UX design isn’t a linear process; it’s an iterative process. The phases of the UX process have considerable overlap and usually, there is a lot of back-and-forth.
Responsibilities of Entry-Level UX Designers: Researching, wireframing, prototyping, creating information architecture and communicating effectively.
User research to understand audiences and learn about their backgrounds; demographics, like age and location; motivations; pain points; emotions; and life goals. Your research methods might include surveys, observations, and interviews.
A Wireframe is an outline or a sketch of a product or a screen.
A Prototype is an early model of a product that demonstrates functionality, like a wireframe, but a lot more advanced
While a wireframe gives you a general idea of where things go and how the product will function, a prototype illustrates a progression from one screen to the next. The purpose of wireframes and prototypes is to figure out the best design for a product inexpensively and quickly.
The Information Architecture, which is the framework of a website, or how it’s organized, categorized and structured. It involves deciding how your product is organized and structured.
Visual Design focuses on how the product or technology looks.
Effective Communication, like meetings with colleagues, writing emails, creating proposals, or pitching clients. You need to be a good listener, be receptive to feedback, and share your ideas in a clear way.
As a UX Designer, you’ll start by identifying the problems. What are the issues going on within this product? Why are we even looking to improve or introduce this feature? You’re going to be interacting with everybody on your team.
A Generalist is a UX designer with a broad number of responsibilities. A generalist might be responsible for a combination of user research, branding, user flows, UX writing, visual design, prototyping, production design, information architecture, and usability testing, among other things.
- Expanding your skills in many different types of UX work.
- Trying a variety of responsibilities and finding an area of UX that you’re especially passionate about.
- Keeping your job feeling fresh and new, while doing a variety of tasks.
A specialist dives deep into one particular UX design role, like interaction, visual, or motion design. Focusing on one type of design that you enjoy more than others. Gaining deep knowledge of one type of design. Becoming well-known in the industry for your expertise in a particular type of design.
A T-shaped designer specializes in one kind of UX design and has a breadth of knowledge in other areas.
- The Product Lead decides the scope of the project
- The UX Researcher tries to understand user trust
- The Interaction Designer figures out the flow for ordering
- The Visual Designer thinks about how to make it easy for users to find allergen-free foods in the product.
- The Engineers bring these wireframes and prototypes to life
- The Program Manager comes in to ensure clear and timely communication across the team
A Startup is a new business that wants to develop a unique product or service and bring it to market. Startups generally have tight budgets and few employees.
Freelancers work for themselves and market their services to businesses to find customers.
Advertising Agencies are teams of creatives hired by clients to build marketing campaigns.
A Design Agency provides a one-stop-shop for the look of brands, products, and services.
At a Big Company, like Google, you’re likely to work in teams on a specific project. UX teams at larger companies tend to be more compartmentalized by specialization, making it easier for you to become an expert in one particular area of UX.
An Internship is usually a short-term job with limited responsibility.
Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training to help you develop real skills.
Apprenticeships generally last longer than internships: around one or two years instead of a few months. And apprenticeships are always paid.
Entry-level jobs are roles that do not require prior experience in the field.
A user is any person who uses a product.
The end-user is the specific audience a UX designer creates something for.
User experience is how a person, the user, feels about interacting with or experiencing a product.
Evaluating user experience:
Is the product easy to use? Is the product equitable? Does the product delight the user? Does the product solve the user’s problem?
There is no substitute for personally watching and listening to real people.
The user-centred design puts the user front and centre. By focusing on the user, designers must consider the story, emotions, and insights gathered about them.
User-centred design process: understand, specify, design, and evaluate.
- Understand how the user experiences the product or similar products. How users will engage with your design.
- Specify the end user’s needs. figure out which user problems are the most important to solve.
- Design solutions to the end user’s problem.
- Evaluate your design against your end user’s needs. Does the design I created solve the user’s problem? you should test the product you designed with real people and collect feedback.
Iteration means doing something again, by building on previous versions and making tweaks.
A framework creates the basic structure that focuses and supports the problem you’re trying to solve.
Guiding principles for the user-centred design process:
- Design for users and their needs.
- Make your copy conversational: the writing within your product design should have a friendly, simple, and easily accessible tone. Avoid jargon or overly-complicated terminology that users might not understand.
- Present all information clearly. Simple to find and identify.
- Acknowledge user actions. Your product should let users know when they’ve executed a task correctly.
- Offer support. Offer users a safety net, like a support center or list of Frequently Asked Questions.
The five elements of UX design is a framework of steps a designer takes to turn an idea into a working product. Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, and Surface.
- Strategy, this is where you’ll define the user’s needs and business objectives. where you lay a foundation of your design goals.
- Scope, this is where you’ll determine what you’re building. You’ll decide on features and content to be included in the product.
- Structure, you’ll figure out how to organize your design and how the user will interact with it.
- Skeleton, which you can think of as the layout. this layer helps detail how the design works
- The Surface is how the product looks to the user. The surface represents the interface that users view and interact with.
Design thinking is a way to create solutions that address a real user’s problem and are functional and affordable. Design thinking has five actionable steps: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.
- Empathize, which is about discovering what end users really need and learning how to think and feel like them. Get a clear picture of who your users are and the challenges they are facing.
- Define the problem by creating a clear problem statement (The problem statement is a clear description of the user’s need that should be addressed. And should be based on user research and it focuses the team on a clear goal.)
- Ideate or Brainstorm Solutions You should aim to come up with as many ideas as possible. By focusing on the quantity of the ideas, not the quality
- A Prototype is a scaled-down version of a product that shows important functions. You should have a clear goal for your prototype in mind.
- Testing keeps the user front and centre as it gives users an opportunity to provide feedback before the product is built.
The UX design process consists of five key phases: product definition, research, analysis, design, and validation.
- Product definition: Before you can build a product, you need to understand its context for existence. During this phase, UX designers brainstorm around the product at the highest level with stakeholders.
- Stakeholder interviews: interviewing key stakeholders to gather insights about business goals.
- Value proposition mapping: thinking about the key aspects and value propositions of the product: what it is, who will use it, and why they will use it. Value propositions help the team and stakeholders create consensus around what the product will be and how to match user and business needs.
- Concept sketching: creating an early mockup of the future product (can be low-fidelity paper sketches of the product’s architecture).
- Product Research: This phase typically includes both user research and market research.
- Individual In-depth Interviews (IDI). A great product experience starts with a good understanding of the users. In-depth interviews provide qualitative data about the target audience, such as their needs, wants, fears, motivations, and behaviour.
- Competitive Research. Research helps UX designers understand industry standards and identify opportunities for the product within its particular niche.
- Analysis: The aim of the analysis phase is to draw insights from data collected during the research phase, moving from “what” users want/think/need to “why” they want/think/need it.
- Creating user personas. Personas are fictional characters that represent the different user types for your product. As you design your product, you can reference these personas as realistic representations of your target audience.
- Creating user stories. A user story is a tool that helps designers understand the product/service interactions from the user’s point of view. It’s usually defined with the following structure: “As a [user] I want to [goal to achieve] so that [motivation].”
- Storyboarding. Storyboarding is a tool that helps designers connect user personas and user stories. As the name suggests, it’s essentially a story about a user interacting with your product.
- Design: At this step, product teams work on various activities, from creating information architecture (IA) to the actual UI design.
- Sketching: visualize our ideas by drawing by hand on a piece of paper, on a whiteboard, or in a digital tool.
- A wireframe is a tool that helps designers visualize the basic structure of a future page, including the key elements and how they fit together. Wireframing acts as the backbone of the product, and designers often use them as a foundation for mockups and prototypes.
- prototypes. While wireframes are mostly about structure and visual hierarchy (the look), prototypes are about the actual interaction experience (the look and feel). A prototype is like a simulation of the product and may be low-fidelity (clickable wireframes) to high-fidelity (coded prototypes).
- Creating a design specification. Design specifications contain all of the visual design assets required for developers to turn prototypes into a working product.
- Creating design systems. For large projects, designers typically create a system of components, patterns, and styles that help both designers and developers stay on the same page regarding the design.
- Validation (Testing): the validation phase starts after the high-fidelity design is ready, since testing with high-fidelity designs provides more valuable feedback from end-users. the team validates the product with both stakeholders and end-users.
- Eat your own dogfood: Team members should try using the product on a regular basis, completing routine operations to uncover any major usability flaws.
- Testing sessions. User testing sessions with people who represent your target audience are very important. There are many different formats to try, including moderated/unmoderated usability testing, focus groups, beta testing, and A/B testing.
- Surveys are a great tool for capturing both quantitative and qualitative information from real-world users. UX designers can add open-ended questions like “What part of the product do you dislike?” to get user opinions on specific features.
- Analytics. Quantitative data (clicks, navigation time, search queries, etc.) from an analytics tool can be very helpful to uncover how users interact with your product.
Think-make-check is a typical cycle for design ideas.
Communication is a key UX design skill. Conduct regular design review sessions and meet with stakeholders to ensure that everyone is aware and onboard with the product design decisions.
When it comes to the UX design process, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But no matter what process you follow, the goal of each design process is the same: create a great product for your users. Use what works the best for your project, get rid of the rest, and evolve your UX process as your product evolves.
The Lean UX process focuses on reducing wasted time and resources and producing a workable product as soon as possible. The process is iterative. The Lean UX process is broken into three steps:
- Think. Explore the problems that users are experiencing and consider how you could solve them with your design.
- Make. Start designing the product by creating sketches, wireframes, and prototypes. You’ll also create a minimum viable product, or MVP for short, which is a simple prototype of your designs that you can test with the target audience.
- Check. Find out how users respond to your design and gather feedback from project stakeholders. Make adjustments to your designs accordingly, and repeat the three steps again, if necessary.
Lean UX teams are typically cross-functional, which means you’ll be working alongside team members like engineers and UX researchers.
There are six principles you should keep in mind when using the Lean UX process:
- Move forward. Focus only on design elements and features that move the design process toward a particular goal. Don’t get distracted by “nice-to-haves.”
- Stay curious. Lean UX is about using feedback from users and stakeholders to revise and improve your designs. Continuously seek feedback to understand why specific design choices work or don’t work.
- Test ideas in the real world. Lean UX encourages designers to test their ideas – using prototypes, for example – outside of the conference room and with potential users.
- Externalize your ideas. Instead of internally debating and analyzing whether or not an idea is going to work, turn your ideas into something physical, viewable, and testable, while they’re still fresh in your mind. This way, you’ll get feedback on your designs in the early stages
- Reframe deliverables as outcomes. Focus on creating usable, enjoyable products that users actually want and need. Always keep in mind that you’re designing for your users first-and-foremost, not for the project stakeholders.
- Embrace radical transparency. Feel comfortable being honest with everyone on the team (and expect the same in return), since you will depend on each other’s insights. This way, everyone can make informed decisions about how to move forward and avoid wasting time and energy.
The Lean UX process is all about following your intuition, putting your ideas out there, and staying open to constant feedback and revisions.
Double Diamond is a more traditional UX process, which breaks down UX design into two main phases (or “diamonds”): research and design. Each phase has two steps. When combined, these are the four steps:
- Discover the problem. Gather information about potential issues users are facing.
- Define the problem. Filter through the data, and focus on the main issue your product aims to solve.
- Develop solutions for the problem. Begin designing your product as a work in progress. This is where wireframes and prototypes come into play.
- Deliver the product. Review and test your product to prepare it for release.
There are four principles that inform the Double Diamond process:
- Focus on the user. As is always the case in UX design, the user is the top priority.
- Communicate. Communicate visually, through imagery and design choices that supplement the text. You should also be sure that the communication of your design is equitable and accessible.
- Collaborate. One of the unique features of the Double Diamond process is that it encourages creative collaboration and co-creation with your fellow team members. The entire team must know how to incorporate design principles, design methods, user engagement strategies, and leadership principles.
- Iterate. Accept that the design is a work in progress and isn’t going to be complete right away. The magic is in the revision. With every iteration, you give the user a new experience.