Good ideas aren’t usually “light bulb” moments–they’re a result of process, methods and culture. Every business is different with unique requirements and using step by step theoretical approach of classic UCD process which includes lot of different activities are not always a practical solution. After all working software is more important than detailed documentations and more important is responding to change rather just following plan. UX consulting cycle can have a profound effect on outcomes.
Empathy: Knowing your users, personas, strategy, collecting information about the problem, clarify business requirements
Define: Research, redefine and focusing your question based on your insights from the empathy stage, task analysis, use cases, scenarios, customer research, user research, market research, Feature – wants, needs, and must-haves, Feature Matrix – to make feature works with each other in complimentary way.
Ideate: Analysis, brainstorming and coming up with creative solutions, content strategy and IA (Information architecture), competitive analysis, branding analysis, site mapping
Prototype: This is a start of your design phase of a UX project and is collaborative and iterative. Sketch or story-boarding, wire-frames or low-fidelity blueprints, define patterns, page layouts, prototype building a representation of one or more of your ideas to show to others
Test: Returning to your original user group and testing your ideas for feedback. A/B testing, usability, approvals
2. Develop (Build Phase)
Visual design: High-fidelity design (pixel-perfect prototype), look and feel of the interface
Develop: code, QA testing, implementation, accessibility, structural SEO, analytic setup
Launch, migrate live to domain, announcements, promotion, additional maintenance, admin training
4. Evaluate and advance
Review, customer comments, use analysis, anticipate future customization, evaluate growth metrics, uphold best practices, maintenance schedule, web analytic, implementation process, monitoring and support
UX-driven process doesn’t end with the wire-frames or user interfaces, testing them with users and improving them in further development stages is equally important. UX design is a broader process that starts at the strategy level and affects the whole lifecycle of a project or a business. Every project is different, so the UX process, depending on a number of factors : the project, the client, the budget and the deadlines. Different UX situations inevitably call for different UX processes.
These phases of the UX process above often have considerable overlap—there’s a lot of back-and-forth. This Process is very iterative and collaborative, it may be necessary to revisit some of the research undertaken, get additional user feedback, or try out new ideas. It turns out that regular user feedback is at the heart of all of these approaches to solution development. Beta releases and outcomes from each iteration can be evaluated and priorities adjusted accordingly. Agile Methodology recommends the importance of communication throughout a project. While doing great design is one thing, communicating great design is equally as important.
Agile or Lean UX recommends simplest good design necessary for current requirement or functionality. Design Iteration is a user-focused approach with business goals while addressing the technical feasibility. Collaborating with development more with Lean UX techniques (build – measure – learn) such as sketching, wireframing, and paper or low-fidelity prototypes are good to demonstrate ideas and reduce heavy documentation. Sometime we have to design fast and cut up our design into small chunks but it should fit together as a consistent design. The design shall be good enough to allow easy adaptation to new request by refactoring and altering with feedback, usage, and then starting the process all over again. In agile development projects are developed in three to four week iterations to keep feedback cycles short. This approach ensures that work is fully aligned with your requirements and overall project much more flexible at the same time. With these iterations comes a shared understanding of what team trying to do and speed decision making, resulting in a great solutions faster.