A Fresh Approach to UCD

As my classmates and I quickly approach our final Fall semester, I’m beginning to panic. That’s natural, right? I’m a 42-year-old grad student, mother of two grown boys and wife of 23 years. I am most definitely not panicking about going out into the real world. I am not fearful of leaving the security of my college campus, because I’m an online graduate student in online communications. The panic is much smaller, shorter-term and probably unfounded.

For our final semester, we will be putting everything we learned to use in a capstone project with a non-profit organization. I’m excited about the opportunity, but a little freaked out about trying to remember all the steps of working with clients, all the programs we’ve learned, and all the coding. I’m going to need a big refresher. When I panic, what do I do? research. What is it with me and research? It’s the sickest hobby I’ve ever heard of.

I came across this fabulous article on user experience in Smashing Magazine, called “Beyond Wireframing: The Real-Life UX Design Process“. That caught my attention because we learned about this process, but in theory. Hearing about it applied in action piqued my curiosity.

seo-user-experience-design

Marcin Treder and his design group decided to talk to designers about their processes and found common elements regardless of the clients and businesses they were designer for. The process ends up looking something like this:

  1. Collect information about the problem. This means meeting with the client, identifying product’s requirements, benchmarking, and trend analysis.
  2. Getting ready to design. Ideation is the name of the game here, in addition to design refinement. Lo-fi prototypes are a great starting point (see Adaptive Path’s multipage templates), but are good for testing.
  3. Design. Sketches, wireframes, and prototypes are handed off to the developer, hi-fi design left for the visual designers.
  4. Approval. Create presentation to tell stakeholders the design story – stages of the process, deliverables, interactions.

In almost all cases studied, Treder and his colleagues found three recurring issues across the board.

  1. Spreading an understanding of the design process. (UX designers vs. visual designers)
  2. Communication within the team.
  3. Demonstrating the process to get buy-in.

Solving these three issues could be the recipe to increase UX design effectiveness.

 

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