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Using Design Thinking To Improve UX Development

Using Design Thinking To Improve UX Development

When developing apps or software for any user, both the User Experience (UX) and User Interface are crucial to your success and need to be carefully planned from the very start. "Design Thinking" is the framework for designing, prototyping, modifying, and testing Work In the development process of the app. This process is essential for information systems professionals like software developers. By focusing on design thinking at the planning stage, you will maximise the effectiveness of your user experience and your product. Here, we explore the design thinking process as it applies to UX development, from planning to prototyping to testing. 


Planning


As previously mentioned, Design thinking is the process of designing through attention to detail with a strong focus on the end-user experience. To do this, developers must implement a structured approach from the earliest planning stages and be ready to adapt as needed. One way to do this is to build team structures like Scrum to drive a commitment to continuous improvement through agile development. You will need to develop a thorough plan for UX/UI prototyping and testing. Here are two important elements to consider in the planning stages:


Gathering Data


Gathering data should be one of your top priorities as you build a flexible and agile development plan as good quality data is critical to design thinking. You should set clear standards for the data you collect. Often, businesses get caught up in storing all kinds of information just because they can. This approach is not sustainable. Instead, determine what UX/UI-related metrics will be most valuable to your team from the beginning of the project - this could be anything from measuring bounce rate to using polling.


Defining Goals


Similarly, defining clear goals for the platform in terms of user experience is essential from the outset. Design thinking means developing tools around human-centered experiences that fulfill the user’s needs. If you combine well-thought-out goals with a smart client-focused framework, you have the potential to create the perfect UX and UI. Without clear, measurable goals, you won’t have anything to gauge your success with. 


Define goals in the planning stages of UX/UI development. This could include everything from meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards, as required by UK law, to achieving a specific threshold of user satisfaction. Whatever your goals for the project, they should be specific, measurable, and determined by the user’s needs.


Prototyping


Next comes prototyping. There are a wide variety of ways in which you can test your ideas at virtually any stage of development. Your ideas should be explored collaboratively and through empathetic study. Naturally, problem-solving and communication play important roles in this process, making them some of the top UI skills of 2022


Adapt your prototypes to the stage of the process that you are at. Low fidelity prototypes, for example, are the cheapest and simplest methods of testing out a layout or navigation change, while high fidelity experiences give testers a much more interactive and accurate assessment of the idea. Knowing when and where to apply these prototypes is an important part of the design thinking process. Here are some ideas for integrating them:


Low Fidelity


An example of a low fidelity prototype would be an image of a UI idea on paper or digital media - a bit like a storyboard. These are great in development because they can give your stakeholders and collaborators a better idea of your intended direction without you having to actually build a fully functioning model. This is perfect for the early stages of the design process in which you’ll want to run more ideas by the end-user. Word of warning: the results you collect from these prototypes will not necessarily indicate the effectiveness of an idea as it might exist in a more fully functioning example. These tools might be best used for aesthetic and layout decisions. 


High Fidelity


For a more in-depth exploration of UX ideas, you’ll want to build interactive models that your collaborators can use or examine as they might the final product. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a fully functioning build. High-fidelity prototypes are simply a higher quality example for the purpose of obtaining more accurate and specific feedback. 


Testing


It goes without saying that user testing is vital. These tests are your most powerful tools in understanding your UX and identifying potential areas of improvement that your users will appreciate. Building effective UX/UI tests means thinking like a designer and being able to accurately evaluate feedback. This skill is invaluable and - if you are good at it - it’s one of the best ways to get ahead in a web design career. You’ll need to understand both quantitative and qualitative feedback so here is a quick outline:


Quantitative Feedback


Quantitative feedback has to do with numbers. This means tracked data, metrics, and raw values that represent UX functionality and UI navigability. This is the information that will be most useful in developing tools like users’ personas, which will then help you gain further qualitative feedback from your target audiences. Design thinking requires the ability to turn this data into something that improves your user’s experience of using your app.


Qualitative Feedback


Qualitative feedback provides the more detailed, human-centred insights that design thinking was developed to cultivate. By working closely with testers and stakeholders and building a UX to fit their needs, you get more qualitative feedback throughout the process. It’s a virtuous circle. Just be sure that this feedback is thoroughly documented through User Acceptance Testing (UAT), written responses, and even recorded interviews if necessary. 


And finally…


UX/UI development is all about creating something human users will enjoy using. As a result, your design thinking should always put those users at the centre of the experience. From the planning to the final testing stages, UX/UI is only as good as users perceive it is. Take account of these perceptions from early in the development process. If you adopt an excellent “design thinking” approach, you’ll be well on your way to creating a product that users will enjoy and recommend to others.


by Frankie Wallace | 19 Jan 22

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