User Experience (UX) design is a process with three main stages: research—design—testing. Each has its own steps. Below we’ve prepared a brief overview of them all and attached a specially prepared UX design process diagram.
Design process stages
UX design has shifted the focus from designing the product features to designing the end-user experiences. This has not only changed the essence of the final product but also made the design process much more structured and predictable.
However, it’s not enough any longer. You can see from the diagram that the entire process starts with interviewing stakeholders. This enriches the process of designing new things with a thorough understanding of business domains and the market. To succeed, the product should have value for both—users and businesses.
Let’s see how users and businesses contribute into product development on different stages.
The research stage
Stakeholder interviews. Stakeholders are the people standing behind the future product. It was their idea to develop it and it is their approval needed at every stage of the product development.
Your goal at this step is to understand the business vision and expectations of all stakeholders. The best way to do this is to conduct one-on-one interviews, record the answers and then share them among all the stakeholders for getting their feedback.
User research. At this stage you should figure out what features is important for future users of the product. Do the following:
- Create user profiles (user personas). These are the most typical representatives of your target audience. Describe shortly their demographics, interests, habits, and behaviour patterns.
- Imagine various user journeys. A user journey is a particular path users follow to complete a specific task within your product or service.
- Involve real people from your target audience to test your insights.
Requirement definition. At this step you analyze the information collected from stakeholders and users and create a document with all the product requirements specified.
The design stage
Sketching (information architecture and wireframes). The main goal of this stage is organizing the product’s content and flow in a way that allow users to achieve their goals within the product most easily. Besides content, it includes creating meta-data and navigation.
Visual design. The main goal of this step is to provide the greatest user experience possible through facilitating user journeys with visual components. This process requires a lot of feedback from real users and adjustments based on that.
Prototyping. At this stage you create an interactive model of your product for thorough testing by developer and design teams, stakeholders, and end-users. Your goal is to receive as much feedback as possible before the product implementation.
The testing and adjustment stage
Testing. Final testing may include the following:
- Usability testing by multiple groups of real users (based on concurrent and retrospective probing techniques, and on concurrent and retrospective think aloud techniques);
- Product analytics collection and analysis for assessment of the product potential;
- A/B testing for usability and design optimization.
Refining. Implementing the results of testing into the final version of the product. This process is based on multiple iterations.
The bottom line
This brief overview of the UX design process shows that design is not about the pure aesthetics any more, neither it about user experience only. The product must be successful to exist. And this means taking into consideration not only the benefits it provides to its users, but also its differentiation from similar products in the industry, and the entire situation on the market. Thus, the product development should be centered around the user but backed with business insights and goals.