The UX design process doesn’t only provide users with a pleasurable and intuitive user experience. It also offers an opportunity for UX designers to make changes and improvements in their designs as they go along. If you want to design a user-friendly interface for a website or app, you need to understand the meaning of UX and the key components of the UX design process. So, let’s start.
What is UX (user experience) design?
As the name indicates, it is all about how users feel when they use your product or service. It includes physical attraction, emotions, and senses. UX design is the process of creating an interface that’s easy and pleasing for the customers. So, it’s the basic concept of UX design.
Importance of UX design process
Having a good UX design process in place helps you create a positive user experience by anticipating and fulfilling the needs of users. Therefore, websites and apps need to have a good UX design to be successful. Otherwise, the users will get frustrated and will hate your product.
Remember the specifics of the UX design process may vary from brand to brand and product to product. For example, Google’s UX design process will be different from Apple’s. However, there are still key components of the process that have to be taken into consideration.
5 key components of the UX design process
As mentioned earlier, the UX design process will be different for each product and brand. But the following components will remain the same in almost all products and brands.
The first component of the UX design process is the product definition. It’s the most crucial phase because it’s done before the team starts creating anything. The entire team needs to understand the product context for existence from the beginning. During this phase, all stakeholders and the design team are involved in brainstorming.
During this phase, the following steps are performed:
- UX designers perform value proposition mapping. For example, who will use it, what it is, and why they’ll use it. This practice helps designers and stakeholders create a consensus about the product and how it will help users fulfill their business needs.
- Designers create an early mockup of the future product. It’s also called concept sketching or prototyping.
By the end of this phase, a kick-off meeting takes place. During the meeting, the product team and stakeholders set their expectations. Moreover, in this meeting, product purpose, communication channels, team structures, and stakeholders’ expectations are covered.
Product UX research
Now, you have a clear idea about how to start and what to achieve. In this phase, the product team performs user and market research. UX research is crucial because it can help you save money and time down the road.
This component is variable between projects because UX research usually depends on the timing, complexity of the product, and available resources. During this phase:
- Individual in-depth interviews are conducted. These interviews provide qualitative data about the target audience. For example, what are their motivations, fears, behavior, and needs?
- Competitor research or analysis helps UX designers find opportunities for a particular product and service.
This leads us to our next phase.
In this phase, the UX designers draw insights from the previously collected data. Moreover, designers confirm that the important assumptions of the team are correct. This phase of the UX design process includes:
- The creation of different user types for your product. During the designing process, the designers can use these user personas as a realistic representation of the target audience.
- A user story is created keeping the user’s point of view in mind about how they will interact with the product or service.
- Finally, they create a storyboard where designers connect user personas and user stories. It’s all about how a user interacts with your product.
>This sets the stage for the design phase.
In the first three phases, the needs, expectations, and wants of users from the product are clear. Therefore the product team can now move to the most critical design phase. The team creates information architecture and the actual user interface and UX design in this phase. This phase requires collaboration and active participation from all team members. In this phase:
- Designers create a sketch which is the fastest and the most effective way to visualize ideas. There are various options for sketching. For example, it can be done by using digital tools, on a whiteboard, or on paper by hand. This practice is very helpful during the brainstorming sessions because everyone can visualize various design solutions before they choose one.
- The product team creates a wireframe because it helps understand the basic structure of the future product. More importantly, it helps understand how key elements fit together. Designers often use wireframing for prototype usability testing because it’s a backbone of a product.
- Finally, they create prototypes. Wireframes are good for visual hierarchy, but the prototype is about the actual interaction experience.
- In this step, the product team creates design specifications because it contains all the visual design assets. Developers use these assets to convert prototypes into the product.
- Finally, the designers create a system of styles, patterns, and components that help both developers and designers to stay on the same page regarding the product design.
Let’s move to the final component.
It’s a mandatory step in the UX design process. Validation helps teams figure out whether this product design works well for their users. Once the high-fidelity design is ready, the validation phase begins. As you know, when testing is performed on high-fidelity designs, it provides teams with valuable feedback from the end-users. In user-testing sessions, both stakeholders and end-users help validate or test the product.
The following activities are performed during the validation phase of the UX design process.
- Once the design team iterates the product, now it should be tested in-house. All team members should use it on a daily basis to find if there are any flaws.
- Ask your target audience to perform testing sessions. There are various options for testing, such as A/B testing, usability testing, and beta testing.
- Perform surveys to get qualitative and quantitative information from the end-users. The best approach is to add open-ended questions, such as what part of the product they disliked. What features annoyed them? It will help the product team to get user opinions about the product.
- Quantitative data such as search queries, clicks, and navigation can help you understand how users interact with your product or service.
You can evaluate your final product on the basis of the following factors:
- Is it easy to use?
- Is the product or service user-friendly?
- Does the product solve customers’ issues?
- Does it attract users to come back whenever they need your product or service?
Is it possible to improve the UX design process?
Yes, you can do that because now you have a basic understanding of the key components of the UX design process.
Don’t be afraid to make changes in the UX design process
Remember UX design is an iterative process, so please don’t consider it a linear process. All the phases mentioned above have lots of overlap. You can take an example of UX research and UX design in which the designer learns more about the users and their problems. It helps them change some of their design decisions.
If you think that your design will be perfect on the first attempt, you’re wrong. It can never be perfect. So, the best strategy is to spare some time, research your user needs and improve the product design so that users can have a better experience.
Communication is crucial
You might have created a great UX design, but it’s useless if you don’t know how to communicate this design with other team members. The best practice is to take all stakeholders and team members on board and perform regular review sessions.
When it comes to the UX design process, there is no universal strategy that will fit all products and services. So, it doesn’t matter what path and method you follow; the ultimate goal of the design process is always the same, which is to make the end-users happy. So, follow the above-mentioned 5 key components of the UX design process. Ensure that you’re always ready to improve your UX design process when required.