Set yourself up for UX success: 5 key questions to consider before starting a project
While every project and client will have unique needs, there are a few crucial questions you can ask yourself at the outset of any undertaking to make sure the user experience is getting off on the right foot.
Who am I designing for?
It is called user experience after all! The most important piece of creating great UX is understanding your audience or users. There are several ways to do this.
- Analytics data: Where are people coming from? How long do they spend on the site/app?
- Marketing information or demographics: Who are the target audience? How old are they? What do you know about their habits?
- Research with users: Best of all is getting up close and personal with end users. You might be able to do this through contextual inquiry, interviews or informal testing of existing products/sites.
The nuggets of information that you are trying to capture are understanding your users’ needs, behaviours and what they are trying to accomplish.
What are the goals of this experience?
When working with a client, these can be seen as the business requirements. When working on a personal project, these are what you hope to achieve with the site, application or software. Is the aim to increase sign ups? Get more traffic to a certain page? Decrease drop off in the ecommerce flow?
- Setting out key goals and prioritizing them will be useful input when designing. This can help to ensure that the UX is serving business as well as user needs.
- Identifying ways to measure whether these goals are met can help with evaluating the UX in the long run.
Content – what’s the story?
Content is at the core of any great digital experience. At the beginning of a project, understanding content processes and what content you are working with will set you up for success.
- Take stock of existing content – this can be done with a content audit.
- Understand the content production workflow – who is writing new content, and sourcing images? Does the content timeline align with the rest of the production timeline?
Understanding the raw material you are designing with, and how that fits into an overall workflow, will ensure smooth progress.
Accessibility is a crucial component in a great experience. An accessible experience makes for a better experience for all users. Accessibility should not be an afterthought. For great UX bake it in from the get go!
- Pick the tools you will use to consider accessibility in your workflow. Colour contrast checker and HTML code sniffer are great places to start.
- Understand the legal requirements in terms of accessibility in your location.
What are the technical requirements?
The platform and technical constraints that you are designing for will provide context for the UX choices you make.
- Are there platform design guidelines I should be familiarizing myself with? Users will be familiar with platform conventions of their device and sticking to these can aid in creating a frictionless experience.
- What kinds of databases are being accessed? How rigid are the database fields? This can have a particular impact when designing web forms.
Bearing these five questions in mind at the start of a project can help to uncover some opportunities for creating a great user experience.