The user-centered design puts the user front and center. Therefore, UX designers must consider the user’s emotions, story, and feedback while designing.
User Versus End-User?
Easy. Think this way. Let’s pretend that you are a writer for children’s books. Children are the ‘end-user.’ But who will be the one buying the book? The parent, who in this case is ‘the user.’ UX design is mapped to create for the end-user. But in the process, we must also consider other users.
User-Centered Design Process
The main goal of user-centered design is to resolve a user experience problem and not just to design on your personal experience. At the end of the day, the user will consume or buy your product. The more you research users, the better the design. The user experience goes first and everything else second when it comes to UX design.
Once we do plenty of research on the users, we use the information gathered using the four steps for the user-centered design process: understand, specify, design, and evaluate.
Understand, Specify, Design, and Evaluate a User-Centered Design Process
- Understand: How is the end-user experiencing the product?
- Specify: Is there a problem to solve for the end-user? What needs does the end-user have?
- Design: Answer the end-user problem with your design. Use your ideas to start building a product that will answer those needs.
- Evaluate: Now, use your design and compare that design with the end-user needs. Finally, test it on real users and answer if the design is solving the problem?
The key is using iteration while designing, doing something again by building on previous versions, and making upgrades.
Frameworks in UX Design
A framework is a structure that supports the problem that you are trying to solve. Let’s talk about two types of frameworks: the five elements of the framework and the design thinking framework.
The Five Elements of Framework
The five elements of the framework transform an idea into a working product. And it consists of strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface—each dependable on the other.
Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, and Surface of UX Framework
- Strategy: specifying the user’s needs and objectives of a business.
- Scope: Decide what you are building regarding features and content in the UX product.
- Structure: Coordinating the design and how the user will interact.
- Skeleton: This is the interior layout of the product design.
- Surface: how the product looks and how the user experiences the product.
The Design Thinking Framework
It means conceiving solutions to resolve a user’s problem in a functional and affordable design.
Design thinking involves five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.
Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test of Design Thinking Framework
- Empathize: Learning how to think and feel like the end-user and discovering its needs. This information is obtained by conducting interviews and surveys to view the end-user and their difficulties.
- Define: Present a clear definition of the problem that the end-user needs to resolve.
- Ideate: In simple terms, it is brainstorming. Developing as many ideas as possible and then selecting among those ideas what can be used as a prototype.
- Prototype: a scale down version of a product detailing essential functions. The goal and the idea must be clear to create a good prototype.
- Test: Once we create the prototype, we test the prototype with real users to obtain opinions before the product is built.
These frameworks are used depending on the company and the size of the team or project. Depending on the feedback from the test, you might need to be back and forth with the design until all problems are solved, and the product is ready to be shared with the world.
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Wendy Reyes Vélez