Understand the problem
User research at Spire starts with creating a “mental model”—that is, taking a virtual space and understanding how a user sees and engages with it. Asking the right questions, listening and empathizing allows Spire to remove themselves from the software to focus solely on the user, delivering very quickly—early on and continuously over the life of the product—in search of valuable feedback.
Spire Design Lab
The Design Lab works from the notion that the further one is conceptually from a problem, the more innovative the solution. Spire puts together a cross-functional team of different people wired to think in different ways and tackles an enterprise-level problem. The goal: achieve consensus, then produce a volume of potential solutions to be tested, any one of which could become the deliverable or engagement.
Design the solution
Spire uses rapid prototyping to get a design in front of the user ASAP. Designing “lean” in just hours or days, vs. weeks or months, as well as testing small features at a time instead of a fully realized design, makes it a low-cost way to explore a host of user interface ideas with real customers. All prototypes are designed for a variety of screen sizes and mobile devices.
User Interface Design
When a full UI is needed, Spire pairs designers with front-end developers as a cost-efficient way to design and build everything from simple B to C to complex B to B enterprise-level applications, and move them to code as fast as possible. Spire’s confluence of data, gut instinct, experience and best practices influences the work, the results of which are tested again and again.
Surprise and Delight
Visual and spatial cues—everything from color to shape to feel—tell a story and emotionally connect people to a brand. Spire creates a unique look and feel for a marketing site or other collateral to complement the software or products being designed. Through a logo, typeface, color palette and more, Spire brings a brand to life and distinguishes it in the marketplace.
What’s a good design if the messaging falls short? Spire employs copywriting services to give digital products a clear voice, communicating to users exactly what they need to know and creating a unified tone and style throughout. Because language still matters, Spire makes accompanying copy effective, while keeping it as harmonious with and unobtrusive to the interaction as possible.
Test and Iterate
How well can a user perform a task? How easily? What’s the “cognitive load,” or how much do they have to think? As unapologetic minimalists, Spire always seeks to make an application simpler and more elegant. And they do so through time-on-task testing to determine how a user gets around in the space and how well the UI fits the existing mental model of the user.
UX Design Consulting
Spire’s designers consult with and work alongside other designers to help them produce or express deliverables in a way that sets up their development teams for success. Spire’s designers recommend everything from the kind of research and experiments to conduct, to the specific tools to use, so that the particular design vision can be realized in the best way possible.