Understanding the UX process is crucial for every role within UX.
To make great products, you need to follow the process closely. And there are different skills required at each stage.
Curious to know more? In this piece, we’ll explore:
- What’s the UX process?
- What happens at each stage?
- How different roles fit into it?
- What happens when you skip steps?
What is the UX process?
UX solves problems for users. The UX process is the structure we use to help us solve those problems.
It ensures we’re building products that people actually want to use. It gives the whole team a clear vision for the product.
To get a product to market, you need to complete a number of steps.
The steps below can take you all the way from an idea to a product launch:
The UX process is everything that happens before a design is sent to developers to be built. It makes up the first few steps from research to prototyping.
What happens at each stage of the UX process?
At the research and define stages we speak with users to figure out what problems they have. This involves researching competitors and interviewing users.
At the design stage, we create solutions to the problems uncovered by our research.
From there, we make prototypes to test our designs before they go to developers.
At the validation stage we check how effective the designs are. It involves continuous testing.
A simplified version of the UX process looks like this:
UX should also be rooted in this process regardless of the company size.
Mentor James O’Brien explains that:
each step in the lifecycle builds on the previous one. Skipping steps will lead to less than ideal outcomes.
This means that everyone working in UX needs to understand this full process. And appreciate each other’s work.
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How do different roles fit in the UX process?
UX is a team sport. Different people are required at different stages. It’s fluid. It’s collaborative. And it changes to suit the needs of the business.
Here’s where different UX roles fit in the process:
- Researchers work on the Research and Validate stages.
- Content experts ensure the copy and design are aligned at each stage.
- UX designers lead the Design and Validate stages but play an important role throughout.
- UI designers will work with UX designers on the Prototype and Validate stages.
- Developers come in at the Validate stage. They turn prototypes into live products.
Specialists like researchers and content experts are commonly where UX is integral to the operation. This could be anywhere from HubSpot to NHS Digital.
In smaller companies with limited resources, it’s normal to have generalists that work across the process.
What happens if I skip steps in UX process?
Cutting corners takes you away from the user. So why do UX professionals skip steps in the first place?
Business people sometimes want to prioritise business needs over users. Your boss may argue that user research is “too expensive.” This isn’t true.
James warns that you may have a boss or colleague that wants to do a “quick” version of UX:
They want to skip research and just go to what they understand as design. Have a conversation that begins with ‘here’s what I need to do in order to get it right.’ See if you can get their buy-in.
As a general rule, follow the process as closely as possible. It’s what separates excellent products from average ones.