The design process includes a wide range of methodologies to ensure that an end product achieves its core (often business) objectives whilst providing its users with the most efficient and engaging experience possible. Together with user interface design, which is the actual visual design of a website or application, the focus remains on the user's experience and interaction.
UX Research Methods
Using appropriate UX research methods keeps me focused on the end user and enables me to translate the results into user needs and goals. These research methods are a great learning tool that helps point me in the right direction and also helps to support all my design decisions. However, the key is that your documentation should help move the design forward because it's all about making documentation complementary rather than supplementary to the design process.
- Content Audit
- A complete listing of every content item on the site that include all pages, as well as all assets (such as downloadable files and videos) tracked in a spreadsheet.
- A method for finding patterns in how users expect to find and organize content without pre-established groupings.
- Heuristic Markup
- Building off the organization solutions found in card sorting, heuristic markup highlights and notes potential obstacles that could hinder a good user experience.
- Comparative Assessment
- Compare features with websites of similar subject matter that provide a better user experience to see how each feature area could be improved.
- Proto personas do not require as much real-life data, but can be effective when probing a user's mindset revealing their goals, specific expectations and use cases.
Although conducting an effective and thorough analysis upfront is very important, I am personally a proponent of the “Lean UX” methodology with less emphasis on deliverables and greater focus on the actual experience being designed. The goal is to define the core components in the initial concept in an effort to quickly visualize the workflow, and build a prototype to further refine the idea. This means all of your resources should be focused on planning, designing, developing, and delivering a remarkably well-crafted core experience.
Lean Methodology, developed by Eric Ries in 2008, is a process for delivering products and businesses. In his book, Ries explains to us how Lean Methodology provides us with techniques to test our assumptions against reality at an early stage, when our attachment to them is relatively young and before we have invested time, energy and money into realizing them. Lean is thinking about the best way to spend time and money, not just the quickest, easiest or least expensive way. It's about doing things right, but as quickly as possible given the company’s resources.
- Cheap Vs Lean: the UX culture debate
- Smashing Magazine — Lean UX: Getting Out Of The Deliverables Business
- UX Booth: Complete Beginner's Guide to Information Architecture
- UX Booth: Complete Beginner's Guide to Interaction Design
- UX Booth: How Visual Design Makes for Great UX
- UX Booth: Make Design Decisions with a Purpose (Research Methods)
- UX Booth: The Grammar of Interactivity
- UX Magazine: The Experience Makes the Product, Not the Features
- UX Magazine: The expanding role of digital UX design in a connected world