At a Glance
For any SaaS product to be successful, it is extremely important to have an appropriate design workflow. There are various essential elements of a design workflow that must be mastered to deliver a seamless user experience.
When you are trying to make an important decision, and you’re sort of divided on the issue, ask yourself: If the customer were here, what would she say?
Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder, HubSpot
When was the last time you saw an application that made you say “oh wow, this is beautiful” or even better, “this is gorgeous, simple and so easy to use”. UI/UX designers always maintain a proper procedure for product designing because that really helps them ensure that the product they are building is worth interacting with by the general user. The design workflow of the designers might vary from person-to-person, but one needs to follow a fundamental procedure to maintain a smooth workflow for designing. It is 2021 already, and there are numerous tools and software in the market for designing your product. While you may be compatible with using tool A, but another designer is comfortable using tool B, and that is completely acceptable. The idea, however, is to present a proper guide about how to start your design, so the entire understanding of UI/UX workflow turns out to be a cakewalk for you.
Many designers love experimenting with various tools and methods. And, after a lot of research, we have been successful in finding a common design workflow followed by every designer out there. So, here is a guide for you to create the ideal design workflow for you and your team.
Creating The Ideal Design Workflow
Here is a complete roadmap for maintaining a hassle-free design workflow to create the ideal product your client expects.
1. Establish Proper Communication
There should not be any communication gap between you and your clients. Talk to them in detail before you begin designing your product. In some cases, your client maybe your own company, but don’t be scared to request clarity. Do not think that your clients will get annoyed if you ask too many questions; rather, they will be pleased that you are putting effort into acknowledging every intricate detail of your product. Do not hesitate to talk freely with your clients, and that will have a severe impact on your design due to a lack of proper communication. So, ask them all the doubts in the world and how they are expecting the product to work.
2. Conduct Proper Research
As a designer, it is your responsibility to conduct proper research and study the designs of your current competitors out there. If there are several similar products in the market, it will give you a hard time designing something that will stand out. So, in this stage, try to conduct in-depth research and find out the flaws in their design or upgrade the existing design and turn it into your strong point. Also, have a detailed look at the target audience and when they are using similar products.
The next important part is sketching. Remember those successful start-up stories where great ideas were written first on a cocktail napkin. Well, I am not asking you to sketch your ideas on a napkin but try to pen down all your ideas on a scribble pad while you are brainstorming. If you have a fair idea in your mind of how the UI will look like, you can make a rough sketch just using your pen or pencil. When you are working with a designing team, a whiteboard is usually preferred. But a lot of online tools have also come up recently for serving the same purpose. So, the first pen and paperwork are drawing a rough sketch of your product design idea and also mark the important parts you have to add in the actual design.
The pen and paper sketches are just giving yourself a rough visual idea of how to get started. But, the next step, i.e., the wireframe, is 100% important before the UI design. This step is like transferring what you have sketched and what you have in mind (the approach) into the computer and giving your product design a skeleton framework. So, before moving onto the next stage, build a fully clickable wireframe in Azure or Adobe Illustrator. If you are working as a team, export those wireframes as PNGs and share them with your team members.
5. It’s Time To Design
This is the most time-consuming stage for designing any SaaS product. You need to try many combinations of the color palette, animations, and, most importantly, the easiness of usability before you finalize your UI design. Psychology also plays a major part in this stage as it is your responsibility to understand the mindset of the target audience and what they will go for. If a user opens your app and finds it way too intimidating and complex, he is not going to open it twice. So, keep an open mind for both visual impact and a simple approach.
If you have survived through the UI/UX designing stage, you can do it till the end. After the designing part, prototyping is almost like the second last stage for your product design. It means now you must give that final touch to your design before your test and present it to the clients. You can try a lot of tools for prototyping like Invision, Pixate, and or Principle. Make sure to pick a tool that does not take up much time to learn and figure out the basics. Prototyping gives your client a hint about what the final product of the user-end will look like.
7. Add A Few Micro Animations
A few small animations create a more visually stunning product design. If you are planning to put a lot of micro animations, it will take a lot of time. So, watch the deadline as well before you attempt to spice up your designing workflow.
8. Designers To Developers
After you have successfully created the designing part of your product, it is now time to have a long meeting with developers. You have to provide them with every asset you have so that they can turn your design into a workable product. You must stay continuously in touch with them since a lot of clarification is required regarding any designing detail.
9. Testing Time
The last step of the ideal design workflow is product testing. Select a section of your audience to test the product. The feedback in this stage is most important to know where they are facing difficulties or if any features they expected are missing etc. Have a direct chat with the users to understand their problems, try to rectify them, and again communicate them to the developers.
Creating an ideal design workflow is extremely crucial to ensure that your SaaS product stands out from the competitors and takes care of the requirements of the users in the desired manner. So, you should be willing to invest adequate time and resources in getting the ideal design workflow ready before you decide to launch the product. Also, you need to have that workflow so that you have a unified look and feel that is used across your product, your communication, etc. Ultimately, it’s about your identity and you need to have a singular one.