“If I had only one hour to solve a problem, I would spend up to two-thirds of that hour in attempting to define what the problem is.” ~Matthew Wakeman from the book UX Research – Practical Techniques for Designing Better Products
First Things First
Before you venture a step forwards towards solving a problem, you need to understand the ins and outs of the problem first. By understanding, I mean asking the client what they really want. This translates to probing the CEO, the product manager, and even the stakeholders. To the core, UX design is problem-solving for the client. So, the first step is to gain maximum insights about the problem which would go a long way towards helping you solve the dilemma.
Usually, after you have gleaned a comprehensive know-how, your next step is to shift your eye to Professor Google. What are your competitors doing? What are the similarities between your products and theirs? And after you get a go-ahead from Google, you move towards the drawing board to sketch down your own ideas.
If you have worked with a viable creative digital web design agency before, you must be acquainted with the fact that most such agencies start out with the first principle. What is the first principle, you may ask? It involves breaking down complex problems into digestible and significant parts and work your way up.
And this is what we will be doing here; breaking down steps for the UX process to help you design authoritative websites:
Step 1: Sayonara Professor Google & Welcome your Majesty – the User
The first step in UX Design process is to know thy user. Who is the end-user? Where can you find them? List out the questions that a user might be looking for in your website design, and think how you can embed them into your design.
There are tons of tools available online which can help you conduct surveys. The best ideas often come from the users. There are unlimited resources from where you can glean an idea about the needs of your users. Go through them in detail.
Step 2: Create Buyer Personas
After you have accumulated all the pertinent data about your end-users, the next step is to transform that data into information. Analyze the data and create buyer personas. Some of you might be familiar with the word, but for those who aren’t, here goes:
“Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, a brand, or product in a similar way.” Source: Wikipedia
The main purpose of creating buyer personas is to create a fictional representation of your ideal user. And show them how your product will solve their problem.
Here I would like to mention one important thing. The design buyer persona is a bit different from the marketing buyer persona. Here, the focus of the designer is to represent the problem & its solution in a graphical format. Unlike the data & stats in the marketing buyer persona, the attention here is to engage the user by leveraging visuals.
Step 3: Tell Great Stories
The insights, check. The buyer persona, check. Let’s get rolling!
Now is the time to engage with your team. The UI designer, product manager, visual designer, developer, and even the internees can jump-in. Because now is the time to tell stories. And the inspiration for great stories can come from anywhere.
Give everybody a chance to speak up. Confide in them the goals, the values, and the problems that you are working with. Pick their brains on the best way to solve those problems. No matter how crazy the ideas come, embrace them.
Now, convert that problem &its solution into a story, something that the user can relate to, something that they are familiar with.
Step 4: The Wireframes and the Communication Prototype
Now for the fun part. There is nothing more beautiful than witnessing the problem in the form of a visual representation.
Many experts might tell you to go for complex wireframes. But, not me. I like to take the easy approach. For now, don’t think about the pixels, the text, or even the font. Figure out the different design strategies that you can apply to the solution. And put those strategies in an understandable manner.
The goal of a wireframe is to give people an idea of what you’re about to accomplish, and the pathway which you will walk to take the problem forward?
Sit down with the developer and discuss the technical aspects that you need to embed in the design. Solve it together as a team. Keeping things clear will greatly help you think straight and go for a viable solution later.
Step 5: UI Design & the Grand Delivery
Once you are done with the wireframe and the prototype, it is the job of your UI Designers to take over the reins.
UI is about simplicity, UI is about beauty, and UI is the first impression that your users will get. So, make sure that the first impression is a great one. Be careful with the colors, the spacing, and the font size.
Consistency is the nucleus of every UI. You need to be consistently user-centric by keeping UI at the forefront, and envisaging the user will respond to each element of the UI.
The UI style guide is the main part of the whole design. Hence it requires human efforts to sustain, update, and keep it relevant to the needs of the users. So, ensure that your UI and UX work well together, are easy to maintain, and always be consistent.
Step 6: The Metrics
So, in the final step, the ball is back into your court. And now, you need to validate the design for the end-user. For this, you need to go for analytic tools to track how users are using your product, how they are responding to it, and how you can get them from where they are to where you want them to be.
For big UX teams, there is always a UX Researcher to get the dirty work out of the way. Their task is to test new designs and analysis all the data from users using your products, before giving out the solutions and recommendations for improving the functionality and design.
One of the hardest decisions that you’ll face in designing the UI interface, is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.
As the products grow, you will have to repeat the above UX Design steps for every product that you make. Depending on the size of your organization, you must add steps or omit some if you want to go for a quick UX shift.
We have just given you a slight idea on how to proceed with your UX design process. Thanks for reading and do let us know if you disagree with something. Or how about a recommendation from us?