Kyrie provides a broad range of services to help small and large companies create
excellent user interfaces, including:
UE Project Review
UE Design Evaluations
UE Process Improvement Advice
UE Advisor
UE Design Workshop
Jump Starts
Customer Research Workshops

Partner: Kyrie Robinson

You should follow me on Twitter here.

UE Project Review

A 2 day in-depth review of a proposed project or product design.

Many companies these days don’t have dedicated interaction design teams. They rely on a single interaction designer, product manager, visual designer, or even lead engineer to create wireframes and mockups for a proposed feature, project or product. During a UE Project Review, the product team can get expert feedback on the proposed designs just as they would if they had an experienced VP of User Experience inside the company. Project Reviews cover the umbrella and component structure, navigation, and workflow. We discuss and verify the task analysis, study individual page/screen layouts, and give extensive feedback on both the big picture issues and small but essential details. The Project Review also gives feedback on the visual design and usability testing plan (or helps create one). Overall, this process ensures that your valuable engineering resources are spent on the right design, the first time.

For more information, contact Kyrie Robinson
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UE Design Evaluation

A 1 week intensive evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your current product designs and recommendations for improvements.

Is your product in the market as easy to use as it should be? Have you structured the product to match the user’s mental model and make it easy to learn? Are you designing the product to suit your target user? A design evaluation by a user experience professional who is outside your organization can bring a fresh perspective to these questions and help you identify barriers to your product’s success and adoption. A product design evaluation takes 1 week of onsite work, and includes a review of the product and interviews with key stakeholders to understand the vision and objectives. It also includes a written evaluation with recommendations of “quick wins” (highly leveraged, low cost changes) and “big wins” (more substantial, far reaching changes that will have big impact). An evaluation may optionally extend to include interviews with current or potential users, and/or a review of existing user research.

Design evaluations are conducted on products that are launched and in the marketplace. They are valuable both for startup companies with new products and for established companies with new offerings.

For more information, contact Kyrie Robinson.

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UE Process Improvement

UE development process and organizational design

Are you struggling with iterative vs waterfall UE development? Trying to define a more structured approach to UE design? Unsure how to fit an interaction design cycle into an Agile Development environment? What steps should the UE team take, in what order, with what milestones?

We can help you structure your UE development process and come up with something that creates designs quickly and consistently, yet works well in your company culture and utilizes the skills of your staff.

A UI Process Improvement roadmap takes 1 - 2 weeks, depending on the organization and current processes, and includes a review of the current process, interviews with key stakeholders to understand the vision and objectives, and process design meetings with the team. It also includes a written process workflow with milestones and the deliverables/contributions for each role. Lastly, once we have defined the appropriate UE development process, we will work with you to educate the rest of the product team as to what the process and milestones are, what they can expect at each step, and how they will contribute and interact with the UE group to get the product designed, built, and delivered.

For more information, contact Kyrie Robinson.

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UE Advisor

Retained, expert, executive User Experience Advisor.

For companies looking to make a lasting change, having a User Experience Advisor can give you access to expert advice in a variety of domains, on an ongoing basis. For one day each month, or one day each quarter, we will:

  • Conduct project reviews and provide the interaction designers (or product managers doing interaction design) with timely, critical feedback on concepts and wireframes. (See “UE Project Reviews,” above).
  • Schedule mini Jump Starts for new projects to get the initial product or feature structure and concepts. (See “Jump Starts,” above).
  • Discuss and improve your UE design process over time. (See “UE Process Improvement”
  •  Increase the amount and quality of customer feedback on initial designs (during the discover phase) and finished products.
  • Host training sessions on topics such as essential design principles, prototyping, assessing visual designs, technical writing and copy for the interaction design, and others.
  • And most importantly, collaborate on and develop a strong strategic direction and vision for the interaction design.

I have been a UE director and executive for successful companies here in Silicon Valley for 15 years, and have faced these issues. I deeply understand the details of designing powerful user experiences, and how to advocate for them within an organization.

For those organizations that are also looking to hire stellar interaction designers or UE managers & directors, I also help with interviewing, recruiting, and coaching new employees during the first months in the organization.

For more information, contact Kyrie Robinson.

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UE Design Workshop

“Essential Lessons in Product Design.” A 2-day workshop tailored to your organization’s product design needs.

Many people can identify a terrific user interface design when they see it. We are all customer and users, and we interact with products all the time, so it is easy to think therefore that anyone can also create a good design. But designing a product from a “blank sheet of paper” or trying to address problems in a problematic design is a serious challenge, and requires very specific skills and techniques. This UE Design Workshop will help your interaction designers and product management team learn to create great designs. Participants will leave the workshop with a deeper understanding of what separates a mediocre design from a great design, and how to achieve designs that customers love.

The UE Design Workshop iincludes hands-on exercises in site mapping, workflow diagrams, creating wireframes, developing personas, evaluating a current product or proposed design.

What makes this course different is that it is taught by an executive that has actually done the job and built the teams at some of the leading software companies in the world, including TiVo, Shutterfly, and eBay. Kyrie is a proven, professional product organization leader with a passion for building great products and developing great UI designers.

For more information on public workshops see our workshop page.

For information about a private workshop for your company, contact Kyrie Robinson.

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Jump Start

An offsite workshop for your product & interaction design team

A good UE design direction in the early stages of product development is one of the most important investments that a product team can make. If your early users love your product (whether they are beta customers or first-at-launch), they are very likely to refer their friends and colleagues. Positive early press reviews can make or break a product. And a strong UE architecture will, in the long run, save development time.

Many of us know a good design when we see it, but starting from a product idea and a blank sheet of paper is another matter. This workshop involves taking the product management and interaction design team members off-site for two to three days. With our facilitation and methodology we create initial product concepts, map out the main structure and navigation, and sketch key workflows. This offsite requires that you already have in place your product strategy, target customers/user profiles, product principles, and requirements. By the end of the workshop, you will have a product concept that your interaction designers (or product managers or engineers) can use as a solid base for more detailed wireframes and prototypes.

The other main benefit of the JumpStart is the team-building value of getting the product team together for these intense sessions. These sessions are often combined with an outing or activity.

Startups & Larger Companies:

For tiny startups, these sessions typically involve most or all of the company’s management team or founders. For small or large product organizations, typical attendees include the head of product, the product manager, interaction designer, and the lead engineer.

For even more information, contact Kyrie Robinson
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Customer Research Workshop

A 2 day custom workshop tailored to your organization’s research needs.

Getting data from customers about proposed product designs and functionality is an extremely important activity for product development teams. Many executives know they should “do usability testing” or “do market research,” but they often lack the research staff who can plan and carry out the testing. This custom workshop teaches concrete skills and techniques that your product managers, lead engineers, and UI designers can use immediately to do customer research during the discovery phase and throughout the product lifecycle. It covers the basics of talking to customers in efficient and unbiased ways, including such topics such as:

    * What research techniques most appropriate for the early, mid, and late stages of product development.
    * How to ask questions, how to listen, and how to translate what customers say into what it really means for your product.
    * How to do lab and field usability tests, cognitive walkthroughs, task analysis, and persona development.
    * Effective technigues for getting customer feedback during a beta test.
    * How to create rapid online surveys that give you actionable insights.
    * When to use focus groups (less often than you might think) and how to do them well when they are appropriate.
    * Which questions lead somewhere interesting, and which questions lead nowhere.

This workshop also inspires teams by exploring the concrete value of customer feedback. It gives team members a structure for evaluating when feedback is needed, how to get feedback efficiently, and how to analyze the cost-benefits of the research. The workshop emphasizes hands-on exercises, and includes group discussions of the current products and research needs within your organization. After the workshop, participants will be able to immediately proceed to execute effective customer research and get actionable data to accelerate your product development.

For more information, see UE Project Review

For more information, contact Kyrie Robinson.

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About Kyrie Robinson

Kyrie’s passion is to create world-class user experience and product design for consumer technology products and services. She has developed and led several successful User Experience teams at leading Silicon Valley companies, but she is best known for her pioneering work building and leading the user experience team at TiVo.

Prior to joining the Silicon Valley Product Group, Kyrie was the VP of User Experience at Rearden Commerce, and before that, at Shutterfly, where she led the effort to simplify and streamline the user experience and develop Shutterfly’s e-commerce offerings.

As the original Director of User Experience at TiVo, she founded and built the company’s industry-recognized User Experience group, and Kyrie was a key member of the original product team for the company’s groundbreaking product.

Kyrie began her technology career at Silicon Graphics working on the award-winning Iris workstation UI, and SGI’s early WebForce products.

Kyrie has a Ph.D. from Stanford, and she is the co-inventor on multiple patents for product designs at TiVo and Shutterfly. She has also been a design consultant at several other high profile technology companies such as eBay and Zinio.

You should follow Kyrie on Twitter here.

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