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What is UX Process? (5 Key Stages Explained)

Author:
Maria Lystopad
August 2, 2022
11-minute read
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To imagine how great digital products are being created, it’s best to look at the core of the design process. In this article, we will explain what is UX process and its benefits taking our approach at Tenscope as an example.  

So let’s begin with defining the term:

What is UX process and why is it important?

UX process is a sequence of stages designers and other UX specialists follow to create a user experience.  

Many companies use the Design Thinking methodology as a base for their UX process.

design thinking and ux process
Design Thinking

But while Design Thinking is a general method of solving problems, the UX process is a guide that leads a designer or a team from a blank page to a final design of a digital product. UX process can slightly differ from team to team. But in general, it lays on five pillars:

Discover, Research, Analyze, Design, and Validate.

UX process is about a collaborative and iterative approach. It means designers work closely together with other specialists and test their ideas throughout the whole lifecycle.


Each stage of UX process consists of several components. Depending on the project, designers can skip some of them. However, the general framework remains the same.


We will talk about UX process components soon. But first, let’s find out why it’s a good idea to have an established UX process.

Having a clear UX process has certain benefits:

  • It aligns the team members and makes the team's knowledge more consistent. This allows designers to work independently or together following one common logic.
  • It reduces chaos, structures work and brings order to the whole process.
  • It allows the stakeholder sand team to better understand design workflows and progress.  

Our design team relies on a clear UX process, and we are about to explain every stage of it in detail.

UX process at Tenscope

When we create a digital product at Tenscope, our designers follow this framework:

ux ui design process framework
UX process

It is important to mention that the UX process is not 100% linear. We play around it, go back and repeat when we need to, and apply this approach to the whole product as well as to individual design elements. We treat our UX process more like a general framework rather than a strict step-by-step guide. But the starting point is always the same.

Stage 1: Discovery

Product design is not just about the look of a digital product. It is also the logic of how the product will work and how users will interact with it. A well-designed product is able to solve users' problems. So we need to find out what solution they need.

Problem definition

Understanding a problem is the core of all the following stages. Be it creating a user experience for an innovative product from scratch or redesigning the product with an outdated user interface, our approach is based on understanding the user and their problem our design is going to resolve.

At this step, we can use Design Thinking or Design Sprint methods. These are effective techniques to tackle complex problems. When the challenge is clearly defined, we proceed.

Scope and requirements

At the very beginning of the design project, it is crucial to hear out the client’s vision and expectations for the future product.

  • What kind of solution we are going to design?
  • How do we want it to look and function?
  • What’s the preferred timeline?
  • Do we start from scratch or there’s groundwork?
  • Are there references to what the client likes or dislikes?

These questions can be collected in a design brief or during a kick-off meeting.

Of course, the ongoing communication between the client and the design team throughout the project guarantees the best results. But this first input is the most important and aligns the designer’s vision with stakeholders, setting up the direction for our creative thought.

Ideation

When we have collected the first input from the product owners and defined the solution we will work on, we can start creative brainstorming. That’s when we come up with design ideas for a future solution or redesign project.

how to work on design ideas
Ideation

Our experience plus creativity during the ideation step results in design vision. Now we can roll up our sleeves and go to the next stage.

Stage 2: Research

A good UX design always starts with thorough research. A deep understanding of user needs and pain points results in smoother user experiences. So we need solid research to build a base for future design decisions.

UX research

At Tenscope we base our design on data, not on assumptions. We talk to real users to learn about their needs. We study competitive products or services to sparkle ideas about what we can do better. At this stage, we collaborate a lot with the rest of the product team, customer service, stakeholders, and niche experts to collect as many insights as we need to create the product people love.

UX audit

UX audit is the most relevant for redesign projects. Often existing solutions with thousands of users have hidden UX pitfalls or outdated interfaces. A UX audit is the right tool to tackle the problem of not performing design.

When we work on a redesign, experienced Tenscope UX specialists test the product to uncover hidden user experience problems. Knowing specific UX challenges enables us to improve exactly what needs to be fixed.

Visual research

Visual research includes searching for references and visual ideas that will inspire us when creating the product’s UI.

 During visual research, we experiment with colour palettes, browse icon libraries, and collect elements we will later turn into a stunning user interface. It is a good idea to collect visual research findings on a mood board. 

how ux designer research
Visual research

User interviews

To find out how your potential customers behave and what they actually need in terms of user experience, we talk to users directly. Answers from potential users about what functionality they would prefer, what they like or dislike about similar solutions, etc., help us create user-centred products. We map all nuances of how people would use your product and will use these insights in the next stage.

Stage 3: Analysis

During the research stage, we collected insights about users. Now, it’s time to draw conclusions.

UX strategy

UX strategy is a detailed visual map that connects your business goals, a vision of your product, and a design plan. UX strategies map how certain design changes would impact product growth metrics. It is an important tool that helps designers and business owners align their efforts in creating a successful solution.

User personas

User personas are collective portraits of people who would use the product we are working on. They collect information about the average age, background, occupation, hobbies, income level, and more. Designers often visualise user personas to go back to them later in the design process.

UX flows

User flows are maps of user interaction with the product. UX research enables us to design user flows that make customers’ interaction with your product seamless.

ux designer analysing data
UX flows

It maps users’ interaction with a product and ensures their journey through the website or the product will be delightful. A well-designed UX flow is the key to an intuitive user experience and a base for the visual design of the product.

Stage 4: Implementation

During the previous stages, we collected lots of insights we need to design a product. Now it’s time to visualise our design ideas.

Prototyping

Prototypes show how the product will look and function. These important UX deliverable scan be different in detail and vary from simple static wireframes to interactive ones.

  • Wireframes depict where the text and image blocks are and where these elements will be on the interface. Wireframing is a great way to communicate design ideas to the client and the team at the early stages of collaboration. These monochrome static representations show how the design will look. We believe that wireframes are the skeleton of future designs.
Wireframing great way to communicate design
Wireframes
  • Mockups show most precisely how the product will look in detail. A good mockup can also help out clients grab users` attention before the product is released. A good mockup can also help attract investors early on.
Mockups show most precisely how the product will look in detail.
Mockups
  • Interactive prototypes demonstrate how the product will work. We use them when we need to explain how specific elements of the product are expected to function. That’s why interactive prototypes are perfect for enhanced collaboration with development teams.

Interface design

User interfaces are the key to customers' hearts. You have only one chance to make the first impression and it’s the UI of your product or service. Research by Forrester proved that UI can make or break user engagement. Tenscope designers combine their knowledge of the psychology behind user behaviour and the latest UI trends.

Iterations

Product design is an iterative process. It means we design prototypes, test them, analyse what we can improve and design again. Iteration by iteration, we finalise and polish the user experience and user interface until we are sure that the design serves the target user flawlessly.

Product design is a complex process that requires collaboration with other teams and constant new information is flowing in. Such an approach is flexible and fast as iterations and design improvements often continue for a while after launch.

Product design is an iterative process.
UI Design

Stage 5: Validation

Validation is not the last step but an ongoing part of the UX process. We apply it as early as we start visualising our ideas.

Testing

Every design decision at Tenscope gets tested. Testing is an essential part of an iterative design that helps us realise what needs to be improved.

A/B testing, user feedback, and lots and lots of usability tests make our UX and UI design bulletproof.

  • A/B tests are two options of UX or UI design that we show to different groups of users to see which one performs better.
  • User feedback is a comment from real users who give us their honest opinion about how intuitive, convenient, and delightful their experience with the product (or a part of it) was. It is often collected via type forms and surveys.
  • Usability tests are about watching how users interact with the product. You can adopt analytical tool sand see how users navigate through the product where the friction occurs, also you can see what actions users find more intuitive than others.  

We test all our flows and prototypes to check if the user experience is flawless. Only after we make sure that the design we created effectively serves the user, we start finalizing our UX/UI design.

Ongoing design

Design is an ongoing process. Throughout the UX process, we go back and check our design decisions, iterate, and test again. And after the product launch, we support our clients along their way. We are ready to add details or features and implement new ideas whenever you turn to us.

Collaboration

Same to Validation, Collaboration is not a separate step of the process. The earlier it starts, the better for the product.

Cooperation with developers

Designer sand developers should collaborate starting from the early stages of the design process to make sure design decisions are aligned with technical possibilities. We always prefer to talk to developers before the Implementation stage to present our design ideas, get feedback, and discuss all potential nuances beforehand. Such an approach allows us to hand off our design with confidence.

Design systems

After finalising the design, we create design systems that allow our clients to own the design we created. Any team member with access to our design systems can see the big picture and easily access all elements. Design systems are also a great tool when it comes to collaboration with other designers and development teams.

Why choose Tenscope?

As you can see, our UX process is clear, reliable and effective. We value our clients' time and won’t make you fill in endless briefs or tell us how exactly we need to design that very button. We will have a call, and you will tell us about your business needs and ideas. We get you from there.  

Forget about the hassle of looking for and hiring a designer. Get your skilled UX/UI professional at Tenscope and witness how an effective UX process turns business ideas into well-designed digital products.

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