14 UX Deliverables: What will I be making as a UX designer?
- 1.2k shares
- 3 years ago
User experience (UX) deliverables are documents, drafts and other artifacts that serve as the tangible byproducts of an entire UX design process. They contain vital information about a project, provide a basis for design decisions, and function as communication tools to convey decisions to stakeholders.
Watch this video to see how deliverables fit into the design process.
UX deliverables play an integral part in a team’s design process and guide the project's trajectory. UX deliverables are particularly important because they:
UX deliverables, especially research deliverables, provide data-driven insights that can inform and validate design decisions. When armed with a wealth of knowledge about their users' needs and behaviors, teams can create designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and intuitive. Moreover, deliverables such as wireframes and prototypes can help identify potential roadblocks and challenges in the design process. Teams can proactively address these and ensure a smooth transition from design to development.
Deliverables serve as a common language for designers, stakeholders, and developers. They enable team members to discuss and understand the project effectively. When they have such a tangible reference point, everyone can move forward from a concrete foundation. This helps clarify expectations, align visions, and minimize misunderstandings. It also permits more effective feedback and revisions. Stakeholders can provide specific comments on well-defined deliverables, rather than vague or general feedback.
Deliverables also function as a record of the design process. They allow convenient future reference and iteration. Design teams who have concrete deliverables at given stages of their design process can build upon or revisit features more easily. This documentation is also shareable with new team members or stakeholders. It ensures everyone is on the same page, and serves as a bridge between members in project management, the development team, and others. Also, deliverables can serve as a portfolio showcasing a team's design process, design solutions, and capabilities to potential clients.
Deliverables help ensure that a design remains user-centric. Teams can keep track of work and refer to the project history to make sure everyone is on the same page and aligned toward a common goal. Not only does this keep brands on point with their target users' or potential users' needs at the forefront of all design decisions. It also prevents unnecessary waste and questionable results such as feature creep. This focus on the user helps make a more intuitive, user-friendly and enjoyable product.
Whatever design process a design team uses, the deliverables are the crafts, currency and progress indicators of the project. They include representations of user data, design ideas and much more. All stakeholders need a unified vision of where a given project is heading. So, designers and project managers must ensure they accurately represent data and insights through all design stages.
UX deliverables generally fall into two main categories—UX research deliverables and UX design deliverables—and include several subcategories.
These are the outputs of user research activities. They encapsulate user behavior, needs and attitudes, and so inform the design process. Examples include product objectives deliverables, such as personas and storyboards. (These appear in detail in the next section.)
These are the outputs of the design process that represent the functionality and aesthetics of what will be the final product. Examples include user flows, sitemaps, wireframes and prototypes.
Watch this video to see what the elements of user experience are and what actions they require in the design process:
The scope of UX deliverables is vast, ranging from initial research findings to final design representations. Below is a list of the most common deliverables, based on different activities in the design process.
These deliverables include personas, storyboards and customer journey maps. Designers create these to understand user behavior, needs and motivations. These insights will enable them to start work on designs that are intuitive and user-friendly and meet the needs of the target audience. They also help identify potential challenges and opportunities for improvement in the design process. Such deliverables include:
These are fictional characters which designers create to represent typical users, including these users’ motivations, skills, and frustrations. The purpose is for designers to empathize with their prospective users as much as possible. Then they can get fully behind these users’ needs and more as they progress with design ideas. Designers might create several different personas per project to portray the widest section of a target audience.
Human-computer interaction expert Professor Alan Dix explains how personas are especially helpful in design:
These are visual representations, like comic strips, that outline users’ actions and the context in which they perform these. Designers create these to gain insight into what users do and such vital factors as the users’ environment and scenario.
These are diagrams representing the steps users take to meet a particular goal. These maps reveal all the different touchpoints and the users’ emotional state throughout their journey with the product. Stakeholders from across different teams collaboratively build this map and set the steps along a timeline so they can understand differences in the users’ contexts. They will also be able to notice any evolving factors such as changing motivations and arising problems. These maps help designers spot areas where a potential product or service might address problems users experience on the way to their goals.
Unless a proposed solution is a truly generative design (i.e., completely innovative as a market pioneer), a brand will have competitors. A competitive analysis is a critical step in the UX design process. Designers identify and evaluate competitors' strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to their own (proposed) product or service. When a design team conducts a thorough analysis, they can gain valuable insights into the market landscape, understand customer needs, and identify opportunities for innovation. This deliverable helps set clear design goals and establishes a design direction that differentiates a product from its competitors'.
This is the branch of deliverables that revolve around a potential solution’s features and requirements.
Here, designers generate ideas on how to move forward from the user research phase. Volume is vital so that a design team has as many ideas as possible to choose from. These many angles can include bad ideas. Teams might use sticky notes, paper cards or digital whiteboards to document the ideas during brainstorming. The deliverable might be a photograph of the wall, or a document summarizing the ideas.
A design team ensures that they produce, edit and archive content at the right time and for the right audience. Such deliverables include marketing communication. While designers may not be directly responsible for content strategy, they should ideally work closely with personnel who are.
These areas of deliverables are where designers structure and organize content and data to present how information appears. They produce these to show design team members and stakeholders how the information will display, how to navigate, and more. These deliverables include:
Sitemaps provide a high-level view of the site's content and hierarchy. Designers create these to show navigation structure. For example, a mobile app project’s sitemap can have logical sections showing how users move from one part of a design to another.
Taxonomies categorize and label data to improve findability and usability. These deliverables are crucial to create a coherent and intuitive user interface.
These are basic charts that outline which steps users must take with a design team’s proposed solution to meet a goal. They can swiftly evaluate how efficient a process is to achieve user goals. They can also help identify how to execute good ideas found during brainstorming.
A subtle difference to note is between these and task flows. Task flows tend to be more linear and focus on an individual task to be completed. As a result, they don’t usually factor in the complexity of the user, such as decision points.
These deliverables are the first user interface (UI) “goods” designers create to represent proposed solutions for their design project. They include:
These are typically the first UI-oriented deliverables in a design process. Designers create wireframes typically to show early drafts of proposed solutions or ideas. It is a skill to craft lean layouts for stakeholders and team members to see whether an idea is worth pursuing. Wireframes are therefore usually grayscale and primitive, with designers building from user flows, sitemaps and such.
These deliverables range from low-fidelity sketches to high-fidelity interactive prototypes, simulating the final product for testing and validation.
Low-fidelity prototypes are cost-efficient deliverables such as cut-outs. They can help determine early on what may or may not work in a design.
High-fidelity prototypes are more detailed and interactive, allowing for comprehensive usability testing and feedback. They provide a realistic representation of the final product. This allows the design team to identify and rectify any issues before the development stage. This ensures that the final product is not only visually appealing but also user-friendly and efficient.
Designers use information design deliverables to guide users and help them achieve goals. Text as well as audio-visual elements can represent this information.
UX writing is a vital part of the conversation between digital products and their users. Microcopy comprises all the text, including headings, button labels, navigation menu items, and error messages. These serve as vital cues for positive user experiences.
These deliverables, like pixel-perfect mockups and design systems, represent the final visual design of the product. They also include elements such as color palettes, typography, and iconography. Visual design deliverables not only represent the brand’s identity and aesthetic in the product, but also augment its functionality and usability. They ensure consistency in the visual elements across different platforms and devices, enhancing the overall user experience.
Designers create these refined images to mimic how a real product (e.g., an app) will look. These are purely visual representations that have no actual code behind them.
Design systems provide a library of reusable components and guidelines. For design teams, these deliverables are especially important because they help maintain consistency and efficiency in the design process. They serve as a single source of truth, ensuring all team members are on the same page and reducing the risk of design inconsistencies. Also, they streamline the design process by eliminating the need to recreate elements, saving time and resources.
This is where designers examine their peers’ work—to ensure they’re serving their users and brand best.
These deliverables, namely usability test reports, provide insights into the product’s usability and user satisfaction. They are especially valuable for product design or service design as they give a direct measure of how well the design meets user needs and expectations. They offer a principally qualitative assessment of the product’s performance. They also identify areas where the design excels and where it falls short. This feedback is vital. Designers can refine the design, make necessary adjustments, and ensure the final product is both functional and enjoyable for the user.
Of the many ways they can evaluate a design, designers summarize their findings in a usability report. Depending on the roles of the team members who read it, designers will include more or less technical detail. Nevertheless, a well-structured usability report typically contains a background summary, methodology, test results, and findings and recommendations.
After a product release, the brand can present data collected from website traffic, user interactions, and other measurable events to help identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. Designers can use the data from an analytics report to find helpful insights to improve usability. For example, they might find an app’s users aren’t completing a call to action (CTA). They might use this insight and investigate further—perhaps through a usability test—to determine that users don’t notice that CTA available. Designers need to structure these reports so likely explanations and recommendations complement the facts they expose and interpret.
The creation and use of UX deliverables can vary greatly depending on the design style that a team adopts. In a Waterfall process, team members complete the design phase before they hand over their work to the developers to work on the project. There, UX deliverables often include detailed documentation. This could include in-depth user research reports, extensive wireframes, and high-fidelity prototypes.
On the other hand, in an Agile design process, stages often overlap and involve iteration. There, UX deliverables tend to be leaner and more flexible. This could include quick user personas, low-fidelity sketches, and interactive prototypes that team members can quickly test and iterate upon.
Laura Klein, UX designer and author of Build Better Products and UX Design for Lean Startups, explains the iterative nature of Agile teams.
It takes a series of collaborative activities among the UX team and stakeholders to make the best deliverables. A simplified process is to:
Designers start by identifying the needs of the project and the stakeholders. They determine what information they need to inform their design decisions, and what their stakeholders need to understand and approve those decisions.
Based on these needs, designers choose the most appropriate deliverables. Every project is unique, and not all deliverables are necessary for every project. For example, designers in a design thinking process might choose deliverables such as empathy maps, user personas, and prototypes. These tools can help them empathize with their users, ideate solutions, and test their assumptions. However, for some projects, the team might favor a more data-driven approach, they might prefer other deliverables to guide their design decisions. For example, they might choose user flow diagrams, data visualizations, or A/B test results.
Designers use their UX skills and tools to create the deliverables. They could conduct user research, create wireframes or craft prototypes, for example. In the case of user research, they have a variety of quantitative research and qualitative research methods to choose from. For example, they can use interviews and usability testing as qualitative methods, and A/B tests and surveys as quantitative methods.
For wireframing, they can use pencil sketches or digital tools like Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD to create a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of their product. When they craft prototypes, they can choose low-fidelity prototypes for initial testing or high-fidelity prototypes for more detailed and interactive testing later.
Designers present the deliverables to stakeholders and discuss their findings and decisions. This is an opportunity for feedback and iteration. Design itself is communication, so it’s important to make deliverables that clearly show findings or intentions. Stakeholders can provide their insights and perspectives. The team can then incorporate these into the next iteration of the deliverables. This iterative process ensures that the final product is ultimately not only user-centric but also aligns with the business objectives and stakeholder expectations.
Once all parties agree on the design decisions, it's time to hand over the deliverables. This is a pivotal time. Design team members therefore must be clear on who is responsible for continuing with which deliverable and what the time frame is for the next stage. Sprints mark this in an Agile process.
Here, Hype4 co-founder Szymon Adamiak discusses the importance of communication and handovers as part of a good design process.
Remember, user testing plays a crucial role in revising and refining UX deliverables. It provides direct feedback on the design from the end-users, allowing designers to identify and address issues effectively. For instance, usability testing can reveal navigation issues in a wireframe. Meanwhile, A/B testing can help optimize a prototype's interface. When they incorporate user testing into the design process, designers can ensure that their deliverables are not only user-centric but also user-validated.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of testing, especially when it comes to deliverables. UX deliverables are the tangible proof of the design process. They showcase the thought, effort, and expertise that goes into creating a user-centric design. They serve as a roadmap, guiding the design team towards the final product. Meanwhile, they ensure that the team keeps user needs and business objectives top of mind. Without thorough testing and iterative refining, these deliverables will almost certainly not accurately reflect user needs or project goals. They will represent wasted resources from a team with squandered talent.
CEO of Experience Dynamics, Frank Spillers explains why usability testing is so important.
Design teams must take care not to design the wrong thing. Likewise, they also must pay close attention to the effectiveness and accuracy of the UX deliverables they work on. Many things can go wrong if a team has overlooked certain points or a product manager has misinterpreted the user research data. For example, if a team fails to accurately interpret user feedback, they may design an unwanted feature that hinders the product functionality. Similarly, if the product manager doesn't clearly communicate business objectives, the design team might focus on the wrong aspects of the product. Therefore, it's essential to ensure clear communication and accurate interpretation of data when working with UX deliverables.
Another risk is that clients can sometimes assume that a mockup means a design is close to its release date. Designers can prevent this if they clearly state what such deliverables indicate regarding the stage of the design process.
Among other potential pitfalls is that teams often create prototypes in high-fidelity in later stages of design. When prototypes are in high-fidelity, design teams already invest a lot of time and effort and may be unwilling to make changes or accept feedback. Changes will become more expensive to implement in any case.
It’s also vital to keep storytelling in sight throughout the process. Storytelling is a particularly powerful driving force in UX deliverables. It empowers designers to visualize and communicate the user's journey through the product. This ensures a human-centered, user-centric design effort.
Finally, the size of the UX team will be a deciding factor in who does what. For example, larger teams may have specialist information architects. In smaller teams, one or two designers might need to assume many roles, including the information architect, interaction designer, UX writer and visual designer.
Overall, it takes careful planning, research and effective communication to produce the best deliverables. Prominent brands, such as Airbnb and Google, invest in and produce fine deliverables to further their products. However large or small an organization or client is, UX design teams need to remember to always align deliverables with business goals and user needs at every stage. It is also important to leverage a variety of deliverables to ensure they create products that truly resonate with their users time and again.
Take our course Design Thinking: The Ultimate Guide.
Watch our Masterclass Users: Introducing Persona Stories for insights into this essential design deliverable.
Consult NNG’s Which UX Deliverables Are Most Commonly Created and Shared? for extensive additional considerations.
Read The 10 UX Deliverables Top Designers Use by Miklos Philips for further in-depth points.
See A Complete List of UX Deliverables by Nick Babich for more insights.
Find a list of common deliverables for designers, here: 14 UX Deliverables: What will I be making as a UX designer?
A UX specification document, also known as a UX spec, is a detailed outline that designers and developers use to understand the user experience of a product or service. It includes information on layout, interactions, visual design, and user flow. It ensures consistency and clarity in the design process and a high level of user-centered design in design projects and final products.
The creation of a UX specification document involves several steps. Designers need to define user needs, map out user journeys and detail the user interface elements. This document becomes a crucial reference for both the design and development teams. It helps them ensure that they consider every aspect of the user experience and implement it consistently.
For instance, in an e-commerce app or website, a UX spec might detail how users navigate from the homepage to completing a purchase. It would include information about button styles, interaction patterns like swiping or scrolling, and the layout of product pages.
Actionable insights for creating an effective UX specification document include:
● Start with User Needs: Understand and document the key needs of target users.
● Detail User Journeys: Map out how users will navigate through a product.
● Specify Interaction Design: Clearly define how users will interact with each element.
● Include Visual Design Elements: Provide details on colors, typography, and iconography.
● Iterate and Collaborate: Continuously refine the document in collaboration with the design team.
Technology is significantly impacting how design teams create UX deliverables in several ways:
● Enhanced Collaboration: Tools like Figma and InVision facilitate real-time collaboration among design team members, development team members, and other stakeholders. This permits seamless design iterations and feedback.
● Rapid Prototyping: Advanced software enables designers to quickly create high-fidelity prototypes that are interactive and close to the final product. This reduces the time and resources spent on revisions.
● Accessibility and Inclusivity: Automated tools help ensure that designs meet accessibility standards. This makes it easier for a wider audience to use planned digital products such as websites or apps.
● Data-Driven Design: Technologies like AI and analytics tools provide insights into user behavior. This enables data-driven decision-making in the design process.
● Virtual and Augmented Reality: VR and AR technologies are creating new dimensions in UX design. They permit the creation of immersive experiences and testing in simulated environments.
● Automated Testing: Tools that automate usability testing can quickly gather user feedback. This benefit in the testing process helps team members to improve UX deliverables faster.
● Cloud Storage and Access: Cloud-based platforms ensure that deliverables are easily accessible and stored securely. From user personas and test results to many other elements of UX research, these are cost-effective ways to facilitate remote work and version control.
Overall, technology is making the creation of UX deliverables more efficient, collaborative, and user-focused. What’s more, technology, particularly AI (artificial intelligence) is helping design teams collaborate more effectively, as Product designer Ioana Teleanu explains in this video:
Overall, advances in technology are leading to better products and user experiences. These include many aspects of visual design, interactive design and ways to find how a user interacts with a product and so influence design decisions.
To create effective UX deliverables, designers stick to best practices that ensure they are useful, clear and actionable. Here are key practices to follow:
● Understand the Audience: Tailor deliverables to the needs and understanding of the stakeholders. What’s valuable for a developer might differ from what a marketer requires. Understand users in the sense that you know what team members in your product design team need.
● Focus on Clarity: Ensure that deliverables are clear and concise. Avoid overloading them with unnecessary details that can hide key insights.
● Incorporate User Feedback: Continuously integrate user feedback into the deliverables. This ensures that the designs remain user-centered around a high level of UX research.
● Make Them Accessible and Collaborative: Use tools that allow for easy sharing and collaboration. This encourages feedback and iterative improvements to information architecture, other aspects of visual design, and more.
● Align with Business Goals: Align UX deliverables with the broader business objectives. They should address user needs while contributing to the overall business strategy. If a brand’s business goals are focused well, they’ll account for great customer satisfaction, a solid competitive advantage and numerous other aspects of a winning product design.
● Iterate Based on Testing: Use usability testing results to refine and improve the deliverables. An iterative approach is key to effective UX design and to delight real users who can achieve their goals with well-designed digital products.
● Document Decisions and Changes: Keep a clear record of design decisions and changes. This helps in maintaining clarity and rationale throughout the design process.
● Visuals Over Text: Where possible, use visuals to communicate ideas. Diagrams, sketches, and wireframes are often more effective than text-heavy documents, which can be time-consuming pain points.
● Stay Up-to-Date with UX Trends: Keep abreast of the latest UX trends and tools. It can provide new perspectives and methods for creating effective deliverables.
● User-Centricity: UX professionals should always prioritize the user’s experience and needs in every deliverable they create. User testing will confirm how user-centric a deliverable is, so stay ahead of the game in real time.
See our piece 5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process for helpful insights into making the best UX deliverables.
UX deliverables play a crucial role in cross-functional teams. They act as a bridge that connects various aspects of product development. They’re important since they:
● Facilitate Communication: UX deliverables provide a common language for different team members. Collaboration among team members, such as developers, marketers, and product managers, therefore becomes easier in problem solving and more. Deliverables help to clearly convey design ideas and user experience strategies to product teams, team leaders, market research personnel, and others involved.
● Align Goals: Deliverables ensure that all team members are aligned with the user’s needs and the product’s objectives. This alignment is critical for the cohesive development of products or services in a UX design process towards their targeted audiences.
● Guide Development: Deliverables like wireframes, prototypes, and user flows offer tangible guides for developers. They ensure that the final product aligns with the envisioned design, be it for a brand-new user interface or an existing product.
● Inform Decision-Making: Insights from user personas and usability reports help design teams and others involved in product development processes make informed decisions across various departments. These can include items like marketing strategies and development priorities.
● Enhance Collaboration: As they provide clear and visual representations of the product, UX deliverables enhance collaboration among product designers and other team members. This collaborative team mindset allows for efficient and effective product development, and is the backbone of the Agile approach.
● Permit Iterative Improvement: High-quality deliverables enable teams to iteratively improve the product as they provide a long-term basis for feedback and user testing. This is crucial for agile development processes.
Overall, UX deliverables are instrumental in ensuring that cross-functional teams work synergistically in real time towards creating a product that is not only technically sound but also provides a great user experience.
Watch our masterclass Design for Agile: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Laura Klein for insights into dynamics of cross-functional teams and more.
Professionals use several key metrics to assess the success of UX deliverables, focusing on user experience, effectiveness, and business impact:
● Usability Metrics:
o Task Success Rate: Measures whether users can complete specified tasks successfully.
o Error Rate: Counts the number of errors made by users while interacting with the product.
o Time on Task: Tracks how long it takes for users to complete a task.
● User Satisfaction Metrics:
o Net Promoter Score (NPS): Assesses user likelihood to recommend the product.
o Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Gauges user satisfaction with the product or a specific feature.
o User Experience Questionnaires: Collect qualitative feedback on the user’s experience.
● Engagement Metrics:
o Daily/Monthly Active Users (DAU/MAU): Measures user engagement over time.
o Session Duration: Monitors the length of user interactions with the product.
● Conversion Metrics:
o Conversion Rate: Tracks the percentage of users completing a desired action.
o Drop-off Rate: Identifies at what point users are leaving or abandoning tasks.
● Retention Metrics:
o Churn Rate: Measures the rate at which users stop using the product.
o Retention Rate: Tracks how many users continue to use the product over time.
● Business Impact Metrics:
o Return on Investment (ROI): Assesses the financial return on UX initiatives.
o Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Estimates the total value a customer brings during their relationship with the product.
Each metric provides insights into different aspects of user experience and product performance, helping professionals to make data-driven decisions to improve UX deliverables.
See our piece The ROI of UX – Some Basic Metrics for further information on metrics regarding deliverables and more.
Emerging trends in UX deliverables reflect the evolving landscape of technology, user expectations, and design methodologies. Here are some of the key trends:
● User-Centered Data Visualization: As data becomes more integral to decision-making, UX professionals are focusing on creating user-friendly data visualizations. This involves making complex data easily understandable and actionable for users.
● AI and Machine Learning Integration: Incorporating AI and machine learning algorithms into UX design is on the rise. This allows for more personalized user experiences, predictive analytics, and automation in design processes.
● Accessibility and Inclusive Design: There's a growing emphasis on making digital products accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. This involves adhering to WCAG guidelines and designing for a diverse range of users.
● Voice User Interface (VUI): With the rise of smart speakers and voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, designing for voice interactions is becoming increasingly important. This involves understanding natural language processing and conversational UI design.
● Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR technologies are becoming increasingly integrated into UX design, particularly for immersive experiences in gaming, education, and e-commerce.
● Microinteractions: Focus on microinteractions, small design elements that enhance the user experience, is increasing. These can significantly improve user engagement and satisfaction.
● Motion Design and Animation: Using subtle animations and motion design can make interfaces more intuitive and delightful. This trend is about using motion effectively, not just for aesthetics but to enhance usability.
● Ethical Design and Privacy: With growing concerns about privacy and data security, UX designers are now more involved in creating transparent and ethical designs that protect user data.
● Collaborative and Remote Design Tools: As remote work becomes more common, UX teams are relying on collaborative online tools for design and communication. Tools like Figma and InVision are popular for their collaborative features.
● Design Systems and Style Guides: Creating comprehensive design systems and style guides helps maintain consistency and efficiency in UX design across large teams and multiple projects.
Keeping up with these trends is crucial for UX professionals to create relevant, user-centric, and forward-thinking designs, products and services.
Here are some popular good books about UX deliverables:
Steve Krug's book gives practical web usability advice focused on eliminating unnecessary thinking for users. Its simple principles like avoiding jargon help designers improve sites.
Jenifer Tidwell catalogs proven interface design solutions as patterns. This provides UI designers a toolbox of best practices to draw from.
This book by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden outlines the Lean UX methodology which focuses on rapid experimentation and iterative design to quickly learn about users. It has influenced many designers to focus on creating testable prototypes early and learning from real user feedback.
Jesse James Garrett outlines a framework for breaking down and improving web site UX into five planes of user experience. This provides an organized process for developing sites.
Kim Goodwin's book provides practical guidance on user research, information architecture, interaction design and visual design. It advocates designing holistically for user goals.
Common pitfalls that UX designers need to avoid when they create UX deliverables include:
● Lack of Clarity: Avoid creating deliverables that are ambiguous or too complex. Ensure that they are straightforward and easy to understand for all stakeholders.
● Overloading with Information: While thoroughness is important, don’t overload deliverables with excessive details. It can obscure key insights about real users, pain points, and more. Focus on the most relevant information.
● Ignoring the Audience: Design deliverables with the audience in mind. What's useful for a developer might differ from what a marketer needs. Keep a high level of empathy in mind.
● Neglecting User Feedback: Disregarding user feedback in the creation of UX deliverables is a critical mistake. Incorporate user insights to make the deliverables more user-centered.
● Failing to Align with Business Goals: Ensure that UX deliverables align with the broader business goals and objectives. They should not only address user needs but also contribute to achieving business outcomes.
● Not Iterating Based on Testing: UX design is an iterative process. Failing to update deliverables based on usability testing results can lead to designs that do not effectively solve user problems.
● Poor Documentation: Inadequate documentation can make it difficult for team members to understand the rationale behind design decisions. Comprehensive documentation is essential for teams to meet user needs and business goals and objectives.
To avoid these pitfalls, focus on creating clear, concise, and relevant deliverables that align with both user needs and business goals. Regularly update them based on user feedback and testing results.
For extensive insights into and best practices of UX research, take our course:
Deliverables facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the user experience. This makes user testing more effective and insightful. Here’s a breakdown of which deliverables feature where:
1. Planning Tests: Deliverables like user personas and user journeys enable testers to understand the target users' needs, preferences, and behavior patterns. This understanding guides the creation of relevant testing scenarios for potential users.
2. Conducting Tests: Prototypes, wireframes, and user flows are critical during testing. They allow real users to interact with a product's design and functionality. This provides a hands-on experience of the user interface and user flow.
3. Analyzing Test Results: Usability reports and user feedback are integral in analyzing the results of user tests. They provide insights into user behavior, preferences, and areas of difficulty. These are vital for refining the design.
4. Iterative Improvement: Based on the analysis, designers can make informed decisions to iterate and improve the product. This iterative process, guided by UX deliverables, ensures that the final product aligns closely with user needs and expectations.
Overall, UX deliverables are not just documentation. They are active elements in the user testing process, and they guide the design towards a user-centered product where design team members minimize pain points for real users.
The most common types of UX deliverables are:
● User Personas: Fictional characters which designers create to represent different target user types.
● Wireframes: Schematic blueprints, usually missing stylistic elements, that represent the skeletal framework of digital products.
● Prototypes: Interactive demos of a website or app. They can range from low-fidelity sketches to high-fidelity, fully functional demos.
● User Journeys: Visual or textual representations of the user’s interactions and user behavior with a product. They show the sequence of steps the user takes to accomplish a goal.
● User Flows: Diagrams that display the complete path a user takes when using a product in real life.
● Site Maps: Diagrams that illustrate the structure and hierarchy of a website.
● Usability Reports: Documents containing findings from usability tests.
Each deliverable has a specific purpose. For example, user personas help team members to understand the target audience of their interactive design. Meanwhile, wireframes provide a clear outline of a website or app’s layout and functionality. Prototypes allow for early testing and feedback that designers can apply to potential customers and, ultimately, real users. User journeys and user flows visualize the user’s experience and interactions. Site maps organize and clarify content structure, while usability reports highlight areas for improvement.
When designers create these deliverables, they should focus on clarity and effectiveness. It's crucial to ensure that these documents communicate the intended design and user experience clearly to stakeholders. Consider taking our User Experience: The Beginner’s Guide course for a firm foundation on deliverables and much more.
UX deliverables specifically cater to user experience aspects but do not differ from other design deliverables in many ways. All “traditional” design deliverables should focus on the aesthetic and functional aspects of a product. However, UX deliverables—in the sense of, for example, website and app design—center around real users’ interactions with the product as it relates to a specific set of principles that stem from human-computer interaction (HCI). This means designers must understand user needs, behaviors, and the overall journey within a UX context, and namely they:
● Focus on making deliverables that are specific to UX design such as user flows, sitemaps, information architecture (IA) and microcopy.
● Can include such deliverables for digital products when refining products post-release, something that physical product designers cannot do.
● Also can focus on the area of service design. UX designers examine the holistic end-to-end experience, where other design disciplines are far more specialized or narrow.
Interactive Prototypes: UX designers frequently use interactive prototypes to test and refine user interactions. This is less common in other design and development areas. For creating products or services, especially high-quality digital products for a target audience, team members make prototypes to test how potential users might experience versions of a final product.
1. Read UX Design Mastery’s article What is a UX Deliverable for additional insights.
2. Read our piece 14 UX Deliverables: What Will I Be Making as a UX Designer? for more in-depth information on deliverables.
3. See The Most Common UX Design Deliverables by Mark Coulstring for more helpful points.
4. Read UX Design Deliverables by Saadia Minhas for even more insights.
Here are some highly cited pieces of research on UX deliverables:
● Smiley, K., Patel, P., & Harding, J. (2016). From Ideas to Implementations: Closing the Gaps between Technical Experts and Software Solutions. In 2016 IEEE/ACM International Workshop on Continuous Software Evolution and Delivery (CSED). IEEE. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/2896941.2896945
This publication by Karen Smiley, Pankesh Patel, and Jeff Harding, presented at the 2016 IEEE/ACM International Workshop on Continuous Software Evolution and Delivery (CSED), addresses the critical challenge of bridging the gaps between technical experts and the development of software solutions. The authors discuss the importance of collaboration between technical experts and software developers, emphasizing the need for a mutual understanding and communication to ensure that the software solutions developed are not only technically sound but also align with the specific requirements and expectations of the technical domain.
● Shiratuddin, N, Zaibon, S.B. (2011). Designing user experience for mobile game-based learning. In 2011 International Conference on User Science and Engineering (i-USEr). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/iUSEr.2011.6150543
This study, presented at the 2011 International Conference on User Science and Engineering (i-USEr), focuses on the development of mobile game-based learning (mGBL) applications. It addresses the need for specialized methodologies in creating educational games for mobile environments.
Here’s the entire UX literature on UX Deliverables by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:
Take a deep dive into UX Deliverables with our course Design Thinking: The Ultimate Guide .
Some of the world’s leading brands, such as Apple, Google, Samsung, and General Electric, have rapidly adopted the design thinking approach, and design thinking is being taught at leading universities around the world, including Stanford d.school, Harvard, and MIT. What is design thinking, and why is it so popular and effective?
Design Thinking is not exclusive to designers—all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering and business have practiced it. So, why call it Design Thinking? Well, that’s because design work processes help us systematically extract, teach, learn and apply human-centered techniques to solve problems in a creative and innovative way—in our designs, businesses, countries and lives. And that’s what makes it so special.
The overall goal of this design thinking course is to help you design better products, services, processes, strategies, spaces, architecture, and experiences. Design thinking helps you and your team develop practical and innovative solutions for your problems. It is a human-focused, prototype-driven, innovative design process. Through this course, you will develop a solid understanding of the fundamental phases and methods in design thinking, and you will learn how to implement your newfound knowledge in your professional work life. We will give you lots of examples; we will go into case studies, videos, and other useful material, all of which will help you dive further into design thinking. In fact, this course also includes exclusive video content that we've produced in partnership with design leaders like Alan Dix, William Hudson and Frank Spillers!
This course contains a series of practical exercises that build on one another to create a complete design thinking project. The exercises are optional, but you’ll get invaluable hands-on experience with the methods you encounter in this course if you complete them, because they will teach you to take your first steps as a design thinking practitioner. What’s equally important is you can use your work as a case study for your portfolio to showcase your abilities to future employers! A portfolio is essential if you want to step into or move ahead in a career in the world of human-centered design.
Design thinking methods and strategies belong at every level of the design process. However, design thinking is not an exclusive property of designers—all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering, and business have practiced it. What’s special about design thinking is that designers and designers’ work processes can help us systematically extract, teach, learn, and apply these human-centered techniques in solving problems in a creative and innovative way—in our designs, in our businesses, in our countries, and in our lives.
That means that design thinking is not only for designers but also for creative employees, freelancers, and business leaders. It’s for anyone who seeks to infuse an approach to innovation that is powerful, effective and broadly accessible, one that can be integrated into every level of an organization, product, or service so as to drive new alternatives for businesses and society.
You earn a verifiable and industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course. You can highlight them on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or your website.
We believe in Open Access and the democratization of knowledge. Unfortunately, world class educational materials such as this page are normally hidden behind paywalls or in expensive textbooks.