UX design strategy is based on user feedback and testing designs in agile cycles so that we have a minimum viable product for each iteration
Research & Analysis
Project Planning | Business Goals
How will this project help the business and its users? What are the main milestones for the project? Delegate responsibilities, plan a communication protocol, and create a system for sharing deliverables and documents. Conduct competitive analyses.
Finding the right users for interviews and usability testing starts with a screener survey. It’s a great way to find people who use the current product or similar products. The survey also serves as an introduction to see which users would like to be interviewed and participate in testing any prototypes. The survey should be short and concise. Make sure to have the option to allow the UX designers to contact them for an interview, if the participant wishes.
Discovery & Empathy
Recruit 5-10 people from the survey to interview about their experience using this or similar products. We want to find out why they use the product, the context in which they use it, and what they like and don’t like about it. Conduct usability testing on a relevant product to gain a deeper understanding of how they use the product. Usability testing requires the observation of multiple UX designers: one explaining the test to the participant, one recording, and one taking notes. The sessions and notes are reviewed as a group to dilute any biases.
After we have conducted and recorded user interviews, we review them to note the various goals, motivations, behaviors, frustrations, and trends within the user pool. This can be done in a variety of ways. Affinity mapping involves writing down direct user quotes from interviews and organizing them based on the theme of the quotes. Like usability testing, affinity mapping is a collaborative activity because multiple perspectives offer more insight. Other stakeholders can even participate to get a better idea of their users.
Based on the user interviews, you may choose to create a persona of the type of person who most commonly uses the product. This is a way to really empathize with users and who they are, what their goals are, and what external factors may affect their use of a product
Based on the interview data, we can visualize the user in their broader life context outside of our product, in order to understand the bigger picture.
Customer Journey Map
A research-based visualization of a user’s journey, showing what leads them to and from our product.
The research may reveal aspects of the user’s experience that we were unaware of. This statement sums up both the main issue users are facing, as well as the goals the business would like to accomplish.
Based on the user research and business goals, we come up with a solution to the problem statement.
Feature prioritization is necessary in creating the MVP so that it doesn’t creep out of the scope of the immediate problem and become too cumbersome to rapidly test. Maybe it could use some cool features, but that can be later on once the foundational functionality and overall structure proves sound.
Sketching and Ideation
One of the most creative steps in the design process. This is where ideas can get the most wild and exciting. Once we have put ourselves on all sides of the problem space and created a vision on how to solve it, we can use that mindset to collaborate and rapidly come up with design ideas. Once we’ve ideated, we come together to make sense of them and create a prototype of the MVP, which we then test with users.
Prototype & Test
Usability Testing Plan
Plan to test your designs early and before they’re ready. Like user interviews, 5-10 well-mediated usability tests with relevant users will bring the right insight. Usability testing requires the observation of multiple UX designers: one explaining the test to the participant, one recording, and one taking notes. It is important to make the test feel like the real experience for the user. Ensure participants feel at ease by informing them that this is a test of the prototype, not of them. Give participants specific scenarios and goals to accomplish with the product.
After The Test
Collect and analyze the notes from the 5-10 tests. Listen to the recordings and write down direct quotes from participants. You may organize the quotes by theme (affinity mapping, once again) in order to find trends and insights that will improve further iterations of the design.
Validate & Reflect
Communication and Hand-off to Engineering
Designers decide the look, feel, and functionality of the product, while software engineers actually build it. Package and deliver the prototype to communicate how the product will look and function. These files should include wireframes, interactions, copy, specs, and a checklist with the status of each item to be completed and by whom.
Like with user interviews, the team can now assess the issues that came up in testing and decide how to solve them. Another round of testing with mid- or high-fidelity prototypes is a good idea, if there’s time.
Reflect as a team on the overall project and how it went. If there were any mistakes, we can always learn from them for next time.