My UX Process

A quick description of what my ideal user experience design process looks like.

I believe in open and iterative collaboration across all appropriate stakeholder teams. I live by the two tenets of user-centered design:

  • Know thy user
  • You are not thy user

I believe that UX design is inexorably tied to business strategy. A company needs to have a solid strategy before viable design solutions can be provided. (See Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works.) All design solutions roll up to the company’s business goals.

When given a project I start with problem analysis. Before you can design anything you have to know what design problem you’re trying to solve. One of the best qualities a user experience practitioner can have is to ask the right questions. If you’re uncomfortable having every aspect of your project over-analyzed and peppered with questions, you probably won’t enjoy working with me.

Some of the questions I ask include:

  • What is the problem we are trying solve?
  • Is this a problem worth solving?
  • What are the major barriers to this problem’s solution?
  • Can this problem be broken down into more manageable chunks?
  • What existing solutions might apply to this problem?

Once I’ve identified the problem, I identify sources of user information that can create criteria for selecting design solutions. These sources include:

  • Application analytics and usage data
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • User testing
  • Existing styleguides
  • Previous a/b test results
  • Marketing analysis and demographics
  • Competitive analysis
  • Assumptions (every design solution will inevitably include the making of educated assumptions; this is a simple design truth)

At its core, user experience design is just an elegant way of communicating information. Identifying the necessary data points to solve your design problem reveals the crucial pieces to form your information architecture. Rough sketches on paper typically serve well at this point to begin visualizing designs.

It’s never too early to ask for feedback.

Those rough sketches get created in Sketch, and the Sketch files linked to an InVision prototype for the team to review and comment. After meeting with the team on the comments, I make revisions and invite comments again. Before I get through too many rounds of iterations I like to get the dev team involved to make sure we’re not designing something technically impossible. Rapid user testing can be used to elicit feedback about the designs as well.

Elegant designs aren’t just created; a collaborative design process allows for the solution to a design problem to evolve.

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