Network Designs, Inc.: Transforming the User Experience

NDi Methodology

How We Do It

Methodology allows us to manage every project and program we undertake using the same basic framework. With a sound methodology, the FAA Web Team gains efficiencies so that we can work smarter and deliver exceptional customer experience. NDi Web employs two methodologies on a daily basis to ensure we continuously optimize and improve the end-user’s experience. Although both have the customer/user at its center, we use each methodology for a specific purpose:

  • D3M (Data-Driven Decision Making) – employed daily for ongoing incremental improvements to FAA Websites 
  • User-Centered Design – employed for major website/application projects, builds, or revisions

DM3 and User-Centered Design provide a blueprint for delivering great customer experience. Both methodologies use many of the same tools (e.g., usability testing, web analytics, customer surveys) and repeatable processes, and yet they are flexible enough to solve a myriad of customer challenges. Ultimately, these methodologies keep the customer at the center of all we do.    

Details on NDI’s Core Methodologies

Data-Driven Decision Making

Since 2004, NDi's FAA Web Team has implemented several distinct types of “user data collection” methods and technologies. The tools we use are:

  • ForeSee customer surveys
  • Website analytics (Omniture)
  • Usability testing
  • Google Search Appliance data
  • Knowledge Base of questions and answers (website FAQ system)

Alone, each of these data collection tools provides insight into website usage patterns and customer attitudes. Combined, these tools provide true insight into what users are doing, what they want to do, what they can’t do on government websites. We combine these data collection tools to make decisions for incremental, ongoing enhancements. We call this methodology Data-Driven Decision Making and it drives almost everything the NDi Web Team does on a daily basis

Data-Driven Decision Making Process

Data-Driven Decision Making is the engine that drives the incremental enhancements of the NDi’s Web Program. It works in concert with the project-oriented User-Centered Design methodology used for major builds of websites and applications.

User-Centered Design

User-Centered Design (UCD) is both a philosophy and a process. The UCD philosophy places the person — instead of the application or website — at the center. UCD seeks to answer questions about users and their tasks and goals, and then uses the findings to drive development and design.  

Typical UCD questions are:

  • Who are the users?
  • What are their tasks, goals, and experience levels?
  • What information will the users need, and in what form do they need it?
  • What are the users’ expectations for how they will interact with the application or website?
  • How can the design facilitate users’ cognitive processes?
For the NDi Web Team, UCD is a vital part of designing and developing new sub-sites and web applications and major content areas for its clients’ websites like FAA.gov. UCD is important in all phases of these major projects — requirements gathering and analysis, design, implementation, and deployment. Usability testing is a big factor in UCD, and we use an iterative process to refine designs as we go along. Studies have shown that spending time on UCD during the requirements gathering and initial design phases saves significant time and expense. It is far more costly to wait until later in the project (such as during the development phase) to address how people interact with an application.
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