What to do when your UX process can’t save you? – UX Planet
Improving your skills in communication and decision making
Designing for humans have become the pillar of the next generation product. The products have become much more understandable and discoverable by time. The use of empathy, laws of User Experience, psychology, and axioms, UX designers are much more capable of producing excellent products.
What is a UX process?
I would be very happy I can tell you a direct answer to this question. My answer would give you a different meaning by the type of domain you are catering in to, time, budget and how good you are at what you do. In simple I would say that the UX process is an iterative process to create a design which would help a focus group to solve their problems. A UX process can change from one project to another due to the complexity, type of project it is. Some projects can be starting from the very scratch, some projects can be a complete revamp and some project can be a new feature being implemented.
The UX process is a very long and a time-consuming process, but it is an essential process to get the correct requirements, understand the real needs of the users and create better solutions. With the changing needs of humans, the evolution of UX processes has also taken a huge leap towards improvement.
Many organizations have created their own processes to cater to their focus group needs. The UX processes share a common flow with additional functions to create a better experience.
Trust me most of the custom UX processes do work!
Then what is the problem?
UX designer defines his or her process after they have the initial discussion on what to design and to whom. According to the timeline, the designer creates a delivery plan on what to expect and when to expect them. The UX process will save a UX designer keeping them to all the standards and deadlines.
Did you ever encounter a scenario where you settle down to a process and all hell break loose? There are a few ways that this can happen.
1. Major changes in the requirements in the latter part of the project.
2. Major gaps in communication.
3. Not discovering some of the requirements at the initialization of the project.
The three scenarios I have mention have interconnection with each other. Communication is an essential factor when coming to good product design. Good communication between the team and the focus group or the client is essential to understand the needs and the problems which they need to solve.
Project scope does not change when the requirements are clarified and most of the time team do know what to do and how to do it. In a very rate scenario, the project requirement can be changed drastically due to not understanding the domain at the initialization of the project. This can happen either of the parties and will have a bad effect on the project.
What to do in these type of situations?
Your UX process is not going to save you at this moment. Defined UX process does not handle situations like this due to the time left and the number of resources allocated to the design process. The best thing to do in this scenario is to have a few meetings with your client to understand how much of a change we are looking at. You might say that an action plan would help you to get the work done quickly. Sometimes the clients will not have a perfect picture of what they should do to improve the application. As a UX designer, your job is to guide the client or the target audience.
If they are having a hard time visualizing what needs to be done, you have to help them visualize by quickly designed prototypes.
Now you are thinking “what do you mean by quickly designed prototypes?”. Let me explain it to you. A quick design prototype will tell a story for the client or the focus group to look at. The prototypes you design at this moment should be incrementally improved.
Looking at a visual design prototype will help the clients to give fast feedback since the time will not be in their asset. The feedback that they would give will help you to improve your design.
How to do it?
By this time your UX process has to be improved. Take a small time to understand what part of the UX process to be prioritized. You need to have constant communication with the client or the target group. When you prioritize the process put it to the use. Most of the time you allocate more time on visual designs because you need to get constant feedback on what you have done. In order to get good feedback, you need to master the skills in emotional intelligence and empathy.
Use your time wisely with your client. Gain the trust and need of your self to the client. Then they will never think that you are annoying to the client. They will find your feedback sessions as valuable and important.
If the requirement is not clarified enough, talk to the domain expert in your team and get things clarified. Have your design reviews more often by the domain expert or the client. It will improve the bond between you and the domain expert, client or the target audience. They will be more open to you.
Verify every small detail. Use a small notebook to write down the details that you need. If you are recording the conversation tell the client beforehand so there are no surprises. Make the environment calm and clear so there are no conflicts between you and the team. There can be situations that you find your self frustrated, tired and demotivated due to the heavy workload. Always pick your self up because there is no one is there to uplift you and tell you how much of a good work that you are doing.
The decisions that you make can be wrong but don’t feel bad about it. Learn from your mistakes and add value to them by improving more. Improve your work and don’t depend on the process at this moment because no one cares if you are using a process when everyone needs an end result. Gain your learnings and improve the UX process to handle situations which is unpleasant and hard to manage.
Your work process is a way of doing things right. It is not a universal principle to use all of it. Use the process into your advantage and use parts which are relevant to your project. Don’t be afraid to improvise and do things differently. Don’t be afraid for criticism. Take good points out of it. Move on and don’t take them personally. Then you will be a much more effective UX designer.