Oct 19, 2020 Derek Riddle

Designing A Great User Experience

Product owners and elaboration teams should follow these three steps to create a better product solution and a great user experience.

Have you ever stopped to think why you use one product over another, or what you really like about a product? If you’re like me, sometimes you use a product and like it because it just works. In other words, the product meets your needs.

Nowadays, most markets are crowded with options, and simply meeting a user’s needs is just not enough. To create a product with staying power, companies need to create a great user experience. User experience (or UX) embodies the full cognitive experience a user has when interacting with a website or digital application. That experience is good or bad based on how easy and enjoyable or awkward and frustrating it is. Great user experience is one that meets the needs of the user in the most simplistic, efficient, and pleasing way that makes the product not only useful, but a delight to use.

We use a three-step process to create a great user experience for our customers. We call this process DLUX (read “deluxe”) — a user-centered design process that combines techniques from both Lean and Agile methodologies to help a company take a product all the way from idea to implementation and adoption.

We leverage cross-functional viewpoints to verify we are solving the right problem from the beginning, establish a clear vision for the team to work towards, and emphasize early testing of initial designs to make sure they work for the user. DLUX allows for early ideation and validation before full-scale wireframing, story writing, and development begins. It’s not about failing fast; it’s about learning fast. At the end of this process, we have a product solution that works well and delivers a great user experience.

Understand the Vision and Define Your Design Problem Space

We establish a cross-functional team and work with business stakeholders and product owners to understand the product vision, including the core concept, brand identity and content strategy. We clearly define the problem and create a strategy to solve it. We begin by getting a clear understanding of where we are now and where we want to be. The distance between these two points becomes our problem space. We then find out what high-level features are needed to address the problem space and identify any risks to achieving our goals.

Validate Understanding of the User

Our team works together to understand the different end users of the product. We then create personas that include the users’ needs and journeys they must go through to meet their needs. We match the personas, needs and journeys with the problem space. We form an initial hypothesis and/or solution framework and conduct validation testing. We refine our vision statement based on our findings and prepare a summary packet for the Solution Studio.

Solution Studio: Collaborate to Find the Right Solution

The team conducts a time-boxed working session called a Solution Studio to elaborate and establish initial solution options for the problem space. We use sketches, key insights and findings from the Solution Studio to create draft stories, wireframes, prototypes and design themes. We conduct additional user experience testing. The end result is the product solution, which is refined and communicated in a solution brief.

We also sometimes use a time-boxed approach conducted over 5-days to accomplish these same steps in our DLUX Design Sprint. This process focuses on solving specific usability and user flow challenges that can impact the potential success of digital products, especially new ones. For a more detailed discussion of DLUX, feel free to reach out directly.

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