UX Process explained simply. Just like making Tea.

There is always talk that goes around the UX community about the UX process. Having been in the UX industry for over 7 years, I have realised that people love complicating simple things. However, I have always believed that as UX designers we are in the business of simplifying things so that they can be easily understood by the user.

Here I am today yet simplifying a process that looks complicated but is as simple as making tea. Before starting I would like to ask you a question -

Have you ever made tea by yourself?

If yes, then you are in luck because you have to follow the exact same steps that you did while making tea to achieve an effective UX! Keep reading to know how.

Context: There are guests at your place and you (being a good host) want to offer something to drink. You want to make sure that every guest at your place is satisfied and you become a super host.

Step 1

Know who all are up for drinking tea?
(Identify/Research)

Before taking the tea pan in your hand you figure out simple questions. Questions like, how many people are there at home, amongst them who wants to have tea, why they want to have tea, etcetera. That is the start of design research right there.

What you are actually doing is identifying the need for making tea. Every UX starts with a purpose which needs to be established at the beginning itself. Always remember that you should not get into solving the wrong problem. In UX understanding of requirements is done by creating user personas and defining the use cases.

Step 2

Why people feel like drinking tea?
(Empathize and Define)

Post that you figure out why people are asking for tea. The reasons can be different for different people. Some might have it because of the weather outside, some because of their cold and some might be asking just compulsively.

You understand their context and sometimes even ask a few people if they want coffee or something else. You do that because you empathise with your guests and understand that some do not prefer tea at this moment.

This step is very important in UX where you put yourself in the shoes of the user and understand how your user is actually feeling. This allows you to see exactly what the pain points are and what you should actually solve.

Step 3

Figure out your plan of action
(Ideate)

Once you know the requirement, roughly figure out how you will approach the tea making process. For example, now you decide that you will be making 4 regular teas, 2 ginger teas and 1 green tea. You came to this conclusion because 4 people were excited about the tea, 2 people had a cold and one was health-conscious.

This is ideation where you sketch out a rough plan to suit your users. Here you make sure that you have all the solutions to your user’s problem. Like thinking of ginger-tea for the people with cold is solving their problem in the context of tea.

Step 4

Compile your ingredients
(Information architecture)

Just like in tea making process there is a right time to add every ingredient, for every element to play in harmony, to brew that perfect cup of tea.

Similarly, in UX, creating the right flow is the next step. Here you define what your entry and exits points are, what page will open next, and how the information will flow.

Step 5

Making of tea
(Design/prototype)

The above steps might seem like a lot of work, but just think, you actually do all those things before getting started with the process. Now you put together all the ingredients and with your skills you make sure that the tea is perfect.

So do you do in UX, now is the time to show your design skills and put up all the pieces together to create a stunning UI that solves the purpose and is ready to be served. This is the time to build experiences.

Step 6

You serve the tea and people tell you they like it!
(Evaluate/usability testing)

Awesome, people really liked what you did. Initially, people always appreciate you, isn’t it? After all, they are your guests. But hold on, after the excitement settles, comes the feedback and now you know people like more sugar in their tea.

You might not get a straight feedback as to what is wrong but if you observe your user closely using your product and study some analytics you will know what’s missing or where the improvement is needed. Usually, this is known as usability testing. This is the feedback phase where you identify improvements.

Step 7

You put the sugar on the table for everyone to take accordingly.
(Iterate)

As sugar is a choice of personal preference to give them what they need. Essentially you are making iteration to your tea by changing the sugar quantity.

Exactly what you should do to your product. Make changes to suit your user, after all, you are designing for them. However in tea, the process might end here, but not in UX. To achieve the smoothness in user flow you should be dedicated to listening to your user.

So those were few simple steps that can help you achieve your UX goal. Just keep in mind it's as simple as making tea as far as you follow all the steps correctly.

If you are starting your career in UX, I wish that you enjoy your cup of tea.

Cheers!

Love to declutter the world by making things simple, as they are. Afterall, everything is not a rocket science.