Each project is unique. We design a customized methodology based on your needs, time and budget. In UX Design, there is no best practice. Good practice is to place the right method.
Wireframe / Prototype
Bringing your ideas to life
Creating a wireframe or a prototype is a really great way to help your ideas become tangible quickly, to learn while working and to get feed back from the users. The aim is to make your idea a reality so you can test it and really put it through it's paces. Be it a physical product or even a digital concept, by creating a prototype of your idea right from the start and throughout the process, you will save time and improve your product with each iteration. In the early stages of conception the wireframe may be a more simple pencil sketch on paper reaching a more elaborate prototype towards the end of the process.
User Interface Design (UI)
Create a simple and intuitive product
The interface design is a model that shows all the different interfaces that the user will interact with. It's a matter of defining the principles of how your product will generally work. This model will then evolve into working scenarios and can illustrate how man and machine interact. Before setting the graphics and defining the aesthetics it's important to think about how the application will work, if people don't understand how the product works, it just reach it’s expected. Interface design is a key stage to creating intuitive interfaces that make the users experience a pleasurable experience.
Don’t design for ‘everyone ’: identify your target audience
In marketing we use personas in Design Thinking to identify the future users of the product. By knowing for who we are designing for ensures that we create a design that will be used as soon as it hit the market and will satisfy all of your audiences needs. Having personas helps making conception decisions during the whole process. The design for a given target allows you to avoid clashes of personal positions rarely relevant for the project.
Experience mapping (UX Map)
Illustrate the service rendered by your product at each stage of the experiment
This mapping allows you to have an overview, it is a useful tool to represent the interactions between users and your product. From the first interaction with the product, it’s a matter of identifying what the user does, thinks, and feels at every stage of use. This method allows you to define features that will provide the best experience to your intended users.
Talk to your users, it is their demands that the product must meet.
The interview is the best way to find out the tastes, expectations and habits of users. This step is essential in the user-centered design, because it allows you to have new ideas and to understand items that you would have never understood by sitting behind your desk. Conducting an interview is a subtle art. It is not simply to ask questions, but actually to guide a discussion, to exchange and collect relevant information, which would have otherwise been apparent.
Observe the behaviour of people to design a useful and intuitive product
The interviews are necessary but not sufficient. Your users are not always aware of what they do or what they need. Observing the behaviour of people in their natural environment and encouraging them to verbalise their actions is the best method to collect the information necessary for the design of a product suited to its user, useful and intuitive. A designer who designs a product without observing the itended user is like to a fashion designer who designs a dress ``made to measure`` without taking the measurements of the person who will wear the dress.
Put your product into the hands of those who will be using it
The best way to design a working product is to put it into the hands of those who will use it and test it. Testing users can take different forms depending on your level of progression and what you need to test. In all cases, we have to emulate the context of actual use of the product - testing a mobile application sitting behind a desk while we use our smartphones more on the move will not guarantee the most relevant returns. Taking into account your ultimate user, you will design a product that’s easy to use and that corresponds to the human logic.
Principles of design
Lay the foundations of your product
The principles of design are the guidelines for your project. They define the experience and propositions value. These principles will allow all members of the team working on the project to determine if a solution (choice of interface, text, iconography, visuals) corresponds to the positioning of your project. These principles are in small number, four to five you are generally sufficient to communicate the foundations of the project. These principles will provide guidence and serve as a safeguard.
Information Architecture (Card Sorting)
Don’t lose your users
Card sorting is a method that allows you to define the architecture of information from representations of your users. It is the a sure way to get an intuitive product that is easy to navigate because the information is categorised logically.
Create use cases faithful to reality
The use cases exist to precisely describe the actions of users, step by step, during the use of your product now or in the future. This cases allows to define the capabilities to develop if you launch a new product, or identify the missing or superfluous functions if your product already exists. These scenarios are also the basis of phases of testing users since it is used to create testing scenarios. Work on the usage scenarios is one of the elements which ensures that your product will best fit the daily lives of those who will.
Generate as many ideas as possible
In the ideation phase, brainstorming should serve to generate ideas. What matters at this stage, is not the quality of an idea but the number of ideas generated by your project group. It is out of the question to criticise the ideas of others, this kills creativity and the dynamics of the group. This is the time to encourage each person to express themselves without judging the ideas. Try to respond with 'Yes and…' instead of 'Yes, but…' to enrich ideas through new ideas. It is through this method that the best ideas occur, either during the brainstorming session or the morning after.
Live the experience
Bodystorming is a sort of role-play game that tries to place you in the shoes of the future users of the product that you design. Members of the project group play roles that correspond to the ideas, experiences and the prototype imagined. It is a fail safe and quick way to test ideas that can provide you with a lot of returns and a great time saver. The earlier you pinpoint design errors, the less it is costly to correct.
Imagine the life of your product
The storyboard is a type of model that allows you to visually draw the scenario of the use of your product. It involves mapping the usage, step by step, to validate the logical practice of your product and ensuring that it fits better in the daily lives of your users. This step helps you to create an intuitive product and anticipate all possible actions.
Get the answers from the users
A group interview is useful when you want to quickly identify what is important for a community of people. It will not bring the depth of an interview with a single individual, but it will be very interesting if you want to discover a community that you do not know or clarify issues, test new ideas, answer the questions that ask yourself. to hear each voice, the differences of opinion and points of agreement.
Inovate by speaking freely
Among friends we more comfortable to express our thoughts, we hold less conventional view, we dares to contradict and are more truthful. This is why the New York agency Motivate Design has introduced the ``Friendship groups``, more useful than the ``Focus group`` to draw experiences and think of new services or products. The Friendship groups will have even more relevance when it comes to addressing intimate subjects. To make this work, you need to recruit someone who corresponds to the target and let the person invite some friends to the group.
Interview the experts
Meet the experts in the matter
Specialists in a field – researchers, professionals, members of associations etc., are very interesting sources of knowledge in the stages of the design. They help set the context of the project being developed and they are often the key elements to the project, sharing their previous experiences, successes and failures. They are usually very critical of existing solutions and communicate the mistakes to avoid and the under exploited directions.
Reference to situations
Take ideas from another world
Observe a similar world to the one you are disigning for in order to find ideas or solutions. You can isolate the elements of experiences and successful interactions to this parallel situation to inspire you and apply them to the product that you design or that you are improving. Observing in reference to a situation is an excellent way to stimulate creative thinking.
Fly On The Wall
Fly on the wall observation is effective for products involving spaces
The Fly on the wall method of observing is where you position yourself in a specific location and watch the behavior of people in one place. This observation method is effective if you want to design a physical space or a product with strong implementation with physical and spacial issues.
The shadowing is an effective method of observation for ``mainstream`` products or for the design of a service
Follow and observe people in their daily routine or a on specific task. This observation method is effective if you are designing a product for a wide audience to use on the move like an airport, for example, to observe the flow the crowd, paths the people use in space, their hesitations, who they question or the signs they see or not. The major advantage of the method is charting the paths of the people and take note of their actual behaviours.
Getting under the skin of users, literally, is the best way to understand people, their motives, their fears, their needs.
The inspiration phase consists of listerning to what the people for whom we design are saying and understand their lives. There is no better way to do that than to immerse yourself in their lives, their community, their work etc. This method is more expensive at the time but it is essential if you want to design an innovative product for a community you know little or or when issues of acceptance and ownership of a product are strong, which is often the case when the product designed initiates new behaviours.