A more thorough User eXperience steps breakdown

A more thorough User eXperience steps breakdown

This breakdown is a cumulative list of steps/processes based on my experiences with various projects. Not all the steps are used by every project I have worked on. I noticed when there is more emphasis stressed by the client on the success of a project, more steps need to be identified and articulated as early in the engagement as possible. It is difficult for a majority of clients to not just focus on the design phase.

I have learned that most clients do not understand the efforts required in user experience (UX) design and development. They may know the buzzwords but do not understand what lies at the heart of a three-stage UX process: research, testing and design. With that mindset, clients under estimate the value of research and testing. Thus, time is required to educate the client as to what is the user experience three-stage process. When needed, a complete breakdown of the individual steps early on in the process should be communicated to establish a foundation and create some buy-in. Unfortunately, there are clients who are less aware of the user experience development process and will give reasons for not paying for research and testing.

I use the Unify Framework throughout the documentation process.

1. Understand the problem [propose benefits from further research and testing of problem]
2. Do the research [identify affinity points]
3. Analysis of research [flush out affinity maps]
4. Get validation
5. Compose concepts
6. Create buy-in [again]
7. Define the audience [actors, users]
8. Create personas [actor profiles]
8.1 Research [includes usage behaviors of the actor profiles]
9. Define critical tasks
9.1 Research
10. Define key pathways [map workflow]
10.1 Main pathway
10.2 Alternative pathways
10.3 Failure pathways
11. Set the tone of voice
11.1 Type of language
11.2 Level of formality
11.3 Use of jargon, brand identity or subject specific words
11.4 Content style
11.4.1 Meta standards
11.4.2 Content object model
11.5 SEO if web based
12: Wireframes
12.1 Selection of type and method
12.1 Wireframe Concepts
12.1.1 User testing
12.2 Wireframe sketches

  • Client sign off

12.3 Wireframe prototypes
12.3.1 User testing

  • Client review

12.4 Wireframe and Visual design integration
13. Functional specification and analytics specification

  • Pass to development

14. Usability Test plan
15. Accessibility Test plan
16. Functional and Content Test plan
17. Testing handover with participant screening document
18. Review testing results
19. Modify labels,  interactions & structure in line with findings
20. Done, until…[defined by the client]
21. Check interactions based upon analytics and additional user testing
22. Offer enhancements to clients [watch out for scope creep]


I am a technologist with a strong background in software engineering. I have many interests. My current distractions are 70s-80s-90s music [it's a very eclectic collection], ontology, information architecture, mobile device technology, medical bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and nanorobotics.

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