Prototyping – what the customer needs to know about UX?

Aug 13, 2018

How often happens such a situation that custome r want to make an order for the production of the site or application, but do not know how to start? You come to designer or ask your friends about it and take the information that you need to start to think up what should be on the site. Write specifiactions. And it’s better to draw! Need to solve the problem about every page content. Prepare text and image content. Solve the task about adaptivity. All of this sounds really scary and customer dont wanna strat. But here is a good news too – all of this is UX-designer work and client should not to think about this!

Actually, there are very common problem. User interface designer cannot and not want to think about User scenarios.

A designer who works with the design of user interaction with a project is called a “UX-designer”. “UX” means “User Experience”.
The designer who works directly with “drawing” is called the “UI designer.” “User interface designer”.
Some designers are combine, but there are those who are engaged in something one.

Therefore User Interface designer can to ask ready prototypes. But this situation is good working at web or marketing studio but usually not in freelance. In freelance work you need to be a little manager, a little developer, a little salesman and need to know how to combine all what client wants. And from customer side also need to trust to designer and be ready to pay for this invisible work about prototype creating.
The client and the designer often do not understand this and the work gets out badly.

Some words about prototyping

Ususally the design-prorotype of the site means the following components:
1. Site map.
List of all pages, which will be on the website and their connections. For example, article page can be avaialble from all articles page and from main page. And contact page can be avalable from menu in header.

2. Description of pages.
Graphic or text description about page content.
Graphic is preferable, since this method shows the client a future project.
And. if we are talking about graphic prototypes, it is better to show them in great detail. At this stage, the dimensions, colors, style of the elements are not important, but their location on the page is already specified.

Sample of a good wireframe

Sample of a bad wireframe

At this stage, corrections from the customer can and should be made. Bacuse no one designer can to know about business of his customer more than customer. Also, if it is a complex project, then at the stage of prototypes, user texts will be held. After feedback from them, it will be necessary to correct the schemes.

This stage – is UX-designer work. Not customer work! Not developer work too!
When a designer designs an interface, he relies on his experience and the experience of other designers. Plus, he uses his knowledge in sales and marketing. Usually the developer, the manager and the customer do not have all this knowledge.

For illustration, I will describe the process of solving problems in a project that I use myself. Suppose I design a page or screen with a search for real estate and think about the filter. In the beginning, I’m throwing out a solution that comes to my mind. Then the split personality begins: I represent myself as a user and I interact with my filter. Along the way, I note that it seems to me uncomfortable, complicated, incomprehensible. Then I turn to the experience of other designers – I collect the largest amount of interfaces, sites and everything that I can find, related to my task. I check websites like Behance, I look at applications, web projects. And I decide how pathetic my decision =))) If it’s pathetic, then I use the experience of designers, if it’s super, then I take it and add the best from the experience of my colleagues. Something like this. The order of steps is different, but it’s always your thoughts + the experience of other designers.

As you see this takes a lot of time and get better with comunication with customer and users. Experience of designer just is that to the next similar filter, I already know the solution to the problem for the previous project. And I can use this or make some changes to get better. The customer needs to waste a weeks or even months to make everything is close to the correct. But experienced designer can do this a much faster. Is not this an economy?

What is the statement of work?

The Statement of Work is a document that specifies the technical characteristics of the project and the tasks that the project faces. Of the technical characteristics usually information from the developer, the site domain, links to documents about the company.
That is, Statement os Work itself is not a very voluminous document, it does not need to describe the structure of the site. And it can also be prepared by the designer, based on a dialogue with you.

Also threre is brief needed to start page design. This is file with questions about style, goals of business and customer, description about target audience and brand rules for the company.

For understanding that the work is done well and you can proceed to the next stage, you should to get potencial users to work with prototype in ideal case. In common case customer study this by hisself. There are need to be clear how to use the site/app and how you can go to needed pages/screens from others. User goals need to be solved at this stage. And site goals need to be solved in the long term (because it will be solve with final design).

This stage is most common and it will determine the future success of the project. If you not want study all of these, you should to find person which you can trust. If be clear you shouldnot make the user tests because it also the part of UX-lead work. Business owner can work with more important and interesting things. Finding such a specialist is difficult, but, believe me, it’s worth it! If all the same your designer asks for prototypes, you can try to prepare it yourself, relying on the experience of projects close to yours.

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