Whether you’re preparing to design a new website or app or redesign an existing product, a UX design proposal can make the process much smoother. The role of a UX design proposal is to carefully outline the “why” and “how” behind a UX design idea to designers and clients alike.
According to published data, 75% of people judge a website based on aesthetics alone, with 70% of businesses failing outright due to poor UX. To avoid that in your project, let’s discuss how you can write UX design proposals that will breathe new life into your websites and apps.
Reasons to Write a UX Design Proposal Before Entering Production
It’s worth pointing out why UX design proposals play such an integral role in User Experience design. According to reports, 94% of people don’t trust outdated websites, while it takes only 0.05 seconds to form a design opinion. Craigslist is the perfect example of how not to design your UX. Despite its early popularity, the platform has been sidelined by much better-designed and optimized platforms over the years.
It’s not worth risking the well-being of your platform or software application due to poor performance, outdated visuals, or poor UI design. That’s why you can use UX design proposals to not only map out the design process of new projects but also any future redesigns. Doing so will net you several important benefits:
- Improved quality, usability, and user retention for the final product
- Faster and more organized design workflow
- Fewer errors and bottlenecks during production
- Ability to discover creative new UX solutions during planning
- Easy indexing and storage of UX design proposals for future redesigns
The Process of Writing a UX Design Proposal
- Explain the Design Issue you are Solving with your UX Solution
Whether you’re writing UX design proposals for in-house use or for clients whose websites you are managing, it’s important to describe the issue at hand. Approaching UX redesign is a long-term process, one which will cost you time and resources. As such, your stakeholders will want to be completely sure that the new UX design solution will be worth the trouble. Some of how you can find and then write about design issues include:
- Interviews with clients
- Polls with end-users
- In-house testing and experimentation
- Research and comparison against industry trends
Take Goodreads as an example, as their UI has often been lauded as bloated, slow, and unrefined. In this case, you could argue that the new UX design would address the pressing user issues such as poor response times and confusing navigation. Attaching screenshots as proof is also a smart idea, especially if the design proposal will be read by non-designer clients.
- Define the Outcomes of Implementing your UX Design Proposal
What do you expect to accomplish by implementing your new UX design solution? Once you define the problem, you should follow it up with a clear solution to the issue. The outcomes of your UX design can include anything from improved loading, better SEO ranking, to better user engagement and user retention.
If you were to design an eCommerce platform, for example, Book Depository would be a good choice for what to aim for. The platform is very well-designed in terms of UX, offering comprehensive user information straight from the landing page. Put yourself in your users’ shoes and come up with a list of benefits to using your new UX design instead of the old one. If you can’t come up with five or more reasons for why the new design is better, go back and redefine your design plan.
- Address Possible Production Bottlenecks and their Solutions
You should be as forward-thinking as possible when it comes to writing the UX design proposal for an upcoming project. This includes considering any “bad scenarios”. What happens if you go over budget or breach the deadline? What if the UI design you wanted to implement goes poorly with end-users? These are difficult questions that your stakeholders will want to know about upfront.
Take iHeartRadio, a podcast platform as an example. It features a clean design UI with very appealing and smooth UX. What would happen if the minimalist aesthetic doesn’t go well with your target audience? What if you can’t find the specific WordPress theme and have to develop UI elements from scratch? Ask your team the tough questions and reassure your clients that you are the right team for the UX design job.
- Who are your UX Design Stakeholders (Project Team)?
Speaking of your team, the UX design proposal should include a detailed breakdown of who exactly will work on the design’s implementation upon approval. Everyone from the project manager, copywriter, and web designer to UI and CX designers should be addressed in the design proposal. You can use SpeedyPaper to format your list of coworkers with skills and expertise in a very readable and approachable format, ideal for non-designer stakeholders. The more professional your design proposal’s editing and formatting, the better impression of your UX skills will be with clients.
Listing all of your project’s stakeholders in the design document can reassure your clients of how well-planned your design proposal is. You can make use of LinkedIn if you are all working in the same company and use public profiles as representative content for each individual. LinkedIn has a very well-structured UI when it comes to company personnel, and the same principles can be applied in your UX design proposal.
- Outline your UX Design Production Timeline
To wrap up your UX design proposal, you should provide your stakeholders with a rudimentary timeline for your design’s implementation. This is where you can also address any special needs or concerns you may have with the budget or deadline. If neither is an issue, use your team’s best judgment to create a timeline with an expected launch date for the new UX design.
An example of how not to handle your UX design can, unfortunately, be seen in Toronto Cupcakes, an online storefront that went against the grain. Their UI is very basic and relies on outdated fonts, poor image quality, and unappealing UI elements. While this is an extreme example, it can happen in your project if you mismanage your resources or timeline. Be realistic in the goals and expectations you set for your team to bring the UX design proposal that closer to approval.
- Present your UX Design Proposal and Be Prepared for FAQ
Once you’ve written your UX design proposal, the clients you are working for will want to hear more about it beyond the writing itself. As such, you should be ready for a closed-door presentation with questions and a discussion on the validity of your UX design claims. Depending on your clients’ familiarity with UX design, the questions may range from the basic website or app usability questions to the target audience’s psychology.
Likewise, they will ask you for examples of good UX design implemented by platforms similar to their own. For example, if you are redesigning an online learning platform, Udemy is a good example of functional, straightforward UI design. This may lead to clients asking for UX design choices similar to your examples, so cherry-pick the ones you are comfortable drawing inspiration from. Talk about potential questions with your team before the presentation to prepare your arguments as best as possible.
Common UX Design Proposal Writing Mistakes to Avoid
Now that we’ve addressed the main points of writing a UX design proposal, let’s also talk about the potential pitfalls you should keep in mind. Based on recent statistics, 89% of people opt for using competitors’ websites after poor UX, with 70% of CEOs seeing UX as a competitive differentiator. The new design you come up with must be overall better than the last one.
UX design proposal mistakes can concern both the writing process itself as well as the actual design decisions you make. Try to avoid these mistakes to write a successful UX design pitch and have your project approved more quickly:
- Lack of communication with your design team and clients during the proposal writing process
- New UX design is inconsistent and incompatible with existing UI and visual elements
- Favoring visual appeal over functionality in the new UX design solution
- Not locking down budget, resources, and design timeline before production
- Chasing industry trends without taking your product’s target audience’s expectations
- Not accounting for responsive design (for various screen sizes, OS, and browsers)
Putting the UX Design Proposal into Practice (Conclusion)
When your UX design proposal is approved, you should stick to it during practical implementation as much as possible. Here are some last-minute tips which you can also refer to when writing the proposal to make it as appealing and functional as possible:
- The UX design proposal should be succinct, well-formatted, and contain a table of content
- Refer to statistical data and social proof as much as possible to argue your design decisions
- Create a proposal template from your initial design document to make subsequent writing easier
- Ask for more information about the project while writing – don’t make assumptions and guesses
- Bring both digital and print copies of the design proposal to the presentation meeting for convenience
If you’ve gone through the above-discussed steps when writing your UX design proposal, there shouldn’t be any reason for your clients to turn it down. You may however need to make last-minute adjustments based on client feedback before entering production. While UX design proposal writing isn’t the most exciting part of being a designer, the document is very useful for planning and subsequent documentation purposes.
Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a copywriter and blogger with a background in marketing and sales. She enjoys sharing her experience with like-minded professionals who aim to provide customers with high-quality services.