UX Design Process – An Actionable, 7-Step Guide

UX design process is systematic, iterative, and structured series of actions that is necessary for designing user experience. It helps teams to follow easy-to-replicate steps to deliver interfaces while meeting the organization’s quality standards.

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What is UX Design?

UX design is a digital product design methodology to solve a human problem. “UX” stands for user experience. This human-centered design approach ensures design teams make decisions based on user feedback rather than assumptions.

Empathy is at the core of this human-centered approach. UX designers must understand the user problems, as well as what target users want to achieve with a digital product and the pain points they might encounter along the way.

What is a UX Design Process?

A UX design process is an iterative, step-by-step methodology UX design teams use to complete projects. While specific methods and steps can vary between projects and organizations, a typical UX design process often includes applying various research methods, defining project scope, using prototyping tools to create a solution and iterate on it until UX teams perfect it for real world scenarios.

What’s the Difference Between UX Design Process and Design Thinking Process?

The design thinking process is a five-step process for developing user-centered solutions to human problems. A UX design process is a multi-stage, end-to-end methodology that incorporates design thinking for delivering UX projects.

A UX design process is derivative from a design thinking process. As in design thinking process, UX designers spend time empathizing with the user, learning about the business, context, and defining problem scope.

While companies base their UX design process on design thinking principles, the steps and methods might differ slightly.

Why is a UX Design Process Important?

Here are some reasons why companies standardize a UX design process:

What are 8 Steps of UX Design Process?

A typical UX design process has 7 UX design steps, from defining the product’s goal to design handoff and making sure everything works as intended. 

Step 1: Define project & scope

The first step of a UX design process defines the project’s goal and scope with team members and stakeholders from multiple departments–usually consisting of representatives from:

This early design phase aims to identify the problem the new product or feature must solve. The product team will also outline the project’s scope, plan, deliverables, and delivery date.

Step 2: Perform UX Research

Next, designers research the problem to find possible solutions. During the research phase, UX designers conduct several types of research, including:

Step 3: Create rough draft of a solution

With a clear understanding of their users, market, and competitive landscape, designers can run a brainstorming session to make initial drafts of what a solution would look like, which is often referred to as the ideation phase. Designers may use paper and pen during early visual design planning or jump straight to digital UX tools.

Some of these low-fidelity techniques include:

The team might also use a design sprint to solve a specific problem with their stakeholders or other team members.

Step 4: Design high-fidelity mockups and prototypes

Next, the UI design team converts wireframes into mockups to build high-fidelity prototypes that look and function like the final product. If the company has a design system, designers will use the UI component library to build interactive prototypes.

Step 5: Conduct usability testing

The primary purpose of high-fidelity prototypes is usability testing. UX designers test these prototypes with real users to:

Steps 2 to 5 are iterable. Using test results, designers return to stage two or three to iterate on ideas until they find a solution that meets desirability, viability, and feasibility criteria.

It’s important to note that even though user testing is the fifth stage, design teams conduct multiple tests throughout the UX design process to validate ideas and hypotheses. These tests include internal testing with team members or sharing ideas and prototypes with stakeholders for feedback.

Step 6: Arrange Design Handoff

The second to last stage of the UX design process is the design handoff, where the design team hands over the final design and its documentation to the development team to start the engineering process.

Although the design handoff is near the end of the UX process, designers and engineers start collaborating during ideation to streamline the transition from design to development while ensuring designs meet technical constraints. Their collaboration is facilitated through different tools that make communication easier.

Read about 5 Mistakes that Kill Collaboration Between Designers and Developers.

Step 7: Launch your Product

The final stage of the UX design process is a launch and a clear inspection of the new release. It’s time to ensure that the new release meets the project’s business goals, user experience, and accessibility requirements.

Best Practices for a Great UX Design Process

While the UX design process might not be the same for all organizations, projects, or teams, there are some best practices designers can follow to streamline the process.

Apply User-Centric Thinking

Designers must keep end-users at the center of design decisions to ensure designs meet users’ needs. This human-centered mindset delivers products that users want while reducing costs on irrelevant UI components and features.

Practice Empathy

One of the ways to maintain a user-centered mindset is by empathizing with users. As designers progress through the UX design process, they can drift from focusing on users to designing features that look great but don’t serve a specific user need.

By practicing empathy throughout the UX design process, designers stay focused on solving users’ pain points.

Build a Design System

Design systems can significantly reduce time to market while enhancing consistency and coherency across the organization. If you can’t afford to build a design system from scratch, consider using a themeable open-source component library like MUI or Bootstrap.

UXPin has built-in design libraries, including Material Design UI, Bootstrap, iOS, and Foundation so that design teams can build mockups and prototypes quickly.

Take prototyping to the next level using UXPin Merge–a tool that connects UXPin’s design editor to a component library, so designers can build fully functioning prototypes their dev’s components.

Communicate and Collaborate with Devs

Communication and collaboration are vital for a successful UX design process. Designers must connect with other design teams and open communication with engineers, business managers, product teams, and stakeholders.

DesignOps can help facilitate better communication and collaboration while streamlining other time-consuming operational and administrative tasks.

Enhancing the UX Design Process With UXPin

A successful UX process relies on tools that allow design teams to make changes and iterate fast. UXPin is an end-to-end design solution, providing designers with features for every stage of the UX design process.

Fully Interactive Prototypes

Designers can use one of UXPin’s built-in design libraries or import their dev’s component library to start prototyping immediately. Because UXPin is code-based, prototypes feature higher fidelity and more functionality than image-based prototyping tools.

Quality User Testing

With code-based prototypes, UX designers can conduct accurate, more comprehensive tests. Better quality testing means fewer errors and usability issues make it into the final product.

Insightful Stakeholder Feedback

Stakeholder feedback is crucial during the iterative process of UX design. If prototypes aren’t intuitive, stakeholders battle to understand design concepts that could impact buy-in and funding.

Whether you’re using UXPin, prototypes have significantly higher fidelity and interactivity than other popular design tools. In turn, designers enjoy meaningful, actionable feedback from stakeholders.

Speed up your UX design process

Instead of designing from scratch, use drag and drop components to build fully functioning prototypes that look and work like the final product. Leverage ready layouts, patterns, and AI in your workflow. Discover UXPin Merge.

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by UXPin on 8th March, 2024

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