It is always about the user, the experience of the user.…
“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 first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”
— Don Norman, inventor of the term “User Experience”
What is UX Design?
User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide a meaningful and relevant experience to users. This involves the design of the entire process including aspects of branding, design, usability and function. UX designers don’t just focus on creating products that are usable; we concentrate on other aspects of the user experience, such as pleasure, efficiency and fun, too.
UX design is at the crossroads of a lot of fields and involves many schools of knowledge. UX designers need to have an understanding of human psychology, interaction design, information architecture, user research techniques and many other disciplines in order to create the right solutions to a user’s problems.
Darius Design has over 20 years of experience!
The UX Design Process
The UX design process includes user research, creating personas, designing wireframes and interactive prototypes as well as testing designs.
The first step in the process is getting to know the target audience. This allows us to develop an experience that relates to the users. Conducting interviews and surveys with existing and potential users of the product or service allows us to gain insights into what their pain points are and to identify common user behaviors and experiences with tasks that the product is trying to address. Because the user’s experience is subjective, the best way to directly obtain information is by studying and interacting with users to understand the processes and emotions that people experience around the problem the product is trying to solve.
We create user empathy maps that tell us what the user thinks, feels and does. We then create user personas. Personas are fictional users whose goals and characteristics represent the needs of a larger group. Personas are created by conducting user research and identifying common pain points that interfere with the user completing a task, such as buying an item or registering for a service.
We also create a user story, which is a fictional one-sentence story told from the persona’s point of view to inspire and inform design decisions. As a type of user (who), I want to action (what) so that benefit (why). And we create a user journey map which maps out the steps a user may go through to arrive at the completion of a task.
The next step in the process is to identify and define any problems a user faces and how it may affect them. There are four categories of pain points:
- Financial, or money-related pain points.
- Product, which are pain points related to quality issues.
- Process, which are pain points related to the user’s journey.
- Support, which are pain points related to getting help from customer service.
Problem statements are created to provide a clear description of the user’s need that should be addressed. The 5 Ws and H: who, what, when, where, why, and how. After defining the user’s pain points, we can answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how to solve the user’s problem. Problem statements provide clarity about your users’ goals and help UX designers identify constraints that prevent users from meeting those goals.
During the ideation process we conduct a competitive audit. Competitive audits are one of the many valuable steps during the ideation process. A competitive audit is an overview of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Studying the companies of your competitors, their designs, and their user feedback is a fantastic source of information.
Now we are ready to start brainstorming. We draw some rough sketches of many different layouts to see what comes to mind while ideating the solutions to the problem. Next comes a goal statement, which is one or two sentences that describe a product and its benefits for the user. The goal statement provides the ideal solution for the design challenge. Goal statements cover who the product will serve, what the product will do, and why the product solves the user’s need.
Based on all of our research we then begin to create wireframes of the product. Starting with wireframes on paper and then moving on to low-fidelity digital wireframes using a tool such as Figma or Adobe XD. Wireframes outline the basic structure of the website or app’s home screen and highlights its functions.
We then focus on information architecture. Information architecture is made up of three pieces:
- Organization: The organization is how different pieces of information connect in a product.
- Hierarchy: The hierarchy is often called the “tree structure” and is where a larger category is placed at the top and specific categories related to the overall category are placed underneath. Peer information is placed side by side (or on the same level as each other).
- Sequence: The sequence enables users to move through an app via certain orders or steps.
The information needs to be clearly organized and sorted, so users can successfully experience and interact with the app or website.
We create a research study plan and test the product with real users to find out if there are any problems that may need to be addressed before moving on to a high fidelity prototype. Conducting research with participants to get feedback about the designs is critical.
A prototype is a “mockup” version of the final product, which is then used for user testing before a product launch. Its goal is to reduce the level of wasted time and money that can often occur when proper testing has not been carried out on a product prior to launch. The visuals on each page matter just as much as the site structure, so we invest time into creating wireframes, which are visual guides that represent the skeletal framework of a product and provide a preview of your product’s look and feel. With a high fidelity wireframe in place, usability issues can be eliminated before the product gets fully developed. This can save development time for necessary adjustments down the line.
Usability testing is a way of testing how easy or difficult it is to use a product, by testing the product with real users in order to identify any pain points or difficulties the user may face when interacting with the product. We create an affinity map which show results from the usability study of the users. We gather insights and find out it any changes need to made based on how the users engage with the product. Changes are made and more testing is done until any problems that may occur are solved.