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What Are Best Modern UX Design Methods and Techniques?

Wanna discover well-tested methods and techniques for creating exceptional UX design? Check out this list and grab the ones you would like to try on practice:

Stage 1 — Research

As every great design starts with analyzing what’s users need, let’s pay attention to several research methods.

 

ILLUSTRATION BY BEL JULIA

1. Product Strategy

First of all, design should reflect the strategy on which the product is grounded. That’s why exploring the plans for the product development and its entire life-cycle is essential. Ask the Product Owner for details to know the target audience and keep its needs in mind when creating visuals.

2. Value Proposition

This method is somehow similar to researching the strategy, however, it has more precise outcomes. Its idea is to map key product aspects:
 

  • What is the product?
  • How does it work?
  • Who will use it?
  • How will it be used?

 

Answers to these questions may be used as applied data later when you’ll create customer journey maps.

3. Competitive Analysis

Though you can’t access strategic documents of competitors, you can see what they have already done. Continuous audit allows you to discover what works for similar products and what is popular in the industry. We’d recommend creating a spreadsheet and keeping everything in one place. Filtering and formatting will help you faster find the best options.

 

A man analyze
Illustration by Bel Julia

4. Interviews

Communication with stakeholders (directors, managers, colleagues, and even early users) helps designers find out what people really need. Sometimes, the best way to learn something is to ask! This technique will help not only to prioritize features but also eliminate guesswork, as you’ll have facts at hand. There are several types of interviews (classic, disoriented, action, card sorting and tree testing), and you can read about them here.

5. Product Roadmap

This is a plan for developing the product features. This method is close to considering the strategy, but the main difference between them is that the roadmap is more focused on features and their priorities. It shows what steps should be taken to achieve the goals in UX.

6. User Personas

This technique allows designers to look at the world with the user’s eyes. When you know who, how, why and when will use your product, your UX will be precise and accurate.

 

 

Three parameters of the user are:

 

  • user description (Who are these people?),
  • environment description (How and when will they use your product),
  • tasks description (Why do they need it and which tasks will they solve?).

7. Customer Journey Map (CJM)

Based on your user personas, you can forecast when these people will choose your product instead of competitors’ ones. After that, CJM shows their way from the very start to fulfilling the goals.
 

 

This map commonly shows not only actions taken but also reasons, emotions, obstacles. 

8. Sitemaps

In every product, be it a website or a mobile app, navigation and intuitive use are in the first place. If users don’t find what they need at once, they leave and choose something more clear. That’s why this technique is important but underestimated by some designers.

 

Sitemap created with FlowMapp Sitemap tool
Sitemap created with FlowMapp Sitemap tool

 

Sitemaps show whether it’s easy to find something on your resource. If it is, use it for creating the UX design. If not, improve it!

9. Brainstorming

Two heads are better than one, so this technique is extremely popular among teams. Generating ideas, solving problems, making decisions — anything can be done together faster. What’s more, you always have a bunch of opinions at once and can discuss controversial points.

 

Keep in mind that all these techniques can be used in the process of design too or when making changes to an existing UX.
 

Stage 2 — Creating Design

The best approach is just to create a great UX, but if you have several techniques for improving the design on the go, why not use them?

 

ILLUSTRATION BY BEL JULIA

1. Use Cases

This is a full list of the user interactions with the app or website, which will be later used as requirements for development. Define user roles and describe all activities from A to Z, as well as deviations from the main scenario. For example, you hope the user clicks ‘Yes’, but what if they choose ‘No’ or leave the page and return to it later?

2. Storyboards

Just like storyboards used in filmmaking to visually represent some events, they reflect how users will interact with the product via UX design. They look like sketches and don’t need to be artistic masterpieces. The main idea is to show what is going on in specific use cases to stakeholders or colleagues.

 

storyboard example

3. Task Analysis

This technique is useful for both UX designers and developers. It allows them to see whether the system works well for completing a specific user task, whether the information flow is smooth and intuitive.

 

Literally, it’s the exploration of action required for achieving the users’ goals in practice.

4. Flowcharts

When you start creating designs and in the process, flowcharts will help you keep an eye on what else should be done. Also, they can be used for presentations, development, and brainstorming sessions.

 

 

Flowcharts may include many other things such as user personas, sitemaps, CJMs, storyboards, and many more.

5. Heuristic Review

This technique works well when you need to check your design before testing it. It implies the analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the created UX design. You make two lists and see if the product is strong enough to go to production or needs improvements in usability.

Stage 3 — Testing UX Design

So, you have developed and implemented a new UX design together with your team. Now it’s time to test how it works and if users love it!

 

ILLUSTRATION BY BEL JULIA

1. User Behavior Analytics (UBA)

With five techniques for analyzing user behavior, you’ll know if the product works the way it was expected:

 

  • Heat maps.
  • Session recordings.
  • Funnel analysis
  • On-site surveys.
  • Feedback widgets.

2. User Interview

With analytical tools, you get only quantitative data about your users. Interviews help you collect qualitative information about their preferences, opinions and emotions.

 

Along with that, you test the target audience and may make changes to the whole strategy based on user interviews.

3. A/B Test

This method allows showing two or more alternative designs to the audience and comparing their actions and user journeys. Finally, you know which one performs more effectively and may optimize funnels, as well as costs for design and development.

4. Corridor Testing

This is a cheap method but it requires a certain degree of courage. So, you grab your product or project, go outside and ask people in public places what they think about it. Sure, you need to analyze whether these people fit the portrait of your target audience and then ask them for a small favor.

5. SWOT Analysis

This abbreviation means:

 

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

 

It’s great if you have collected analytical data about the app/website usage to prove these statements. So, you can turn weaknesses into opportunities and see what should be fixed asap at once. 

 

By the way, there are ready-made templates of the SWOT matrix — get them and fill the blanks.

 

A man analyze

6. Accessibility Audit

Today we want all the people around the world to have equal opportunities. That’s why the topic of accessibility is so hot, especially when it comes to UX design.

 

Check whether people with disabilities can use your product as efficiently as everyone else. By the way, here’s a guide on checking accessibility in UX!

The Bottom Line

Sure, these are not the only techniques for researching, creating and testing UX designs. However, we’ve told you about well-tested modern methods you should try (if you haven’t done it yet).

 

For more methods, check out our glossary. Choose the subcategory — Research, Analytics, Production, Testing, or User feedback — and dive even deeper into the ocean of UX design!

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