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UX Tools for UX Designers

ux tools for designers

Whenever we talk about user experience design, we somewhere indirectly are also talking about the process viz. the user experience design methodology. This process is flexible and depends on the situation and the product. It is an iterative method which continuously improves the product and hence provides the user with good user experience. That, in turn, has a flow which is followed. There are various UX tools which are used during the process to make this flow smoother for a UX designer.

Let us understand the different stages of a general UX Workflow – the process and the UX tools used in each of them.

UX Workflow – What is it?

A UX workflow borders all the necessary steps within the UX process, from the research to defining design specs, to wireframing and prototyping, designing, and usability testing before development.

This is how a basic UX workflow diagram looks like

UX-Workflow-Diagram

Source – Productplan.com

UX Process – 6D Process by ImaginXP

Generally, we can divide the UX design process into the 6 ‘Ds’, also known as ImaginXP’s 6D process. Let us go through all the 6 D’s individually and understand how things move forward and get to know some of the many UX workflow tools used.

Discovery 

  • Discover the design problem and the scope of the product that needs correction through design.
  • To find through User Research the exact definition of the design problem.
  • To incorporate business goals and technology constraints in the design problem.

UX designers work closely with customers and partners to design case-specific research projects that are contextual, systematically executed, and the research findings are analyzed to enable us to provide useful insights and suggestions that are implementable. We ensure that our reports add direct value to our clients with a judicious mix of qualitative and quantitative analyses.

User research forms a pivotal part of the design strategy as it helps designers understand user psyche and behaviour. Insights about how people live their lives enable us to respond more effectively to user needs, understanding them and hence, coming up with informed and inspired design solutions. User research helps us to avoid our own biases because we frequently have to create design solutions for people who are not like us.

Some of the used UX tools 2020 –

User-centred Design Canvasdscout
Whiteboard MiroWhiteboard Trello
EthnioZoom
Microsoft TeamsReframer (note-taking by Optimal Workshop)
GoTranscript (transcription by humans)Temi (AI transcription)
QualtricsQuestionPro
LimeSurveyTypeform
Sample Screener Survey Template (Microsoft Word)

Define

  • Define the design problem using mental models
  • Define the user under consideration
  • Define the context of the user

The user profiling would be done based on the research done in step one.

Persona profiles are a representation of a user using a digital product. A persona is a short and well-defined description of a fictional character that represents a group of users interacting with the product. Personas bring the users of the product to life in an easily understood and sharable format. They help UX designers to prioritize user needs and core tasks.

UX designers create scenarios to describe the stories and situations in which a user will use the product to be able to map priorities and usage patterns for a particular product. Based on primary research, they define needs, problems and solutions for every user group.

Task analysis is a study of the tasks performed by the user. A task analysis is accepted to create an efficient digital process of what the user is used to in the real world. Technology and devices help in increasing the efficiency of the task.

Tools used (for defining) –

GliffyCustellance
StoryBoard ProUXPressia

Dream

  • Create design differentiators that can be used as a user retention strategy.
  • Enable solutions like gamification and features that create return users

Once UX designers have recognized their target user who might use the product, the next step is to map out how they might use the product. It helps them to design the flow of the product as smoothly as possible. From brainstorming to crowd-sourced collaboration, this is where ideas and solutions are born. In this phase, UX designers look for many ideas, not quality. And the number one rule of any ideation session is no judgment – all ideas are equal and no idea is stupid! There are methodologies and techniques to bring the number of ideas down and to assess their quality. Ideation workshop, customer journey mapping and design thinking are some of the methods used.

Tools used –

Post-its for affinity diagrams (because what research article would be complete without them)Mural.co (for remote synthesis)
AureliusMosaiq
Usability Testing SpreadsheetNotion

Design

  • Create the interaction design of the digital product
  • Create efficiencies in the digital processes
  • Create usefulness, effectiveness and learnability of the digital product
  • Digital product to have characteristics of simplicity and remember the ability

Information Architecture of a digital product defines the underlying structures of the product. Structures include content, consistent naming, grouping, and navigation. Usual IA deliverables include content plans, process flows, along with site maps.

Interaction Design helps the designers generates sketches, wireframes, and prototypes to create and iterate design ideas before they go into production. They keep feedback sessions with key stakeholders and managers to get them reviewed, tested and refined. The first set of wireframes are low fidelity wireframes which are hand-drawn designs. Multiple low fidelity wireframes are created for the same idea, and after discussions, we decide which ideas to pursue in high fidelity wireframes.

Tools used

GEs Imagination CubedScriblink
ThinkatureMS – Excel
MS – PowerpointInVision Labs
MockflowFigma

Develop

  • Create visual designs that are clear, concise and consistent.
  • Each call to action, content and screens of the digital product to be user-friendly and legible.

Visual Design – With information and sketches in hand, UX designers move to create a visual design. Here they will take all the business knowledge, strategies and drawings together to develop a solid design concept(s) to show.

User Interface Design – Once a visual concept is finalized, all the screens of the product are made accordingly. UI design is the language in which the product is ready to communicate with the user. Everything, including the interface design, must stem from knowing the users, and therefore, the UI design of the product communicate seamlessly with the user. UX designers have to craft a visual language for the product that includes styles, typography, colours, layout schemes, spacing, imaging and texture that work well together and lets the product communicate the suitable tone & emotion that enriches the user experience.

Some of the best prototyping tools 2020 used –

Adobe XDInvision
BalsamiqZeplin
Proto.ioPop Paper Prototyping
Framer (Sketch competitor)

Deliver

  • Create design documentation for the engineers and product managers to code the digital product

The final phase of the project is design delivery wherein the designer will deliver all assets, resources and style guides to the development team and support the development effort in his capacity as a design consultant. The designer will ensure that all design resources are made available in the requisite formats and aid the client team in the quality deployment of the designs. We support all resolutions for all types of mobile devices – hdpi, mdpi, xhdpi, xxhdpi, xxxhdpi etc

Tools used –

ConfluenceInVision
Google G-Suite

In the end, this is how the UX process diagram would look like

ux-process-diagram

But Wait!

Hold on! The above diagram does not look user-centred You would notice a waterfall right there! You see, that is the best part about being agile.

Please let me elaborate –

For one, these phases of UX process often overlap each other considerably. As the UX Designer learns more about the problem currently undertaken, it could be advised to revisit the research undertaken, get additional feedback, or try out something new.

This process is very iterative, and that’s why there are many synergies between UX design and agile development principles. Outcomes from different iterations can be evaluated, and priorities adjusted accordingly.

While coming up with a fabulous design is one thing, communicating it is equally important, as even the best concepts will fail if unless the user experience is noteworthy. Some of the best UX designers in the world are the greatest storytellers.

ImaginXP is leading the HigherEd revolution offering some of the best future skills certification courses and full time degree programs in Business, design and Technology. We are pioneering the higher educational space with top-notch faculties and industry-led curriculum.

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