A Q&A on How We Approach Design at NeuroFlow

One of the company values that especially resonates with me here at NeuroFlow is “communicate openly and often.” We try to live this value in all facets of our company, and recruiting is no exception. During a recent round of hiring, our design team received a list of very thoughtful questions from an applicant; below we’ve shared a selection of our responses to help provide some fun insight into the world of design at NeuroFlow.

How hands-on are the designers with user research and QA? Are those types of tasks left solely to data and research teams?

Designers have an equal seat at the table when it comes to research as they are heavily involved during roadmapping and product strategy and lead much of the qualitative user research. We also work closely with the developers and QA throughout the sprint to ensure features meet our design standards and style guide. 

Are there any particular research methods you use for investigating new projects?

Yes, we use the standard suite of UX research methods based on specific needs of projects, including but not limited to customer surveys, interviews, usability tests, and competitive inspiration. We work with a clinical advisory board  as well as a user advisory board (patients, servicemembers, and individuals who use our products regularly) to inform our designs through both qualitative and quantitative data.  

Is there a set design process NeuroFlow’s design team works within? Agile? Iterative?

Yes, our design team follows user centered design best practices but merges this approach with our development team’s agile methodology on a two week sprint cycle. Most design tasks are completed within those sprints but this does not mean a design project only lasts two weeks. For larger projects we may have a few sprints of research tasks scheduled into sprints before prototyping and wireframing tasks and then sprints with mostly UI tasks. Some internal design initiatives are done completely outside of the sprint cycle and the timeline is based on the broader initiative goals. 

Can you give me a breakdown of what your designer-to-developer handoff is like?

Designers hand off detailed specs for the developers in Figma with full user flows and components from our component library with multiple states. Designers do not need to annotate specs beyond the data provided through Figma. Product managers link Jira tickets with associated Figma diagrams. Developers have time to ask and answer questions before development begins during grooming, pre-grooming, story mapping and other ceremonies. For complex or large features, development team leads provide feedback and collaboration throughout the design process to inform feasibility and provide new ideas! As a result of such collaboration, designs are heavily revised before starting development work to account for scope changes and our sprint-based agile approach.

What is the design team’s software stack?

We currently use Figma for all projects and have a standardized process in which we deliver our finalized designs. In the past, we used Sketch and Invision, but have moved away since standardizing. We do use the Adobe Suite for more graphic or illustration related projects.

How does NeuroFlow’s design team give feedback?

We like to give feedback asynchronously through Slack for smaller initiatives, but have set meetings throughout the sprint where designers can

One of the NeuroFlow company values

One of the NeuroFlow company values

share their work with the team. If they are solving more complex problems, additional time can be scheduled with members of the design team ad hoc. We have an open line of communication and are always available to answer questions and give feedback. When in doubt we talk it through.

How are members of the NeuroFlow design team expected to prioritize projects?

Designers will know the projects they are working on before the sprint begins. Each designer will have worked with their product manager and team to assign points or t-shirt sizes to these specific tasks and priorities should not be a surprise. Designers will most likely have insight into upcoming tasks for later sprints as well. 

Thinking back to designers you’ve worked with previously (at NeuroFlow or elsewhere), what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were really great at it?

In my opinion, really strong designers are constantly looking for ways to improve the product and are leading with proposals to do so – leading with proposals is a NeuroFlow value! They have empathy for our end users and customers while solving complex problems. Actively finding areas to improve efficiencies in our process, and keeping an open line of communication with members of the team is paramount. Their design skills are best-in-class, but their ability to ask the right questions and advocate for solutions is what truly sets them apart. 

What are you hoping a UI/UX designer will accomplish in their first six months? Their first year?

Within the first six months a designer should:

  • Be familiar with the applications in the NeuroFlow ecosystem and how they interconnect.
  • Understand our current business objectives and how we fit in within the broader health tech landscape.
  • Learn how to efficiently use the NeuroFlow design system (NFDS), and be proactively collaborating with your PM to create exciting best-in-class solutions.
  • Participate in the agile/sprint cycle methodology. 
  • Be able to assign points to given tasks and have completed dozens of quick win tickets; and 
  • Be actively working on longer-term projects that push the product forward. These projects will be both internal design team initiatives and feature-based projects. 

We hope this Q&A gives a greater level of understanding for our design process while also showcasing how much we value and respect the importance of design here at NeuroFlow. If this seems like a place you’d like to grow and develop as a designer, head over to our careers page and submit an application!

The NeuroFlow Product Design Team has worked in various healthcare settings and digital agencies, bringing years of experience to help create a great product experience. We are empathic and data-driven in our approach to designing effective and creative solutions to address the nation’s mental health crisis.

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