It is fast, cheap, and it answers to users and business needs. Yes, the perfect UX process does indeed exist, at least theoretically. In practice, it often goes like this:
Looks familiar, huh? There are a lot of different approaches and methodologies available on the market — from design thinking to Google Sprint or lean methodologies. Surely you’ve met all of them and many of their variations. Have you ever wondered which of them may be called “the best’? Does perfect UX process exist at all?
Recently, I’ve been looking for one. After analyzing different techniques and methodologies, I realized that it’s possible to find common features of the majority of them. I believe that those common features are the essence of a great UX Process.
UX is the Entire Process
I noticed that many service companies or agencies ‘sell’ UX as one of the components of design, not as a total approach to the process. It’s a fundamental mistake in the meaning of what UX really is . UX is not just about doing wireframes, which can be quickly tested and then passing the project to UI/graphic designers. UX is a whole process — from the first client meeting, business and user analysis, to user researches, wireframing, testing, taking care during and after development phase. What does it mean? That we must treat UX holistically.
Testing — Even Guerrilla
Let’s face it — making a design without testing the hypothesis is based on nothing more than a designer’s hunch. Of course, many companies implement their projects, products or services without tests. For them, the first and only test is, in fact, the product’s reception after its launch. It could be done like that, but what for? Why burn the hours spent on design and development if we are not sure if it will work? On a long-term basis, taking tests in the earliest possible phase and repeating them often saves time and money.
But what if there is no budget for expensive tests? The answer is simple: it is better to test with the guerrilla method than not at all. Starting is even easier than it sounds: your colleague from the accounting department passes the corridor? Hijack him for a moment, give him a coffee, and show him your concepts on paper prototypes. Repeat this process with five more people, and you’ll get solid feedback for your hypotheses. And stage 4 of coffee addiction ;)
Is it expensive? — No. Time-consuming — Neither. Is there a greater likelihood that your solution will respond to people? — Yes. So it’s worth it. You can read more about guerrilla tests in Kasia’s article.
Iterative Process, not Linear
This condition is closely correlated with testing. Why? Because after testing you will most likely discover that something can be done better, according to the feedback you received. This means that you have to ‘go back’ to the phase in which you prepared the design for testing. I took this in quotation marks because you can’t treat it as a step that would take you away from the goal. Just the opposite! Thanks to these iterations, you know that your process will be better suited to the needs of users. Iterations can occur not only in the case of testing but at any stage (meetings with the client, development) You have to predict them in a time frame.
Hand to Hand with the Business
A popular polish term used in business context is “Customer is our Lord”, which means that client’s decision is indisputable. Many designers cover their designs with this approach in mind, although they do not necessarily are 100% fine with the client’s decisions. It is often the case that designers are afraid to express their opinions because they think that the client should get what he expects. However, I come out of the assumption that the more we have doubts, and we are able to openly talk to the client about them, the greater benefits it can bring for the project. And a wise client should appreciate that.
Often this is about the basic foundations — the business context. With such tools as a business model canvas or value proposition canvas, you can help the customer understand the basics of his assumptions and whether his idea is ok from the users’ point of view. Good contact with the client is the key, and honesty builds a good partnership. I recommend replacing emails with fast, direct and less formal communication for example: by slack. It works for our team. Then it’s easier to work hand to hand with a client toward a common goal — a great product which responds to user needs.
To Sum Up
UX process should be treated as a holistic approach to design product, which is iterative, with testing phases and with close cooperation with the business which understands the user needs. Is that all? Is that enough to have the perfect UX Process? Well… of course not, perfect doesn’t exist in reality, don’t be silly. But as long as you will remember that the user is always at the center of attention and you will apply above tips you will deliver great products ❤
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