Creating products from scratch is a challenging process. First, we must think about the appropriate UX Design. Why UX not UI? Well… a beautiful but unintuitive product is useless, so we should focus on user-centered design, always and forever.
Every product has its users. It is better to ask them what they want and to check again during the process whether they still want it. Sometimes we think we know what our users want, but that’s not always true. It’s better to do some testing and find out what users need, even before prototyping.
There is no one perfect UX process for building new products. At Codest we are quite elastic in our UX processes. We try to figure out the best process for each product, but here are some important steps that we usually follow.
1. Defining the problem
This is a simple and useful step. It involves answering questions, such as What is the product? Why do we want to build it? What is the additional value? What are the possible threats? Who are the competitors? What is the product’s main market? This is a good start and keeps us focused.
2. Competition and market analysis
This is the research part – checking the closest competitors and main markets. Are there similar products? Maybe there are some solutions you’ve used before that are worth repeating. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If your competition did something that was useless then learn from their mistakes. Maybe users in one location have specific needs? This information might be crucial so it is important to know where we are and who surrounds us.
Workshops with our client. This is a face-to-face meeting. It’s a time where we can deeply understand the idea of the product. When a client knows a product’s users, this is when we talk about it. Maybe there are a few different types of users, and we have to prepare different dashboards for them? If we have an idea about who will be the final customer, we dig deeper during the workshops.
4. User research and building personas
If we know already the users we can create personas – deep descriptions of the people in our target group. Who they are? What do they need? How do they make decisions? What is their background? What is their life like? How do they feel about new products? What is important for them?
But if we don’t know our users yet, we do user research – creating probable personas and checking who may be the potential user. This involves more research and analysis. After that, we build accurate personas.
5. Interviews with users
When we already know who our users are, we can ask them about their needs and their ‘pains’. What problems do they have and how can they be solved? Is there any solution already on the market? The most important thing in this step is asking the right questions. It is easy to ask leading questions, so the interview questions should be carefully prepared and double-checked. It is worth checking the descriptions of personas after interviews because that sometimes adds additional value.
This is a time for making assumptions. If we are building an MVP product, it is time to define core functionalities. What are the most important factors for our product? We can divide all ideas into “before MVP” and “after MVP”. In the beginning, everything looks important, so it is worth asking, “Do we really need this in the MVP?” Sometimes we can ask this more than once.
Now, all we have to do is turn descriptions into the design. We know the product, we know our users, so it is time to get drawing! While preparing mockups it is better to create at least two solutions for one problem. Even if one of them seems to be perfect. This keeps minds open for new possibilities and also prepared for tests.
What kind of testing? That depends. At the beginning of the process, it is better to do both quantitative and qualitative testing. For example, simple A/B tests will tell you which solution is more popular, but an interview should tell you why. After this step, we go back to prototyping. Prototyping and testing is a process, and usually, it takes a few cycles to prepare final mockups.
This is the most visible part of designing. This last step is changing mockups into the pixel-perfect, colorful design.
This process may look complicated. But it is important to go deeply into user needs. If the process of preparation is done well, the product will defend itself. Explore clients, explore the market, go deeper into the user’s mind. This is the only way to build an accurate product.