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Things you should know about UX design process

The focus of a UX design is the end-user, assuring that they have the most optimal experience in their interactions with the company’s brand.

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For a company to be successful in the current business climate, it is imperative to have an online presence that is both robust and effective. Designing something is simply not enough anymore. In order to build and maintain a successful brand, companies need the assistance of UX design specialists. 

The focus of a UX design is the end-user, assuring that they have the most optimal experience in their interactions with the company’s brand. But most companies may not have a dedicated UX design department or have too many projects to put another one on the shoulders of finite personnel. For this reason, many companies turn to a UX design agency to assist them in designing a digital product to promote the best user experience for prospective customers. 

But how does a company go about finding the right fit for a UX company? What steps can be taken to assure that you hire the right professionals to improve your digital product to be more focused on and friendly to users? There are many influencing factors to a great UX output, including utility, aesthetics and design, performance, functionality, and usability. Not optimizing those areas can harm a company’s business so here is a phased process that a UX process should typically follow.

Phase I: Research

An experienced UX agency starts off its design process by understanding the needs of the target audience. This begins with a set of interviews with clients in order to better understand their needs and demands. This is a step reputable UX companies always perform first, before dedicating resources to a job they may find out would not be conducive to their needs. This research phase should, therefore, begin with figuring out what problems the clients need solutions to, who the audience is, and who the competition is.

Once the interview information is collected and compiled, a UX agency will develop user personas, which is the combined representation of the end-user that their UX design process will be geared to. The UX design companies then utilize these personas as tools to better comprehend the data they have collected. 

The next step is to draft a storyboard to illustrate the user’s actions, as well as the environments in which they may take place. When deadlines for turnover are tight, this step is sometimes bypassed. 

The next step is to trace the ‘journey’ that a customer takes as represented by their actions and interactions with the particular site or app. This is a crucial aspect of understanding a user’s motivations and needs.

Phase II: Sketch

The next point of focus to follow the research is on generating ideas for the flow of the user experience, actions, and performance. These come from brainstorming group meetings that involve members of design teams, tech experts, and product managers. From there, an interactive map is developed. This mapping is meant to establish the flow and screen navigation of the digital product.

Once the mapping has been completed, the UX designers will sketch out a mockup of the digital product, a technique called wireframing. This is a basic skeleton of where the various elements of a screen are to be positioned. Tools like PowerMockup are used by some companies, while others opt for simple whiteboards to draw out this basic but necessary design schematic. As the final test of the second stage, the team will test and evaluate the wireframe, adjusting, and changing it as necessary.

Phase III: Design

After the wireframing is complete, the design team transitions over to prototypes, which are wireframes filled in with pertinent details. These can be done by printing the designs, applying hand sketches, or even utilizing sticky notes. The design team may even request the input of the company they are working for to “tap” the prototypes and get a feel for how the product will work and get a sense of its flow. The idea of this exercise is to find out how well the interaction flow is received and to apply any final changes as per the company’s request.

Once the prototyping process is complete, the agency will move on to the high-fidelity design part of the UX process. This is when the final framework is compiled and designed. Not surprisingly, this is the lengthiest part of the design process. The actual design of the screens and all the elements, as well as having them flow together more naturally is all a part of producing the most optimal final results. Once this part of the process is complete, the development team will take over to build the actual product out.

UX Processes May Vary

The phases outlined above depict the UX design process. Conceptually the goals of the process are the same, but the methods of design might be different depending on the company. This process can take variable amounts of time. The variance depends on the project but also on the UX company you choose to work with, a fact that you should keep in mind when hiring them and establishing a timeline.

Remember that the UX design agency you choose must focus on your audience, their needs, and most importantly the solutions to the problems they are seeking to resolve with your product or service. The three phases will be the foundation of any UX company’s approach and will assist in redirecting the focus on keeping the final product accessible, in demand, and valuable. By having a great quality product that involves a great user experience in its design, will go a long way to helping your company stand out and enhance the visibility of your brand.

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