Launching any project, it is very important to pay attention to the design. You need at least several professionals who can actively participate in web- and mobile development. You will create a truly useful and attractive product that is in the class of its own if your entire team joins this process, including business owners.
We want to walk you through JatApp’s approach to product development today, as well as share tips and best practices. Below you will find answers to important questions related to design.
What is an effective design?
Before discussing the making of effective application design, it is important to identify what exactly the word “effective” means. You already know two main components developing applications:
- User interface (UI)
- User experience (UX)
What do you think is common between these two components? Of course, this is the user. Design is effective when the user is happy. Nothing complicated. You may have your own ideas about the development process and the final result. But you’re a developer or a designer, you are not a user. You have other pain points, another mindset. Just remember your experience with different applications you use in your regular life. You may love them or hate them, that’s because they were developed good or bad.
Effective design is not necessarily just a beautiful design. In fact, it can even be completely invisible. If your user instantly understands all the components and patterns of the interface and reaches one’s goals, you can say that your design makes sense. It is the intuitive experience that makes users happy and helps your business maximize profits.
3 Essential approaches to UX design
All good designers want to create an attractive, intuitive and user-friendly design. What is needed for this? Just try putting yourself in clients’ shoes for a while. You need to understand their emotions, pain, desires, and motivation. The most successful designers rely on a tactic called design thinking. Using this approach, you will change your life and the entire work process.
This approach is very popular today at Stanford d.school. Harvard, MIT and a lot of giant corporations (Apple or Google-level) work exactly with it’s help. What is the essence of this approach? It seeks to delve into the identification of their problems and use this to develop the optimal solution. Empathy and interest are at the core of this approach, and the final goal is to understand the needs and pain points of end-users.
D.school talks about 5 stages of design thinking:
- Empathy – Find out how your customers are doing.
- Define – Formulate an opinion that will be based on the needs and desires of the audience
- Ideat – Find as many possible solutions as it possible
- Prototype – Create prototypes for the best of your solution
- Test – Offer your prototypes to users and use feedback from them
Do not think that design thinking is the direct path to the goal. Speaking of geometric shapes, it can soon be compared with a circle. Your development team should keep all initial assumptions and ideas in doubt. This helps to analyze the consequences, both for users and for the design industry as a whole.
There is another approach that is actively used in application development. This is a human-oriented design. This technique develops solutions at all stages using the human point of view. The Interactive Design Foundation offers four phases of human-oriented design.
- Understand the context of use. Think about how your audience will use the product, under what circumstances, in what mood. The more details, the better.
- Decide on the requirements. Identify the wishes and requirements of users.
- Develop possible solutions. There may be several, do not limit yourself if you have ideas for solving a problem.
- Evaluate your decisions. Now you can evaluate how your decisions correspond to the user context, their requirements.
Once you complete these 4 steps, the development process does not end there. You can continue further results until you get the most effective results.
Another effective approach is Lean UX. Companies involved in the design and development of applications actively resort to it.
Lean UX technology was created based on the production model of Toyota. It aims to reduce costs and increase profits. If you delve into the essence, you can see the features of project thinking, human-oriented design, as well as iterative methods of agile development. All this helps to optimize the development process. In short, the formula here is very simple: first, you think, then you do, and then you check. If you use this combination, your application development process will not only be convenient for the user audience. It is also very effective for business, contributes to its development.
Most likely you already noticed that all these approaches have something in common. In fact, designers around the world are creating even more schemes and algorithms with similar features. Their essence is the same. When developing any user-oriented application, it is important to be able to ask the right questions. The second necessary skill is the generation of a large number of ideas, as well as their verification. This will help you find an excellent solution that will not only make users happy but will also help you stand out from your competitors and build a truly successful business.
What is JatApp’s approach to UX design?
It is impossible to say unequivocally that one of the above approaches is better, and others are worse. All of them are necessary, as they complement each other. It can be concluded that any UX design process consists of 4 main steps that you will find below.
Step 1. Think
Communicate with potential users and use all the methods that will help you find out what your audience needs.
During this stage you can:
- Conduct researches in order to understand the needs of users, as well as to analyze competitors and assess the current market situation
- Delve in requirements. Engage business analysts in your project to help. You need these people to identify requirements. And ready technical specifications will make the development process easier.
- Create fictional characters that will be in the place of your potential customers and become the first “testers” of the product
Such research is what developers and application designers need. This is how you will understand how potential customers behave, what habits they have, how they perform the same tasks. The process of monitoring users will help you better understand the problem, come up with solutions that will be valuable to all parties.
In fact, you need two steps only for your UX process. First, you collect data, facts, statistics. And then you synthesize them to make your application better.
Research methods may vary. Some companies conduct personal interviews with all interested parties, attract experts. This is a great opportunity to get more information about the target audience, custom success and failure stories, scenarios. Use the data to develop the architecture of your application.
In outsourcing companies like JatApp, researches regularly consist of the following steps:
- Make sure you have access to all project materials. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple idea or a detailed file with user roles, mind maps, desired functionality, etc. You need to study all of these materials.
- Chat with several clients in order to delve into their desires and requirements.
- Carry out a market analysis. Find a list of your closest competitors, study their products and write a review. You can also chat with experts and collect insights from users.
- Prepare a client presentation. It can consist of various components that will help you present your idea in the most favorable light. This may be the initial concepts of the application, links, mind maps, tables, etc.
Product and outsourcing companies are gradually switching from research to user sentiment. You can conduct usability tests, rely on A \ B testing, chat with regular people or your target audience. If you have received several suggestions for design improvements, your developers should test them in practice.
Step 2. Design
So, you already have all the necessary information, you are full of confidence and ready to go. Now you can create your first drafts. Where to start? The first thing you will need at this stage is the information architecture and navigation:
- Develop a sitemap for your application. This smart card describes the logic of the application, its structure.
- Create wireframes with text content.
First, you can create wireframes whose playback quality will be not so good. This is what helps customers go through your visual ideas, understand them. Ask a business analyst who will create detailed requirements based on wireframes to help you. Here’s how the result would look:
After that, you can create an already detailed framework, working in one of the design tools, vector editors that are convenient for you. These tools also allow you to add comments to each screen and display more detailed logic.
So, your frame is ready now. It’s time to create a prototype:
- Make separate images from all your screens
- Use InVision or any similar tool to make a prototype
- Share it with the audience
- Test and glean insights
If you are 100% happy with the results, you can continue. Gather any feedback from researched links, mood boards, brief reviews that will help you find the best visual style. And remember about developers: you can exchange resources and specifications using Zeplin or Avocode.
Step 3. Test
It’s time to share your prototypes with users and collect feedback. The sooner you start the testing process, the more effective your results will be. Even at the stage of developing text frames, you can chat with real users. Use every opportunity to get insights and feedback. You don’t even have to put together a focus group. You communicate daily with colleagues, parents, friends. Even random people from the streets or coffee houses can help test the prototype by completing some tasks.
Send an interactive prototype of your application to everyone you know. Interested parties can also participate in testing. You need the maximum number of reviews, even if in your opinion you have already achieved success. When your product is launched on the market, start tracking analytics. More reviews more success.
Always go back to the beginning: collect information, analyze it, create lists with changes requiring implementation. Experiment with wireframes again, test, run, test the reaction and collect as many data as possible about your product.
Step 4. Repeat
Many novice professionals may wonder: how long should I repeat? How to understand that the time has come to stop? The answer is: until you get the most ideal result of all!
How many iterations will it take to develop a truly effective design? Everything! You can never say that here it is, the final version of the design. There is always a field requiring change.
Imagine that your product is not just an application, but a living creature. Living things die when they stop developing. Every new generation should be better. Help your product evolve.
Can I fix all the problems with UX at the same time?
If you have any problems with the application, do not try to solve all of them right away. Your main task is to develop a basic version of the product that is at least viable. You can fix the main problems in the earlier version in order to send it to users and collect feedback. Compare the audience’s feedback with your assumptions and then you will understand what functionality will help make your application even better!