01 Research and Discovery
The preliminary phase in any design process that involves researching the problem space, framing the problem(s) to be solved, and gathering enough evidence and initial direction on what to do next. Discoveries do not involve testing hypotheses or solutions.
02 Analysis and Ideation
User research analysis is a vital part of any research process because it is the very act of making sense of what was learned so that informed recommendations can be made on behalf of customers or users.
As researchers conduct analysis, they’re spending time categorising, classifying, and organising the data they’ve gathered to directly inform what they’ll share as outcomes of the research and the key findings.
03 Design and Prototyping
Designing an interface is a late stage of designing an experience. Before getting there, the main journeys must be mapped. The first draft of the service blueprint is the foundation for building the POC.
Moving on, a user interface prototype is a hypothesis — a candidate design solution that you consider for a specific design problem. The most straightforward way to test this hypothesis is to watch users work with it. To do so you need to produce an artefact/prototype. There are many types of prototypes, ranging anywhere between any of these pairs of extremes:
• Single page vs. multipage with enough menus, screens, and click targets that the user can completely finish a task.
• Realistic and detailed vs. hand-sketched on a piece of paper.
• Interactive (clickable) vs. static (requiring a person to manipulate different pages and act as a “computer”)
The choice of prototype will vary greatly depending on goals of the testing, completeness of the design, tools used to create the prototype, and resources available to help before and during the usability tests. But, whatever prototype you may use, testing it will help you learn about users’ interactions and reactions, so you can improve the design.
04 Testing and Validation
Testing is the moment of truth and it should be taken serious.
Regardless if is a new product or an iteration of an existing one, it is recommended to approach testing in an iterative manner.
3 tests with 5 (different) participants.
Each test is followed by an iteration.
Some things get lost in communication, other (problems) appear during this phase, caused by the technology or context.
Designers must keep an eye on this phase and observe, offering full support and design solutions where necessary.
As soon as the experience is live, the real feedback starts to kick in.
You will see people getting lost sometimes or unable to complete tasks – especially if the product is new.
The support team for the product should document the pain but also the winning solutions. The team must understand what they got right as well as what it can be improved.
Analytics/monitoring tools can give real insight beside the support team notes.
Iteration phase will be following the product in its entire lifetime. There is no end in improving a product especially if the product or service is dependant on context.