Common UX Design Techniques
Deliverables are a familiar presence in the UX design process, though their nature is different. User needs, project types, application methods, and even the project’s budget all influence the deliverables' heart. But while their specifics vary from one task to another, most projects share specific desirable characteristics. Here, we will take a look at the most common deliverables in UX design for new products.
When starting work on a new product, it is essential to collect information about and understand who the target audience is and what their needs and demands are. Part of that research process is finding out what products this audience uses to meet those needs and demands. This will be the new product’s competition, so it is essential to evaluate them and compile a competitive analysis report. This will highlight what the competitor is doing well and areas in which they are lacking. That allows the designers of the new product to have their work include adjustments that overcome those deficiencies right from the start, allowing the new product to edge out the benefits of their competitors before even hitting the market.
Once extensive user data is collected, user personas are laid out. These are the typical or ideal user representations that serve as tools to help designers better understand the intended users’ needs, demands, interests, goals, and actions. This process creates a level of empathy for the user’s needs, allowing them to gear that product more toward user needs.
One of the most pivotal aspects for a designer is to view the product's user from the point of view of the user. To get a sense of how users would interact with the product, designers set up use cases or a list of actions that explain how users interact with a product. This helps guide the designer’s thoughts about how to create the most effective and intuitive product best.
Storyboards are use cases in illustrated form. Much like a film is laid out in sequenced images ahead of actual production, storyboarding is akin to an extended strip of comics, but one that can vividly replicate the emotional aspect of product use.
User Flow Diagram
Every user interested in a new product's design professional is attempting to complete a task. Mapping out the set of actions they take to accomplish the tasks provides a roadmap of what the user would expect when interacting with the product. When this user flow diagram is compared to the current features of a product, a designer may discover areas of need that were missed or those that are not useful and take appropriate actions to streamline and optimize the product’s performance. User flow process mapping can also generate new ideas of what can be added to the product in terms of additional features and content and interface adjustments.
Unlike a user flow diagram which maps the users' steps of accomplishing a particular task, a customer journey map shows a macro-scale version of how a user interacts with the product overall. This will clue designers in on the details of what a user will want to accomplish, see, and what actions they will be looking to take, as well as areas that may need refining. This data mapping is usually done on a timeline. It makes it easier for developers and designers to identify any problems and develop solutions for them across the scope of the product.
When the layout for a website is planned, designers must also consider the sections and sub-pages where navigations will direct users. To split up the sections of information sensibly, a sitemap is developed. This sitemap diagrams all the individual pages that make up the holistic website, organized in a hierarchical order. Because many different carriers and their directionality can be very challenging to keep straight in a designer’s mind, a sitemap affords an organized system of all of the partitions and elements that make up the entirety of the site. This mapping then directly drives all of the other architectural aspects of the design.
To be efficiently structured, content needs to be included and positioned at a site in a way that allows both users and developers to achieve their needs. To accomplish this, designers apply the taxonomy to determine the best methods for splitting up and rendering the content. However, taxonomy is never static. Because trends and alterations in website development are nearly constant, the taxonomy needs to be reevaluated to adjust to any web-based changes.
Simple picture-based representations of design concepts are achieved through sketches. They are simple to perform, requiring nothing but paper and pen to render, and easily shared between the developers involved in a project.
Wireframing is the visual depiction of how a website is organized with the primary goal of depicting the website’s layout, content distribution, features, and expected user behavior on the site. The best thing about wireframes is that they are simple to generate, needing very few resources, reducing costs in terms of finances and time.
User Flow Wireframing Mockup Prototyping
Deliverables will incorporate user flow wireframing mappings, but, more pivotally, set in a prototype mockup that is clickable and fully interactive. Most design agencies most heavily invest in this particular aspect of the design because it typically can be put together in a short time turnaround and illustrates essentially what the final product will look like.
While sketches for a product are helpful, they cannot compare to the ability to visualize and feel what the final product will look like that prototypes afford to designers. One particularly crucial aspect of mockup prototypes is that they can reveal problem areas, mistakes, and design shortcomings that can be corrected before the final product phase is launched.
UI (User Interface) Design
The interaction prototype is included in most modern design tools, including Adobe XD, Invision, and Figma because it is an unparalleled tool for seeing what users will see when they experience the final product. Prototypes are easy to build and are essentially a “dress-rehearsal” type preview. This allows the functionality of the UI to be fully confirmed and the dynamic nature of the product to be experienced. Static representations of such simply cannot provide such a level of insight. When designing an app, every detail should be carefully considered, and avoid the most common app navigation design mistakes that derail your project's implementation.
UI and wireframing tools are standard features in design applications like Figma, Avocode, and Zeplin, and many similar apps because they provide unparalleled insight and save many hours by allowing things to be prepared and reviewed until they are just right, yielding a product ready for launch. Developers can visualize everything they need to see and quickly identify information and details without needing to inquire about them and wait for answers.
Ultimately, the product is being made for users, so it only makes sense that users perform the testing. Usability testing is the next stage of the design process as the product is wrapped up by developers and turned over to representative users.
Conceptual design is essential, but if it's not intuitive and easy for users to interact with, it will not go over well. Therefore, these representative users will use the system how a user would. They are typically given tasks to perform while researchers monitor their actions. This will help to reveal any lingering, unaddressed, or unconsidered problems that exist. The compiled list of findings can then be turned back over to designers who can make the appropriate adjustments.
The final testing aspect is to observe what features and characteristics of the designed product users use the most once the product goes live. An analytics report is generated to sort which features the user interacted with the most, how much time was spent on those, and other critical analytical factors that will allow the product developers to know which areas need the most focus and improvement considerations.
Certain wide-range user behaviors may escape detection during usability testing, but collecting such analytics helps to reveal more areas of concern or those requiring refinement. Because UX design agencies do not usually have someone on the staff that performs this analytical analysis, the work is commonly outsourced to a partner company of analytics specialists.
In terms of product development and improvement, deliverables are an essential part of any design process. When these deliverables are overly complex, clients are less apt to request additional projects from the agency, resulting in revenue loss. The sharper the design agencies keep their techniques, the more competitive they remain, latching on to the clients who may not be as happy with competitors' work.
With all of the newly available tools, technology and features, design agencies have the potential to operate more efficiently than ever. This is an environment suitable for new product design, to be sure, but the tactics and methodologies employed in the development process should still be employed with caution.
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