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.

Discover Phase

These tasks trickle down into the rest of your usability design & deliverables. Much of it is embodied in

There are fairly few truly alien concepts. Your initial challenge is a form of marketplace reconnaissance (sometimes called “research”):

  1. Determine What & Who you’re dealing with.
  2. 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

Design Phase

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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