UX and Design Integration
When speaking about User Experience (UX) in the digital space, we normally refer to the creation of online products or spaces that give a user a more relevant and meaningful experience.
Yes, a design is meant to look beautiful and to generate emotion, but good UX design makes a project pertinent and useful. Think about it as forming a valuable relationship with your user who will grow to trust a brand they can easily engage with.
Even your favourite food packaging can be an example of bad UX. For example: don’t you hate it when the little red string breaks while you’re peeling the wrapper off a cheese wedge, or when a yoghurt foil lid doesn’t completely come off from the container and sprays yoghurt all over your new shirt? Now those, my friends, are examples of poor planning and bad UX design. These products, just like our web products, need to be tested.
The UX journey should start quite early in the process. With an Agile approach, we should explore everything from initial research, content creation, prototyping, design, user testing, and development – all of these components fall under user experience. Which means, UX is not just relevant to design, it should be applied to the entire process, which will ensure that all bases of the product experience are covered and all components work together.
UX and Agile
When a team working on a project consists of different disciplines, it’s natural for them to be broken up. When integrating UX into Agile, we usually end up with both a design and development team working at different times to complete a project. This, unfortunately, isn’t the best example of integration.
For a more cohesive and Agile team, it’s better to merge the teams to form a united group consisting of all disciplines: design, UX, project management, development, QA testing, etc. At Amazee Labs, we embrace this idea where we, as a wholly integrated team, solve problems and celebrate accomplishments together.
How do you integrate UX design into a website?
A successful website is designed to solve a problem. We don’t want our website to be the same as that of our competitors, that’s boring and predictable. We want our design to be better, which is why a competitor analysis and target market research are so vital. After all, we are not always designing to address our client’s needs but rather the needs of the client’s customer. This is why, during the foundation phases of a project, we develop personas - these are the people we know to be our client’s relevant users, based on our research.
The next steps in the process are the content creation and wireframing – both of which should be prototyped and tested. These components evolve into the exciting part: the user interface (UI) design. Here we get to create colour palettes, choose images and develop our typography.
What we should keep in mind is that these choices aren’t based on our own visual preferences, but rather that of the personas we’ve developed. These, alongside our design, helps create a cohesive visual experience, one that will serve as a guide to users, helping them navigate through the website and achieve the website’s conversion goals.
Subsequently, the project flows into the development phase. But the UX doesn’t stop there. Communication within the team is vital throughout the project and it’s important to incorporate testing into your development cycle. Once the site is built and functioning correctly, it should flow into the biggest benefit, the integration of user experience through real-user testing. User testing will ensure that you reach your client’s market with the design and functionality the user will really want.
And, because we’re an Agile team, we’ve understood the importance of testing throughout the development phase and no user feedback should really surprise us. After all, we’ve all seen and understood the creative and execution throughout.
It might sound like a cliché, but being a good designer is about much more than being great at design, it’s about working with your team. We all need to solve problems, not just visually but functionally. We all want to make a design work, be better and ultimately convert. UX is about making friends with your user, wanting the best for them. In Agile, interaction designers, developers and project managers can all understand and implement good UX in countless ways.