The user ( tourist / daily commuter) wants to know what is the next train or bus available to him/her that will take him/her to a destination. The user has a mobile phone and uses the same to get that info and plan his/her day. Most of the times the user commutes through bicycle and is interested to understand if he/she can take in bicycle in the train/bus. In many ways, the user is unaware of the city and is in exploratory mode. The mobile device is the user’s ultimate guide, assisting the user to get any specific and trivial information along the route.
Understanding the platform to connect worldwide with the users. To get more knowledge about the business, as we need to know every process in a business so our first step is to sit with business stakeholders to get to know about the business model.
Starting with User Research
Most of the research is based on basic business understanding and what other competitors (direct or indirect) are offering. We need to understand business use cases and the problem they are trying to solving in the current market and how they are differentiating from their competitors.
Set of Questions and Interviews
Based on the gap analysis our research includes a set of questions to better understand the user’s mental models and opportunity. For this, we include open-ended questions for interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires.
The interview has been conducted individually to cater to user groups. Users have allowed to think aloud and tell what they feel. From each interview that is conducted, we tried to figure out the general process, their pain points, possible solutions, etc.
User Research Analysis and Persona Creation
After conducting all the interviews we need to different target users based on their product requirements and behavior, we create personas so that we can cater to the target user’s need and also helps us to distinguish between our user base.
We can also derive design opportunities for the existing system.
Task Flows and Feature listing
After persona creation, we need to find out the possible features required for the persona and we need to list down the features into the process by creating the task flows.
Individual User’s Process Flow
Every persona behaves differently. we need to create task flow for all possible business operations, the correlation among all business groups.
Now, this is the time to merge all the processes and find out an ideal process for the system.
Also, all possible features have been listed down, so that along with Business stakeholders, we can decide what possible features can be suited, supported for the current system.
Low/Mid Fidelity Prototype
After finalizing the flow and features, the time is to design an interface for the process. After creating a few screens we need to take the business’s stakeholders’ feedback and do the changes if required.
Also, try to create the wireframes in the form of a clickable prototype
The new prototype is being tested by the actual user to perform a task on it. Asked for their feedback on the same.
After collecting all the feedback we discuss the feedback with the business stakeholders to make a decision on that feedback and need to do iteration if required with the existing prototype.
After completing all the changes, Visual work has been started. This is the time to convert all wireframes into Visuals.
We work with a multi-disciplinary perspective that not only gives product requirements but also provides user’s emotions and memories. Our design thinker’s work on innovative ideas to serve Products as well as the individual’s experiential needs.
Research is a vigorous step to take any action positively. It is a milestone in achieving any objective and provides strength in decision making. Similar is the case with design. Good research helps in designing with various research methods to understand the mental model of a user, technology, creative ideas, perception, market understanding, etc. With all this information a designer can improve the overall user experience.
Let’s compare two scenarios, first where the research work is not being done from starting. In this scenario, few questions arise like “How would the designer think without the research”, “how he will differentiate himself from other”, “how he knows what is the right fit technology for the user” or “how will he know he is choosing the right path”. Yes, the answer to all the questions is research, It is not that a designer can’t design without the research but it’s for sure that design would never stand out in the queue of designs.
Picture captured at the time of Shadowing ( Research method )
If we talk about UX/UI designers their main function is to represent a complete business concept on an interface. In the case of research, UX/UI designer has to think as a user for a better experience. They have to design in such a way that it not only consists of the business ideology but also the look and feel, interactivity with the product is also catered and all this is not possible without research. The UX/UI designer will first do UX research to understand the business model, what is trending in between users of that business, competitor analysis that what other services are serving the user. UX/UI designer understands the present scenario of the user. How they are working now or what are their strengths and weaknesses. It makes researchers understand the need for new design opportunities.
Research can be done by using various research methods like person interview with open-ended questions, questionnaire, competitive analysis, shadowing, ethnography, day in a life, focus group, etc. For example, an Interview is done for different users with a set of questions. These questions are designed in such a way that designers get to know about the ecosystem between users and the system. The designer creates personas on the basis of the analyzed interview which shows different faces of the users for a business. Personas help in understanding the user context, attitudes, behaviors, needs, motivation, interest, challenges, pain points, design opportunities, goals, etc which bridges the gap between what business is offering and what customer needs. And that’s how design research plays an important role in creating a better user experience.
Research has always benefited the business through informations like user’s perceptions, how the user feels or thinks about a system, helps business to check what kind of user they are targeting and changes, they require to do the right business.
Whereas for the designers, UX research provides the required content, features, user behavior, design opportunities, suggestion, and inspiration for a system. This is how it helps to build a user base for a business.
Post design research, interface design comes into play which consists of various working methodologies like process flow, task flow, mock-ups, wire-framing, usability, etc.
The designer creates a process flow on the basis of UX research. In the process flow, user perception is used to define the scenarios. Based on these scenarios designers design a task to match the user’s mental model in the system. It helps in building a proper ecosystem and communication among the stakeholders.
Features Listing & Requirements
After task analysis designers can add features, useful suggestions, inspiration, and design opportunities to add the x-factor which are analyzed by the researchers.
The whole process is summed up by a low fidelity wireframe. A low fidelity wireframe consists of the gist of the screen which is done on paper with a pen. So that early usability of the system could be done.
Mobile: Bill Payment Wireframe
This helps the designer to know that are they on the right path ? or if not they can make changes on the basis of the user’s feedback. After the mid-fidelity wireframe is generated with the prototypes the usability testing is done to validate the system. Post validation iteration is done and the designer creates mockups; This gives a visual feel of screen interaction which is done by visual designers.
Visual Design: Car Discovery App
We won’t say this is not a lengthy process to opt but without research, the design could not be implemented. The journey from research to design is worth it if we see the drawbacks of not doing the research.
The design created without user perception generally not connected with the user and the chances of failure is much more. As after a negative outcome, we have to start from initial which is more time and cost consuming.
The UX research helps a lot in understanding what a user wants and how he sees the usage of a system. And with research, the chance of conversion ratio is high in comparison to the cost applicable in the research.
So for a better system, one should give preference to Design Research before implementing the design.
TravelTriangle is a platform, connecting the travel industry with the travellers. Here multiple local & expert travel agents are serving their offering to every traveller’s visiting the TravelTriangle. To understand the complete business model and their function process of TravelTriangle. We meet in person with the stakeholders and understand their idea, execution process and their way to connect with user. We sit with business stakeholders and understand what they do in Travel Triangle and what they are expecting.
Image: Business Process & it's Working
After understanding their business model the UX/UI team created an existing process flow which define their business model. Later we discuss that process with the stakeholders to know that we are on the right direction or not? After conforming this we started UX design process, main objective is to understand the user, market, competitor, stakeholders their new and old clients(agents) involvements, their existing interface interactions and Touch points. This all is done with a systematic UX process(step).
User Research (Interviews and User Research)
Based on the basic business understanding we started our research. In our research we try to find out how travel agents and TravelTriangle ops work, how Travel Triangle Ops can help agents as well as traveler, what is the basic things agents need on their dashboard for ease working and better performance, what type of behaviour travellers have, what a traveler looks when they plan a trip and also who are Travel Triangle’s competitors and their work.
Image: Competitive Analysis
The questions are framed as how their daily routine of work can be captured which includes their problem, preference, their workflow, their suggestions and inspirations which summed up and extracted from the interviews. So we have taken interview of agents, ops and accounts separately. We ask them a set of open ended questions to understand their mental model. We asked them to think aloud and be honest with the answers, as what they feel. From each interview conducted, we tried to figure out the general process, their pain points, possible solutions etc.
Image: Interview with Agents
Analysis and Persona Creation
After conducted all the interviews, the answers are analysed. All have their own perception but somewhere they are overlapping the thinking of other user too. Different set of users groups have different personas. We come out with 3 Personas which are named as Associators, their goal is to make an impact using print media, ad world and also planning for TV advt. and launching Portal, to make their presence. Second are Highly motivated, their basic goal is to enrich the traveller’s experience by providing exclusive and customised tours throughout India. Also planning to cover more destinations and increase the team and revamping their website. Third one are Target Driven, they are happy with the current solutions.
Another user groups are ops which are named as New Bees, their growth is through Motivation/Enthusiasm/Pushing them in all directions, other are The Fine Wine, their growth through Expert Advice/Experience.
Similarly we have persona for Accounts and B2B.
Fig: Three different personas of Agents
With the different group personas we come out with set of problems, inspirations for existing system that becomes our design opportunity. Further these personas are also discussed with the TravelTriangle business stakeholders to show the thin-line difference between their users, who are the primary target users for TravelTriangle.
In this discussion these business stakeholder decides on what kind of personas they want to focus and how much user opinion of other personas should beinvolved & make a difference in it. Also here we (designers and business stakeholders) finalised the design opportunities and features depend on the personas need as well as business objectives.
Individual User’s Process Flow on Board
After understanding the mental model of the user and interactions and touch-points with the system. This helps us to designed a system of one’s daily routine and work purpose to be fulfilled. We have created the ecosystem/workflow of the all the individual user’s group on white board with all possible features, task and touchpoints (interaction) with the other user. This flow is been validated with the business stakeholders, so that user’s mental model and business model is merged properly and a final process of the system is made on the whiteboard for the agent, ops and accounts.
Combine Process Flow of All Users with Sticky Features
We merged all the process and find out the ecosystem for the individual user (agent, ops and accounts) with other user. This task has been done on a large paper roll. We drew the process of individual user group on the paper and linked it with the process of other user group to get the overall system process. Also all possible features has been listed down, so that along with Business stakeholder, we can decide what possible features can be suited, supported and important for the current system. These features are written specifically on the sticky notes with different colours for the specific fields after finalising the ecosystem.
Scenarios and Task Flows
The scenario comprises of tasks are made by keeping all the features in mind and verify it in the complete process. This all is done by the discussion between the designers and business stakeholders.
Mid Fidelity Prototype
After finalising the flow and features now it was the time to design the interface for the process. we created a low fidelity wireframe in which a rough concept is designed on the paper. Meanwhile creating the rough concept of the screens, after few screens stakeholders feedback was taken and changes was done as per the requirement. We have done mid-fidelity wireframe in Axure as a clickable prototype to test with the users.
Usability testing has been done with some existing and new clients(agents), ops and accounts team of the TravelTriangle. This time user have seen a new created wireframes in the form of clickable prototype and asked users to perform few task on it, also requested for their feedback. After all the feedback and analysis done, we again sit with the stakeholders. Here we discuss the feedback came from user for the new created system and take decision on that respectively. Again we have done one more iteration in the mid-fidelity as per user feedback and business decisions.
Visual Design: After doing all the changes this is the time to convert all wireframes into Visuals. Visual graphic, colour themes and improvisation is been done. As per the TravelTriangle branding we inherit the colour schemes. We tried to provide a proper visual hierarchy based on the information and minimise the text information with the help of the visual graphics.
“Mukti and Sachin worked with us for 6 months and helped us create our product for vendors. They were amazing with understanding the customer and creating their interaction flows. We loved the energy with which they worked and completed the project. Our final release is loved by our customers and has helped us grow very quickly.”