What “agile” can actually look like in agency

Agile tends to be a buzzword we throw around a lot in agency. Buuuuuuuut, how is agile actually practiced? How does it make sense when we are usually marching to the beat of timeline/scope/clients?

Here’s a look at a few “agile” scenarios that I’ve seen come to life in agency…kinda-sorta. FYI: these are my very BASIC illustration skills…so be kind.

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Personas: Keepin’ it real

Who cares about where Silly Sally lives, how much she makes and what her favorite hobby is?

A fun and simple way to contextualize your research, or to put a face to your target audience, is to create personas. Personas are the anonymous (read fictional) users that were involved in your research—maybe you looked into demographics-based stats online or maybe you were lucky enough to work with the people you will be designing for. Personas have grown in popularity and come in a variety of styles; personas can sometimes be very detailed (sometimes too detailed) or very minimal (just keywords and maybe a sketch of the user).

Because personas are essentially a way for your projects to connect to real users, it is important that they aspire to be as faithful as possible to real (potential) users. Oftentimes, personas come into play after the ideation process, where novice UX-ers are simply fitting quick and dirty persona bios into already established concepts (for the sake of context rather than impact). Personas should not feel contrived and also should not package stereotypes …

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Tangible Wireframing: Responsive design made simple, fun and more accessible

Structuring your content is key to great design, especially in the growing world of responsive web. Limitations with organizing content or designing the framework in which content will be placed are often imposed by the content itself. While early conversations with clients lead to a general understanding of design priorities and goals, it is difficult to transfer these insights to wireframing without several back-and-forths with content strategy (whether it happens on the client side or within the agency). Bringing basic wireframe ideas into early conversations allows non-designers and non-architects to get their hands dirty and understand the parameters within which responsive web design occurs.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s Content Everywhere, a part of the Rosenfeld book collection, is both compelling and inspiring. Particularly interesting was an image that was used in the book under the heading “Structure Follows Substance” (see below).

Figure 3.6, Page 46, Chapter 3 | Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content, Sara Wachter-Boettcher | Rosenfeld

View book:

From a UX/information architecture perspective, a tool similar to that shown in the image above is …

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Design for Dasein: Integrity and experience in virtual reality therapy (VRT)

In preparation for the development of the interactive thesis project, theoretical research from a variety of fields, mostly interdisciplinary, was consolidated. Remaining to be more thoroughly explored however was the potential effectiveness of the planned design, a multimodal therapeutic experience mediated by technology based on holistic health practices, especially in comparison to that of its ‘real’, physical, in-person counterpart. Visiting with practitioners of these healing modalities invests the thesis research with a sensitivity to bring to technology an authentic experience that keeps in tact the integrity of the therapy. The concept of Dasein, borrowed from Martin Heidegger (Being and Time, 1996), was investigated through an in-class residency where it was applied to technologies that are perceived as playing a pivotal role in the disengagement of users from the ‘real’ world, presumably coinciding with a lack of interpersonal communication deemed essential in personal development (Turkle, 2012). Disengagement was understood, for example, as a user feeling more connected to a virtual world rather than his or her real world, resulting in the avoidance of real world interaction.

One possible approach to address …

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