Should UX be planned out ahead or built in conjunction with the UI?
Short answer : YES
UX : Planned Out Ahead
This is pretty much the first (‘discovery’ phase of SDLC (Systems Development LifeCycle). It embodies best practices from a process perspective.
Basically: Do your due diligence.
- Heuristic Analysis
- What have we got? / Strategize Knowledge
- Who are we?
- What are we Doing?
- The Conversation
These tasks trickle down into the rest of your usability design & deliverables. Much of it is embodied in
- Rules of the Road
There are fairly few truly alien concepts. Your initial challenge is a form of marketplace reconnaissance (sometimes called “research”):
- Determine What & Who you’re dealing with.
- Lay appropriate groundwork.
There’s plenty of established, proven knowledge out there already. It conforms to the 80/20 Rule :
Much of UX can be addressed through already-well-understood-and-accepted norms, conventions, and standards.
UX : During UI Development
This is a little closer to practical usage ‘research’ (i.e. testing), wherein you see whether – or which – of your design solutions actually works best. You find some of these tools appearing during the design phase of SDLC.
Basically: Validate your Assumptions
- The Overview Insight
- Make it Real / Affordance
- Make it Real
- Page-level Tagging
Because you now have practical models-as-potential-solutions, you can subject them to examination and testing. In all probability, the best practices and standards in your design will prove useful – but you have an opportunity to fine-tune your solutions.
Caveat: Your stakeholders are probably reluctant to ‘switch horses in mid-stream’. Be prepared to justify design flexibility this far along the process.
This is where agile-esque reiterative design & testing becomes a valuable cycle.
UX : After Deployment – Well, that’s a whole ‘nother article
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