Delphie Spotlight: Crafting Strategic Digital Experiences with Delphic’s User Experience Team

In this series, we illuminate open roles by going beyond the bullet points and chatting with Delphies about new opportunities on their teams. This month, we sat down with our UX team to talk about their Delphic experiences, growing our UX practice, and the open Director of UX role.

Let’s start with your name, role, and how long have you been at Delphic.

Leah: My name’s Leah Scrope, I’m a Senior User Experience Designer and I’ve been at Delphic for nearly six years.

Mike: I’m Mike Katz, User Experience Lead here at Delphic and I’ve been here just over a year and a half.

Becky: I’m Becky Chan, I’m a Senior User Experience Designer, and I’ve been at Delphic for a year and a half.

Leah, you started here as a visual designer and have helped build out the UX practice from its conception, first under former VP of User Experience, Todd Duchynski (now VP of Planning and Delivery) and then under Creative Director, Robert Fisher. How has working alongside the visual design team affected the UX team’s creative process?

Leah:  As a practice, UX had been steadily becoming more integrated into Delphic’s overarching project cycle, but the transition to working more closely with visual design and content teams was a game changer. Now our design process is less ‘create wireframes then handoff to design for comping’ and more ‘let’s ideate based on customer insights, sketch experience concepts, and come up with a solution’. Two, or three brains are better than one and working in a vacuum doesn’t allow an idea to be seen from all angles.

Even more recently have we started to focus on customer experience strategy. It’s been exciting to lead  user and business stakeholder interviews to create service design blueprints and customer journey maps. We’d like to be able to keep moving in this direction and have more opportunities to focus on customer and user research.

Mike and Becky, you both worked in UX for several years before joining our nascent UX team. How have you seen UX at Delphic grow and change over the last year and a half?

Mike: Prior to Delphic I worked in both an agency setting and on the client-side, where I worked on a product-based UX team for a large travel agency that used agile methodologies. Coming to Delphic, I returned to the excitement of agency life where every day I can work on a breadth of different projects.

Looking back on the past year and a half, our knowledge base has grown immensely. While we’re still a small team of three, we’ve developed a larger and more effective toolkit. With each project, we’ve become smarter and quicker as we learn from each other and strive to build a practice that’s the best it can possibly be.

Becky: Before Delphic, I was at a UX design consultancy. I worked with some old school UX designers – people who were at the forefront of the field as we know it. A lot of them came from different backgrounds but found each other through a shared way of problem solving.

From that experience I brought an understanding of UX methodologies and practices, steeped in the scientific method. It’s fun seeing both my fellow Delphies and our clients react to the power of listening to the user and researching the problems we are trying to solve.

At Delphic, learning from each other is definitely valued across departments. Thinking about the anatomy of your team, where do each of your strengths lie?

Mike: My wheelhouse is research: understanding user needs and testing designs to ensure that those needs are met. I also focus more on organizing site structures and content based on user needs. I really enjoy talking to people and understanding what drives them.

Leah: Coming from a creative background, I’m still very much a visual person and as it lends to UX, I’m more inclined towards testing our solutions for viability.

Becky: I think one of my strengths is fostering an understanding of the importance and power of user research internally and with our clients through education and advocating for the voice of the user in all discussions I have. I also bring service design knowledge, experience, and interest to the team. By understanding how our our digital touch points fit into the rest of the offline customer experience we can make our clients’ websites and digital marketing experience seamless and meaningful.

Describe a day in the life of the UX team. What does collaboration look like for your team?

Leah: Most days are really hands on and involve a lot of talking to project managers, developers, and visual designers on each project. It’s quite a bit of jumping around but that’s what makes this role exciting, there’s never a dull moment! Since the UX team rarely works on the same project together,, we meet once a week  to have a campfire chat to share what we learned. If we’re exploring a new research method, we’ll reach out to each other for advice, and ultimately try to loop each other into the solutions that we design.

You mention that you usually work separately – what kinds of projects are each of you working on?

Leah: For the better part of 2016 the main project I worked on was American Standard. It was a great opportunity to really focus my efforts on one project for an extended period of time. The challenge was how to deliver one cohesive site to multiple audiences  with different tasks in mind. I was able to practice some key UX methods such as baseline user testing, journey mapping, persona creation, and task flows to gain a deep understanding of the user.

More recently I had the unique opportunity to create a mobile-first design. Through analytics, we learned that over 80% of the audience visiting the site were on a mobile device, so  mobile-first approach for this project was a no brainer. We conducted field research by visiting retail stores where the product is sold to put ourselves in the customers’ shoes. We created journey maps for both an in-store and an online purchase experience. Beyond purchasing, there were a lot of task oriented features within the site that needed some careful planning.

Mike: Last October, I worked on a B2B product site for a large internet provider. The client sought an overarching strategy for a seamless customer experience, across all 3-stages of the customer journey and life-cycle. We were tasked with unifying the experience across the various stages of the customer journey, including Acquisition, New Customer Experience, and Existing Customer Service/Retention. The key to success in this project was working together as a team in order to come up with CX strategies that would keep the user engaged, no matter where they are in their journey.

The main challenge (at least for me) with this project was understanding the vast number of use cases for existing customers when they were logged in to their account. Each account could have several different user-roles, and each user-role has different needs and a different set of permissions. That challenge kept us focused and opened up a great deal of communication between our team and the client, allowing us to dig in with questions that helped us understand how each user interacted with and utilized that ecosystem.

Becky: I recently worked on a research project for Sunrise Senior Living where we dug into their sales experience and their customers’ journey of shopping for senior living options. In the end, we created journey maps and a blueprint of how their sales process could better accommodate the customer. It’s great because we are harnessing UX methods in order to help not just the digital experiences we design, but enhance and complement the in-person experiences.

Currently, I’m working on a digital brand strategy for a healthcare client. We’re rethinking their digital presence and the role it plays in their business. Creating good user experiences in healthcare can mean providing a better quality of life to their patients. We don’t want our clients to just keep up with industry standards — we want them to go above and beyond so their business can have the biggest impact in helping people.

Thinking about the open Director of UX position, why would someone want to join in on the UX journey at Delphic?

Becky: Our practice is growing and the director would have the ability to help mold it and, at Delphic, you get to work and collaborate with a lot of smart people.

Mike: We have the foundation set but we need the person coming in who can inspire change in all of us, teach us new methods, and really evangelize UX throughout Delphic. Everyone here is willing to learn and understand UX and I know once we all do, the sky’s the limit for what we can achieve.

Leah: It’ll be a hell of a ride in the best possible way!

How would you like to see the UX practice change and grow within Delphic?

Becky: More research! Part of this is the team learning how to make the logistics of it easier so that, in turn, it becomes an easier service to provide to clients. We know the value of researching an audience or problem but it involves thinking about the long term benefits of paying for it up front.

Also, I’d like to implement more Lean UX. This isn’t brand new but Lean UX methodologies align with a lot of the constraints we are working within an agency environment. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where you are doing enough research to make the best decisions. No more, no less.

What questions should a potential applicant ask themselves before applying to Delphic?

Becky: Am I creative and open minded in how I solve problems? Am I passionate about teaching others about the benefits of UX methodologies?

Mike: How much of a difference am I looking to make? Am I confident in my ability to lead a team through the necessary strategies and processes to solve complex design challenges?

Describe the UX team’s dynamic in three words or less?

Leah: Pretty damn cool. 😎

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