The UX Design Process is similar to the design thinking process and consists of five basic stages namely, Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.
This article will explain the first three phases in the UX Design process, Empathize, Define, and Ideate.
Before discussing the UX design process, let’s clarify who a user is, the end-user, and what user experience is.
- A User can be any person who uses a product.
- An End-User is a specific audience the design is made for.
- User Experience is what the person or user feels when interacting with the product.
User research is conducted to understand user behaviors, needs, and motivations by observation and feedback. The information gathered will be then visualized using different design tools or methods in the UX Design Process. Below, we discuss some of the UX deliverables or outputs of a UX design process of the first three stages.
Stage 01: Empathize
Empathy means the ability to understand someone’s emotions or feelings. There can be different ways in which we can empathize with the users such as;
- Asking a lot of questions
- Being observant and an active listener
- Receiving feedback from users
- Having an open mind
- Joining online communities and being updated on UX research
An Empathy map can be drawn to easily understand the needs of users and create a shared idea of the types of users. It consists of four quadrants referring to what the user Said, Did, Thought, and Felt.
As an example, let’s say I want to design an app for kids to learn the Alphabet. Below is a sample Empathy map created for a user called ‘Peter’ who is currently learning the alphabet by reading alphabet books.
Stage 02: Define
After identifying the user pain points we then create User Personas that depict fictional users whose goals and characteristics represent a larger group of users. This comes under the Define phase which can guide when brainstorming ideas for the expected product.
Apart from user personas, a User Story could be created which is a one-sentence story told from the persona’s point of view which can be written in the format ‘As a persona (who), I want to (what), so that (why).’
We can also define problem statements according to the 5W’s and H method: who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Who is experiencing the problem?
- What pain points will be solved?
- Where is the user when the product is been used?
- When does the problem occur?
- Why is the problem important?
- How will the users reach their goals by using the product?
Stage 03: Ideate
The ideation phase is where design thinkers come up with problems and solutions by brainstorming various ideas through creative activities.
Below are a few ways that designers use to visualize the touchpoints between the user and the product.
User Journey Map is a diagram that represents the steps taken by the user to complete a specific task and achieve the required goal.
The key components of a user journey map are the user, goal, actions, emotions, and opportunities.
User flow is a pathway taken by a user to complete a task from start to end when interacting with a product. When drawing user flow diagrams it is important to determine;
To visually describe and explore a user’s experience with the product, a storyboard could be drawn which communicates through images in a series of panels.
The key components of a storyboard are the scenario, image visuals, and corresponding captions.
There are two types of storyboards namely;
Big picture storyboard: focus on what the user needs and why the product would be useful to them.
Close-up storyboard: concentrates on the product and how it works.
Other than the above-mentioned methods there could be more ways to deliver the output of user research that can help designers understand user needs and come up with better solutions.
Designs that connect with users on an emotional level create higher engagement and change consumer behavior. Creating a delightful UX design can be achievable through practice and feedback.
The next two stages of the UX Design Process are prototyping and testing which will be discussed in another article.