How to make sure users are at the center of your design?

Who are your users? How well do you know them?

These are the questions you need an answer to before starting any project and the answer is usually based on assumptions like who we think the users are and what we think they want.

We all want to create experiences keeping users at the center of the design but making it happen can be hard and getting to know how the users feel is intimidating.

So this post will highlight 5 steps that can help you to understand where to get started, how to make sure we keep users at the center of our design solutions and create experiences users love.

1. Find out who the target users are

→ What kind of users the business/product is catering to?
→ What problem of the user the product is trying to solve?
→ What interactions the user has with your business/product?

Tip ★
Emphasize on who the users are and how they are essential to the business/product?

2. Prepare to connect with users

→ How business wants users to behave?
→ What is the user’s existing product journey?
→ What actions business want the user to take? 
→ Prepare a relevant questionnaire.
→ Fix a meeting.

Tip ★
Emphasize what you want to learn about users and how it can help the business high-level goals.

3. Meet and understand user motivations, objections, and needs

→ Meet at least 5–8 users
→ Understand their behavior, culture, and personality
→ Dive deep into how they use your product? What are they looking for?
→ What problems are they facing? What are their desires and aspirations?
→ What can influence their behavior?
→ Listen & make notes

Tip ★
Emphasize more on what the user wants to do, rather than what kind of person they are. Both are useful, but focusing on what the user wants to do, the task’s user wants to perform can directly impact and inform the engagement strategy, content, experience and overall functionality of your product.

4. Empathize with users and synthesize your research

→ Empathy Map: Define what users see, feels, thinks, says & does
→ Journey Mapping: What emotions users are going through while engaging with a product.
→ Analyze any quantitative measurable stats and data collected from data tracking software.
→ Define common users and business goals.

Tip
The findings should be able to translate into tangible actionable steps. 
It should help you give direction for conceptualizing solutions/designs

5. Test. Iterate. Repeat

→ Invite users to show your solutions
→ Dont explain what to do.
→ Observe and collect feedback
→ Make users feel comfortable, let them know the test is for the product and not their abilities.
→ Observe and collect feedback
→ Iterate and test again

Tip ★
The goal is to let users interact with your solution and identify the gaps in what’s working well and what isn’t. Look for points where the user might get frustrated, confused or lost. Don’t just listen to users — observe their behavior and what they do to accomplish their tasks.


🤘Few Important Things To remember

  • Don’t forget to organize and document the findings in a sharable format.
  • Make quick but informed decisions.
  • You cannot control user behavior, but you can design an environment and experience to make users feel comfortable and positive when they are using your product.
  • Get comfortable being wrong. To create new ideas, you have to be willing to learn, adapt and iterate. No one likes to be wrong. But as designers, it’s impossible for us always to be right, on the road to a great idea, we throw away a lot of other ones.
  • Part of being a designer is about being wrong, to be able to see the bigger picture and focus on building a product for the future and inherently more valuable to users.

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