Frankly, this should be the first step for anyone, in any job, any industry, anywhere.
There are two reasons this is true for me:
Several tried and true methods work for me here:
~ hearing from the stakeholders about their goals,
~ hearing from current team members about their processes and challenges, and
~ reviewing pre-existing products, documentation, insights, all of it – taking in any information that might shed light on what we’re working towards.
Isn’t learning the best? I love it.
All that intake of information from the first step should lead to some valuable observations and insights. After distilling the core elements, I start to understand what lays ahead of me – both the opportunities and the challenges.
I use the insights gleaned from the previous steps to figure out the best way to reach the goals for this specific project, with this unique group of people.
~ What forms of research are most valuable?
~ What project management and ideation tools will be most effective?
~ What timeline best suits the delivery and roll-out?
To name just a few…
Each project needs its own plan. Not every problem is solved by an app. Not every team needs Basecamp or Slack to do their best work. (I’ve had good experiences with them, but sometimes the trick lies in pen and paper.)
Seriously, you just can’t go wrong here.
There’s always more information to take in, and now that we have a clearer idea of our own path forward, we can use some tried and true tactics to help shine more light along the way:
~ Hearing from the users about what they want (and what they don’t want)
~ Reconnaissance into similar products out there in the world
~ User tests on current or planned features, find out what works well and what could be improved
This is one of my favorite parts. It harkens back to theater training, creating character studies to better grasp who someone is and why they do what they do.
Based on what we now know, we craft user personas that embody a range of views and desires. Through the rest of the design process, they constantly remind us who this whole project is ultimately for.
From there, we map the user journey of each persona to find what works – and what doesn’t. For me, it’s similar to writing a script. We imagine their successes, their setbacks, their steps in the world and how we can make each better.
Photo by Martin Hols
As a kid I dreamed of being an astronaut and then a marine biologist, but math is really hard – and sharks. With UX Design, I finally get to use the scientific method.
It’s time to get bold and form a hypothesis. “If we design X, users will get Y.” It’s less important how right or wrong we are than it is to start trying things out and getting feedback.
The experiment phase is by many considered the most fun part of the whole process, and I’m no outlier here. It’s a blast. Ideating on potential solutions, starting to put the pieces together, mixing one element with another. Let’s get our hands dirty and see what we come up with.
It’s not long before we start to test things out and analyze the results. Even if we find out that we’re making smart choices, no criticism is too small which may potentially improve our design even further.
This is a big moment.
We’ve asked questions, found new information, and discovered what works. And what doesn’t. We feel confident in our results and are ready to launch it into the real world.
We don’t, however, simply throw caution to the wind and hope for the best. We continue our methodical process of build, test, build, test, build, test… We want this to be the best it can be. Even after we go live, we can still pursue our vision of delivering something that will have a positive impact.
Let’s do this.