Feb 7, 2017
Written by Erin M.
At CJ Affiliate, we believe in user-centered design. Our core mission is to design products that are a natural extension to the workflows and daily tasks of our customers.
At the heart of our design lie fundamental principles that guide us to be:
Aligned with Customer
These design principles encourage our UX team to reduce ambiguity and enhance clarity, which helps to create useful, innovative products.
Weighted most heavily amongst our principles is supreme knowledge of our customer so we can align with their needs. As they evolve and so do their companies, technology, marketing techniques, and workflows. This is why customer data and feedback is critical to us. To remain relevant, we must evolve and our products must evolve with us.
CJ Affiliate fosters a culture of innovation. Here we can really adopt habits centered on our internal and external users; habits such as empathy, vulnerability, and curiosity. As Bill Burnett of Stanford’s D School highlights, “If you want to incite breakthroughs, you need to cultivate a culture of leaders that not only welcome experimentation and failure, but are willing to continuously share and learn from those failures.”
Throughout each phase of the technology development lifecycle we follow the agile approach through design iterations: discover, design, develop, test, iterate, repeat. This enables us to work through ideas and concepts quickly and often so we can also learn quickly and often. We gain as much feedback as we can from different perspectives—customers and fellow developers—to gain insight and help influence the direction of a design.
To really understand our customers and to deliver a product that will bring them joy, we integrate UX at every leg of the project lifecycle. Our UX team is also tightly embedded into the Product and Engineering teams from the discovery phase of a project all the way through development and into launch.
When we are involved at the discovery phase it enables the UX team to become a part of the initial research and to really understand the customer perspective as we go through the process first-hand with our Product teams. At this stage we can dig into customer interviews, market analysis, field studies, quantitative metrics, and ethnographic research.
Once we move into the design phase we begin iterating through mental models, storyboards, journey maps, heuristics evaluations, design workshops, and brainstorming sessions. We often find it beneficial at this stage to begin sketching and wireframing ideas and research into visuals. A visualization of our discovery research can help push the boundaries of your designs.
For a new project we are currently working on, we created lo-fidelity blue print wireframes to visualize all of the features in market today. This allowed us to step back and ask ourselves, “Where can we innovate and re-imagine?” We focus on consistency and re-usability with our Engineering teams, which enables us to build and iterate faster on our UX.
In the test phase we conduct usability sessions using a number of testing methods to uncover potential areas of improvement. Finally, we iterate and begin the design cycle again!
As we launch new products and re-imagine how we design for affiliate, our main goal is always to bring joy to our customers. We do this by continually capturing behavior insights, metrics, and customer feedback. This allows us to be in constant sync with their needs, goals, and desires.
When in sync, we can proactively think about how we can change the design or functionality of our interface or product to make a positive impact in the lives of our customers.