For us, productivity means investing more time in to-dos that lead to benefits and results. With UX Design processes this is possible! Your team, no matter if they are developing a new product, digitizing an analog process step or optimizing an existing user interface, will have more time to create benefits with these four steps.
The four points at a glance:
Do user research to find the right problem
Providing a platform for innovative solutions
Foster communication between UX designers and developers
Regularly test with users and compare the product with reality
1. Analyze Users' Needs in UX Design
At this point, ask yourself the following questions: Do we know what our users want? Do we have processes in place to identify the user problem? Have we already collected data on user behavior, conducted user interviews, and discussed observations in the team?
Before you tackle a problem, you should be clear whether it is the right problem your team will deal with. Every software must solve a problem and provide a benefit, otherwise it will miss its purpose.
How do you get to the root of the problem? UX design processes are strongly user-centric. You have to explore and comminicate with people who have the problem! User research is the key to defining the problem space. What does user research have to do with team productivity? Quite simply! If your team knows what problem it wants to solve, it is not working blindly towards a wrong goal that has no benefit.
In some cases, users need to be accompanied in their daily work so that their problems and needs can be identified. Sometimes usability tests have to be performed with different tasks that are to be solved with the product. The findings from the user research must be distributed and discussed in the whole team. Then you derive the right problem space.
2. Find innovative solutions in UX Design
Now the UX design process is about collecting solutions to the problem. Important: collect, i.e. go broadly! That means: first of all, everything is allowed. Evaluating and filtering possible solutions follows later. This is a basic idea of UX Design: to create space for innovation and diversity of ideas!
If everything is possible at first, many more (useful) ideas will come - you will see! Innovative solutions will be considered rather than already known and easy solutions. So first of all your team will have more fun at work and secondly you will have an inclusive path where many voices are heard. A rating system makes it easier to filter the most promising ideas. Your team should then test these using prototyping methods. We recommend to test the prototypes with users as early as possible and, thereby, hold the ideas against the light of reality. Do the solutions only work on paper? Do they look nice but don't solve the problem from point 1? Then continue prototyping!
3. Integrate UX design into software engineering
If you are thinking now: "UX design completed, now it's time for software engineering" - not quite! UX Design does not stop when it goes into code. The software engineering phase also becomes more productive through UX design processes. Important: you should not rush things and bring designs to code too quickly.
Ask yourself the question: Have we sufficiently validated the designs with user feedback? If you answer this with a clear "Yes", so the implementation can start, otherwise you will have to work more a little more on your prototypes and try out different solutions.
When you start the implementation phase: do your developers know what to do? Establishing a good communication between designers and developers and using agile patterns that help your team to structure tasks is key. Structure lieke this: what is easy to develop and useful? What is difficult to develop and less useful? Prioritize the useful and simple over the less useful and complicated, rather than developing off the shelf. This way, everyone has more time, knows at any time what the next to-do is and focuses on tasks that create value.
The best teams test early and often.
Define how often and when the software should be tested before implementation! Never develop anything at once and only test with users at the! Testing with users takes time, but it takes much less time, so there is less time for expensive improvements at the end. Take on agile processes like SCRUM. That way, a regularity and routine comes into testing. The goal is to waste as little time as possible on features that don't work and to detect problems as early as possible.
4. Post-Release Analysis and the UX Design Cycle
Your product has been successfully launched on the market? Great job! But the project is still going on. Imagine if the Apple iPhone would have stopped at iOS 1. Your product must constantly adapt. User needs change, new information comes into play, the market changes etc. It is important to collect data on how the product is used in the real world and to monitor changes in user behavior and needs. It is not for nothing that the Apple iPhone today runs on iOS 14. To adapt your product to user needs, you should define data and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the performance of your software. Visualize these data and learn how to interpret it correctly! This way your team will be able to focus on points that drive the product forward and be more productive in the sence of contributing to useful tasks!
The observations and the knowledge gained by analysing the product's interaction with real users in the real world leads us into a UX cycle: new insights into the user experience open up new problem areas and you can start right away with point 1 of our steps. Your team will work on concrete user problems - with structure, a plan and a concrete vision to make users more satisfied.