“Never stop learning” – the #1 value most successful people have. So, we are glad you are here! The following is a breakdown of the UX design process proven to make your products more successful. Powered by our UX designers at WANDR, a top leading UX design agency in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley.
A quality website or application requires more than just a pretty interface. The success of the project starts with a solid user experience, or UX, design process.
The UX design process changes depending on the project, company, and the company’s users and target market. Determining how users feel about their interaction with a specific product is heavily influenced by your chosen design process. For instance, if the site or application is too complex, users are less likely to continue using the product.
UX designers rely on a specific design process to deliver more efficient solutions. Creating a superior user experience involves extensive user research, wireframing, analysis, and more.
Improve your UX design process with the following best practices and tips.
What Is the UX Design Process?
The top designers follow time-tested design steps. These steps include a clear structure for evaluating the needs of users while helping to create a streamlined user experience. Here are the typical UX design process stages:
- Define goals
- Perform user research
- Create maps or user flow diagrams
- Design wireframes and prototypes
- Develop the user interface
- Launch the project
- Analyze the results
Using a design process diagram helps you visualize these steps. Keep in mind, a UX design process is not always linear. You occasionally need to reassess previous stages.
For example, when wireframing the design, you may uncover additional questions that require input from users. The answers may shape the design of the wireframes. Maintain a flexible approach as you go through each of the stages.
1. Define Goals
Each UX design process should include clear goals. Establish the reasons for the project. In most cases, the goals should align with the needs of your users.
List the main objectives for the project. This may include a timeline, budget, and specific metrics for evaluating the success of the website or application.
2. Perform User Research
User research is the most important stage of the UX design process as it informs the rest of your decisions. UX designers perform initial demographic research before receiving first-hand input from users. There are several methods for gaining feedback from your users, including:
- Focus groups
Face-to-face interviews offer the most value for the UX design process, as designers can evaluate the verbal and nonverbal responses from users. This offers deep insight into the issues that users face and how to address them. You can also gauge their responses to determine how they feel about specific features.
The next option is the user survey. Surveys are less personal. However, they still help you explore the attitudes of your users. You can evaluate their opinions on various features or topics. In order to guarantee the most honest results, avoid using leading questions that may sway their opinions.
Focus groups are interactive experiences involving a small group of users. Instead of one-on-one interviews, you encourage the focus group to discuss their opinions amongst themselves. The discussion may help users come up with additional responses that they may have overlooked during an interview or survey.
Designers use this research to create a list of features that users need and want. After obtaining feedback from a diverse group of users, compile the research, outline their needs, and use these results to fine-tune your UX design process.
3. Create Maps or User Flow Diagrams
Your UX design process diagram may also include scenario maps or site maps. Mapping the needs of the user helps create more efficient wireframes. Site maps are necessary when designing websites and web-based applications. For more complex applications, create a user flow diagram.
A user flow diagram outlines the steps that users need to take to complete specific actions. The diagram starts from an entry point and includes all possible outcomes. For example, a user flow diagram for a website may start with a landing page. The diagram then branches off to all the potential links and menu options.
A valuable aspect of the UX design process, a diagram helps provide a clearer picture of the paths that users take. Reviewing these paths in your design process may help you eliminate redundancy and reduce the steps needed to carry out specific tasks on the product.
4. Design Wireframes and Prototypes
Before designing the visual user interface, you need to develop a wireframe. The wireframe is a very important and time-consuming part of the UX design process. Outline the user interface without any visual elements. It is a simple outline of the structure of the website or application.
Wireframes showcase the hierarchy of elements on the screen based on the needs of the users. It is basically a placeholder for the prototype or user interface. The typical wireframe includes the following:
- List of elements on the screen
- Outline of the layout and structure
- Overall description for the user interface
Using the wireframe, designers can develop prototypes to begin usability testing. Prototypes are also useful for presenting projects to stakeholders and high-level executives before launching the project.
5. Develop the User Interface
While a different team may develop the user interface (UI), it is still part of the overall UX design process. The wireframes and prototypes that you develop are brought to life by the UI development team.
The UX team and UI team often work together to maintain consistency. The UX designers may even create a style guide for UI designers to use throughout the design process.
6. Launch the Project
After designing and developing the project, the overall UX design process is not complete. You need to launch the project. Depending on the scale of the project, you may start with a beta launch.
A beta launch is a small-scale release to a limited number of users. It allows you to perform user testing and internal testing before the public launch.
7. Analyze the Results
During beta launches and public launches, continue to analyze the success of the project. Pay attention to feedback from users and examine data related to their usage of the website or application.
Use the goals that were established at the start of the UX design process to determine what areas need improvement.
Additional UX Design Process Best Practices and Tips
Following the recommended UX design process steps should help your design team address the needs of your users. Along with those steps, try to include the following best practices to your UX design process:
- Create user personas
- Develop user stories
- Perform user testing
Creating user personas helps summarize the feedback that you receive from users. This serves as a crucial step in the design process for several reasons. First, it allows you to develop a simple biography for different users to help your team focus on their goals. Second, a user persona also helps you address the pain points of your users instead of making assumptions about their needs.
Next, use the personas to develop user stories before you start wireframing. A user story illustrates the stages that a user takes from awareness to purchase. It allows you to analyze the ways that users interact with the website or application.
Additionally, user testing helps to ensure the final project meets the needs of its users. User testing is performed after you develop a prototype or launch the project. If you plan on including user testing, consider using a beta launch.
An important step is to allow users to interact with the website or application before giving it a public release. This can uncover technical issues, design issues, and other problems that limit the success of the project.
The recommended steps and best practices should help with your UX design process. Remember that understanding your users is essential to good UX design. Take the time to research the needs of your users and everything else should fall into place.
What does your UX design process look like?
Let us know in the comments below.