SecOps and IR Service: Tool Design Strategy

Creating a tool that not only meets the user’s needs, but also makes them want to use it doesn’t happen through guesswork.  Having a thorough understanding of the goals of your tool, your business and your users allows you to balance the three of them in a effective manner.

When creating a tool, there are generally three phases in the process that build on each other – research, strategy, and design.  These phases can be very short or, if the tool is complex, can take some time to make sure the end result is what is desired. 

Research

The initial research phase is to discover the requirements of a tool by understanding the end users and their goals for the tool and also the pros and cons of building the tool.

One method to accomplish this is by using a workflow optimization exercise (see the details of our Analyst Workflow Optimization service) or, alternatively, with a tool design questionnaire designed to look at individual tools instead of the overall workflow.  At the end of the research portion, you will know:

Should I build it?  If so, how?

This research phase will also tell you

  • The ROI
  • User requirements
  • Drawbacks or restrictions of the tool
  • How to validate it

Note – if the tool you are planning to build is of significant complexity or is a suite of tools, take a look at our Product Startup Package service for ideas, as you may want to treat the tool more as a product.

 

Strategy

Once the research has been done, you are ready to decide how this tool is going to behave and what the overall user experience will be.  The tool may be simple enough that it is obvious what to do and you can go ahead and start creating.  If you are dealing with something more complex, we can generate the following for evaluation and refinement with your team:

  • A conceptual user interaction model showing how a user would interact with your tool at a task or goal level. 
  • A UI framework showing the navigation components, and an application map to use as a design guide.  This shows how the page level structure would live in the navigation and how a user would navigate the product to achieve their goals.

 

Design

By the time we get to this stage, you will have enough information to define the detailed UI for your tool and feel confident that it will be both well received and meet the primary needs of your users. 

You will also have the option to have us create any or all of the following design deliverables if you aren't planning on doing them in-house:

  • Templates for the architectural structure of your UI - including landing pages and page templates for core tasks.
  • UI guidelines for text, fields, labels, and other components that need to be consistent throughout the UI
  • Visual style guide and assets for the visual design.  

 

Beyond Design

Whether you choose to only have us provide you with the research to build your tools or prefer to work with us through the full design lifecycle, you will eventually reach the point where the design has been implemented and your tool is being rolled out live.

Going back to the initial research and setting up validation tests is one way to double check that you have achieved what you set out to do.  Another way is the positive feedback you will undoubtedly receive.

For more information, please visit our contact page and drop us a line.  We'd love to hear from you!