For any application, user experiences (UX) covers everything involved in how a person interfaces with a system. UX designers must consider a wide range of components in order to create the right kind of experience: accessibility, usability, human-computer interaction, ergonomics, utility, efficiency, perception, enjoyment – this list could go on for quite some time. Needless to say that UX design services are critical to the success of a software from the perspective of its users. After all, you can create the most incredible, ground-breaking system to address a problem, but if your users don’t want to use it – or are unable to without acquiring a headache – they’ll go in search of a more usable solution.
Despite the value of UX being well known for some time, its not uncommon to encounter skeptical stakeholders in a software development project who don’t understand exactly what they’re getting out of their investment. They think of it a lot like hiring an interior designer for your house. Your house still does everything you require of it without an interior designer to ensure the furniture matches the drapes, so what’s the point? UX design services are nothing like hiring an interior decorator, though.
“Putting Lipstick on a Pig”
This phrase, putting lipstick on a pig, or some similar phrase is something UX designers have definitely heard in regards to their services. We know we have. UX is much more than taking a rough application and “prettying” it up, though. The goal of UX design services is to provide creative, empathetic and intuitive experiences for your users.
A UX designer considers the entire product cycle iteratively, advocating for the experience of users each step of the way. This includes building out user personas, imagining customer journeys, wireframing and creating the information architecture, prototyping design layout and managing UI, user interactions and the style guide at the surface level.
Because UX is so integral to how applications interact with their users in the real world, it’s encouraged to work through this process first and then develop your product based around the UX assets. To help you understand exactly how UX design services will set you up for success, we’ve broken the process down into four simple steps.
It may seem like user experience is all about the users (and it is about the users), but UX design also has to meet business goals and objectives. The first phase of UX design services focuses on developing a thorough understanding of your business model and goals – in other words, your reasons for developing an application in the first place.
A fixture of this stage is a sort of discovery workshop. This meeting brings all relevant stakeholders together to make sure we’re all on the same page and understand the intended goals of your app, the value proposition for the intended audience, and the functionality you’re expecting in your application. Competitor research is also a necessity at this point, so we have an idea of how similar products in this sphere are doing things.
Once the project has been properly defined, your UX designer will be able to create a flowchart that identifies all possible user journeys and all user interfaces that will need to be designed. The flowchart will also lay out the foundational requirements for your application.
Oftentimes, people will conflate UI and UX as essentially the same process, but in reality, UI design is more of a key element of UX design. Careful construction of user interfaces is certainly vital to a user’s satisfaction with a platform, but it is only one of many areas to lend our attention.
With a flowchart outlining all of the interfaces that an application will need, we can move on to designing these interfaces. At this juncture, your company’s style guide must either be provided or created. If you’re unfamiliar, a style guide is a set of design standards for your brand including colors, font, formatting, copywriting and more. If you don’t have a guide by the time you’re starting the design of a custom software application, it’s high time you make one.
You may think that UX designers and software developers are two separate groups of people with their own agendas, but UI should be designed with your developers in mind. This means imparting the most economical design, using the least amount of components to do the most amount of work. To ensure the interface designs are accessible to the developers, they should cater to a twelve-column grid, as well, which developers will be familiar with.
Once approval of the UI designs has been given, mockups can be created. These should be rendered at different screen sizes so you get some idea for how your application will look on mobile versus desktop or tablet devices.
Before developers have even gotten ankles deep in any code, a UX prototype will give stakeholders a chance to navigate your application like a real, functioning product. With the help of a UX prototyping software, you’re able to get an idea for the look and feel of your product, and you can even allow other end users to give your prototype a go, and gain valuable feedback to improve design elements. For your development team, an interface prototype allows them to download graphic assets and develop faster.
Asset Delivery & Follow Up
At the end of the UX design process, a UX specification document is created for your developers. This document contains all previously created assets, provides a detailed explanation of each user interface and its functionality and aids in clearly defining an application’s requirements. With the completion of UX design services, developers will have all the information they need to focus their tasks in the right direction. By delivering a clearly articulated roadmap, the UX phase helps keep costs down in the development phase of an application. The likelihood of backtracking, exceeding the scope and budget for a project or redesigning a component of a product is much lower.
The job does not end once UX assets are delivered. For the occasions when issues do arise, the UX team should still be involved with a project in a support role to answer any questions and review developers’ work. When the dev team and the UX team have a close working relationship, it benefits everybody involved and makes the application that much better.
UX Design Services: a Must Have
Without UX design, a product will struggle to address both user and business problems. If you consider the functionality of your application to be an important component of success, then you need to ensure your development process includes a dedicated UX phase. It can’t simply be an afterthought – if you never consider how users will actually use a software, how can it be successful in the long run?
Over countless projects, our experienced team of UX designers at Vice Software have worked with companies around the world to design products that make lives a little easier for their users. We put usability at the forefront of all of our designs, carefully considering how an application can meaningfully interact with its users. By following a strategic, proven process, we guarantee that by the end of the design phase of your project with us, you’ll know exactly what your product will look and feel like and how it will interface with your users.
So, does your project need a designer’s touch? Get started by giving us just a little information about your project and design ideas, and we can give you all the details about our custom development and UX design services.