There are three key factors at the heart of good UX design, as follows:
- Understanding where the company is now, where it’s heading, and what it’s building
- Focusing on how your product can help your company achieve its goals
- Considering your users’ preferences and workflows
Conduct user research to determine your product’s user personas and learn how people typically use your product on a daily basis. Doing so also helps you identify the biggest challenges you’re facing.
Your product team must align behind all of these factors to achieve success. Your overarching vision should balance what the product team can provide and what users really need. If your users become your stakeholders, you can envision a product that scales as your target market grows.
Put Process Before Perfection
You’ll achieve the greatest success when you involve cross-functional teams in the design and development process from the beginning of a project—from the top down. Try splitting into different teams who can take the time to work on different ideas, then pitch multiple concepts. Then reconvene as a larger group and see what ideas the majority believe in. In my experience, there is usually one idea that the majority gravitate toward. That’s why it’s so important to start with a larger group than just the product team.
During design, it’s imperative to keep your current and prospective customers close and your existing and potential users even closer. Involve your customers and users from the early stages of the design process—well before the development phase. No matter what the stage of a product’s design or development, your product team should always speak to both customers and users. This ensures that the final product outcome ultimately adds value to users’ workflow rather than hindering it.
Learn from your favorite products and designs. See what resonates with your team—and just as important, what does not. Look at how your competitors have solved similar problems to those you’re working on. Always consider how your customers and users work, and design your product to mimic their workflow.
See the Bigger Picture
Across all industry domains, everyone should be aligned on one goal: helping users achieve their goals and complete their work using your product, with the least effort possible. Every context switch users have to make along the way—whether that is navigating to another page in your product or going outside it—presents another possibility that they’ll lose track of their original task.
For example, years ago, links in social apps opened pages in the user’s Web browser. Today, that would be unimaginable. Developers have evolved these platforms to display all content within their app so they can keep the user’s attention. Slack is following suit, offering a whole ecosystem of tools to compete with others in the productivity space.