Here at RebelDot, user experience design has been an important part of our process from the very beginning. In fact, for us, design isn’t just a trend, but a way of thinking.
Of course, we aren’t the only ones who realized the importance of going UX first, as many companies, from start-ups to large organizations choose to go this route, as the number of advantages brought to the table is astonishing.
Since the importance of UX design plays a significant role in our company and the products we build/ develop, I’m going to share with you why going design first is not a trend, but a necessity.
Going UX design first
First, user experience design should not be an add-on, as it should be incorporated from the very beginning.
The biggest mistake many companies make is starting the UX design phase too late in the product development process. I know from experience that developers are much more comfortable thinking in features and user stories, rather than journeys and scenarios. Therefore, in development-oriented teams, products are built based on assumptions and requirements, and oftentimes they end up with a final product that doesn’t correspond with the user`s needs.
By going design first, we go through a series of steps, an iteration through which we define and validate needs, frustrations, requirements and assumptions, resulting in a validated product, which answers real needs. Only after the design phase, we hand off a fully working prototype and documentation for the developers to build on.
Good user experience is crucial. The aesthetic side is just a small part of UX, which makes all aspects (consistency, functionality, target audience, monetization, etc) work together in harmony. Essentially, UX defines how a product will work, and how users will interact with it.
If you have an idea, then this is the place to start!
Importance of going UX design first
First, every product, environment or experience starts with the users. After kick-off you need to find answers to the following questions:
What are the user’s needs?
What problems are we trying to solve?
What value will the product bring to the users?
Going design first will answer these questions through research, which on top of everything, will give you a better understanding of your audience and will allow you to adjust and set trajectory before the development phase begins.
When building a new product, it’s vital to dedicate as much time as possible in understanding how users will use the product and in which scenarios, to make sure their needs are met, and frustrations resolved, making their way of working simpler and hassle-free.
To solve complex problems and come up with innovative solutions we use an iterative design process, where we seek to understand the users, assess their needs, challenge assumptions, and identify problems that might not be apparent on first sight.
While every product is unique and has its own challenges, having an iterative design process in place is crucial to champion challenges and design the best solutions.
A designer will help you bring all ideas together, identifying features that are important for your product, features that can determine whether your idea will succeed or fail.
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It is easier and cost efficient to change trajectory, to tackle the unexpected during the design phase. The costs of changes and updates in this phase are much lower than changing an entire product which is already developed.
Building on 3 pylons
The end goal of a design is to create a product that is desirable, feasible and viable. This means that your product should not only satisfy the needs of a user, but it must also take into consideration the appropriate technology that allows implementing the right solution for the product and its business model.
Designers slow us down to speed us up
The design is important, and as mentioned before, to start with this phase from the beginning is vital, a must for companies and organizations that build products.
Start with the right foot, foresee, tackle and validate issues, before investing too much time and money into the development process.
If you want to build a successful product you should definitely go design first, think outside the box, look beyond aesthetics, build a cross-functional team and most importantly, believe in your idea!