UX can mean a lot of things to different organizations and everyone might have a different process. However, I have seen many projects that perhaps approach the visual spectrum of design before getting the UX of their site of app solid first.

I would recommend taking a UX First approach.

I am a big advocate of spending the right amount of time up front to get the experience just right.

In most cases, even with a significant amount of user research, you will make some educated guesses. Guesses about how people will understand your app. Some more guesses about if people will find your app enjoyable. And even more guesses about how intuitive your app might be.

There can be a spectrum of how educated these guesses might be, but they are guesses none the less.

There are many tools at your disposal when working on UX design. I am an advocate of moving to front-end code (for web projects) as quickly as possible in your process.

I suggest the following

  1. Extend an existing framework to increase your speed to output ratio
  2. think first in terms of pages and layouts. Go from large to small.
  3. Simulate the functionality with as little complexity as possible. Can it be accomplished with a simple link to a static page? Is it possible to use a JavaScript or jQuery plugin or library? Perhaps a simple clickable interaction (more on this on my article at ZURB University) is what is needed?
  4. That’s it!

It can be easy to over think this. Just try to hit the sweet spot of what is best for your project.

You want to spend minimal time to prove your hypotheses (your educated guesses) true or false and show how your app works.

Front-end code is just one tool in Design Systems Engineering. It has the potential to allow you to test your UX up front. It also has the advantage of being transferable when you build out your app.