We offer user interface design and usability evaluation services to assist clients who may be planning a new release, migrating to an eBusiness model, developing an application for the marketplace, or planning to launch a website. We tailor our service offerings to meet your development cycle, schedule, and budget.

User Interface Design

User-centered design (UCD) is a product design approach that results in an outstanding level of usability. It recognizes that end-users are crucial to the success of software initiatives. It values the input of project stakeholders while avoiding the temptation to “design by committee”. UCD is related to usage-centered design, task-centered design, usability engineering, participatory design, and iterative design. The foundation of these approaches is: test designs early and often with real (or imaginary!) end-users by iterating through a design-test-refine cycle.

At Design | Strategy Inc our design experts lead the user interface design phases. We work closely with your team to determine end-user requirements and tailor a UCD approach to fit your development cycle, schedule, and budget.

As integrated members of your team, our user interface designers will:

  • Profile end-users, tasks, and environments
  • Identify usability problems in your existing products or prototypes
  • Establish design requirements
  • Seek input from your project stakeholders
  • Iteratively design and test the high-level user interface architecture
  • Generate detailed user interface design specifications and prototypes
  • Create and integrate artwork, visual, and audio material
  • Conduct usability tests with end-users of emerging designs and prototypes
  • Transfer skills to your team through coaching and by conducting collaborative usability inspections

Usability Test with End-Users

Make informed design decisions! A usability test generates relevant and reliable data about the usability of your product. A usability test is conducted with real end-users. The number of end-users depends on the number of user classes and the scope of the test. About 8 end-users per user class will reveal nearly all usability problems and provide the breadth and depth of data to make design decisions with confidence.

When combined with an expert usability evaluation, a usability test conducted with as few as 4 end-users will reveal a wide-range of usability problems at a reduced cost.

Our experts prepare tasks for end-users to conduct. Participants who meet qualifying criteria are recruited and scheduled. We encourage your team to observe the tests; end-users struggling with poor designs send an informative and powerful message! At each session, a skilled facilitator observes, listens, uncovers problems, and asks questions without interfering in the test. An assistant interprets what is heard and observed and makes detailed notes during the test. At the conclusion of the tests, our experts hold a debrief meeting with your team to discuss the most severe problems and potential solutions. We also deliver a succinct report that identifies usability problems and rates their severity.

Expert Usability Evaluation

An expert usability evaluation draws on established guidelines and professional expertise to uncover usability defects in your product. Our experts work through a set of user tasks to identify the source and severity of usability problems. Findings from an expert usability evaluation will provide practical guidance for re-design.

This method can often be conducted quickly and cost-effectively. But unlike a usability test, end-users are not involved in an expert evaluation. Therefore, caution is extended to our clients in the decision to use this method exclusively.

In fact, it is widely held that conducting expert usability evaluations as well as usability tests with end-users is a cost-effective approach to discover a wide-range of usability problems. How? We can reduce the scope of each method and take advantage of the complimentary findings that are generated.

Collaborative Usability Inspection

Similar in concept to a “code inspection”, a collaborative usability inspection is conducted as a peer-review of a design. End-users, developers, designers, and other stakeholders are led by our usability experts through a carefully planned review of a design proposal. The objective is to uncover usability problems and identify potential solutions early in the design phase. Collaborative usability inspections open up the design shop and invite contributions from all project stakeholders to achieve early buy-in. Your cross-functional teams also benefit from take-home insight about user-centered design.

Information Architecture and Content Structuring

The successful delivery of your message is influenced by the structure of its content and its position within a larger information architecture. Our usability experts work with your content authors to move content from linear prose into crisp, stand-alone, informative segments. We identify meaningful relationships among the segments and build a content structure that makes sense to your audience. The information architecture is designed to support different routes of access to the knowledge, reflecting the diversity of your audience. It enables people to surface the right information at the right time.

Coaching and Training

Our objective is always to leave your cross-functional team with take-home insight about user-centred design. Knowledge transfer is a natural result of our work as integrated members of your team: Software architects and developers learn to view their work through the end-user lens, giving them a perspective to make high-impact user interface design decisions and instilling a customer-focused culture.

Project managers know the importance of investing in their human resources talent. They count on “exceptional designers” among their software architects and developers. We will tailor a user interface design engagement to include extended coaching and skills transfer opportunities.

Design | Strategy Inc also offers on site training in the form of workshops or less formal “brown bag lunches”. Participants benefit from “in the trenches” experience supported by a principled and academic foundation. All of our training is tailored to reflect your organization’s software initiatives.


  • Agora Consulting Partners and SOS
  • Bell Northern Research
    (now NORTEL)
  • Canada Post Corporation
  • Cedara Software Corporation
  • Fishbone Interactive
  • Department of National Defense, Canada
  • ISG Technologies Inc
  • Kodak
  • Maptuit Corporation
  • National Information Standards Organization
  • NCR Corporation and United States Postal Service
  • Quarry Integrated Communications and FedEx
  • RAD International Ltd
  • Sage Information Consultants and TD Bank
  • Sitraka Software Inc
    (now Quest Software)
  • SHL Systemhouse Ltd
    (now EDS)
  • SNS Ltd
    (now Cedara)
  • Xerox Research Centre Europe


“As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product.”

–Jeff Raskin


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