In this day and age, innovations sprout here and there. From the latest smartphone to the most popular mobile apps today, discovering new products has become the norm. But one thing that apps and today’s greatest products have in common is that they were made to benefit the user.
That’s how innovations should be these days. Products must not only be new to the eyes, but they must also be able to make the lives of the people who use them easier. Such innovations can be done through the power of a UX design strategy.
UX design plays an important role in digital marketing services, including website development, content marketing, pay-per-click strategies, and many more. Let’s have a run-through of all the basics of UX, shall we?
What is UX design?
According to the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF), user experience (UX) design is the process in which a design team “creates products that provide meaning and relevant experiences to users.”
UX, however, isn’t just about giving a good interface experience to users. It is also about integrating branding, design, usability, and product functionality. In other words, UX design is something designers must handle end-to-end.
“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from the first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly,” Don Norman, the person who coined the term “user experience” said.
UX design in Web development
User experience plays a significant role in keeping the readers or customers on your website. A good UX design helps consumers obtain what they need on your website, based on its usability and interaction design.
Producing good UX for a website involves a meticulous process. So how does the UX design process look like? Here’s a step-by-step process on how to start your first-ever UX project:
- Conduct a comprehensive research
- Start creating your UX Strategy
- Sketch your initial design
- Implement the design
- Conduct multiple user tests
- Launch your UX Design
- Continuously develop updates
Ready to dig deep into our simplified UX design process?
1. Conduct a comprehensive research
Jumping into a project empty-handed is risky. While trial-and-error may seem forgivable, but taking wild guesses in a project would only be counterproductive for you and your team. This is why ample research is required to establish a good backbone for any type of project.
The same goes for establishing a good UX design. Thorough research must be done before being able to strategize for your website or product. How is research conducted for UX design?
In a UX research article by Maryna Samsyka, she said that research for UX involves collecting information from users through surveys, testing, and other methods. The information gathered help UX designers tweak or create ideas that fit the need of the users.
“It’s not about making them love my ideas, it’s about tailoring my ideas so that they can be loved by the user,” Samsyka said.
Create a User Persona
Part of the first step is being able to create a persona of your target users. User personas represent and serve as a model of your target audience. From the information collected at the beginning of your project research, analyze how your user would move and what they like in terms of design elements, usability, and other factors.
You would also need to plot their journey maps to give you an idea of what their end-to-end user experience would look like with the website or product.
Ask the questions: Why, What and How (2W1H)
By conducting research, you would be able to know the 2W1H of your planned product. According to the IDF, “The ‘why’ is the user’s motivation or reason for using such a product, ‘what’ is the things a user can do with the product, and ‘how’ would be the “design of functionality in an accessible and aesthetically pleasant way”.
There’s no denying that research is important because no one can ever guess what a user wants. Keep in mind that you’re dealing with actual human beings here. So, their preferences will change every now and then; so it’s best to be prepared. Plus, taking a meticulous first step into your UX design project will generate a smoother creation process and a thorough output.
2. Start creating your UX strategy
With the initial research done, it’s time to come up with a strategy for your UX design. In this step, you must be able to come up with a plan that would meet the business goal and the wants and needs of the user. Questions such as “Will this project fit with the client’s business strategy?” will come up.
When developing a strategy, you would also need to understand everything necessary to be achieved in this project. Hence, brainstorming with the team becomes a requirement to come up with ideas and solutions to all issues identified during the research process.
You will also have to realize your project’s success indicators: is it the number of sign-ups in an email? The number of downloads of the app? It all depends on what you want your project and campaign to achieve.
And, finally, a competitive analysis would be necessary for strategizing. Taking a look at your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses can determine what items you can use to your advantage to make your product stand out. A little stalking never hurt anybody, right?
3. Sketch your initial design
Now it’s time to design your product. Do you start by creating the design interface of the website or app, right away? No. Keep in mind that UX isn’t about design, alone, but it’s also about the end-to-end process of a product for the user’s needs.
Create a smooth user flow
For step 3, a UX designer should be able to design a user flow of the product. This shouldn't be confused with the customer journey map. A user flow is what the customer should experience within your product. You can do this by creating a flowchart or diagram.
Keep in mind that products must be user-centric. Therefore, a UX design must be efficient in achieving the user’s goal, and this flow or process can help designers evaluate this factor.
Establishing the wireframe
After creating the user flow, UX designers can now come up with a wireframe of the product or the website. A wireframe serves as the blueprint of the product that will outline its basic structure visually. Think of it as a site map of your website or mobile app. Wireframes allow designers to have an idea on which UI elements will be placed for a core user experience.
Wireframes are essential in the UX design process. There are tools to help UX designers establish their wireframes. Choosing a wireframe tool depends on the UX product to be created. Some of the most used tools are Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Invision Studio.
4. Implement the design
Now that you have a wireframe for your product, it’s time to develop it into an actual product. Along with Step 3, Step 4 has one of the longest processes in UX design. Upon finalizing the layout and required interface of the product, the next thing to do is work on the final graphics.
This is where the development of prototypes occurs. The development team begins working on the backend of the product, based on the user flow and sitemap developed in the previous steps. This backend is then implemented to the desired user interface of the product by the UX designers.
5. Conduct multiple user tests
Having developed a user-centric product, it’s only right to have your users test your design. With the prototypes you have developed, users will be able to experience the product first-hand; developers will have an initial idea of whether the app is a success or not.
Having actual users use the prototype of your product can determine whether the user flow is smooth-sailing and user-friendly. Listen to the suggestions of both the users and the client, and make the necessary changes to your product.
You can also have your product analyzed by usability testing tools you can find online. Websites such as UsabilityHub, Userbob, and Indigo Studio offer usability testing and see how your app or website would work in real-time.
User testing is essential in the UX design process. It gives you an initial idea of what needs to be improved or changed in your product. Understand that what may be easy for UX designers like you may not be easy for people who have zero knowledge of product development.
You would need to repeat Steps 3 to 5, as needed, to fully establish your final product.
6. Launch your UX design
After making such implementation to improve your prototype, and if you and the client are satisfied, congratulations! Your product is now ready for public consumption.
But know that the job of the UX designer doesn’t end after the product is launched. Remember, as a user-centric product, UX designers must be up-to-date with the latest wants and needs of the users as well as trends in user interface design.
That said, the following are some UX design trends for 2019, according to an article by Parth Taylor:
Voice User interface
7. Continuously develop updates
Updating your products is necessary to keep up with the standards of your users. This is common to your favorite social networking apps. So, how do UX designers come up with updates? By listening to user experience and feedback.
You can have a qualitative analysis of your product and have your KPIs and goals measured to give you a better understanding of your users’ behavior. You can also monitor feedback from the website host or the app host and comments from those who have downloaded or visited your product.
Predictive analytics can help you gather information about user behavior and be able to read your users on what they want and need. You can connect your site or product to predictive analytics software to help you improve your project.
It would also be best to monitor your user traffic from the analytics team to see if the numbers are kicking in.. If you see that your traffic is getting low, it’s time to call for another brainstorming session with the entire team.
While the steps above seem linear, there’s not one process in coming up with a good UX design for your product. The process depends on the type of UX you will create for your goal.
At the end of this article, you’ll come to realize that UX design is a meticulous process, but it is of great help to fully meet the standards of the business and the needs of the users.
Whether or not a product has a good UX design cannot be clearly defined, considering that it has a lot of factors to consider when coming up with a product.
Overall, UX design is all about user-centric product innovation. Whatever it is intended for–whether to meet a business goal, sales improvement, community growth, or brand awareness–user experience helps a certain product meet the needs of the market it was created for.