Pear creates mixed and virtual reality software. We emphasize user experience and recognize the danger of self-referential design in this new domain. Not only do we love user research and rapid prototyping, they are the central fulcrum on which we operate. We are committed to constituent participation in this process, understanding surrounding influences, and improving their quality of life. Though mixed and virtual reality is the next big wave in consumer technology, we don’t think it’s the right solution in most circumstances. We’re happy to consult on trade-offs and test across platforms.
Our expertise is in interaction design, needs analysis, full-stack development, and usability evaluation. Though we move fast, we dot our i’s and cross our t’s. Good design percolates through process and architecture.
We begin every project by understanding your motivations, goals, and constraints as a business. Esprit de corps, transparency, and fluid communication are critical to success. We want to empathize with our clients as well as our users. The following summarizes key phases in our approach, though we understand that design is not monolithic. Distribution of effort is also subject to consideration; for example, a project may just focus on ethnographic research, needs assessment, and prototype development.
Once milestones, KPIs, and workflow protocols are established, we focus on knowledge collection through ethnographic research, SME interviews, design sampling, and market research. We then organize this data with the goal of identifying patterns, problems, and opportunities. These insights are carried over into our design exploration, a highly iterative and slightly chaotic process of generating potential solutions for testing. We involve stakeholders and users as much as possible. The output from this exploration are 1-3 concepts to prototype and evaluate. Evaluation is quick -- testing with a maximum of 5 users -- which allows for more pre-development iteration. This exercise should make the next step of scoping and prioritizing an MVP fairly seamless.
At this point test-driven development begins in parallel with design, staggering UX tasks a sprint ahead of implementation. We benefit from a technical designer and design-minded developer that work within arms reach of each other, so lingua franca is not a challenge. We hold inclusive retrospectives at the end of every sprint, and are open with task progression.
Usability testing is scattered throughout the development phase, though we recommend a full assessment after each milestone. A study from Nielsen Norman Group revealed that investment in usability testing “increases desired metrics by 135% on average.” We recommend testing with around 5 users and are experienced with asynchronous web-based testing (e.g. usertesting.com and in-person testing).
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