How to leverage UX design frameworks for exceptional CX

The Double Diamond Model

A day in the life of a digital agency is never dull and never the same. The designers at Switch are lucky to work on large-scale exciting projects for industry leading organisations. But with great goals comes great responsibility. How do we ensure a smooth design thinking process while working in multiple cross-functional teams to deliver targeted and best-in-class solutions for a variety of customers?

The answer lies in leveraging a UX design framework that empowers us to maintain the highest quality, velocity, and consistency in our workflow while delivering intuitive and effective user-centric experiences.

The Power of Choosing the Right UX Design Framework

With an array of UX design frameworks to choose from, it's common for teams to feel overwhelmed when selecting a systematic approach that suits different customer projects. To address this challenge, Switch has explored and adopted various approaches over time. For instance, we utilise the Crazy 8s model for generating ideas and the 'Why How What' framework, which we apply to a wide range of everyday activities within our modern Agile environment.

One particularly effective model has proven its efficiency for the UX Design thinking process at Switch is the Double Diamond model. Developed by the British Design Council in 2005, this model divides the design process into four stages: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver.

Let's delve into each stage to understand how this framework enhances our work.

The Double Diamond Model: Uncovering and Delivering Solutions

The Double Diamond model features two diamonds, representing the problem and the solution. Its key strength lies in emphasising both "divergent" and "convergent" thinking. This means creating an abundance of ideas and understanding the breadth before refining and narrowing down the options.

Diamond 1 - Discovery

At Switch, we view the first diamond as the Discovery phase, where we create and align on a comprehensive understanding of the problem at hand. This phase comprises two crucial steps - Discovery and Define.

Discovery: During this initial stage, our primary focus is gaining a deep understanding of the problem space and the users' needs. We engage in research activities such as user and stakeholder interviews, market analysis, competitive analysis, and technical discovery. At Switch, we focus on exploring the problem space from two perspectives - understanding the customers ensuring a human-centred approach and analysing internal operations and objectives. The goal is to uncover as many valuable insights as possible and identify opportunities for user experience and design improvements.

Define: Once we've gained a thorough understanding from both perspectives, we converge on the path forward. At this step we aim to define and prioritise the problems a project must solve while establishing design goals. This stage involves synthesising research findings, identifying the key pain points and objectives, and producing multiple outputs. These outputs include a clear problem statement that serves as a guide for the design process, user personas, customer journey maps, and a high-level backlog and roadmap. All these artefacts are backed by the findings we have uncovered through customer research and our internal engagements with the business.

At Switch, we have a variety of Discovery activities to choose from, depending on our focus and the value they can provide.

  • Vision, Goals and Metrics (VGM)
  • Business Process Mapping
  • Competitor Research
  • Customer Surveys
  • Customer Interviews and Focus Groups
  • Personas
  • Customer Journeys
  • Digital Operating Model
  • Technical Discovery
  • KPI Framework
  • User Story Definition
  • Backlog and Roadmap Management
  • Digital Strategy

Diamond 2 - Define & Design phase

The second diamond focuses on ideation, prototyping, and testing to find the best possible solution.

Develop: During this stage, our team generates a wide range of ideas and explores potential solutions. Techniques such as Crazy 8s brainstorming, sketching, and prototyping allow us to generate concepts and iterate on them. The emphasis on divergent thinking enables us to explore various options, break the mould, and create world-class innovative experiences for our clients.

An essential step during this phase is involving users and stakeholders in the ideation process. At Switch, we prefer to run low-fidelity wireframes by our clients through interactive workshops. This approach allows stakeholders to not only vote for their preferred features but also provide valuable feedback early on, which allows us to quickly iterate and refine our solutions. After gathering this input, we can then test mid-fidelity or high-fidelity prototypes with end users to validate our designs before proceeding to create pixel-perfect visual designs.

Define & Design Phase. Finding & Defining the Solution / Steps to Achieve

Deliver: Once the design concepts have been developed and tested, the focus shifts to refining and implementing the final solution. This stage involves designing detailed prototypes, conducting thorough usability testing, and iterating based on user feedback. At Switch, we follow a component-led design approach, which promotes consistency, scalability and faster iteration - one of the key principles of human-centred design.

The deliverables of this stage include high-fidelity designs and digital style guides. On top of this, we perform technical design, specifications and acceptance criteria to ensure a seamless transition into the development phase.

It is crucial to note that the UX design framework is not a rigid linear process but rather a flexible approach that allows for client feedback, iteration and refinement at each stage. This iterative nature encourages designers to continuously validate and refine their ideas based on user feedback and insights gathered throughout the process.

Adopting UX Design frameworks enables faster onboarding of new team members, facilitates collaboration with all stakeholders, ensures consistency in product delivery, and maximises efficiency. These frameworks help provide the Switch UX Design team with a systematic approach in delivering award winning solutions for our customers.

To learn more about how Switch can help your organisation with UX led strategy and design, simply book a consultation with us today!

— Nadia Buzalski

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