Learning UX Design: Design

The goal of designing my own website is to create a website for anyone interested in my professional achievements and goals that is simple to update, worth reading and easy to look at on any device in any browser. All updates to this project can be found on the main project page.

My third and final week of studying the basics UX design is making me realize how much I am just barely scratching the surface of this subject. This week is about the design phase. Everything up til now has been research and planning. The design phase is where we finally get to start creating our project after wireframing and testing again.

Wireframing

In the Strategy Phase we created prototypes to test user interaction. Wireframes take these prototypes one level further. At least that’s the way I’m going to look at it. Prototypes, wireframes and mockups are tools to quickly design and test ideas. How you use them will depend on your methods and preferences. They should provide just enough detail for the front-end developers and visual designers to do their thing. At this stage, the wireframe should have enough detail to show developers how your site or app will look and interact on various devices. It should also have enough detail so that you can get feedback from the developers on how to improve usability and visual design.

When designing, you’re trying to make something unique yet easy to use. It needs to be different but recognizable at the same time. It seems that UX is a field of informed contradictions. One great way to make sure your design is recognizable and easy to use is with design patterns. Design patterns are common, proven assemblies of interface elements that already feels familiar to users.

Create. Test. Learn.

Ever notice that all the best repeatable instructions come in threes? “Wash. Rinse. Repeat.”, “See zombie. Run. Hide.”, etc. How often and how quickly you create, test and learn during the UX design process will depend on your project management strategy. We won’t quite get into that yet though. Regardless of your management principles always remember to stay on track by keeping your goal in mind with every decision.

Once you have a wireframe, test it with your users, stakeholders and developers to get feedback. Repeat until you have a wireframe that meets your core goals.

Develop and Launch

Once you have a design that’s good enough, your developers and visual designers have all they need to make it happen. it’s time to develop and launch the project. Don’t wait until your design is perfect because if you’re anything like me, it will never be perfect. The purpose behind this process is to create a project that works and that achieves your goals. Don’t be afraid to create, test and learn after launch.

There is so much more for me to learn about UX design and I have enough links, articles and book recommendations to spend the next year reading all about it, but that’s not going to help me learn. It’s time for me to put these practices to use and design my website. Next up, implementing the discovery phase.

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