Freelance UX Designer based in Victoria, B.C., Canada. I get asked quite often what UX design is and how I ended up doing it, so here’s my attempt at an explanation! Check out my writing/portfolio in the blog, write me a message or connect on social media.
What is UX?
UXD (User experience design) is an ongoing process involving research, testing, and prototyping with the end goal of creating software which is delightful to use. As UX designers, our job exists to make yours easier. If you are doing online banking, shopping, or using a web application and finding it easy, intuitive, and maybe even enjoyable, that is the effect of a good user experience design.
Testing just 5 users
can find %
of your site's problems
A lot of experiences we have with technology lead to frustration. This is because the field of UX is fairly recently starting to become popular. In the past, less time was spent on the design of software, so developers were left making a lot of the design decisions.
% of websites
fail at UX
Thankfully now, most companies are realizing that having a UX team can significantly improve ROI on software builds by increasing conversions, retaining customers, and reducing time spent on maintenance and support.
The UX Design Process
Research and Planning
Conduct stakeholder interviews to determine business requirements. Do a competitive audit to evaluate the competition or industry leaders. Create a research strategy that is appropriate for the project and outline measures of success.
Create user personas and journey maps. This will help everyone on the team gain an understanding of who the users are and the context in which they will be interacting with the software.
Information Architecture is another important aspect of UX, which focuses on ensuring the content structure will make sense to the users
Whether it’s low or high fidelity, prototypes/mockups help communicate the design direction and can reveal flaws in the workflow early on. The lower fidelity the prototypes are, the more honest people will be in their feedback. Be sure to include as many people as possible in the early stages as it will encourage participation and collaboration which will always lead to a more successful design.
Typically a visual designer would get involved at this point to give the designs polish.
Visit and test actual users, if possible in the environment in which they will use the final product. Surveys, task based evaluations, and interviews are some commonly used research methods. If in person testing isn’t possible, there are ways to conduct the tests remotely, although it probably won’t be as successful as sitting with the users in person.
Analyze the Data
Use the research findings to inform the design process. Whether the data you collect is qualitative or quantitative, take the time to look at it from different angles in order to tease out the patterns and themes that are sure to be present.
Create detailed design specifications and high fidelity, interactive mockups. Hand over to developers who can rest easy knowing that what they are building has been well thought out and thoroughly tested.