Steven Hart.
I make simple digital experiences that people love using.

I help companies transform their digital products and services around people, not technology.

As well as the techniques and insights to help you form a user-centred product strategy, I provide the experience and craft skills to help you deliver it – in a focused and efficient manner.

“Amazing, thoughtful ideas”
Customer Experience Director, Barclays

These are some of the things I do.
Each of them contributes to the designed user experience (UX):

User research

Asking the right questions, at the right time in the right way – and knowing what to do with the answers. Cost-efficient methods to make sure you build the right thing in the right way.

  • Design personas and scenarios
  • Customer experience maps
  • Service blueprints
  • Product requirements
  • UX vision

Information architecture

Organising content, tasks and journeys so that one step flows seamlessly into the next. Creating ‘deep simplicity’, this is the stage where complex services are made to feel clear and requires deep analysis and thought. 

  • Site maps
  • User flows
  • Content strategy
  • Page and content specifications
  • Navigation schema

Interaction design

Creating the visual and interactive language for your product, building on the research and IA phases. Demands an extensive knowledge of interaction patterns and a natural empathy for the user.

  • Task flows
  • Paper and digital prototypes
  • Wireframes
  • UI patterns
  • Style guides

… and this is how I do them:

There is no design without research. Whether it looks like ‘research’ or not, any designer needs to understand your business, your customers and your tech before she puts pencil to sketchpad.

Design isn’t about finding the perfect solution, it’s about negotiating the best compromise, and research makes finding and defining the lines of compromise efficient and accurate.

Limits needs to be defined before they can be pushed. Assumptions must be identified before they can be challenged.

This is what research is for. It leads to clear product vision, defined product requirements, and strong direction for managers, designers, and developers.

It saves money and is always the source of genuine innovation or transformation.

The term ‘research’ sounds scientific and expensive. It isn’t. Research for design is not about running long drawn-out scientific experiments – and it’s not about building mathematically irrefutable, statistically significant evidence.

Quantitative data is great, but gets you only so far. By going out and watching people in their natural environment, and talking to them about what they’re doing, you can learn so much more. Design research is about finding the scent of new ideas.

One chance comment from a single research participant can trigger a line of design thinking that leads to a new product, or whole new vision. It’s an example of where the choice of person doing the work is critical, because the process itself is just an enabler for creativity.

The earlier on in your project you begin design research, the better. Ideally, before your project has kicked off…

Design research helps you:

  • Define project scope and vision
  • Explore and define customer behaviours, motivations, goals
  • Validate assumptions
  • Test ideas
  • Measure solutions
  • Optimise released products

It may sound like a buzz word, but information architecture – the structure and organisation of content and, by extension, your whole digital service –  is a critical phase. It is where the big questions are answered and all the collected knowledge and requirements from the business and users are brought together in a cohesive whole.

It informs the navigation and interaction patterns for your product, plays a large part in its overall character, and, ultimately, in its success.

Good information architects need a rare combination of skills and attributes – empathy, analytical thinking, a deep understanding of how people read and use information, creative thinking, and problem-solving.

Work done during the research and information architecture phases may not be immediately apparent: it can be as much about what *not* to build as anything. But to exploit  those choices, the visible parts of a product must be designed in sympathy, and give expression to the thinking.

Attention to detail in micro-interactions, vocabulary choice and tone of voice, colour and typography, all contribute equally to the impression of quality and ease of use.

I build wireframes to show how all the thinking would be expressed in a site or product, the location of content, interactions and behaviours, and user journeys.

For user testing and evaluation of concepts and ideas, I use software that allows for rapid prototyping. In many cases, I have evolved prototypes through several key iterations during one day of user testing, arriving at refined solutions (and binning some) quickly and very cost-effectively.