The Role of UX in Product Development

The Role of UX in Product Development

It’s all about the user and the customer. Any business today understands this. And when those users have to hop through a number of loops and confusing navigation to find what they want and need, they frustrate and leave. Potential customer lost. And whoever designed such a website needs to go away.

A website is a product, just as any piece of software is – an app, a game, etc. And when these things are built, there is nothing more important than a great user experience (UX). Without it, the product will not satisfy a client and certainly not anyone who uses that site.

Designers and developers must work together, and today many freelancers and software development companies have combined these roles.

How Great User Experience is Achieved

There is a book on the market titled Don’t Make Me Think by UX designer Steve Krug. And this is how he sums up great user experience – no need to think about anything because it’s an intuitive process.

And while trends in UX design may evolve over time, the same principles remain. Any designed product must be useful, usable, accessible, credible, desirable, findable, and valuable (according to Peter Morville, owner of Semantic Studios and consultant to lots of the “big boys”).

UX Honeycomb.
Source: Semantic Studios

Any software product must meet all of these user needs. And there is a product development process by which designers and developers must do this.

  1. Understand the Purpose: There are really only two purposes – find a user need and a way to meet that need through great design. Supreme Dissertations writing service, for example, knew that lots of students were in need of academic writing assistance. As they prepared to launch their website, they knew that the design had to provide a simple and clear path for students to find exactly what they needed, quickly and efficiently, and be provided a streamlined process for ordering the services they needed.
  2. Do the research and learn everything possible about the user audience. In this case, the designer will rely on marketers and analysts who have developed a user persona. Without an understanding of the typical user of the product, a designer cannot craft an experience that that user will enjoy. It is up to the designer to build the information architecture that will allow users to meet all of the needs shown above. Each element of the design must be part of a series of actions that will guide the user.
  3. Develop a user flow or journey. This will visually set up the step-by-step experience a user will have with a product – the sequence of actions to be performed to get what he wants.
  4. Information architecture (IA) is then developed. This essentially classifies and structures the content to be included. There are several ways to do this, usually determined by the type of product and the best way to get the user to access the information. Three of the most common are:

    – Sequential – all elements are interdependent and there is a step-by-step structure. This was the right IA for TrustMyPaper writing service, for example, so that customers could be taken through a sequential process of finding the writing assistance they needed and then move on to the ordering process.

    – Hierarchical – elements are structured from most to least important

    – Matrix – Elements are presented for the user to choose which and when to access

One of the most common methods of structuring the IA is by crafting a site map that will show the relationships among pages and elements on those pages. And it will also result in navigation design.

5. Wireframes, Mockups, and Prototypes

Here is where the design is put into place. Wireframes are outlines that show the general features of how the interface will work. Some wireframes are even made to be interactive, so that “users” can test the functionality and navigation.

Mock-ups provide a more detailed representation of the design – actual screens of what the product will look like. They will include visuals, text, colors, etc. This will show how the product will actually look.

The prototype is the final design that can actually be tested by users. Sometimes it is called the “minimum viable product.”

6. Usability Testing

Here is the “meat” of the design process. Once that MVP is finalized, it is time to test it for usability. A design team may test it, but the real proof of the pudding is putting it to the test with an actual sampling of users. They can proceed through the entire product and provide feedback on their experiences and whether they can achieve their goals through the current design. This feedback drives modifications that will be made to improve the user experience.

7. Updates

Most digital products, whether websites, apps, etc. will require updating and even changes, as owners want to stay current and competitive. For example, a website owner may want to add augmented or virtual reality experiences. The designer must then go back to work, go through the design process, and conduct usability testing again.

The Roles of Designer and Developer

In terms of user experience, both designers and developers have roles to play. More and more these roles are being intertwined because each role is now dependent upon the other. A simple way to look at this is that designers focus on the “why” of product development while developers focus on “how” that development actually occurs. As Ben Johnson, a designer for Top Essay Writing website says, “I began my career as a designer. More and more, I began to see the intimate relationship that must occur between design and development. It was then that I went back to school. Now, my combined skills as a designer and developer provide far more value to my company.”

Is there any Question?

Obviously, any digital product design is wholly dependent upon UX for its success. If the needs of the user are not the primary focus from the very beginning, no product will be successful.

Author Bio: Nicole Garrison is a freelance writer and blogger and frequent contributor to research paper writing service. During her non-working hours, she is an animal rescue activist and participant in organizations involved in cleaning up the planet.

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