I am a hybrid UX/UI designer.
This is the complete and total process that I follow in order to deliver the best and most efficient product possible. Every project and client are unique based on each individual needs and timelines which I am able to determine using research and communication. In every step I include the stakeholder and development to ensure collaboration and to keep communication open throughout the entire design process. This makes certain that we can create the best end result possible.
Why are we building this?
I consider this to be the most important part of the design process. My research has a few variances depending on whether the product already exists or if it needs to be built from the ground up.
For a new product, I start out conducting an interview with the stakeholder to understand what problem they are looking to solve along with the demographic that they plan to target. We then begin creating a strategy which includes branding and visual aesthetic, a tentative road map, and also their long term goals. I proceed by deciding how to measure success which can be determined by a number of different avenues including downloads, active users, and/or conversions. At this stage I am able to visualize what platform will be the best for the product whether it be web, mobile, or both. After I get an idea of what the specific problem or problems are to be solved, it is possible for me to begin creating a competitor analysis including an in-depth look at what competitors are doing in same space. I can then evaluate what they’re doing well, what can be improved on, and what could be added or modified.
If the product is already existing, I then aim to determine if the stakeholder would like to add features, update the UX/UI, or do a complete redesign. If there are analytics for the existing product, I conduct an heuristic review to see what features or pages are viewed and utilized the most and where users tend to drop off or close the product. This information may indicate a need for a change in IA or user flows that could enhance the user experience. I then proceed to evaluate reviews in the App or Play store to determine if there are any repeat reasons for giving the product a lower rating. If there are problems that the user seeks this product to solve, I examine that feedback as well as any survey results, if any are conducted. If possible, I conduct user interviews to establish what main pain points the current users have, what problems they use this product to solve, and how they usually utilize the product to get from point A to point B. This is also a good opportunity to gain feedback on their preferences, their likes/dislikes, and what they visualize for the future.
This piece of the design process also includes creating user personas. After getting the targeted demographic it is possible to create these personas whether it be in specific industries, different age groups, or regional use cases. This helps get an idea of which people will be using the product and how to design it for multiple cases.
Starting the design process.
At this point, Post-It notes are my best friend. This is where I go about brainstorming and sorting out features, IA, and user flows. When time permits, I also bring in development in order to establish what is and is not possible for either the sprint or the release. All of this allows me to embark on creating a site map. This stage is very collaborative and iterative and involves detailed communication with the stakeholders and development. After I have an idea of what design I will be constructing, I take the Post-It notes and begin gathering preliminary sketches together of the elements on each screen, navigation, and I begin roughly laying out wires.
Refine the ideation.
After taking my preliminary wires from the white boarding phase, I begin to bring them onto the computer. Depending on the client or project I will either create them in Axure or Sketch. I frequently meet with development during this stage as well, in order to ensure that what I am starting to create is feasible in the sprint or time constraint from a technical perspective. I create low fidelity clickable prototypes in order to make it easier for the stakeholders to digest and envision the flow for the product. I utilize minimal colors, fonts and imagery to prevent them from becoming distracted by the UI which enables them to focus solely on the UX.
Does it work?
This stage in the process is iterative and based on the user’s feedback. They indicate what they like, dislike and what aspects they may be stuck or confused about. I also involve development and if possible, the stakeholders, in each iteration to ensure that the changes are still feasible and on track. I write use cases and utilize low fidelity wireframes to make certain the users tested aren’t distracted by unnecessary UI or branding. There are a multiple different types of user tests I typically conduct based on the criteria being tested. This can vary from a user feedback survey with predetermined questions, a recorded testing session (I have discovered that when users are able to proceed at their own pace without a facilitator, they tend to feel more comfortable), or A/B testing which is more beneficial for new features or experimenting with ideas before launching to all users. I conduct as many rounds of user testing as possible within the given time constraint.
Make it friendly.
Next in the design process, I need to determine if there is a previously created style or brand guide. If there is not, I create a color palette, logo set, iconography standards, as well as a stock photo or imagery standard. I create a mood board of colors, images, and examples from other apps and products as and take into consideration feedback from the stakeholders. Once a brand or style is agreed upon, I will take my wires and create a visual aesthetic and follow brand guidelines including colors, logos, imagery and iconography - I create my own if there are not some already created. I will then again involve stakeholders for feedback and make as many changes possible within the agreed upon deadline.
High fidelity design finalized.
Finally, I hand my work off to development. This incorporates unique UI screens in Zeplin or InVision, annotated wires, and a style guide for reference. If there are microinteractions involved I compile After Effects videos, or find a third party library for the platform for which I am designing. Collaboration and communication is key at this point and I make certain that I am available to answer questions or clear up any confusion development has of the deliverables.