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Lean UX + Usability Testing: Using information architecture and usability testing to organize user interface and functional features to guide agile development sprints.


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the federal government agency responsible for overseeing banks for operational safety and soundness, wanted to upgrade and unify a collection of legacy applications that its field operations teams used. Each application presented a variety of inconsistent screen layouts and functional patterns in their various user interfaces (UIs), and had become difficult and expensive for FDIC to maintain. Coupled with latency and network connectivity issues, the legacy applications confusion and friction for compliance officials and investigators working in the field that negatively impacted productivity and performance. FDIC needed an experienced consultant with solid lean UX skills and experience with in Agile project setup to help their design and development vendors align and collaborate to test, validate, and optimize the user interface and features for its new compliance and investigation tool.


Experience by Design (EBD) kicked off with a review of the legacy applications and project documentation, followed by an expert review of the new UI to identify any potential usability issues that might negatively impact user performance. We identified three areas to address:

  • The organizational model used to bucket the application’s features and functionality needed to be more coherent and meaningful to be useful to FDIC users
  • A logical structure for the application’s UI that would meet FDIC’s requirements
  • Task and workflows that aligned better with the work of FDIC exam leads and examiners in the field                                                                                                

EBD worked with FDIC’s design vendor to create an intuitive information architecture for the new tool, as well as a logical mapping for the various views and functionality.

Next, we met with the vendor’s UX design lead, development team leads, and business architect to come up-to-speed with the project, identify what was ready for testing, what would be ready for testing in the near term , and what was in the backlog that might require usability review and testing in the future. With this information in hand, we developed a timeline, plans, and procedures for a series of moderated in-person and remote usability test sessions to be performed on the Thursday of the second week of every three-week sprint. 

To conduct the usability testing, we set up an onsite usability test suite and observation room at FDIC, created test procedures, and scheduled and conducted the test sessions in collaboration with and support from FDIC’s development vendor. we facilitated debrief meetings after every round of testing to discuss observations, identify and rank usability issues, as well as identify action items for the UX design or the business strategy teams.

After three months of testing and modifications, procedures were well established and the benefits understood, we trained FDIC’s development vendor on drafting usability test procedures, scheduling, and preparing subjects and the app for test day, as well as conducting usability test, debrief sessions, and reporting out findings.


FDIC and its design and development vendors received the critical feedback they needed to validate requirements and design, and to guide the refinement and optimization of the user interface and features for redesigned and upgraded applications with a high probability of providing a user-friendly experience to investigators and enhancing productivity and performance in the field.

List of Services

  • Expert Review
  • Formative Usability Testing
  • Collaborative Design
  • Information Architecture
  • Task + User Workflow Analysis
  • Team + Project Management

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