User Experience is no longer a stylish trend, it’s a practice and a “must” for every website that hopes to attract a fair share of visitors. However, despite of what the majority of resources will try to convince you, you will actually be able to create qualitative UX even if you don’t have lots of funds. All you need is wits and ability to exploit the recourses that are at hand.
As a rule the process of UX improvement implies conducting tests and correspondingly paying the participants, purchasing the advanced UI design tools or even taking a usability test lab for a spin. However, in case you have no means for all that, what is your strategy? Is it productive to get upset and give up? Of course not! You need to pull yourself together, analyze resources that you have and make do. It’s not that hard, especially if you follow the tips below on creating affordable and qualitative UX.
Analyze the Resources at Hand
People have various hobbies and sometimes these side interests can become very useful for your company. You may not even know that you php specialist has a striking talent for illustrations or your HR is excellent at graphic design. People are different and so are their interests. If you take time to get to know them, ask them about their passions and hobbies you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There is a fair chance that unassuming coworker that you thought is capable only of doing routine work is really extremely creative designer, whose input in your project will be valuable and irreplaceable.
Tap into Freelance Market
Such freelance services as Guru.com or UpWork.com exist for a reason and that reason is for you to use the help of specialists, who are eager to work for less, but from a comfort of their homes and on their own equipment. You can hire a couple of specialists to analyze your project and indicate what needs to be done. Even if you don’t hire any of them – you’ll have a base for an expert that you’ll invite to work on your UX. However, it’s not a secret that $5 can give you only so much, which is why it’s most certainly better to hire an agency, at least to have an estimate and direction of how to proceed.
Divide and Conquer
Sometimes, even a tiny project seems to be huge. When you think about how much you need to do, your head almost explodes and you get scared that you won’t be able to finish the work before the deadline. The best decision in this case will be to divide the project in multiple tasks. Thus, you will approach each tiny section of work one at a time. You will also prioritize your work and start with the most basic elements. It may turn out that you don’t even need multiple plugins or alterations for your project to look or function flawlessly. If you’re in need of a good application – pay the primary attention to navigation and only after that go for screens’ designing. Using this approach you’ll be able to build the backbone of your project in a short period of time and only after that add superficial details that may or may not be needed.
Use At Home Usability Testing
You’ll probably hear from a great number of UX consultants that if you want to improve your UX, you’ll need to hire a team of professionals, rent a test lab or employ the services of testers. Although their motives may not always be beneficial for you (they are consultants, aiming to sell the products of their company to you, after all), they are right about one thing: you need the opinion of other people to understand the flaws and strong points of your design.
However, any feedback is very welcome and can be of use in such case, which is why you can use the help of friends and relatives, who will be able to test your website or application and tell you what they think about it. Even a feedback from your team is much more valuable than your personal opinion as it helps to understand how different people perceive your design.
Don’t waste money on Pricy Design Tools
Let’s assume that you are not sitting on sacs of gold, but want to improve your UX nonetheless. What can you use for creation of a custom design? Why pen and paper, of course! Heaps of other designers do it, why can’t you?! These ordinary tools will help you create extraordinary designs, sky is the limit to your imagination – all you need is a talent to draw. Besides, you can always erase your mistake on paper or take another piece. Moreover, paper is the environment, that allows you to use a multitude of supplies (pencils, ink, watercolors and so on).
Another tool that you can use for design presentations is whiteboard or PowerPoint. PowerPoint even allows fairly useful tools for design creation. You need to always keep in mind one thing: no expensive tool will ever help person to be a great designer. Your talent and constant practice are the only things that you need to create the design of your dream.
Exploit Online Tools for Testing
In case you don’t want to annoy your friends and relatives with your requests for testing or using your website and providing a feedback, your best bet is to use online usability testing services. However, you need to make a thorough research on what service is the best one to use, in financial and trustworthy respect. You can try the affordable ones, like Usertesting.com with $49 monthly rate and expensive ones, like loop11.com with a rate of $350 for 1 project (in case of loop11 you get 1000 users to test your project). The middle ground of the results from both will be exactly what is wrong with your design.