Have you ever asked yourself, “What is UX design?” Are you considering a career in UX design but want to know what to expect? As a shorthand for user experience, UX designers are tasked with designing the interaction between humans and the products or services they use.
A talented UX designer makes the interaction of a website or app seamless, encouraging users to browse longer and become loyal customers for burgeoning brands.
If this sounds intriguing to you, read on to learn all about the UX design process!
1. User Research
The first stage of any good UX design is user research. One of the top web design mistakes is not doing enough research beforehand before continuing on to subsequent stages. Even if a website is designed well, if it doesn’t speak to the brand’s users in any way, it won’t be effective for the business.
Talented UX designers have the ability to use empathy in order to step into the users’ shoes. They’re able to take a look at a website, app, or product and consider the pain points for users. Whether or not the designer has a good grasp of the users’ issues, they’ll still conduct extensive user research. This can include:
- Face-to-face user interviews
- Online surveys
- Persona Creation
As users interact with the website or product, the designer will ask pertinent questions about their experience. Designers can even ask users for their own input on how to make the product perfect.
Designers also need to create a persona of a business’s current user base. Since businesses can have hundreds or even thousands of customers, creating a persona helps UX designers stay consistent in their designs. These personas are based on website analytics, polls, and survey data.
2. Create User Stories and Sitemap
After designers have their user research completed along with their user personals, they can create user stories and a sitemap. A user story gives each user persona a goal (if there is more than one) along with the steps needed to achieve it.
For instance, if a user is ready to purchase a certain product, their scenario may begin by navigating to the “Shop” page and then typing in their search in the website’s bar.
Once these scenario maps or user stories are created for each persona, this makes it easier to create sitemaps. Sitemaps make it easier for users to navigate sites, and it also gives websites a boost in SEO.
3. Wireframes and Prototypes
Once the designer has a good idea of the users’ pain points and desires for the product, the next step is to begin prototyping and creating wireframes. Wireframes help designers first focus on the navigation and structure of a site or product without any visuals. This helps them determine how to organize pages, the functions needed, and the overall hierarchy of content.
The best part about wireframes is that they’re quick and simple to make. They can be drawn with a pen and paper or through software. They can also be remade quickly when changes need to be made. Once a designer has a good wireframe in place, they’ll have a clear representation of the user’s journey to their end goal.
Once the wireframe is made, a prototype can be created. You can think of this as a rough draft of the finished product before it’s officially published.
4. User Testing
Prototypes are necessary because they allow designers to try out and iterate their ideas. Changes are easy to make with prototypes, and they can gather user feedback and make changes over time. Plus, designers are able to interact with the site or product directly so they can test it firsthand.
However, designers will never know if the product or website is finalized if they don’t conduct user testing. Testing allows designers to adjust designs and recognize issues that they may not have otherwise. It also allows them to completely eliminate issues before the final product is completed.
User testing is similar to user research. Here are a few tried and true methods:
- Face-to-face usability testing
Testing is only useful when a designer has a specific goal. For instance, one concrete goal can be discerning whether a website is easy to navigate to users. They can instruct users to navigate to an About page on the website and see how long it takes them. If users can’t find the About page, have to deal with slow loading times, or seem distracted by other page elements, this will give designers an idea of what to tweak.
5. Analyze Metrics
Once the user testing is completed and the final website, app, or product is finished, designers still need to analyze the metrics. A UX researcher is often tasked with this job. They use analytic tools in order to track users and how they interact with the website or app.
This helps determine whether they’re able to meet their goals. If they’re not reaching the goal that the business wants them to reach, then it becomes a process of determining what needs to be tweaked or changed.
For instance, on a recently launched website, new visitors may not be clicking on a link that takes them to a contact form. This may mean a better call to action needs to be written, or the design of the website is inhibiting them from clicking on the link.
A well-designed site or product will allow both businesses and users to reach their goals. You can find out more about talented developers and designers here.
Learning the UX Design Process for Great Design
As a future UX designer, it’s important to become familiar with the UX design process so you can learn the common web design mistakes to avoid. For instance, a failure to thoroughly conduct user testing before a website or app is published can lead to subpar results. Even worse, it can be hard to determine what’s going on and how to improve on the design.
Ready for more design tips? Keep reading our blog for more informative articles!