UX practices are adapted to the needs and constraints of each project. Therefore UX is typically not done the same way across projects or organizations. Instead there are phases of UX practice that tend to emerge over the life of a project. For the purposes of this document I use the labels Discovery, Design, and Evaluation for these phases, and below I describe each phase and link to an example where my work has fit into it.
Although the phases are presented here sequentially, in reality they may overlap or be interposed, as inputs to one phase are generated from or planned around the outputs and activities of another. This flexibility is needed so that UX can be done properly and thoroughly, especially when it supports Agile development methods.
Goal: Gain domain knowledge and learn about users and their workflows, goals, “pain points,” inputs, outputs, and values so the foundation and direction of the design is informed and on target.
Activities: Interviews; contextual inquiry; card sorting; surveys; reviewing legacy systems
Collaborators: users; UX teammates; stakeholders
Inputs: user comments and participation; brainstormed research questions; assumptions
Outputs: affinity map; journey map; information architecture; scenarios and workflows; personas; reports
Example: “Dossier Management”
Goal: Communicate the layout, navigation, interactions, and functionality of the system to stakeholders and the development team so they know what is to be built based on a shared vision.
Activities: Participatory design; sketching; wireframing; prototyping; conversations with developers
Collaborators: users; UX teammates; developers; stakeholders
Inputs: affinity map; journey map; information architecture; scenarios and workflows; personas; reports; technical parameters; branding and other guidelines; design recommendations and local standards; taxonomy
Outputs: sketches; wireframes; prototypes
Example: “Business Rules”
Goal: Validate research and design items with feedback from users and other stakeholders so progress toward project goals and alignment of the design with user habits and needs can be assessed–and if necessary, corrected as early as possible while it is relatively inexpensive to do so.
Activities: Interviews; concept tests; usability tests; demonstrations; heuristic analysis; surveys
Collaborators: users; stakeholders; heuristic evaluators
Inputs: wireframes; prototypes; information architecture; personas; taxonomy; assumptions
Outputs: design recommendations and local standards; taxonomy; reports; SUS
Example: “Charge Tracking”