Any research involves a process of generating, refining and validating ideas and when you're a small User Experience team it's especially important to share those ideas with colleagues. Creating ad-hoc teams or just getting feedback from designers and developers helps to form and evolve ideas quicker.
At Madgex there's a constant stream of new projects, products and functionality. We're in the process of developing a new mobile website at the moment and we needed extra wall and physical space for exploration of ideas. We didn't have enough room to visualise, pin-up, share, discuss or a place to to leave stuff on the wall for a period of time. In the past we have used portable solutions, such as white card, but this can be limiting. Sometimes it's OK to do this in an open plan office, depending on the space you have, but it can be disruptive for those not involved.
So, it was time to create a special Madgex research and exploration space. Limited office space meant it had to be a multi-purpose room for collaboration, brainstorming, research and user testing - as well as a general meeting room. It's a place primarily where visual and UI designers can work together but also a relaxed space for designers and developers to collaborate offline.
Some might call this kind of space a War room but I prefer to call it something a bit less combative. (War room originated as a term to describe a war command and control center). Perhaps an explore or research room? In one corner we placed a desk with a desktop computer and simple video set-up for user testing. In the centre a desk and chairs for meetings but making sure that there's plenty of room around the edges for wall action. All walls are for displaying and collaborating on designs, wireframes, sketches etc but one wall has a fixed big whiteboard for quick draw, brainstorming and presentational purposes.
Lastly, adding paper, post-its, blue tack, marker pens, ideas and energy completes the recipe for creating great user experiences.
Spot the difference - Madgex explore room and a war room