User Experience Design

Read The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett.

Read Google Fundamentals Basics of UX for the basics of designing for great experiences.

See all posts tagged User Experience.


Double Diamond Design Process

The Double Diamond design process is a commonly used model pioneered by the British Design Council.

  1. Understand
  2. Define
  3. Diverge
  4. Decide
  5. Prototype
  6. Validate

My personal User Experience design process is based on elements of the Double Diamond, and I follow the standard Interaction Design process (BS EN ISO 9241-210:2010 Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Part 210: Human-centred design for interactive systems).

  1. Discover
  2. Define
  3. Document
  4. Design
  5. Prototype
  6. Validate


Discover what you need to properly frame the scene: focus on your user, reframe the problem, refine the goals… and plan for a measurable UX.


  1. Internal—interviews with stakeholders and lightning talks
  2. User Interviews—user needs, goals, tasks, and pain points
  3. Ethnographic Field Research—observing users in their natural enviroment
  4. Review, Ready to Document?

User Research

User interviews are a great way to learn about a person’s pain points in any given task. This is perhaps the best way of learning about the user’s journey, pain points, and flow.

Arrange at least five user interviews, more if you have access to them.

The sorts of questions you ask them should include:

  • How do they complete an existing task? For example, say you want to solve the challenge for the financial app above, you could ask them “how do you buy shares and stocks at the moment?”
  • What do they like about this flow?
  • What do they dislike about this flow?
  • What similar products does the user currently use?
    • What do they like?
    • What do they dislike?
  • If they had a magic wand and could change one thing about this process what would it be?

The idea of interviewing is to get the user to speak about the challenges they have. It is not a discussion point for you, which is why you must remain as quiet as possible. This is even true when a user stops speaking, always wait a moment as they could be gathering their thoughts. You would be surprised at how much someone will continue to speak after they have stopped for a few seconds.

Take notes throughout and if possible record the conversation to help you capture anything you might have missed. The goal is to compare the challenge to the user insights that you gather. Do they align? Did you learn anything that helps you update your challenge statement?


Diagram a high level user flow of tasks required to complete the user’s goal in this project.

“…plot out the main steps for each user or player in a flow.” — Google Fundamentals, Basics of UX


  1. Divergence: Crazy 8s to Detail Design
  2. Convergence: Refine your design based on what you learn
  3. Flow: Combine sketches and ideas into a comprehensive storyboard


  1. Sketching & Paper Prototyping
  2. Use DIY Design System Magnets
  3. Interactive prototyping: Invision, MarvelFigma, UXPin, …


Test to validate your designs with users.

See also the RITE method of prototype testing, and consider UserTesting.com, Silverback, and Reframer.

Usability Research Questions

You need to find out:

  • What do they like about the prototype?
  • What do they dislike about the prototype?
  • What are the pain points?
    • Why did a flow work
    • Why did a flow not work
  • What would they like to improve?
  • Does the overall design/flow meet their needs?

Review your usability notes, and…

“Revise your designs, and analyze what worked and what didn’t. Don’t be afraid to create a completely new wireframe storyboard and make a new prototype. Starting over can create a better flow than trying to move things on your earlier prototype. Try not to be too precious of it because it is just a prototype.

Once you are happy with your designs you can test it again and refine it some more. In cases where the prototype didn’t hit the mark at all, well you might think the project has failed. In actual fact it hasn’t. You’ve likely spent less development time than if you had actually built the design and you know more bout what user’s actually like. With design sprints we have a philosophy where you either win or you learn, so don’t beat yourself up too much if the idea didn’t work as planned.”

Mustafa Kurtuldu, Design Advocate at GoogleMaterial Design, UX & Design Sprints