participants, and the few hours I spent synthesizing and analyzing the data was the only additional billable item.
As a result of this process, we revised the materials, and the book will be able to reach a wider audience more effectively. And, after all, that is the overall goal of the book.
Oh, usability testing, you are a beautiful, generous goddess!
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