Over the past few years, the term “UX Designer” has gained popularity and unfortunately some negative connotations. Some people believe that UX designers “don’t really do anything.” They assume we conceptualize and hypothesize all day. While that may be true for some people calling themselves UX designers, that is certainly not the case at 352. Here, UX designers are a core part of our process and contribute greatly to almost all of our projects. To elaborate, here are some of the tasks carried out by myself and the other designers on our UX team.
Some people believe that the title UX designer shouldn’t exist and that we should be called “Product Designers.” Having done both, I believe there is a distinction between UX and product design. UX designers design experiences around an existing product while product designers design new products or features. Sure, these two roles overlap a lot, but they are different.
We dive into each new project by learning as much as we can about it. We study the brand, the product(s), the company and, most importantly, the current or potential users. We ask questions and listen in order to identify and gain a deep understanding of the problem we will be solving.
If the company/product we’re working with doesn’t have an established brand, we create one. We create logos, choose brand colors and fonts, design icons, produce photography and more to establish a memorable brand that serves as the foundation for the project.
Concepts, Wireframes and User Flows
Once we understand our goals through research, we begin creating paper sketches, digital wireframes and detailed user flows. These allow us to better visualize our concepts then collaborate and iterate on these until we believe we have a solution worth testing.
This is crucial step that saves us, and our clients, a lot of time during the design and development stages. We use tools like InVision, Keynote, Axure and even HTML/CSS coding to create interactive prototypes. We use the prototypes to clearly demonstrate our proposed solution to our clients and for conducting usability testing.
We conduct extensive user testing in an attempt prove our hypotheses. This includes writing and deploying surveys, recruiting live testers to interact with our prototypes and recording their experiences. We collect and analyze the resulting data and use it to improve our solution. This process repeats until we, and the client, are confident in moving forward.
This is what most people probably think of when imagining a designer’s role. We use applications like Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch to create the designs that will become the actual website or application. Layout, typography, forms, buttons and more are all drawn around the content to create an appealing and pleasant experience for the user.
Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of what we do on Team UX here at 352 Inc. We believe that user experience design includes anything the user sees or interacts with, from research to code.
Image credit: Rayi Christian W