UX Design Process: Modern Guide for Product Leaders

Yevheniia Sydorova
UX PRACTICE LEADER
Tetiana Prokofieva
DESIGN PROGRAM LEAD
Vladyslav Kitsela
COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Good UX design is vital for the overall success of the business. According to studies, each dollar invested in design yields 100 dollars in return, a whopping 99% ROI. How is that possible and how can you achieve such extraordinary results for your product? 

It all starts with a precise understanding of the design’s role in business operations and setting up an effective UX design process.

In today’s article, we’ll share our experience in setting up the UX design process, take a look at several popular approaches, and see how experience design can impact a business in more ways than some might think.

Design-first: why should UX be a top priority?

Design extends beyond the product or service itself. In the case of most products or services, it is vital to consider the infrastructure required for its continuous upkeep. Will the product require repair services over time? Will there be a monthly subscription billing system? Are there plans for upgrades? Is there potential for a secondary market? All of these questions are critical for business continuity, and design can provide the answers.

A design-first approach encompasses the entire customer journey, from the moment they first encounter your product, through the purchase process, unboxing or download experience, and even ongoing customer support. If the experience at any of these stages hasn't been carefully considered, then the entire process lacks the thoughtful design required for a holistic customer experience.

Design is not a one-time deal.

Design is not just a mockup.

Design is not a by-the-book discipline.

UX design is a continuous process that constantly shifts and changes depending on a variety of factors. Business needs, user expectations, market trends, and even the internal organizational structure will all dictate the team’s approach to the UX design process. 

Core benefits of the design-first approach 

The UX design process is not a one-time deal; it is a continuous process, deeply integrated into core business functioning. Of course, there will be periods of higher or lower activity, but it has to be an ongoing effort. Whether you build a new product or try to improve the efficiency of the existing solutions, the design process UX will be an integral part of it all. Building a structured yet flexible design process will help you:

Improve the existing solutions

Let’s say a business runs an internal enterprise management system, and it looks nearly perfect from a technical standpoint, but the analysts notice a less than satisfactory task completion rate. In many cases, the problem is in inconvenient UX design that confuses employees and slows down their performance. Alternatively, a business might run a B2C application, say an online shopping app, and see a considerable drop in user acquisition. There must be a reason for that, and the UX design process can help find that reason. 

  • Uncover hidden problems: UX research often reveals issues and challenges that might have remained unnoticed otherwise. Even if your product is near perfect from the technical point of view, it might lack alignment with the user's expectations. These insights empower teams to address hidden problems early in the design process.
  • Answers the 'Why' question: UX design delves deep into understanding user behavior and motivations. This helps answer the fundamental "why" questions, explaining why users are doing what they do, and guides design decisions accordingly.
  • Reduce uncertainty: By conducting research, creating prototypes, and testing designs, UX design significantly reduces uncertainty in the development process. It helps ensure that the product or service being created will meet user needs and expectations.

Create competitive new products

In a situation where a business tries to build a B2C solution in a competitive industry, it will have to design an application that runs better and is more intuitive than that of the competitors to attract users. That is where an experienced UX designer would conduct competitor research and user interviews to come up with a design that achieves the goals of the business. On top of that, designers will help you: 

  • Simplify idea validation: Design makes the decision-making process much simpler and less risky. Developing and implementing new features is time-consuming and expensive. Instead, designing a clickable prototype and testing it with the users is a much faster and more cost-efficient way to validate your ideas. A UX design team can create a PoC and test it with the users providing a business with the evidence of user’s need or the absence of such. With that information, a business can test the idea and decide whether it is worth the effort.
Find out more about the value of actionable communication fostered by design workshops 
  • Bridge the business and customer needs: UX design acts as a bridge, connecting the goals and objectives of the business with the desires and requirements of customers or clients. Through research, designers can give a business a much more detailed and profound understanding of what the product users really want and need, subsequently boosting the product’s ROI.
  • Boost growth: A user-friendly and well-designed product or service tends to attract and retain more customers. It can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth, ultimately driving business growth and success.
  • Get everyone on the same page: Through methods like user personas, user journey maps, and design workshops, the design process helps align team members, ensuring that everyone understands the project's objectives and user needs. Shared understanding improves collaboration between different teams, mainly marketing, design, and development.
Although it is common to view design teams as the ones making pretty images and mockups, this is just a part of our role in the overall success of the business. UX design is about solving problems that affect the business on much deeper levels. Our goal is to find the reason why things don’t work right and find the solution that addresses a specific need of either your business or customers.

UX design goes beyond aesthetics; it's a strategic approach that enhances collaboration, resolves issues, informs decision-making, and ultimately contributes to the growth and success of a project or organization. 

What UX design process would fit your organization? 

There are different approaches to the UX design process such as Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, Hot Potato, and many more. However, an experienced designer will confirm that there is no singular, definitive way to structure a design process UX. A design team is ever-flexible and constantly looks for ways to adapt existing practices to the demands of a particular project. 

Design is an inherently creative and fluid discipline that welcomes innovation. Expert UX designers will always focus on solving the problem by any means, rather than finding a book methodology that fits the case.

Theoretical knowledge is important for setting up an effective UX design process since the team will have to apply certain methodologies and understand one another in terms of basic terminology. Yet, flexibility and adaptability are even more important as the design process in UX never goes by the book. It is a fluid and creative discipline, and there’s no way to put it firmly under a certain framework.

At the same time, there are certain stages of the UX design process that are integral to almost every type of product. These are the stages that comprise the basis of the UX design process checklist at Trinetix, and we are here to share our experience:

Discovery phase

​​The discovery phase stands as the introductory chapter within the UX design process. It entails a deep dive into the problem landscape to frame the challenges that require resolution. Here, the goal of designers is not to simply find the problem but to answer the critical question of “Why do we have a problem?” and then experiment with the solutions to this problem. 

Within this phase, designers can execute a variety of methods and activities, presenting a versatile set of options such as exploratory research, user and stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis, user journey mapping, and more. All of that will help the team identify the problem, find the reasons why it persists, and map out an action plan. 

Important note: In different design frameworks, this stage finds itself under various names. For instance, in the Design Thinking framework, it comes as two distinct phases known as “Empathize” and “Define.” Alternatively, in the Lean UX approach, it is called the “Think” stage. Regardless of how you name it, the goal remains the same: to identify the cause of problems. Additionally, this stage will help the designers to better understand the current state of their product or business and map it with the user's expectations.

With the discovery phase findings, the team can move to an actual design phase.

Design phase

Once the problems and needs are identified, we solve the problems identified before. The main question here is “How can wesolve the problem?”. 

Brainstorming sessions and prototyping are important parts of that phase that allow us to quickly and efficiently come up with ideas and assess their feasibility. 

During the design stage, the UI/UX team will work on the ideas, which can manifest in different shapes and forms. From a sketch on a piece of paper to a clickable prototype, the team will ideate and present their ideas to both colleagues and stakeholders to collect feedback and see which ones work. The outcomes of this phase could come as a collection of hypotheses, wireframes, and clickable prototypes.

Check out our expert insights into the 5 common challenges of UX design

Testing phase

After the team has gained a deep understanding of the problems, achieved alignment on desired outcomes and priorities, formulated hypotheses to address the problems, and prepared the necessary artifacts, it's time for the test stage. 

In this phase, an array of methods and activities comes into play, including usability testing, surveys, A/B testing, quantitative data analysis through site analytics, and the use of heat mapping, among others.

The test stage seeks to determine whether the proposed solutions effectively resolve the problems at hand. It also guides decisions on the next steps: whether to proceed with development and realization, make minor adjustments and retest, or even consider returning to the initial Discovery stage for further refinement.

The three essential stages described above allow designers to pinpoint opportunities for improvement and growth, not just solve existing problems. 

Remain flexible to secure your way to innovative design

The UX design process is highly flexible. Whether it is a new product or an existing one, each scenario opens up new unique opportunities and limitations. Therefore, there’s no singular, absolute blueprint for crafting a design process. 

Businesses should embrace the possibilities and consider them as they build their unique design process. Yet, remember not to tether yourself rigidly to any one model simply for the sake of adherence. Instead, be open to amalgamating elements from various models to create a customized approach that truly suits your needs. That’s why our UX design process is never rigid, as we understand the importance of flexibility in design.

Achieve your strategic goals with a flexible UX design process

Extract the full value of UX design with a trusted partner

At Trinetix, we stick to the design-first approach to identify user needs and create comprehensive, human-centric solutions. Our goal is to unlock new value streams for clients and create products or services that exceed end-user expectations by focusing on these pillars:

  1. Idea activation: With a properly executed discovery stage, you can shorten your path to value and validate assumptions and ideas faster. As a result, you create high-demand products or services that are useful and relevant for your target audiences. 
  1. Innovation acceleration: Our teams smoothen your path to innovation adoption through in-depth analysis and PoCs, helping you tap into new value streams faster and make innovations native for end users.
  1. Experience transformation: We unlock new opportunities by transforming legacy systems and removing operational roadblocks. Our UX design process uncovers deeper dependencies, enabling increased business efficiency and agility.

Our UI/UX design experts will help you discover your competitive edge and pinpoint opportunities in highly saturated domains. Together we'll chart a viable path for embracing new technology and ensure you stay aligned with ever-changing user requirements, recognizing shifts in behavioral patterns and expectations. 

Let’s chat about your current UX design process and see how we could innovate upon it!

FAQ

The UX design process is a systematic approach that integrates deeply into most business processes. It involves such stages as discovery, design, and testing to find solutions to existing and potential problems. It fosters cross-department cooperation as different teams collaborate to make sure the product meets the expectations of the users.
The design process in UX typically includes several key stages: 1. Discovery: Understanding user needs and the problem space. 2. Design: Creating solutions, such as wireframes and prototypes. 3. Testing: Evaluating designs with users to gather feedback.
UX design is an ongoing process that can work at any and every stage of product development and maintenance. It is a never-ending story that is integral to the overall functioning of the business.
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