Jan
31

How to instantly improve the UX of your design

My friend, Thomas Bishop, posted the other day what is the single best piece of UX advice you have ever gotten.

This question got me thinking about the feedback I have received over the years as well as the feedback I have frequently given.

Some obvious UX best practices come to mind, but the feedback I kept coming back to as being consistently overlooked is the necessity to walk through and present your design.

For young designers, I get why this creates anxiety and is often avoided. After you slave over every pixel, the last thing you want to open yourself up to is someone telling you to make changes. Here is the problem: by not presenting and explaining your efforts you are dramatically increasing the likelihood that they will, in fact, make changes.

“But it looks cool! I shouldn’t need to explain it” is the quickest way to have a design dismissed. I have seen plenty of moments where a design would have survived a review, whether by peer or client, had the designer prepared to present their work. Putting the design up for review without explanation does a disservice to all the different permutations that went through your mind during creation.

A foundational yet simple design presentation from a UX standpoint answers three questions for me:

1. Who do we expect to come to this page?

2. What do they want to accomplish?

3. What do we want them to accomplish?

When I say “Who” I do not think there is a need for an ultra detailed persona report. I just want you to level set on whether we are on the same page for the type of user that would be using the design we are talking about. Is it your parents or your sibling in high school?

When we talk about “what they want,” here is where empathy for user comes in. Have we considered what the critical path is for the end user? Are we creating a bunch of hoops for the user to jump through because it looks cool? Focus on making sure whatever the top goals are for our “who” that you explained that you accounted for that.

Lastly, what do “we want” to happen. Presenting how you are keeping the business objectives in mind is key to getting your work approved. “We” make money when ______ happens, so here is how I have considered that in my design.

Thinking through these questions will inherently make your design better. You’ll start thinking through the reasoning of your decisions as you are working and in turn, will give you more confidence. I tend to keep a notepad open for each design, gives me a space to think through anything I want to remember about why I decided to lay something out in a certain way.

Something else to consider is I have used “we” a lot in the above. I think it is important to remember as a designer that everything you do is a collaboration. You need users to use your design. So you should be open to the “we” in explaining your design. It helps you think through the usage of your design, we all want you to be successful.

Presenting your design will make all the difference in the world in how great it looks.

 

This was originally posted on Medium