UX is more than wireframes

You have a product idea, a business vision – and now you want to make sure that your product is a success. Means: that it makes your customer happy.
That’s where my job as a UX Designer usually starts.

Define the problem

UX Design starts with a problem definition

UX Design is part of the product development process and more and more companies talk about it. That’s great!
UX Design is often thought of as “wireframes” – as this is the most common deliverable.

Working on wireframes means working on a solution.
But before we can start to work on a solution we need to understand the problem we are trying to solve.

That’s where the challenge begins:
I find myself again and again in projects where the problem IS NOT well defined. There might be a project goal, but it’s vague and broad, like “The website needs to have a better user experience.”
Sometimes there are measurable objectives – but purely from a business perspective (“Our revenue needs to increase by x% within the next 12 months.”).

And those goals aren’t shared with the design team – they just have to make it “look more wow.”

Ask Questions

UX Design starts with questions

A lack of clarity often goes hand in hand with a lack of questions that are being asked: nobody wants to confess that a clear objective is missing. So everybody keeps running: tight deadlines and limited budget creates fools rush.

If we are not aligned on the problems we want to solve we cannot create good and innovative solutions.

In order to design for a good experience we have to start at the beginning:

  • Who are we designing for?
  • What are current frustrations?
  • What are existing behaviours (that we might want to change or bend)?
  • What are expectations?
  • What problem do we want to solve?

Those are typical questions we need to explore in the discovery phase.
They are customer focused.

Once we understand the pain points we need to turn to the business:

  • What solutions can we offer?
  • What options are sustainable from a business perspective?
  • What is our product vision?

This is the other half we need to understand as designers: what is actually viable.

 

This is part of UX design as well.
Only if we know what problems we are trying to solve we can come up with solutions. And only if we understand the business constraints we can design a long-term sustainable solution.

End-to-end & Collaboration

UX Design happens throughout the product design process, from beginning to the end.

UX Design is part of the whole product design process

Once the problem is defined we can move to the solution phase. This is where wireframes come into play.

Wireframes are ideas. We might test them and get good feedback, make some changes based on user input and move on. End of the UX story? No.

Wireframes are being translated into visual design and into working software. Interactions and detail become more and more refined, the final content appears – all of it has an effect on the experience: the colours we choose, the titles and text we put out there, the interaction effects.

UX designers are usually not part of the development process, they don’t make final decisions about visual styling and coding. But they can still be useful – by collecting the customer’s voice. By receiving feedback, understanding what works, what doesn’t work.

UX is more than wireframes

UX Design is more than just wireframes. It starts way sooner and it ends way beyond the wireframe deliverable.
UX design is multidisciplinary. It’s not a one-man-show, it works because of different skills that are coming together. It requires teamwork.

I dream of an environment where we get rid of the siloed approach and “idea owners”, but learn how to build upon each other’s skillset and focus on a shared vision.

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