The Fundamental Process for Effective UX Design
You probably know the key concepts that contribute to building good UX (if not, go here), but how do you go about actually achieving it? UX processes may vary depending on industry, team size and goals but the basic elements below should be visible in all UX work.
Remember: User Experience is the link between business/product goals and user needs; it facilitates the connection between what your users want to do and what you want your users to do. Bear this in mind when moving through the process.
The first step of any UX design process should be to get to know exactly who you’re designing for. There are many methods you can use to find a bit more information about the users of your product/service; you should always try to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data from analytics and user feedback software. Putting your user at the center of the design process is the only way to design successfully for them. By understanding the goals, needs and wants of your users you will be able to effectively empathize with them and in turn, design effectively for them.
One of the best ways to do this is to create personas that serve as a fictional representation of your users. Who are they? What are they trying to accomplish? What are their pain points? What are their motivations? Get as detailed as you like to build a better understanding of who your user is. This will help you to design with a ‘real’ person in mind rather than for your users in general; it’s easier to empathize with and understand a persona, and greater empathy = greater UX.
The next step is to define exactly what it is you (or should we say your users) are trying to achieve based on your research and insights. Map the journey that you want your users to take and highlight any potential barriers along the way. Define as many scenarios as possible and consider the implications on the goals of your product or service. Are there any technical restrictions? Is what you plan to do in line with the product/service vision? Define exactly what is needed and corroborate with what is possible.
Now comes the part where you bring together all the information so far to start brainstorming solutions. This could be in the form of storyboards or moodboards to help give a visual reference to the ‘problem’ you’re trying to solve. This is also a great way to show something tangible to stakeholders or other teams involved the decision-making process before you actually
Wireframing/prototyping is the most effective way to give life to what you’ve designed before it reaches the development stage. Draw out the interface on paper with all of the intended functionality, then ask as many people as possible to ‘role-play’ the interactions. This process will highlight any potential hurdles or unexpected user behavior that you may have overlooked.
Testing is vital for UX design because there’s an element of the process that relies on intuition and perceived ideas of what the best solution is. The only way to know for sure is to test. It doesn’t have to be a long, laborious process; according to the Nielsen Norman Group, 85% of UX problems can be solved by testing with only 5 users. So ask people within your organization, do remote user testing or even ask some clients to try out the new functionalities before they go live. Whatever the method, just make sure you do it! Test, test, test!
Depending on the results of your testing, you may have to go back to the ideate stage and come up with some alternative solutions. The UX design process should be iterative. Having to repeat some stages of the process shouldn’t be discouraging, because you’ll ultimately achieve a better-designed end product.
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