Putting users first.
Know your users, delight your users, turn your users into customers.
1. Start with a plan
The trick to a successful project is working out the best use of time. How to attain the best results against a budget. All my projects start with a open discussions and proposals. These outline the UX objectives, tasks, deliverables, and outcomes either to a fixed cost or agreed day rate.
3. Conceptualise and design
Good design is always more than skin deep. It should begin with structural design and information architecture, moving into low-fidelity design such as wireframes through to full user-interface design. Prototyping also plays a fundamental role in testing interactive ideas with real people.
4. Testing and implementation
A test and learn culture used throughout the project lifecycle improves the performance of your product or service. User testing with prototypes should occur before development, gathering valuable user insight. UI design toolkits and functional documentation should guide front-end development through to product launch.
12 things I stand by
User experience is so much more than button colours, drop-shadows and font sizes. True User Experience is about how a person feels when interacting with a digital product. It encompasses a lot of factors including usability, accessibility, aesthetics and marketing.
Content is core
Hiring a UI/UX designer and giving them free range doesn’t work. The factors involved in good design go far beyond the aesthetic, and starts with a website’s true value, it’s content. While the UX Designer may not be personally responsible for wiring the content, a good designer should guide, structure and format the content.
Collaboration is key
Nobody creates great things alone. That’s particularly evident in website design and UX. To produce a successful website you need a whole host of skill sets to work in parallel.
Design until live
‘Waterfall’ methods for designing products discourages much needed improvements that need to be made progressively. I champion a different approach, iterating the product beyond wire-framing and visual design stages into development.
Communication over documentation
The days of heavy functional specifications are over. After all, users interact with a website, not a specification document. With tight budgets and timescales my time is better invested in tangible prototypes and creative design.
Understanding how your users use your product is very important if you want to achieve high user satisfaction. Key questions can sometimes only ever be answered by either speaking to users, or watching them use it.
Avoid focusing on the deliverables, focus on outcomes. Instead of investing precious time and money into unnecessary documentation, time is best invested into the product itself. A lean UX method applied correctly gets better, quicker and cheaper results.
Iterative design is based on a repeat process with 4 stages, prototyping, testing, analysing, and refining a product. It helps gain insights and intelligence progressively before committing to development. Used correctly it can drastically improve the quality of a website or app design and eliminates guesswork.
Be technically compliant
We’re living in a digital world. The UX Designer can’t work in a silo, separated from the technical aspects. They should understand the technical implications and engage with technical teams during projects.
Question what exists, and what should exist. Scrutiny should be encouraged throughout a UX project. Irrespective of experience and presumed knowhow we can all be wrong. It’s important design and marketing decisions are explained, justified and supported by evidence.
You’re only as good as the final result
Process can be great, but it’s important not to get obsessed with it. The focus should always be on the end-product as it’s directly visible to end users. The website is how people interact and engage with your brand.
It’s not finished until somebody is using it
Design is never finished. Iterations and improvements should be continuous until launch, and even afterwards. A true reflection of the product is never revealed until it’s used in a natural environment by real users.
“Martin’s insight of user experience and his knowledge of the execution channels to get to the end product means he always has an incredible grasp on a project at every stage. He is as comfortable working with groups of multi skilled people as he is presenting to clients/stakeholders.”
Paul Irwin – Design Director, Certain
“Having worked with Martin across a number of projects he always brings flair and skill to the requirements. Great as part of a team he easily understands the brief and provides easy to understand solutions to any challenge.”
Melanie Kirk – Owner, Pulsar Healthcare
“I have had the pleasure of working with Martin on a number of projects for clients, his insight into UX/UI is beyond brilliant, I would highly recommend Martin to anyone looking to improve online performance, on top of that he’s an all round nice guy and a pleasure to work with.”
Christian McGinty – Owner, Run2