Mustafa Alami
malami.com

UX Design Process

I don't have the answer, I have a process to find it.

Discover

Without the why and who, we create nothing for nobody.

a mix of people from different background

Discovery phase of UX Design is the anchor of any project. We begin to understand the people that will use the application. If the engagement is around an existing interface, then it is a perfect time to do an extensive heuristic evaluation. A detailed description of all things that seem to be an experience friction.

It is the time to ask lots of questions.

  • Who are the people that will use the applications?
  • Why would they use this?
  • When would they use it?
  • What other apps do they use while using this app?
  • What problem does this solve for the user?
  • What have people actually done with the app?
  • Is the user the buyer?
  • What problem is the buyer trying to solve?
  • What does the dev, product and sales team think?
  • What have they tried in the past?
  • Why does the app work the way it does?
  • What do other people say about the application?
  • What data can we study?
  • What is the competition doing?
  • What is the business value?
  • What business domain does the app exist in?
  • What are the norms of the domain?

Concept

Fail often and fail early.

ux pencil sketches of different projects

The concept phase of the project is the time we brainstorm ideas that solve the issues uncovered from the discovery phase. The focus is to generate lots of ideas and dismiss lots of ideas. We might script the story of a user experiencing the application as way to find ideas. We want to be fast so we rely on a pencil (or pen) on paper to sketch the interactions. We are forced to focus on ideas because the details are difficult to work out on a paper.

Validate

Designing an application is easy. Convincing lots of people that this is the correct thing to do is hard.

Visual pun. Different people have different expectations for a project. Failure of design by committee.

Take the best ideas and present them to the team. Present them as pencil sketches so people don't get vested into a specific direction. The goal is to establish a shared vision. Get the team to engage in the ideas early and give feedback. It is an opportunity to get a technical validation done and understand how long it will take to develop alternatives into code. Understand and capture constraints that need to be addressed in the detail design phase. No point moving forward if the team is not excited about the direction.

Detail

Devil in the Detail

detail interface design of applications

The detail phase of the project is the most time consuming phase. As this phase, it is best that we are working on the best of ideas. We map the overall application flow and identify all the interaction touch points. We show the first time experience and clearly address user motivation. We show how the experience grows and expands with content. We start with early wireframes and overtime we add the tone, voice, colors and icons.

Prototype

It's cheaper to fail with a prototype than an application.

The detail phase generates the key screens that stitch the experience together. The prototype brings things to life and simulates an application with interaction tap points. We use animation to orient the user.

Usability

What people say, people mean, people do - three different things. What we care about is do.

Our goal is to create an experience that clearly meets the needs of the user. Is it clear to the user what they can do? Is it clear to the user how they can do it? Is it clear to the user what each button on the screen does before they tap it?

A usability test with actual users helps us understand the areas that we need to improve on. We test for usability and utility. Is this application something they would actually use? A successful test tells us that we are on the correct track for success. A failed test is a learning opportunity.

Timeline

Move forward when you succeed. Step back when you hit wall.

ux is a cycle of steps that moves forward but takes steps back when needed

Sample Timelines

Monj.com: 3 months at 3 days/week. Launch a V1. Engagement included: product management, UX design process, investor product pitch, and team recruiting.

Stubhub Call Center. 6 month at 3 days/week. Design the next generation call center experience.

UX Goals

Make it simpler, faster, smarter and more delightful.

An image with four icons that represent simple, fast, smart and delightful.