User experience (UX) design is my passion and I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of projects with small to large businesses on projects ranging from simple to complex. I believe that every project, regardless of scale, deserves to be designed thoughtfully and that’s where a UX designer can help.
Don Norman, who first defined the idea of “user experience,” did so while he worked for Apple in the mid ‘90s. User experience design has remained a hot topic for the past several years with many people still pointing to Apple and Apple products as the pinnacle of UX design leading to innovation, a loyal fan base and, of course, millions of dollars in revenue. If you’re not Apple, though, it doesn’t mean UX is out of your reach. Adding just a little bit of UX design to a project can lead to dramatic improvements in user satisfaction and the bottom line for businesses of all sizes.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to work with a UX designer before, then let me tell you that we are emphatically concerned with improving the experience people have with a product or service. Whether that person is experiencing a website for the hundredth time or building their first piece of Scandinavian furniture, we want to make it better. “Better” is an intentionally vague term because part of the process is discovering what exactly would make something better. Here’s what my personal process looks like:
3. Repeat as much as possible
I know it doesn’t look like much, but I’m a firm believer in simplicity. While there are certainly a ton of very complex UX process diagrams out there, the reality is that every project is different. I believe the scope of the process should match what’s possible instead of having to be scaled back right from the beginning.
When I’m researching a new project, I usually start with an internet search to investigate the product or service space, company, and competitors. Once I have a basic understanding, I then move on to interviewing stakeholders and end-users (customers and/or internal employees) because it brings out a lot of useful insights quickly that can’t be found in an internet search. If a product or service is trying to replace something, then observing end-users using the other product or service is a valuable use of time and can tell you a lot about what’s working or not working with that existing product or service.
Another big part of research is testing, and if the project is already underway this is a valuable place to start, as there may be some assumptions that’ve been made along the way that may negatively impact the users, which could in-turn impact your business. There are dozens of different options for testing, from usability testing, A/B testing, and surveys, to other slightly more obscure types of testing like card sorting or cognitive walkthroughs. The testing methods used will depend on what you want to know, how much access there is to users, and how much time there is to complete the testing.
Design is the part of the process that most people are familiar with and includes things like personas, scenarios, sketches, and prototypes. This can take a lot of time because a UX designer will be taking all the insights gathered from the research and trying to turn it into something that is cohesive, simple to use, and pleases everyone from the stakeholders to the users. Additionally, a single design will need to go through many drafts and will never be perfect the first time, but the more people who see the design evolve, the more project buy-in gets generated.
Lastly, I say “repeat as much as possible” because we know that time is money and each business has different requirements and needs. A UX designer has to be flexible to the realities of business while still advocating for the end-users. It’s a balancing act, but it’s important to find that middle ground where a good product or service meets the needs of users without the business going bankrupt before it launches.
UX design is iterative and flexible — you can decide to add as much or as little as your business needs. If you aren’t sure how much your business needs, taking the time to talk to a UX designer can help you determine the right balance of design and investment. city maps They can talk you through your big concerns and come up with a process that’s tailored to your business’s budget and time constraints.
About Jaylyn Dawson
Jaylyn is a User Experience Design Consultant with Statera’s Application Development team. Her background includes multiple disciplines of design including, but not limited to: interaction design, web design and graphic design. When she’s not currently doing design work or learning about new design things she can either be found in her kitchen baking something that smells delicious or can’t be found at all because she’s on yet another flight somewhere.