My UX design process:
6 steps from User Research to Development
Every project is different, you have to choose the right tools and methods for your project based on your budget, team, timeline, requirements, circumstances and personal preferences, but based on my experience ideally these are the 6 phases every product design project should follow:
“If I had asked people what they wanted,
they would have said faster horses.”
Human-centered design is a research and design methodology that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process, focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. It is also very important to balance business requirements and goals with end-user needs and expectations.
"Human-centered designers are unlike other problem solvers - we
tinker and test, we fail early and often… We believe that a solution is
out there and that by keeping focused on the people we’re designing
for and asking the right questions, we’ll get there together."
In this phase all the data and analysis is converted into documentation to define the base for the upcoming product development. Who are our average users? What are they trying to do with our product? How does their environment look like? Do they face any frustration through the process? Where can we improve their experiences? How should we present the information so it’s quick and easy for them to understand?
"The details are not the details. They make the design."
In the iterative design process prototypes are built and evaluated by a focus group or a group not associated with the product in order to deliver non-biased opinions. Feedback from the focus group should be synthesized and incorporated into the next iteration of the design. The process should be repeated until user issues have been reduced to an acceptable level. Changes are easiest and less expensive to implement in the earliest stages of the development.
"Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the
absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of complexity.
To be truly simple, you have to go really deep.…You have to deeply
understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of
the parts that are not essential."
This phase is the time to define the brand image, set the tone and mood, but don't forget that people will perceive and interpret ambiguous or complex shapes as the simplest form possible. Simplicity doesn’t equal usability, but simple designs are typically easier to use. Simple designs tend to be more aesthetically pleasing. Simplicity is more accessible. It helps us get things done faster, more easily, and more efficiently. Define your target audience and speak their language through visuals, but always keep usability in mind.
“For every dollar spent solving a problem in design, you save
$10 in development and $100 in post release maintenance"
In today's world developers are in a very difficult situation. They have to think about all the different screen sizes from smart watches to HD TV-s, and all the different browsers and their older and newer versions, they have to keep up with new technologies and frameworks emerging every day. We, designers need to work closely together with them to ensure the final product's quality and it makes everyone's work easier if we know the technical possibilities and limitations.
“Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.”
People can't tell you what they want. They make confident but false predictions about their future behavior. There’s a huge difference between imagining using something and actually using it. It's better to observe them when they are actually using your product, record their behaviour and/or faces, and analyse their expressions and changes of emotions.