Even those who are not savvy about web & app development have probably heard of UI and UX design. But they have a vague idea of how these concepts differ, let alone understanding the duties of UI and UX specialists.
In a nutshell, UI/UX designers are responsible for what users ultimately deal with and what they feel when interacting with the product. In fact, the best UX design agency can have a much greater impact on the quality of the final product than the software development side.
Today, we will focus on a UX design specialist. We will outline their responsibilities and tell why companies and startups need them. What benefit does a UX designer bring? How much will the final product suffer if there’s no such specialist in your team?
What is UX design?
Today, it is important not only how beautiful the application’s interface is, but also how convenient it is. This is where UX design comes in handy.
UX design is a complex of actions aimed at creating the framework for maximizing the user experience from interacting with the product. High-quality UX design determines the success of your solution. In this regard, the role and responsibility of a UX designer go far beyond creating an attractive product layout.
What is a UX designer responsible for?
We started by reminding you of how wide the range of responsibilities of a UX specialist is. However, it should be noted that the actions of a UX designer differ depending on the company — namely, its size, specifics, industry, and so on. But, it is still possible to single out a few main areas that are most common.
User research is conducted in order to get a complete understanding of who will be dealing with the product. Before starting the research itself, a UX designer acquires all the data that can be collected without direct user participation. After that, this data is combined with the info that has been obtained “in the field”. The process may also include researching competitors — their performance, strategies, and weaknesses. It is even possible to obtain information regarding their existing users.
The good news is that designers don’t have to do it manually. There is a large number of tools that are capable of automating the user research process. Some of them you can find here.
Such a survey will determine the key elements that the product should contain. After that, the development team can start creating early product prototypes or MVPs. The UX designer, in turn, will be able to move on to the next task — user personas development.
Creating user personas
A user persona is a hypothetical image of the target user of the product. It outlines their needs, problems, the pattern of behavior, etc. Having such an image at hand, it is possible to simulate the user journey through all stages of interaction with the product. Thereby, it helps to identify potential problems and weaknesses of the product. Ultimately, only after the user persona has been worked out, the problem statement can be formulated.
A UX designer knows that only by understanding the user, it is possible to determine the features and elements that need to be developed first. Do not forget that user experience is about building a bridge between the product and the user. It is impossible to build it if the user’s image is blurry and inaccurate.
Wireframes are schematic diagrams that represent the elements of a web or mobile application. When creating a wireframe, a UX designer plans how information should be placed and presented on the page. Once user research is conducted, a UX specialist should understand what the product should look like, down to the smallest details.
Depending on the specifics of the product, a wireframe can be either a paper diagram or a complex web page. The latter is created using special tools.
Another process that is closely related to wireframing is user flow development. This is a plan of how the user will interact with the product — from launching it to taking the final action (purchase, subscription, order, etc.). A designer should work through all potential chains, covering as many interaction options as possible. This helps to make the transition from section to section smooth. After going through the user flow dozens of times, a UX specialist will get an idea of how to create an intuitive interface.
Creating a prototype
Finally, when the product goals are defined and the wireframes are tested, a UX designer can proceed with developing a design prototype. It is often confused with a wireframe, but the difference is huge. A wireframe is simply a template for a future page or section. A prototype is a working structure with which users can interact. Having a prototype, UX specialists run users through their user flows, identifying potential bottlenecks.
This is one of the last stages of product design. Users can check colors, elements, and other design components of a working solution. This kind of testing allows designers to get rid of possible issues before starting the final product development. Of course, a designer can do everything manually, but the development of complex high-quality prototypes requires using dedicated tools.
These are the most versatile tasks that a UX designer is usually engaged in. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and large UX design teams take on a huge amount of work. But at least, you now know how important it is to hire an experienced UX designer.