At Melon, we repeatedly say that we provide meaningful solutions. And to us design is a powerful problem solving tool. That’s why, at Melon user interface (UI), user experience (UX) and visual design is an important line.
With UX and UI in mind, Melon designers craft for a user in a context, not for separate specifications from a list. Their job is to create amazing software experiences. UX design aims at boosting user satisfaction by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure in the interaction with a product. UX design is the more analytical and technical field and UI complements it with look and feel and interactivity of the solutions. The trend is Melon UI designers to remove any unnecessary elements to focus on functionality.
All Melon designers have sharp senses and infinite curiosity needed to translate users’ necessities – both problems and opportunities – into the right interactions with a certain software product, system or application.
All of the steps are reversible and the process is agile rather than waterfall.
The work begins with data gathering. The aim is to understand the audience and the objectives to identify the most valuable features, make design decisions and prioritize. This includes research and interviews with the stakeholders.
What follows is a requirements workshop meant to reach a group decision. Next is creating a number of user stories – short narrations describing interactions between the users and the product. Then the designers build a map and information architecture – a high-level diagram representing information hierarchy and organisation of screens and their flow. Then come the wireframes – schematic blueprints representing the skeletal framework of every individual screen. Wireframes flow chart is what the designers call the interactive prototype showing all product’s screens and navigation interactions. They show structures, or dummy content and imagery, calls to action, other elements and ad placements. They lack fonts, color, and final images which allows the designers to explore content, navigation and interactions separately from visual content.
Then, the designers run a usability test, in which the user performs a series of tasks.
Usability Testing and Visual Design
Usability testing is the designers’ sanity check. It’s the observation of users’ behavior when engaging with a product in development. It’s an integral part of the UX process. The designers use it to explore concepts, navigation, content, page layout and functionality. This is a quick and easy way to test and validate a product before fully developing it.
Once the designers have ensured the product makes sense to the target user group, the second big phase begins – visual design.
For a start, Melon designers create a mood board – literally it’s a board where the client and the designers pin their favorite images, fonts, objects of style, etc. It facilitates the communication on what the graphical direction will be.
The look and feel of the product are demonstrated in 3-5 high fidelity mock-ups. The visual design concept captured in a few selected key screens will later be applied to all other screens of the product. Prototyping comes next – creating interactive hi- or low-fidelity visual mock-ups. The designers create and adapt all visual elements of the user interface for each screen resolution and platform and put together a document that ensures perfect understanding and implementation of all visual elements during software development no matter what programming language will be used and if it happens in-house or not.
How Long It Takes
Some projects may last for years – like the site of Mtel– the largest GSM mobile phone operator in Bulgaria. It took Melon two years. Initially, the client had 30 000 unique pages when we started working on their UX. But when it comes to mobile applications, time-to-market matters a lot and in this case Melon delivers the product between two and six months.