In this post I want to go over a general overview of my UI/UX process which encompasses interaction design, information architect and creative visual design. I’ve laid out some key points that you can start apply and learning to include in your day-to-day design process.
1. The kickoff meeting
- What are we designing (business requirements)
- Why are we designing it (project goals)
- Who are we designing for (user persona)
- What are the features (user acceptance criteria)
The kickoff meeting is the meeting where you’ll be meeting with the product manager or client/stakeholder and this is where you’ll basically be asking all the questions that you can. Generally it a meeting where you want key questions listed above answered to understand business requirements and the project goals you’re trying to accomplish.
Gathering requirements is key because you don’t know what to design until you have these requirement
Gathering requirements is key because you don’t know what to design until you have these requirement so take hours or days to really flush out these requirements before you start to dive deeper into the UI/UX process. In corporations a lot of times they may give you a BRD (Business Requirement Document) or if you’re working lean and agile you’ll build up user stories. At this point, you also want to have a reference point for who you and your team are designing for by building user personas to have a snapshot of your target audience and base your ideas around them.
2. Research, brainstorm and explore
- UX research
- Competitive analysis
- IA (user flow)
Once you’re done with the kickoff meeting you’re ready to start researching, brainstorming and exploring using different UX methods to answer a wide range of questions. Using the Nielsen Norman Group 3-dimensional framework, you can pinpoint which research methods best suits the answers you’re loving for. Secondly, you want to do some competitive analysis where you go out to different competitors to get an idea of some of the features or elements they have on their site or apps. Not that you’re going to copy these ideas but you want to learn from them; how these websites are doing this, how users are using that, how the functionality works etc.
At this point you want to start sketching different states and storyboard journeys, onto paper, of yours ideas as well as a user flow chart, which again is generally sketched rough on paper to get a good idea of different pages and states user will be going through. This is basically a brain dump of linked ideas you’ve collected as a quick way of getting out your ideas on a whiteboard.
3. Wireframe and prototype
- Clickable interactive prototype
- Early user testing
When you’re done with step 2, you’ll have enough information to start wireframing and this is where you’ll create wireframes which are more refined based on your initial sketch layouts with clickable elements. With the clickable interactive prototype wireframes you can do some early qualitative testing grounded in user-behavior analysis and aimed at discovering what does and doesn’t work as part of a lean UX approach.
4. Visual UI design
- Identify brand values
- Research visual design languages
- Additional testing
Identifying the brand values involves taking the wireframes and focusing on the colour scheme, typography, style guide etc. to bring the designs to life. This is inline with researching the VDL (Visual Design Languages) using various mediums for inspiration such as websites, blogs, articles and books. Additional testing is highly recommended again as the primary goal is to learn what parts of the design to maintain and what parts to improve and how to better serve your users and business. These tests generate actionable redesign findings, but no statistics.
The primary goal is to learn what parts of the design to maintain and what parts to improve and how to better serve your users and business
5. Adjustments and improvements
If you’ve gone through steps 1-4, you’re going to cover the basics but there’s going to be things and elements once the project is launched, for you to continue to monitor, research, analysis, gather analytics, and make adjustments to the user experience for future releases based on the feedback.