Your user experience has a massive impact on a customer’s first impression. To get an edge over the competition, you need a UX design process that leaves you with an engaging and memorable user experience.
- Start with a clear-cut product definition as the basis of your UX design process.
- Conduct product research using a mix of customer feedback and market data.
- Test your UX in-house and fix any issues before launching.
What Is UX Design?
Here’s a brief rundown of the basics of UX design.
- UX design is the process you use to create a user experience.
- UX design involves both content creation and your order of operations for creating content.
- UX design is a big deal — research shows that nearly 63 percent of user engagement comes down to easy website navigation.
Whether you’re building an app, a website, or something else, the right UX design process sees your team through from start to finish.
What Is Usability?
When talking about user experience, usability is the sum of all of the following types of content:
- Simple content
- Visually compelling content
- Purposeful content
- Content that is easy to read and understand
Why Is UX Design Important?
Here’s what UX Design helps you do:
- Make an amazing user experience for consumers
- Match your UX to your team’s goals
- Stay within your budget and bandwidth
What Are the Steps of the UX Design Process?
A basic UX design process has the following steps:
- Define the product
- Do research
- Analyze data
- Design the product
- Test the product
Each organization has different phases in its UX design process. However, most find success using a standardized five-phase system that closely tracks the Stanford School of Design’s “design thinking process.”
Your product definition is a simple, memorable outline of your product, who it serves, and how it works.
This first step in the UX design process is all about defining and articulating the purpose of your product. Identify the core elements that make what you’re selling unique — these are the key features to emphasize in your UX design.
Can Product Definitions Change?
Yes, this happens often. Product definitions change as company objectives shift and as your team uncovers new ways about how consumers may interact with the end product.
As this occurs, be sure to update your product definition ASAP. In this way, your team can continue to design the UX for that product properly and in sequence.
There are many ways in which you can do thorough, in-depth research, including:
- Competitive research into industry standards and how your competitors design similar products
- In-depth interviews. These rely on qualitative data about target consumers, including their motivations, behaviors, and needs
The more research your UX team has to work with, the more accurately they’ll be able to design according to target consumers’ tastes and preferences.
User Research vs. Market Research
As you continue the product research stage, diversify your sources of information whenever you can. Combine user surveys and customer reviews with market research for a comprehensive look at how your product compares to your competitors’ offers.
When you refer to a mix of user data and market research, you’re set to create a competitive product and fix any issues customers point out in their feedback.
The Analysis phase allows you to draw important insights from the collected data and dive deep into the “why” of those answers. It’s not enough for your UX team to know “what” people want.
Understanding the “why” allows your UX design team to:
- Avoid mistakes made by your competitors
- Design a UX experience that is tailored to consumer wants/needs
- Surprise and delight your target audience in new ways
User Personas and Storyboarding
As with market research, there are multiple tools you can use to analyze collected data or survey responses. These tools include:
- User personas or customer avatars: These fictional characters can represent potential or current users. Your team can leverage user personas to create a UX that feels right for your users.
- Storyboarding helps your designers connect with the above personas. These fictional stories showcase the hypothetical customer journey and experience after the UX and product are complete.
Once prospective users’ desires and expectations are crystal clear, your designers should move on to the nitty-gritty of UX design, including:
- Creating necessary information architecture
- Creating the UI design
- Adding graphics, sounds, etc., depending on what they are creating
- Iterating as time goes on
This phase of UX design should be collaborative. Lean into this – some of the best work comes when your team works together and fires on all cylinders.
Tools to Use: Sketching, Wireframes, and Prototypes
Once more, there are many tools your UX design team can use in this phase of the process. Some examples include:
- Sketching is a quick way to visualize UX ideas or concepts. Use notecards, a whiteboard, or any other appropriate surface.
- Wireframes help your designers visualize the structure and functionality of an app screen or website page. Wireframes frequently include all the major factors and elements for a UX/UI and should visually display how they fit together. As the design process progresses, wireframing becomes more important.
- Prototypes are your first glance at the eventual user experience. Prototypes should be used frequently (though not excessively to avoid resource drain) so your team knows it’s on the right track.
Validating the Process
The last phase is critical. Your team needs to test and validate the UX. Otherwise, there’s no way to know whether the experience suits consumer desires and needs until the product hits the market. By that point, it’s too late to turn back or make corrections!
Your UX design team should first test their newly created user experience in-house. In-house testing lets you iron out any kinks or bugs that may exist, plus bounce feedback between members.
Surveys and Testing Sessions
Of course, you should have people outside your organization test your team’s new UX. You can use surveys, dedicated testing sessions, and other feedback tools to gather this vital data.
Collect it and analyze it. Your team should ask itself:
- What did people like most about the UX?
- What was the biggest flaw of the UX?
- What were people unsure about with their experience?
Take care to note which feedback is useful and provides actionable information. Depending on your project timeframe, you may not have time to incorporate all feedback before the product launch, so you should triage feedback as necessary.
How To Improve the UX Design Process?
Every design team has room for improvement. Below are a few ways to improve your UX design process.
- Listen to customer feedback. If customers point out issues with your current UX, it may be time to change.
- Use intentional vocabulary. Every word counts when optimizing your UX. Ideally, avoid overcomplicated language and terminology that only industry insiders understand. Instead, use simple, memorable sentences to connect with customers.
- Conduct a UX audit. A UX audit is a detailed internal review of your user experience. An audit is ideal after a major directional change occurs for your team.
What To Do Next
Ultimately, setting up a proper UX design process sets your team on the path to success no matter the details of your current project. A good UX design process gives your team a framework to work within and acts as a guide for all efforts. As a metaphor, the UX design process is the train track your UI design team’s train travels on to its destination.
Take the time to set up this UX design process with your team and go over its various phases. Of course, you can also bring experienced UX designers to your team anytime with Anatta. Our certified NNG and Baymard designers can help your team create invigorating, engaging user experiences for your consumers, whether you’re building a Shopify website from scratch, updating your brand app, or something else entirely. Contact us today to learn more!
- Nirav is the CEO and founder of Anatta. Nirav received his engineering degree in 2006 from George Washington University. Prior to Anatta, he served as founder of Dharmaboost, a software company working with Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, and New Leaf Paper. He is also cofounder of Upscribe, a next-level subscription software for fast growing eCommerce brands.