Taking Your UX Design from Good to Great: A Visualization

User experience (UX) design focuses on the interaction between real human users and everyday products and services. Strong UX design, a process that is well-documented and proven successful, balances usability and functionality to  yield the highest user satisfaction while successfully meeting business objectives. With deep experience delivering user-centered solutions, Halfaker has evolved our UX process and knows how best to maximize value for both end users and solution owners. 

Read on to learn how Halfaker takes UX design from good to great with key enhancements in each step of the process.  

Step 1: Define the Problem

Good Teams 

  • Understand the problem that’s been provided by stakeholders or clients before designing
    possible solutions 

  • Review existing analytics data to learn about current user behavior, unmet needs, and stakeholders’ views to define benchmark usability 

  • Establish metrics for
    success
    early on 

Great Teams 

  • Urge the team to challenge the problem definition
    in a safe space, increasing the accuracy of the
    problem statement while creating a sense of
    ownership for the entire team, not just stakeholders

  • Set up live observation sessions to view user challenges in real-time, reaching for greater empathy and understanding for actual user experiences instead of relying on stakeholder perspectives or raw data alone

  • Evolve metrics for success as the problem statement unfolds to ensure success is measured
    accurately over time

Great teams save time, money, and resources, drastically decreasing downstream course correction
by designing from a place of empathy and articulating the right solution from the start 

Step 2: Ideate a Solution

Good Teams 

  • Encourage the team to brainstorm feasible
    solutions
    that meet stakeholder requirements
    for budget, timeline, and other considerations
     

  • Continue to work with the Product Owner and stakeholders to generate ideas 

Great Teams 

  • Avoid putting boundaries on ideas;
    foster a brainstorming environment
    with no constraints
     

  • Involve the entire team at the outset
    to expand and challenge a solution to the problem definition 

Great teams maximize the potential for innovative solutions by suspending typical development constraints such as
technology, cost, and timethe unrestricted creativity that results can power inventive ways to meet stakeholder requirements within
budget and schedule bounds that might otherwise have gone undiscovered

Step 3: Prototype a Design

Good Teams 

  • Cultivate and expound on practical solution concepts in small groups 

  • Employ rapid prototyping tools to generate variances of the practical prototype chosen
    for solutioning 
     

Great Teams 

  • Review a variety of solution concepts with
    the entire team
     to articulate what elements
    do and don’t work

  • Employ rapid prototyping tools to design
    multiple
    prototypes for solution
    , then get
    user feedback to shape direction
    for
    the final design
     

Great teams can shape an ideal design before any costs are incurred by prototyping multiple options and using real-time user feedback
to determine the best solution
; this ensures that costlier high-fidelity work in later iterations is spent on the best-fit option only 

Step 4: Test and Learn

Good Teams 

  • Organize testing sessions, even
    if it means
     relying on users from
    within the organization
    , such as
    software testers and developers  

  • Conduct user testing to ensure the solution meets business and stakeholder requirements

  • Ask users to provide detailed feedback and follow up with sentiment questions

Great Teams 

  • Onboard real users when testing instead of using stand-ins or proxies to mitigate the risk of employing biased testers

  • Conduct several iterations of real user testing to capture live feedback and make corrective measures to ensure the solution meets user needs

  • Observe user behavior and then ask users how they feel. Real-time observations are more valuable and allow designers to make real-time adjustments
    on the fly
     

Great teams uncover 80-85% of usability problems by conducting multiple rounds of testing with just five real userstesters from the target demographic bring no preconceived or institutional knowledge, so their behavior reveals more about the challenges your product is intended to address 

Step 5: Design and Develop

Good Teams 

  • Send high fidelity mock-ups with detailed specifications
    to development team
    once
    the design team completes
    its
    final prototype 

  • Communicate issues found during development back to the design team to allow for necessary adjustments before proceeding

Great Teams 

  • Integrate designers and developers
    throughout the process
    , and encourage
    them to work closely together to ensure
    designs are translated accurately into code

  • Encourage designers and developers to
    collaborate on dynamic interactions,
    animations, and responsive break points
    while in the browser, making adjustments
    in real-time until they are just right 

Great teams spend less time doing rework by employing agile design and development to facilitate real-time adjustments;
they
incorporate end user feedback in an iterative fashion, resulting in higher quality products and features delivered faster

Step 6: Launch, Monitor, and Measure

Good Teams 

  • Launch and watch the product’s performance closely in the wild, keeping an eye out for red flags

  • Deploy surveys to get additional context on user behavior and
    unmet needs

Great Teams 

  • Actively engage in user data collection,
    evaluating quantitative and qualitative
    data
    post-launch to refine and optimize
    the design

  • Conduct feedback surveys, A/B and
    multivariate testing, and collect and
    review web analytics
    of what actions
    users take to craft a more holistic story
    of user behavior and make adjustments
    if KPIs are not being met

Great teams uncover opportunities for optimization and refinement by using qualitative and quantitative insights to improve applications,
resulting in a
continuously evolving product that new users want to engage with and that existing users want to keep using

About Halfaker

We design, create, modernize, integrate, and secure mission critical systems and business applications for government organizations to improve the health, security, and well-being of all Americans. To learn more about Halfaker, please email [email protected].