When beginning a project, I like to start each project with a Product Kickoff Meeting. I created a Product KickOff Questionaire that is used at our meeting with all stakeholders. The questionnaire allows the team to define the purpose/vision for the project. It establishes what we are building and who are we building it for. It outlines goals for users, the company, requirements, and objectives.
I like approaching UX as a team, removing department titles from stakeholders. One unit working together to create products users find intuitive and easy to use. Getting all stakeholders involved early gives the team great ideas and lets other team members become engaged and feel like they are part of something. Chris Nodder has an excellent class on this topic Making User Experience Happen as a Team.
Durning this stage, we are interviewing users and using user surveys to create our Personas. Removing the word user and using a Persona like 'Patty - The Professional' makes the user more concrete. We should be establishing primary and secondary users and finding common attributes. Finding common traits will allow us to create a consistent user interface.
After we have completed our Product Kickoff meeting, it's now time to dig into our Story Boards, user journey map and experience map. Carrying out a UX competitor analysis will empower your business choices. Through researching the competition, you can glean insights from the data you collect and make informed UX design decisions. Finding solutions to their pain points.
This stage of the UX process is all about ideas, iterating and testing our hypothesis. Sketching is a quick, functional and low-cost way to test our hypothesis. It allows us to make changes quickly, test our theory and get feedback.
We are in the stage of breaking eggs, flushing out ideas and building off of those ideas. Once we feel comfortable with a sketch, we can move to a low-fidelity prototype. Low-fidelity prototypes allow us to create a straightforward interface to test.
One we feel the prototypes are in the right place. We are not ready to begin the design. I like to start by creating a mood board. I use InVisions mood board feature. The mood board allows me to develop ideas for images, UI elements, and colors. If we are building a shopping cart, I like to research shopping carts and add that to my mood board as a reference or idea.
Each company should have a Brand/Style/UI guideline. Having style guidelines allows designers not to have to recreate the wheel every time. Having design guidelines enforce a consistent experience throughout your products. Guidelines also define best practices. Developers can refer to UI elements to build the interface and don't have to keep checking in with the designers.
I like to create all the CSS for these elements (a cheatsheet for engineers). Having CSS code documented makes life easier for the engineer; they can copy and paste the code right into their stylesheets.
It's now time to hand the product off to the engineering team. We want to make sure we are providing the engineering team with all the assets, so they can now build out the product. I like to use a checklist to make sure I am not missing providing the front-end team with all the assets and resources they need.
We want to make sure we are still working as a team. We want to be available for the engineer if they have any questions or we can clarify things for them.
After deployment, we want to measure our product success using metrics, web analytics, and user feedback. I like working with the support team when rolling out a new product. They are a great asset because they are on the front line and engaging with users on a daily basis and can provide tremendous insight.
Finally, we're done! No, UX is never done, although the project is complete the product is now living and breathing. As we receive feedback and track metrics, we may have to make slight adjustment/tweaks to make sure we are hitting the company and user goals.
If I could describe myself as a designer in one sentence, it would be this quote. Art for me is reserved in the privacy of my home. As a UX Designer, I must be skilled in functional design. I love seeing beautiful websites (I can lose hours of time on dribbble or behance looking at beautiful art) and viewing elements zoom across the page. As a UI designer however, I am rooted firmly in the fundamentals of design; font, color theory, shapes, contrast, icons, and layout. My job is to take these fundamentals and communicate visually.
I love all areas of the UX process. I love the initial stage when I am researching and speaking with the team and users. I then enjoy designing the interface and coding. The understanding of front-end languages has allowed me to communicate effectively with engineers.