A UX Designer has 3 clients.
Here’s who a UX Designer is worrying about when designing the most compelling app for users that can be made well and meet company goals.
1. The User
When at all possible a UX designer will tend to the user. Of course that isn’t always possible — a stakeholder can take control of a decision for all kinds of reasons from emotional preference to politics — but its fair to say that most company stakeholders gladly want a designer to put the user in first priority, so long as company goals are met and user experience is data-driven.
And so user testing is of course so crucial to the process. The right way to user test can be a bit more of an art. Allowing a test subject to feel natural about what they’re doing and in control will show the most realistic behavior. We have a monthly user testing event in San Francisco where we get to try out all sorts of methods for understanding the users goals and behavior for reaching them.
2. The Client or Company
When a client, or a company, pays a designer to create a solution for their users there is a clear set of goals they’re hoping the design will achieve.
I would say that its fairly often that the path to achieving these goals can be counter-intuitive to a stakeholder. So its important that a stakeholder and designer come to an understanding on how design patterns and principles can be used to achieve a the desired outcome — doing this is a true service needed from the designer.
Hopefully the stakeholder will be willing to step out of their comfort zone just a bit to see how something unconventional or can have a big splash. The first time I saw the Acorns App, for example, I immediately thought that they had done something that progressed our app design space to a new level. Those beautiful gradients and soft white elements. How could you not want to invest money just so you can have an excuse to use this app? Since that time, many have followed their style and so its hard to recognize their forward trend.
3. The Developers
I wonder how many will be surprised to see this one of the list of a UX Designer’s 3 main clients? After the users and the stakeholders, the developers who will implement the design are incredibly important to keep in mind at all times during the design process. That’s why its often a very good practice to bounce designs off developers just as often as you’re running them by users and stakeholders. This function is heavily intrenched in the UX/UI Design Process.
There are many ways UX/UI designers have to keep a developer in mind. Most of it revolves around the feasibility of the design of course. While nearly any design can be implemented with unlimited time, that’s not the world we live in. There’s always a budget, or a deadline. So what can we accomplish in certain amount of time with developer talent and capacity? Taking a sober look at that question (with your stakeholders) should promote a very successful finished product.