1. Solving problems with Design Thinking
Design thinking is the process that helps with approaching and solving problems creatively. Design thinking focuses on the human side. When it comes to solving problems, it incorporates human behavior into the design process solution.
A successful and meaningful idea
You need to consider three aspects if you want your idea to be meaningful and successful: Feasibility, Desirability and Viability. The solution needs to improve people’s life in some manner, but at the same time it needs to be feasible and make business sense.
Phases of design thinking process
The design thinking process has five steps, which empathize and answer questions like: Who you are designing for? What their needs are? This process wants to solve the problem from the customer’s point of view. Building a solution from each other’s ideas inside the team. This will allow you to provide solutions from different point of views while taking into account different disciplines.
2. Working efficiently and collaborative
Lean UX is a management methodology, which is meant to be fast, efficient, and collaborative. It is designed to be in constant iteration between team members and in contact with the users.
Why lean UX?
Traditional UX process are based on many steps and some times it can cause blockages. Getting things done under a traditional UX design process can be time consuming, and at times frustrating for all the people involved. Lean UX is how you do design using an agile process, the focus is to act fast while listening to the users and shaping your product with the help of customer feedback. Since the cycle is shorter in a lean UX, it lends itself to efficiency and speed. Work effectively, ship it, sense the reaction of the users, iterate and so on. There is a great article in Smashing magazine by Jeff Gothelf that explains it in more detail.
3. From research to design
Even though we hear everywhere about UX design, we still don’t have a global understanding and definition of UX design. UX covers a broad range of disciplines and skills, such as testing, research, prototype, interactions, visuals, sounds, accessibility, animations, wireframes, developing user journey, user flows, information architecture, sitemap, etc. UX, in short, is all aspects of a product/service as experienced by the users.
What does a UX designer do?
The UX designer’s mission is to develop products that fit perfectly in people’s lives, products that have a human-centered approach, and help users achieve their goals. UX designers work on making computer-human interactions as smooth and “human” as possible.
4. Research methods available
UX research is based on observation, understanding, and analysis. UX researchers use multiple research methods to discover problems, patterns, user mental models, how users think and behave. To develop more insightful research, UXers work hand in hand with data analysts, marketing teams, data scientists, and stakeholders. Good research guides successful designs.
UX research subsets
UX research can be divided into two subsets. We’ll discuss both of these below.
This includes user interviews and ethnographic field studies. Qualitative research offers a deeper understanding of why users do what they do, what are their motivations, goals, what makes them act or not act on something. These researches focus on the user’s behavior and their rationale.
This includes surveys and analytics. Quantitative research is about gathering measurable data about what users do, click, use, like, and don’t like. With this method, we can discover patterns among large user groups. Doing both qualitative research and quantitative research is the perfect action plan to discover problems, develop the right solutions. This combination will grow your chances of developing a successful and useful design and product.
5. Build successful products from the start
While quantitative research provides numeric data and measurable data, the qualitative method is based on researchers’ interpretation of data and it covers any kind of research where the results take the form of observations, conversation interviews, open-ended questionnaires, focus groups, comments, thoughts, and feelings.
Qualitative research is all about observing and speaking with people about how and why they use a software or hardware. For good qualitative research, you will need to adopt different methods, different data sources, often have multiple teammates with whom you can compare your observations and discoveries.
6. Find patterns, make predictions
Quantitative research is the process of collecting and analyzing numerical data to explain a particular phenomenon. It can be used to find patterns, make predictions, test causal relationships, and generalize results.
Benefits of Quantitative Research
- Finding exact numbers
- Monitoring performance
- Finding the ROI of an operation
- Finding a percentage
7. Judging the design based on usability principles
Heuristic evaluation (Nielsen and Molich) is a usability method for finding flaws in a user interface design. This involves having a set of checklist of criteria and judging the design based on the usability principles: the “heuristics”, and using the checklist to see what principles were violated by the design in the opinion of the evaluator.
Number of Evaluators
The heuristic evaluation can be done by only one evaluator, or more evaluators independently. Single evaluators will tend to miss a lot of problems, and it is a good practice to use between 4 – 8 evaluators at a time. At the end of the process, they can compare their findings and will have much better results.
8. Working in content design
Probably the term “UX writer” seems new to many of us, but the task itself has been around us for many years. A UX writer takes care when it comes to creating and designing the content that will be part of the UI and works in collaboration across all the different teams involved in the project.
In her book, Content Design, Sarah Richards advises that a UX writer needs to sound simple and human to the user. Also, we need to be inclusive, clear and have good level of empathy. A UX writer needs to talk to a wide audience and to empower them
9. Creating user personas, and understanding scenarios
One important piece for the design process is the creation of the user personas. This step is essential, so you as a designer can understand different case scenarios for the different type of users that your app is intended for.
A user persona is the creation of an imaginary character based on what we think is a typical end-user of our app. The description of the persona must include personal details, goals, and concerns of the character. Very similar to the work that screenwriters do when they are creating characters for their screenplays.
10. A users’ experience timeline
A user journey is a timeline that displays the different reactions that the user has in the different phases of the product. It helps you to understand the behavior and feelings that the user has in each one of the stages when is using your product.
Why use journey maps?
These maps help better understand some different data that you can analyze from the user, information like the users’ behavior, their actions, their difficulties to complete a task, their motivations, their likes, dislikes, and more. And all this information can help you spot some caveats and improve your product’s user experience. UX planet has a good article where explains the anatomy of a user journey map.
11. Measuring usability
Measuring usability can help us better understand our design’s performance and can help us know if the product is usable or not. All this information is also helpful for decision-makers of the product, since it can lead to take some relevant determinations for the future of the app.
The Nielsen Norman Group, in one of its articles, pointed that these type of metrics can help you with the following: track the progress of your product, compare your product with the competitors, and make relevant decisions about the product.
12. Evaluating how usable a product could be
Usability review is a process that can help us evaluate how usable a product is and to discover some of its pain points. These pain points can later help us improve the product, add new features, or take others.
Why is it convenient?
Usability reviews can be quick and cheap to run, can be conducted by any team member, and can have a broad scope. I think it’s something we need to do now and then because it gives us the status of our product’s usability. UXM covers more in detail about this subject.
13. Getting familiar with the UX world
Getting into a new field is hard, there are a lot of new words, new jargons, and not being familiar with any of this creates pressure and sometimes even anxiety. Here are some of the most used UX tech terms and jargon that will help you in your new journey.
Wireframes are a low-fidelity representation, a blueprint of a design layout and content. You can use just a pen and paper to create wireframes, or any drawing or UI design tool. Wireframes are made in the early development phase.
14. The fast and cheapest way to test ideas
A wireframe is a blueprint that is useful for helping you, your team and stakeholders think and communicate about the structure of the software, website, product you’re building. Starting your projects with wireframes, before any code is written, and any visual design is done, will save you a lot of time, and will help you and your team in testing more ideas before locking on a single one.
Wireframes promote exploring ideas
The low-fidelity make it clear that the design is not final, forcing the people involved to focus on the structure and development, rather than simple details or visual designs. Wireframes also promote fast and productive feedback sessions, since everything is so easy to make and to change.
15. Rank higher in search results pages
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the practice of optimizing web content to be discovered in a search engine’s organic search results. The largest search engine out there is Google, but you should know that there are dozens of other ones like Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia – and even Youtube is a search engine, but for video discovery.
What’s behind a search engine?
Search engines use sophisticated and unique series of algorithms to return the best and most relevant results for any given term in a fraction of a second. According to Google’s documentation, these algorithms look at many factors such as the wording of your search query, relevance, freshness of content, UX, domain authority, location and settings.
16. Prepare your content the right way
What is the point of writing good content, or providing great useful information, if people have trouble understanding it, following it, or even reading it? Assuring your content and information have good readability and legibility is on the top list for good SEO and a great user experience.
Readability is a measure of how easy to read and follow is the written content. Copywriters, content writers, and designers are responsible for assuring good readability for the written content. For example, very complex and long sentences are hard to follow and to understand.
17. Skills needed for your upcoming UX journey
There are a lot of things to take into consideration, but I thought it would be good practice to learn about some of the top skills that make a great UX designer.
18. Learn how to structure information
Card sorting is a powerful, cheap, and fast research method you can use to learn how to structure information, story-telling, information prioritizations, and so on. This method can be done in person or remotely.
19. Discover a world full of possibilities
In order to understand your target customers and users, you need to analyze the data available so you can optimize your efforts in the right directions. Fortunately, there are some clever tools you can use to help you achieve your desired results.