What is a good UX design process? UX Question #26

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Will from Alaska asks: what is a good UX design process?

I love that question. Thanks for asking, Will. This is UX Question number 26 and I am Ben Judy.

What is a good UX design process?

There are three elements: any process that—one, delivers the outcome of a good user experience; two, supports business or organizational goals; and three, integrates well with the larger software development lifecycle process of the organization—is probably a good UX process.

There are defined processes you can learn about for UX research and design: the double diamond method, Lean UX methods, Agile UX processes, design thinking frameworks. I’ll drop links in the description to some resources that will teach you how to follow these procedural approaches.

Lean them, but don’t become dogmatic about them.

There is a fine tradition in the UX career field of designers getting obsessed with process. We breathlessly publish these blog posts or give design conference talks about a better UX design process. We’ve been doing it all wrong! Nobody has figured this out before me, but now I know how to do it right.

And I was that guy for a few years. I was mister, double diamonds, and then I was mister, here’s what’s wrong with double diamonds and how to make it better. And I look back and laugh at how silly I was.

Process—whether for teams or for individuals—is training wheels. You need it to get started. You need it when you’re not experienced enough or coordinated enough to adapt to the unexpected. You need it when you lack discipline that comes through experience and what failure can teach you.

But in a cross functional team environment, nobody else cares about your UX process. And no UX process that you read about in a book or learn from a bootcamp survives contact with the reality of business.

I think a fascination with design process is also a holdover of the industrial era. We seem to want to manage design effort like running an assembly line or a factory. And that’s really bad. We need to stop thinking and operating that way.

Again, I’ll put some links in the description that will hold your hand and walk you through a step by step UX process.

But as you use them, watch for those three things. Deliver the outcome of a good user experience; support business goals, and integrate your work with processes used by developers and other functional teams in the org.

Final thought: UX principles matter more than process. Learn and apply UX principles twice as hard as you apply any given process.

Keep asking your questions about UX. Next time, I’ll answer the question: How can I measure the success of my UX designs?

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