On May 17-19, the UX team in Visma eAccounting hosted a three day long UX Marathon for the eAccounting teams in Växjö, Sweden. The purpose of the UX Marathon was to make our colleagues more knowledgeable and comfortable in working with a user experience mindset, and to make progress together on the research we are doing for upcoming projects.
Our version of the UX Marathon is a three day long “design sprint,” where the teams work together on projects, such as future releases on our roadmap. While working on these, the participants are recommended to follow a user-centered design (UCD) process (see image below). The teams began the process by gathering customer insight through e.g. interviews and observations, and then got back to their desks to specify and prioritize their findings. Then, based on those findings, they created concepts to meet the needs and pains that the customers expressed. When they were done, they tested and got feedback on their concepts to validate them.
The teams were recommended to follow our UCD process.
On the first day of the marathon, the participants were first split into teams, and introduced to the brief that they were going to work on for the next three days. In order to prepare them for their upcoming customer meetings, we shared some tips or principles to keep in mind during the meetings. The goal of having the teams meet customers was for them to gain an understanding of the context of which they use our product. At the end of day one they had completed the first step of the UCD process.
We started the next day with a recap, talking about yesterday’s findings before we moved onto the next part of the marathon. For the second day, we recommended that the teams try to fit in two parts of the UCD process, with the goal of encouraging them to work ‘quick and dirty.’ That meant they they would try to both ‘specify demands’ by analysing and prioritizing use cases based on their findings, and start developing their first concepts. Most teams created sketches and low-fi prototypes, such as mockups.
After developing their first concepts, we encouraged them to evaluate them with the customers, or with colleagues across other departments in the office and then iterate the concepts if needed. There was time set aside for that the next day, which was the last day of the marathon and where they also presented their findings and results in the afternoon.
“It was a great event and I hope we can do this again, as I am a big fan of sitting together. That efficiency you will never get when you’re distributed. Repeat this as an yearly event!” – Anonymous participant, via post event survey.
Mattias Johansson, a developer of Visma eAccounting says that one of his most important takeaways from the UX Marathon is that he has learned to see the real value of creating with the people using our product and not just for the people using our product. He also sees the value of going through the entire UCD process together and not just letting the designer sit with this part alone.
Going forward, the assigned teams will have a lot of material and research to use in their work when developing Visma eAccounting further. It was really fun and exciting to follow the process of the different teams’ work and we hope that all 19 (23 incl. us UX:ers) participants had fun and felt that their work was meaningful – which it is!
UX Marathons have been run in Visma many times before, which is understandable looking at everything this marathon gave us. In my UX team we will definitely continue to run them!