When to Partake in a UX Project?

Every single product or service can benefit of employing a user experience (UX) designer. Unfortunately there are always way less good designers than projects and therefore they have to be selective.

Both the designer and the project benefit if the designer feels happy. In a selection process every designer has his or her own ethical principles to start with. When a project passes the moral test, please, consider:

  • What he/she can bring to the project?
    Knowledge? Skills? Positive attitude?
  • What he/she expects to get back?
    Moral satisfaction of making a good product?
    Or making a world a better place?
    Or creating a perfect icon? Or expressing the inner self?
  • What expertise is already presented in the project team?
    Who is in charge of the product/company development strategy?
    Who defines product/service functionality and visual style?
    Who decides what (brand) message the product communicate?
  • What can the designer add?
    On what level the designer have to be involved? Strategic?
    Or the help is needed in a tactical realization of the defined goal?
    Or the product needs someone who will prettify the existing solution without asking questions?

As you can see there is a world of possibilities on a different levels. Some designers aim for perfection on one of them, some on another. If both the designer and the employer are on the same page about the role and the level of involvement of the designer in the project and satisfied with answers to the questions above, you should proceed.

Here you will find some information of what can you ask and expect from the designer and how to communicate a UX projects needs and results effectively. Good luck!

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Exploration

Before the start of the project ask yourself and the team members:

  • Who will use the product/service?
  • What similar products/services are already on the market
    (try to use them, read use-cases, available documentation, everything you can find)?
  • How do people use available products/services?
  • What problems do they encounter with available solutions?
  • What users needs needs are not supported already?

After you have an answer to the first question, go find those people (nearby or online) and ask them the same set of question.

Not only ask but also observe if you have a possibility:

  • visit their working place,
  • attend a master-class on using a competitors product together with them,
  • read thematic blogs and forums,
  • watch what they do,
  • listen to questions they ask,
  • talk to them.

During exploration phase leave your mind open to the others ideas. Note down those ideas. Ask questions. Explore.

Expected result

  • Personas (max. 2 per target group) or a verbal portrait of users of the product including their lifestyle, activities related to the product usage;
  • Benchmark (for each design aspect) comparison of competitors products with a product or an idea of your customer including main features but also defined in a goal metrics;
  • Core use cases (max. 5 per product) or main usage scenarios.
  • Opportunity areas (max. 1–5 cases) usually derived from users complains and requested features.

Note: the numbers given here are enough to do effective UX. Surely you will find more but you have to shortlist them. Otherwise will be difficult to stay focused.