and Experience Design Process
Creating a effective process is more than connecting boxes and arrows. Throughout the software development life cycle, each role and each step has a purpose and actively contributes to the successful delivery of the product and the measurable outcomes that follow.
In this example, while the collaboration is continuous through the discovery, planning, and execution phases of the process, the roles and their purposes change as the timeline moves forward. Depending on the role and the phase, there is also a balance between those that are looking outward towards the next iteration and those looking inward at delivering the current release.
This idea of engagement and balance also comes into play when looking at complimentary roles within a team and the larger organization. I’m often asked how to differentiate User Experience (UX) Designers and User Interface (UI) Designers in the software development process. As visualized above, these roles balance out in a way similar to that of Product Managers and Solution Analysts. Depending on the product team’s phase in the process, each role’s level of engagement may be higher or lower. For example, product managers, UX designers, and architects are more engaged in looking ahead during the discovery phase (left side) while solution analysts, UI designers, and software engineers are more engaged in the current activities of design and execution (right side).
Within the broader product structure, there is also a need for an experience design process that ties in the methods and activities of our trade. In each phase, there are inputs consumed, research and validation conducted, activities performed, and outputs generated.
The real power of a strong design process, however, is in how each phase builds on the previous ones. For example, prior outputs become current inputs and prior consumers of information become current active contributors. Finally, research and validation occur in all phases of the process to ensure we’re heading down the right path and being smart with time and resources.