UX Design Process is like water. It changes its form according to its container. Doesn’t matter how the container looks like, the function of the water remains.
First you learn the instrument, then you learn the music, then you forget all that s**t and just play. — Charlie Parker
When it comes to UX Design Process, I don’t believe in one size fits all. Either nor I do not claim that my UX Design Process is better than the others. My UX Design Process is just sedimentation of my designer life through things I’ve learned so far. And, you may find more about our design core values here.
Instead of subscribing to every UX Design Process that rapidly change along the time. Why don’t we create one of our own and improve it every day for any design approach?
Here are the I.D.E.A.S methods that I use for my UX Design Process.
1. I for Imagination
The imagination is a process to deeply understand people’s behaviours and motivations to create probabilities from a user’s point of view that align with the product/services that the business is offering.
I started every UX Design project as a customer, not a designer. I’m making the questions back to the product/services that my client offer to me (as a customer). The power of "what if" encouraging me to explore more the good and bad best possibility of why I may want or need something.
Furthermore, I also imagine myself as a client who wants to sell products/services too (if necessary). If I were a client, what is the design services that I need from myself? Am I confuse you yet?
At this phase, I embrace any nonsense idea(s) and wisely choose my research method/technique. Preventing reality to kills creativity at this phase is essential. At this point, most questions will be answering by questioning such as Do I need this product?, Do I don’t need this product?, Do I don’t yet know that I need this product? So on so forth.
You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will be as one. — John Lennon
2. D for Design
The design is the visualisation of an imagination. Rather than wait for a perfect moment, I approach my client to design with me in the early state. I’ve found that a sketch (together) sells the ideas better than a final sexy pixel.
If the imagination is the sperm cells (which I mean a number of the best possibilities ideas), a design challenge from the client will be an egg cell that defines the solutions. You can not control the egg to choose the sperm, but you can create many best probabilities that one of them will make it through.
"The design-early-approach" does not just allow some gaps for the client to fill-in with the design process, but it is also reframing the right question to unfold the solutions. More importantly, it is the best way to create an ongoing relationship between designer and client too.
3. E for Experimental
The Experimental in UX Design Process is the risk management. Think of “The Design” as a hypothesis. We never know if the design is going to work or not even it has been work before.
Instead of working on a colossal concept then go big or go home, I instead break a whole thing into a small modular design experimental that I can test the design with an end-user fast and categories them quick. At this phase, I will be preparing a modular UI Pattern to generates rapid prototyping to test and iterate the idea/design.
The purpose of the experimental is pretty straightforward. We experiment to make sure that the products/services that the client offering will benefit their customer life.
Experimental = Prototyping, Testing, Learning and Repeat.
4. A for Affordance
If experimental is the dots, affordance will be connecting the dots. Affordance is the connecting between Form (channel to use the design) and Function (Constraints to use the design).
In the software design, what the end-user assumes or perceives will occur as a result of their interaction(s). Users’ actions are based on predictions, which are only confirmed once the action has been carried out.
At this phase, I will be looking for a pattern such as repeat procedures,the nature of the flow, human behaviours, anthropology, decision pattern and so forth. Then I will holistically create a design system to support those patterns.
5. S for Simplicity
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. We will not be able to simplify without passing through the mess complicated. You may be surprised if I tell you that most of my UX Design Services are more about elimination, not an adding-on.
Moreover, the simplicity in the UX Design Process could be a hands-over dynamic document too. (i.e. living style guide and pattern libraries, in-app brand definition and identity, and so on.)
Each client and project required a different approach to draw the simplicity into the UX Design Process. One technique that I’ve found useful is understanding people’s in the system first, then create the simplicity around them.
The UX Design Process is not just speeding up the flow, but it also defines the design direction and refines the relationships between Customer, Client and the Designer.
We all know that UX Design is good for business and many UX Designer around the world to develop a new UX Methodology every day. One of the best advantages of I.D.E.A.S. UX Design Process is the flexibility. The I.D.E.A.S. itself function as a foundation that I can plug-in another UX Methodology to suit my particular UX Design project.
I hope you may adopt, adapt and apply this I.D.E.A.S. to your Product/Project!