UX design can be a complicated and tasking process to understand, especially for a non-designer. The very nature of UX design makes it challenging to comprehend. User-centered design is a relatively new term, and few people are familiar with the intricate processes and jargon of UX design. To start at the most basic level, UX design or User-centered designing emphasizes the needs of users when designing a product. UX design and usability go hand-in-hand, and even the smallest element cannot be ignored. In this blog, we will explore the process behind UX designing and the importance behind each of them
The process behind UX Designing
Due to the encapsulated nature of every mobile application, every user focuses on the frontend rather than the backend. This is where UX designers come in. The frontend needs to be optimized to the tee so that users don’t drop-out. Now, keeping the users’ needs and the app’s features isn’t that easy for a designer as they should complement each other on every screen. So what is the process involved behind designing a user interface?
- Step 1: Understanding the problem
- Step 2: User research
- Step 3: Brainstorming design ideas
- Step 4: Interaction design
- Step 5: Test the design solution
Before we explore each of these processes, let us consider a simple scenario to understand this in a much easier way- Consider you are a teacher at an elementary school, and the school reopens in a few days. How will you host the perfect opening day?
Understanding the problem
Understanding the problem goes a long way in designing a solution. In our above scenario, you have to think of various ideas, games, and activities for the students. Each student differs from the other, and you have to come up with a unique solution to fit all their needs, which they will enjoy.
When a UX designer is designing an interface, they cannot come up with a solution without understanding the application’s needs and keeping in mind the timeline, deliverables, and other resources. Every project has different origins, and communication with each of the stakeholders involved is crucial and cannot be taken for granted.
Now that you have evaluated the problem of hosting a perfect opening day, you ask other teachers for their inputs on what kind of activities you can conduct. You can ask some students for their inputs or check up on past-years opening days. The information you get may not completely address your issue, but its enough to start with.
User-centered design in itself explains why user research is essential. Any information, qualitative or quantitative is vital to understand what they like and value in the product. The needs of the user are first and foremost when designing the interface of the mobile application. There are multiple ways UX designers can conduct user research like UX Analytics tools, focus groups, data analytics, etc.
Brainstorming design ideas
As a teacher, you have reached a crucial point. Now that you have enough context on your students’ needs, you start thinking up ideas. You sit with your fellow teachers and think of different approaches to host the opening day. The activities may be games like musical chairs or something else fun and educational like a spelling bee.
At this point, UX designers transition from the research stage to the design stage. With all the information at their disposal, they start thinking of solutions that will satisfy the stakeholders and the users. Various other factors come up at this point, like usability concerns, UI designs, etc. The main takeaway from this stage by the UX designer ultimately lays the foundations for the upcoming steps, and an iterative process is kicked off.
You make a list of activities to employ on the day. You check your resources and start designing these activities, so there is no hassle on an opening day. If anything feels wrong, you go back to ideating and planning an alternative solution.
A UX designer designs workflows, interactions, wireframes, and user interfaces to build a prototype. The design may go through multiple iterations based on the changing requirements of project and feedback discussions. It is essentially the stage where you visualize your design and understand the shortcomings and go back to the ideation stage.
Test the design solution
Testing is the final stage of the entire process. You discuss your ideas and solution thought out by you with some teachers and students. You discover the pros and cons while testing it out and making changes accordingly to make it as nearly perfect as possible.
This is essentially the prototyping stage and another critical point in UX designing. The UX designer now designs basic prototypes for the users to test it out. It includes simple handmade/paper prototypes, usability testing (observing the users as they evaluate the interface), UX Analytics tools like heatmaps, screen recording, etc. After this testing process, the UX designer will understand what worked out and what did not and deploy fixes and changes in the design before finalizing.
UX designing is a never-ending process. They aim to create engaging experiences for the users and allow them to feel comfortable with the application. The concept of good design is especially hard to come by and takes an overly complicated thought process and even more efforts to deliver it. There are always improvements, fixes, and changes, and the iterative process makes sure that each interface outclasses the previous one.
UXCollective’s blog on Medium about A non-designer’s guide to UX design