When designing software, we refer to 2 main activities;
- User Experience (UX) is about how things work. It is usually associated with a collection of user-centric activities; user research, user flows, information architecture, wireframes… Its goal usually is about making things easy and intuitive for the end-user.
- User Interface (UI) is about how things look. It can overlap with some of the UX activities (e.g. wireframes), but is often more focused on wireframes, mockups, front-end code… The goal often is to define a consistent and pleasing visual “language” for users.
These activities usually run alongside through the whole project; UX and UI are rarely “done” (but so is software). They revolve around one of these tools/deliverables;
- User flow, Wireframes & Mockups; user flows and wireframes are probably the most ubiquitous tools for us. We almost exclusively design them with paper. We usually create mockups and final assets with Sketch and share them as interactive prototypes with InVision. We sometimes augment these tools with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere & Quartz Composer for specific needs (branding and video montage).
- User & Stakeholder Interviews; we run interviews with users and the project stakeholders to better understand the context of how the software is used, and its purpose. You can refer to the “Understand” phase of our product design process.
- User data; surveys, analytics, user testing…; these are typically preformed when the project has already been launched. Analytics tools (such as Google Analytics) are usually a must.
- User personas; user personas are a great way to improve the team’s understanding of the users they’re designing for, and help us empathize with them.
- A/B tests; we try and take as much of our design decisions with data. A/B tests are a great way to evaluate which of our variants (see “Diverging” in our product design process) perform better.