Recently at VictorOps, we’ve been working on an improved user experience for managing alert routing, on-call scheduling, and monitoring integrations. Many of these changes have come about as a result of incorporating user-centered design into our broader Agile workflow.

Working in short iteration cycles means we also need a short feedback loop to help inform high-level experience design and more detailed UI work. One of our goals is to release features early and refine quickly.

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With that in mind, our approach on the front-end has come to look roughly like this:

  • Brainstorming
  • Low fidelity wireframes
  • Internal feedback
  • Build and ship
  • External feedback
  • Refine and improve

At this early stage, two of the most important inputs into this process have been listening to feedback from beta users, and usability testing. Early users provide great insights into how they’d like to be able to use the product and their particular pain points. This kind of organic feedback helps guide feature planning and shape future versions of VictorOps.

Running usability tests has given us the ability to quickly identify issues where people are consistently confused by a particular UI presentation or the wording used to explain a feature. While analytics can show when and where people are getting stuck, observing real users and getting live feedback starts to answer why. By making these sessions part of our development cycle, we can be sure we’re focusing development time in the right places.

This process is a flexible framework that we’ll continue to refine and improve with the ultimate goal of consistently delivering a great product that gets even better over time.