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Lean UX + Usability Testing: Information architecture and user research to guide design and support agile development sprints.


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is the federal government agency responsible for overseeing banks for operational safety and soundness. The agency wanted to upgrade and unify a collection of legacy applications used by its field operations teams for investigations and compliance reviews. Each application's user interface (UI) presented a variety of inconsistent screen layouts and functional patterns, making it difficult and cumbersome for people in the field to use. Coupled with latency and network connectivity issues, the legacy applications created difficulties that negatively impacted productivity and performance.

FDIC needed a consultant with solid Lean UX skills and experience with Agile development to help align their design and development vendors align to optimize the user interface and functional features for the redesigned applications.


The Experience by Design (EBD) consultant kicked off with a series of stakeholder interviews and reviews of the legacy applications and project documentation. Our consultant then conducted an expert review of the new UI to identify potential usability or design issues that might negatively impact user performance. Our consultant identified three areas that needed to be addressed:

  • An organizational model to organize the applications' features and functionality in more meaningful and intuitive ways for FDIC users.
  • A more intuitive navigation model and more user-friendly UI layouts.
  • Task and workflows that better aligned to the work of FDIC exam leads, and examiners in the field.

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

Our consultant worked with the design vendor’s UX design lead to socialize the new information architecture concept with both the business architect and engineering development team lead from FDIC's development vendor.

Next, our consultant worked with the design vendor’s UX design lead and the development vendor's business architect and development team lead to:

  • Come up-to-speed on the project plan and schedule and identify what was ready for design review and testing.
  • Identify what would be ready for review and testing in the next few months.
  • Talk about critical future features and functionality in the backlog that would require usability review and testing in latter stages of the project.

Our consultant worked with FDIC to set up an onsite usability test suite and observation room, created test procedures, and scheduled and conducted test sessions in collaboration with FDIC’s design and development vendors. Our consultant conducted debrief meetings after every round of testing to discuss observations, identify and rank usability issues, and identify a punch list and action items.

After three months of testing, the benefits of usability testing were well understood and the procedures for testing were well established. Our consultant trained FDIC’s design and development vendors how to draft usability test procedures, how to recruit and schedule subjects, and how to prepare, conduct, and run usability tests and debrief sessions, and how to report out findings so that I could transition usability testing responsibilities to the design and development vendors prior to rolling off of the project.


FDIC and its design and development vendors received the processes, support, and tools they needed to validate requirements, test UI and functionality, and increase the likelihood of delivering user-friendly tools that increased investigator productivity and performance in the field.

List of Services

  • Expert Reviews
  • Usability Testing
  • Collaborative Design
  • Information Architecture
  • Task Analysis
  • Team + Project Management

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Explore Our Work

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