With more than 20 years of experience, our in-house design strategy and UX firm, OtherLeft, has helped Fortune 500 companies and startups launch innovative digital products. Our user-centric, research-driven design process ensures that we uncover and validate the actual needs of the user. We always start by asking, "What problem are we trying to solve?". We employ user research, journey mapping, and prototyping to validate our assumptions and clearly define the solution in terms of what you should do, not what you could do. This approach significantly reduces project risk around budget and timeline and ensures that the product solves the right problem and truly meets the business's needs.
Product development can fail for several reasons. It could be from lack of stakeholder alignment, underestimating the total effort needed, lack of a clear product decision-maker, or failure to identify proven versus assumed user needs appropriately. Failure could mean a delay in launching your product, wasting massive time and capital, or even the loss of your startup.
Our product strategy specialists will help you identify who all of your stakeholders are — from the principles in your company, sales staff, customer service, the end-user, and even your vendors. We'll help you bring all of their expectations into alignment.
We'll help you properly estimate the total effort that building a new product will actually take. Most companies tend to underestimate, which could throw off the timing of your product launch and marketing campaign.
Without a decision-maker, it will become very difficult to meet your team's initially targeted development timeline. To prevent getting stuck in an approval loop, we'll help you clearly define roles before the project start.
Don't risk the entire success of your project by assuming what your customers need. Our product strategy experts will adequately research your stakeholders' proven needs to ensure the return of investment and efficiency gains you expected.
Starting with a great idea and immediately rushing to production will almost always end up with a difficult-to-use product. Without the proper due diligence and research to identify the market problem, create a solution design, and build a list of requirements and user stories, your product will most likely fail to reach its goals. Our human-centered design approach is a left-to-right process that works to bring clarity and untangle all of the confusion before development begins.
We start by defining the market problem, which begins by identifying who the stakeholders are and reconciling their vision of how to solve the problem to what the end-users actually need. We do this by creating a problem statement to really understand the problem we're trying to solve.
Now it's time to get into the solution design by doing design research to understand their real needs and their perspectives. This involves creating wireframes, product architecture, and design research so that everyone can walk away in agreement with a well-documented concrete solution.
Finally, we look at a list of beneficial requirements and user stories that clearly tell the developers what to do and what the acceptance criteria are. At this point, we get to start development. It's not a perfectly straight line, but we're nowhere near the tangled confusion at the beginning.
With almost all of the confusion cleared up, we can begin development. There's always something that has to change at this point, but now you can get into smooth configuration testing and tweaking as you go. Before long, you have a smooth launch with an easy-to-use product at the end.
We help businesses every day take all they could do and figure out what they should do. Our job is to research and document how your users think and then create visuals and products that help them in their daily lives. We work with startups and large organizations to help them think through what problem they're trying to solve and make sure the answer aligns with their stakeholders' and users' needs and interests to end up with an easy-to-use product. We get from could to should by clearly defining and designing the product before it gets developed.
Design based on what's known at the start, and you could end up with a product that doesn't solve the user's needs.
Design based on what you discover with a clearly defined problem statement, stakeholder interviews, and user research.
Our first steps at OtherLeft are several versions of discovery that culminates in a clearly defined problem statement. If you're a leader or an entrepreneur whose primary responsibility is to determine if it will be worth developing your idea into software, it is critical to be very clear on the problem. It's a specific problem that's only solved by asking, who is that person? What is his or her pain point? Whatever the problem is, with stakeholder interviews and user research, we'll successfully define the end-user.
Design for the hypothetical user/human using the product could be solving the leaders' understanding of the users, not the actual user's problems.
Design for exactly who will use the product by building personas and journey maps.
The next step is understanding the humans you're trying to serve. Even if you're clear on the problem and already done your cost model, you may be making the mistake of designing for a hypothetical human. Often the user's problems are different from the leaders' understanding of them. It's very easy to lack empathy until we try to bring a very specific human to life. It's a critical mistake to avoid this step, which is why we create personas and journey maps of your end-users to build empathy for a real person.
Get "buy-in" to an idea to build a technology product, but then stakeholders may be imagining different solutions from that product.
Clearly design the product to lay eyes before development begins by creating wireframes, design comps, and prototypes.
To ensure your product is the right one and there's a market for it, we clearly design the product using wireframes and design comps so that everyone can lay eyes on it before development even exists. With these wireframes and design comps, we can make a clickable prototype that starts to feel like the app itself. It's very fast to fix something like this. Now you have a really good sense of what the product itself is going to do, and you can make pivots without costing your company a costly rebuild.
Set a budget for a product, hand it off to development with the information available, and hope for the best. But there's no way to know if the investment will solve the problem at hand or have the anticipated impact. You won't even know if you're going to get the product your or your users have in mind.
Have defined what problem you're trying to solve, what all stakeholders need in a solution, whom you're building for, and precisely what will be built with user stories, prioritized product roadmap, and a tech strategy.
Often user experience design and product design silo themselves away from forming a technical partnership. That ends up being one of the most expensive mistakes because the process of content aggregation has not been adequately considered. It's vital to determine where every piece of information is coming from, what the process of aggregating it is, and whose responsible for gathering it. Only by going through the process can you properly estimate how much time it will take.