1. Research and Exploration
A good UX designer understands the importance of proper research, because any triumphant strategy is built on a solid foundation of research and based on real data. There are two types of methods we can adopt when researching – qualitative methods or ‘the why’ and quantitative methods or ‘the how'.
In this research phase, we must remember that we need to appeal to several different groups – primary stakeholders, secondary stakeholders and, most importantly, your users. Getting to know these groups will help us gain a richer understanding of what users interacting with the website are expecting.
Once the research phase is completed, we’re more likely to have a better understanding of the goals of the project. These include what the brand wishes to gain with the website and what measures will determine that success.
2. Planning User Journey and Stories
Once we’ve gathered all the necessary research from step 1, we are now able to define our users as personas. This will allow us to start creating relevant user journeys, stories, and user flows. Forming these user journeys and stories allow us to highlight the needs of various user types and how they differ from user to user. These stories can then be fleshed out through a variety of possible scenarios; and a user flow can be created with this information.
When building these user flows it’s important to also consider communication and usability. We need to ensure that the website content complements the design. Thereafter, it’s important to think carefully about accessibility and usability, making sure we comply to set guidelines and regulations, allowing our website to be completely user-centered.
UX strategy is the process that should be started first, before the design or development of a digital product begins. It’s the vision of a solution that needs to be validated with real potential customers to prove that it’s desired in the marketplace. Although UX design encompasses numerous details such as visual design, content messaging, and how easy it is for a user to accomplish a task, UX strategy is the “Big Picture.” It is the high-level plan to achieve one or more business goals under conditions of uncertainty.
Jaime Levy, UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want
3. Exploring Creative Ideas and Putting Pen to Paper
At this stage we should have a pretty good idea of how the user journey would flow. The next step in this process would be to explore and experiment with different creative ideas. We can do this the traditional way by using pen and paper. Alternatively, if you’re working in a team, there are a lot of online cloud tools that can keep the process organised. This initial creative process will then lead to wireframing and digital prototyping, giving your team a clearer idea of the overall layout and functionality.
4. Starting the Visual Design
Once we have narrowed down our creative approach and gathered our imaginative ideas, we can now start building the visual design. Every UI designer is different, so this process depends on the team procedures and individual creative methods. The most important part of this step is making sure that all aspects of what we have learned throughout the strategic process is applied to a cohesive and creative layout. We should also ensure that the experience design and functionality correctly complement the product message and brand. Along with aesthetic and functionality, we need to establish that our product is accessible and responsive across all relevant devices.
5. Testing and Optimising the Final Product
When focussing on the design of a product or website, the main objective should be establishing the most efficient and simple user experience possible; this makes testing vital to any platform success. A/B testing is a very clever way of testing; it’s also the most common. A/B testing involves comparing a specific version (group A) of a digital marketing asset to a variant (group B) with one element that is changed. User testing, surveys, and polls are also a great way of testing, with these methods allowing you to gain real insight from real users. Testing post-production ensures that the product works as it should out in the real world.
A lot of planning, research, optimisation, and investment goes into creating a unique and user-centric product. It’s easy for design teams to get lost in the aesthetic of a design, overlooking the overall brand vision or business goals. Incorporating a carefully crafted UX strategy can solve this, because it considers the user as they explore, builds brand trust, and ultimately improves conversion.
Whichever way you decide to go, we are here for you. Get in touch with one of our experts today and find out how we can help you and your business with an effective UX strategy.