Book Image

Hands-On UX Design for Developers

By : Elvis Canziba
Book Image

Hands-On UX Design for Developers

By: Elvis Canziba

Overview of this book

Designing user experience (UX) is one of the most important aspects of a project, as it has a direct effect on how customers think of your company. The process of designing a user experience is one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of product development. Hands-On UX Design for Developers will teach you how to create amazing user experiences for products from scratch. This book starts with helping you understand the importance of a good UX design and the role of a UX designer. It will take you through the different stages of designing a UX and the application of various principles of psychology in UX design. Next, you will learn how to conduct user research and market research, which is crucial to creating a great UX. You will also learn how to create user personas and use it for testing. This book will help you gain the ability to think like a UX designer and understand both sides of product development: design and coding. You will explore the latest tools, such as Sketch, Balsamiq, and Framer.js, to create wireframes and prototypes. The concluding chapters will take you through designing your UI, dealing with big data while designing a UX, and the fundamentals of frontend. Finally, you'll prepare your portfolio and become job ready in the UX arena.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Title Page

Why is UX so important?

UX can be in a wide range of features; even smaller parts of the application could prevent you from losing your audience. Let's say that two companies have a very similar product but one of the products offers a better UX, which means that this product will attract a greater number of users and will provide a better return-on-investment to the company. You can find this similarity in various products nowadays, such as web applications, video games, mobile apps, and, of course, even on physical products.

Specifically, the UX Professionals Association mentions the following six key benefits that business can derive from UX design:

  • It increases productivity
  • It increases sales and revenue
  • It reduces the cost of support and training
  • It reduces the cost of development and development time
  • It reduces the cost of maintenance
  • It increases customer satisfaction

UX design, as its name suggests, is about designing the ideal experience of using a service or product. As such, it can involve all types of products and services, for instance, about the design involved in a museum exhibition. However, mainly the term UX design is used in relation to websites, web applications, and other software applications.

Since late 2000, technologies have become increasingly complex, and the functionalities of applications and websites have become far broader and more intricate. Early websites were simple static pages that served information to feed curious searchers; however, a few decades later, websites became more interactive, offered a richer feel for the users globally, and more information as well. If we also count responsive websites, real-time applications, and mobile apps, we can see how easily users get the information that they need nowadays compared to earlier times.

But there is one interesting thing: if we boost UX and UI too fast, the users will not get used it, so everything should take place in a natural, discrete, ordered way.

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest mistake new start-ups or companies make is that they don't start their UX planning at the beginning of a project. Usually, you will hear comments such as, "We need to launch the product or services first, and we'll think about its look and feel later."

Well, I can say that this is totally insane. 

It is like an architect saying,let's start the house, finish it, then later we'll think about its look; crazy, right?

Why? It sounds absurd for hundreds of reasons, as follows:

  • You will not know whether there is a need for your product or service in the first place
  • You will not have a single clue about whether you have done it right
  • It will cost you a lot of money
  • It will cost you time

That is why UX should be involved right from the beginning, that is, from the first phase of your product or service design, in order to avoid making these mistakes and to have a better return-on-investment (ROI).

A good UX design starts at the very beginning of your product, well-planned UX will help the development to move faster. Everything should be produced by general product guidelines.

Usually, my biggest challenge is when I am being asked by clients to improve their UX just before they go live. That is really difficult, since most of the time it is really late and almost impossible to change anything. Since their app is almost ready, its architecture is done and the budget has diminished, and, even worse, you don't have the option to make any changes without affecting their product because most of its parts were not created with the users in mind; the team just wanted it to work on the functionality side.

When users can't understand how to use a product, they will require instructions and training to use it. Such a product will be problematic for someone who has to use it on a daily basis. Due to this, they will look for alternative options.

Besides the user's involvement from the beginning of the product design/development, it's important to understand that all other teams in the company need to be involved on the UX design process, should have a good relationship among each other, and should help other teams for a better final result.

For example, the marketing team can get user feedback on issues they are having when using the product and send it to the UX team.

Hopefully, by now, your knowledge of UX design has increased, and you have a clear understanding of what it stands for, how it is used, and when you need to use it.  Now, it is time to move on to explain what a full stack designer is.


However, before we go there, just keep this in mind:


Who is a UX designer?

A UX designer is someone who investigates and analyzes how users feel about the products offered to them. UX designers then apply this knowledge to product development in order to ensure that the user has the best possible experience with that product. UX designers conduct research, analyze their findings, inform other members of the development team about their findings, monitor development projects to ensure that those findings are implemented, and do much more.

People usually presume that product design was simpler in the past. Well, they thought it was simpler because designers or product owners had a particular design in mind and built their products in a way that they thought was good and hoped their clients would like.

However, it was different because online competitions for solving specific problems were not as prominent as they are today, so even if the people didn't like a product much, they were forced to use it because there was no other option available to them. That is the reason why most of products used to be designed without users in mind.

UX increases the chances of a project's success when it finally comes to market, not least because it doesn't gamble on users taking to a product just because it's a brand name.

UX design can be found in a variety of project environments nowadays. The more complicated the project, the more essential its UX design is. Too many features handled the wrong way can deter users like nothing else.

You may not find dedicated UX teams in a start-up, but UX is always part of the objective. High-tech start-ups developing innovative projects need to understand how their users feel even more than established companies do.

The bigger the project is, the more resources it consumes, so UX becomes even more important to deliver a return on the investment.

The main methodology used to guarantee the UX in most projects is user-centered design. Simply put, user-centered design is all about designing with the user's needs and expected behaviors in mind.

We can say that if the heart of UX design is the concept of constant iterative optimization, then the problem is the blood the heart is pumping.

So, the approach for our future customers or users should be to find the problem that they are dealing with and then solve it for them. We have to find the problem and define it–feel the same pain that our users feel–and eliminate it for them. That is the highway to providing a great UX.

To stay on the right path, we will need a lot of analytical and intuitive skills, because one of the trickiest parts with problems is that when we have something that troubles us, it is difficult to define it.

In the past, the role of a UX designer was a bit more difficult, because we always had to prove the value of UX to the company we were working for, and it was a real struggle to explain to companies why UX is important and why they need to start focusing on it. However, nowadays, companies and start-ups have become aware of the importance of UX and take this user-centered design approach seriously.

UX design process

Like most other disciplines, UX design has its own process. UX design follows the user-centered design process, which looks like this:

  • Discovery and planning
  • Strategy
  • UX Research
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Production

We will go deeper into each one of these in the later chapters of this book, but I will clarify a small point here: what each of this phases includes. To have a successful product result in the end, it is really important to follow all this stages strictly:

  • Research: By research, we mean that a statement of work is delivered to the client, with details such as the project's cost, timeline, and what its end result will be. Also, at this stage, team-planning will be included, so this is the initial preparation before starting the project and going deeper into it.
  • Strategy: This is the first phase, where we define what goal we want to achieve in this process. It deals with understanding what the benefit of the final product will be.
  • Discovery and Planning: This is usually referred as theDiscovery phase, and will include a lot of sub-phases inside its life cycle, such as interviews, user research, competition research, observations from users, and different surveys.
  • Analysis: Here, you write the insights on the data that you collected from the research phase and then define how UX design can help you with that data.
  • Design: This comes after you define clear goals and flows from the previous three phases and put your product to life by visualizing it and designing all the specific flows, refine them, and get input from the users by doing paper prototypes, wireframes, interactions, and UI designs.
  • Production: This phase is where all the visual designs are finished, and you validate the product with stakeholders and go through user testing sessions. In this phase, the UX design team has to collaborate a lot with the developers team and guide them to produce a high-quality product.

So, all these six stages of the UX process include the user feedback from the beginning of each stage and during the entire product life cycle.