You might be a wondering what a UI and UX design process looks like. The process itself is very flexible and it depends on many different circumstances and situations. Some of these circumstances include budget, experience level, and your client’s needs. In this blog we’ll be giving you a few steps to help you better understand the design process so that you can get right to work implementing UI and UX. As you continue designing, you may learn some new things to share with us!
What is UI and UX?
Before we delve into the design process, let’s define UI and UX so that you have a better idea of what the terms mean. These two terms can be confusing and thought of as one word in web and app design, especially since they are often placed next to each other. Below you’ll find a brief primer on each so that by the end of this article you have a better idea of the differentiators and how they work together.
“UI” design stands for User Interface, the graphical layout of a site. UI designers are graphic designers. They design elements that include images, graphics, buttons, anything the end user is interacting with on a website. This also includes slide transitions and screen layout, or color schemes, font and button shapes. All these elements give the look and feel of a website or app. It’s up to UI designers to ensure the interface is aesthetically pleasing and visually appealing for the purpose of the site.
“UX” design stands for “User Experience”, which is determined by how an end user interacts with the website or app. UX designers ensure that interacting with the website is smooth and user-friendly. UX designers ensure that navigating through different parts of the app are easy to understand, intuitive and logical. They make things feel intentional instead of arbitrary and overwhelming. The quality of UX is determined by how easy it is for a user to accomplish the purpose they set out to achieve when navigating through the website or app.
The process of UI and UX is very collaborative. While a UI designer is deciding how an interface looks and feels, a UX designer is developing how it will work. It is important that these two teams work together closely so that the website or app not only looks aesthetic but also flows well.
So, what is the process for UI and UX design? We’ll delve deeper in this below in these 6 steps!
4 Steps To UI and UX Design
The first step to both UI and UX design starts with research. Understanding who your audience is, what their needs are and what purpose they will be using your site or app for. Some forms of research include interviewing potential customers or users and finding competitors. It is important that both the UI designers and UX developers are involved in the process so that everyone can brainstorm, make suggestions and come up with solutions to roadblocks and problem areas.
By researching your audience and competitors, you can start to understand their needs, their lifestyle or hidden preferences. You can then develop a product (website) that suits your audience and caters to their needs. By interviewing core stakeholders or potential customers, you might find out, for example, that they do not like to spend a lot of time at order checkout. This will inform your site navigation, layout etc. After your analysis is done, you can create your personas, storyboards and create tangible tasks for your design team.
By starting with a mockup, you can create different versions for yourself. This is the exploratory phase that will lead to sitemaps, wireframes and prototypes.
Sitemaps show the structure of a website and the relationship between different pages. It shows where content goes and what is missing. Sitemaps also helps you see how a user will navigate the site and if it is user-friendly.
Wireframes help you envision a floor plan for your website or app. This way you will be able to understand where content goes and what type of design you want to see. A wireframe will help you visualize where elements will be placed.
Prototypes allow you to transform your wireframe into an interactive design. At this stage, you can conduct user-testing and receive feedback on what they liked or disliked about the interactions. At this point both UI and UX designers can be involved and determine any problem areas before coding the website.
4. User Testing
You can now conduct a thorough testing of the prototype you have built. You can do this by looking at user interactions on your website, sending out surveys or questionnaires and interviewing users to help further simplify your website or identify problem areas. It’s important you do this as soon as possible to avoid issues being unattended to. This may mean you have to return to the early stages in the process where you were first building out your design.
Although UI and UX differ and involve a different set of skills, they must work in harmony. A wonderful design must be supported by easy navigation and vice versa. The UI and UX design process will help you ensure both are executed to the finest detail and that they are designed based on your user's expectations so that you have both a flawless user interface and experience.
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