Different methods for different projects
User Experience Design involves employing a whole host of different methods and techniques to deliver a solution to a problem.
Every project is different and, in my experience, requires different sets of methods to be applied each time. Sometimes you can be working on a project that involves all of these techniques, but other times only a few of them need to be applied.
My experience has led me to use all of these techniques at some point during my time as a UX Designer, although my focus is more on the strategy/concepts & delivery side of UX, rather than research.
For example one project could involve applying these methods...
...and another could involve applying these.
At the end of a project the design may be released and delivered on the site, but that doesn't mean that the design can't be improved. It often requires us to go back, analyse and start the ux process again.
Applying the methods
Below is a step by step process of how I apply some of the methods, keeping the user at the centre of all design work.
Step 1. Discovery Phase
The discovery stage is all about defining the problem, understanding the story, creating user personas, looking at the brand message and gathering research & inspiration.
Step 2. Whiteboard sketching & wireframing
I then work with the product manager & designers to start sketching out ideas on the white board. From this I then create wireframes & prototypes using tools such as Axure, Adobe CC and UX Pin.
Step 3. Prototype feasibility
The next step is to know whether the ideas are possible by talking to the development team. It's also very useful to get their feedback and ideas at this stage. I then make refinements based on what is possible. This might happen earlier in the process if necessary.
Step 4. Validate prototypes with users
Testing prototypes early with users is one of the most crucial steps in the process to know if they actually want the features suggested. This stage is valuable in knowing what to throw away and how to shape the design into something that communicates well.
Step 5. Visual design
The next step is to refine the visual design in line with the creative brand message and guidelines. This might happen earlier depending on the project.
Step 6. Test, Release & Analyse
The last step is to test the refined design with users. Depending on how this is received I then make final refinements before the release. Once released live to users I then work with the product team to look at the analysis on how the feature/design is being used.
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