UX is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. This includes a website, web application, desktop software and basically any form of human/device interaction.
Why is UX so important?
To put it simply, UX is important because it tries to fulfill the user’s needs. It aims to provide positive experiences that keep users loyal to the product or brand. Additionally, a meaningful user experience allows you to define customer journeys on your website that are most conducive to business success.
The most important thing to remember when designing web and user interfaces is that you are not your users. Don’t assume you know what they want or what they need.
So how do you define a great experience? Get close to your users. Talk to them, watch them use your product, get inside their heads and ask yourself questions about their decisions. Your users and customers will teach you, so pay attention! Listen, observe and question.
Since user experience encompasses all aspects of interaction with a product, it’s relatively easy to see why UX is a key piece of a product’s success. Today’s users expect a lot from products they use; if a product doesn’t satisfy expectations, people will likely abandon it and move to competitors. With such intense competition in the market, companies can no longer risk having a poor user experience.
UX design is booming and in order to keep up with the times, it is important that you at least brush up on your UX design skills. Here are six of the most important ones:
An opportunity to become a better designer
As a discipline, UX design is a combination of methods and tools that allow designers to solve real problems and craft a truly functional, useful, and enjoyable design. Every discussion about UX design starts with the UX design process. In the most basic way, this process can be presented as a constant cycle of refinement and iteration. UX designers form hypotheses around how to best solve a problem, test that hypothesis, and learn from it. Since there’s no single solution for a problem, designers constantly search for a better solution.
Make people’s lives better
Perhaps the most important thing about user experience design is its user-centric approach — it puts the people at the heart of the design process. User research and usability testing are the most important parts of a UX designer’s job. Research and testing allow UX designers to turn empathy-based concepts (such as user thoughts, feelings, and frustrations) and empathy maps into project requirements (information that the team members can use to build a product).
UX designers spend much of their time speaking to users and learning how they use products, while creating the best possible experience that addresses their needs. That’s why experience design is so powerful: it goes far beyond a designer’s canvas and impacts real-life experiences. UX designers have a real opportunity to change the way people do everyday things.
However, along with the rapid growth of the IT industry, people started to realize that a team of experts from a professional UX design agency with very specialized skill sets can achieve greater results than even the most talented Jack of all trades. Today, each product’s design consists of two codependent parts - user experience structure (UX) and user interface (UI). UX designer routine
UX is about making things usable and practical. UX designers usually spend a lot of time on research and deep data analysis. Depending on the stage of the product and the quality of the available analytics resources, UX designers draw the right conclusions as well as make some predictions regarding the product's strengths and weaknesses.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. UX should focus on the end user. In the research phase, UX designers get to know the potential product’s customers as well as they can. They may conduct interviews, lead workshops or spend long hours reading about some relevant cultural aspects of the end-user group. The final outcome of UX work (which in 80-90% of cases are prototypes) is based on the gathered and digested data.
UI and UX design have become such ubiquitous terms in app and website design that it can sometimes be difficult to determine what we’re actually talking about when we use them. While UI or User Interface seems straightforward enough – it’s about creating a way for the user to interact with your application –UX or User Experience is a much hazier term. It’s about what your user experience, that much is clear. But what is the point of going for good UX?
Well, let’s start off with a little analogy. The difference between good and bad UX on a site or application is like the difference between good and bad service in a restaurant. The food (i.e., the content and products) might be made by a five-star chef, but if the wait staff drops it on the floor before it ever gets to the customer’s table, that doesn’t matter. Mind you, a patient guest will eventually get their meal and enjoy it, but most others will have left by then. That just leaves you with all that delicious food and nobody to whom to serve it.
So, in essence, UX is your application’s service staff. It’s there to guide your users through your site with as few distractions as possible and get them where they want to go – a conversion. Which is, incidentally, where you want them to go as well?
The benefits of good UX design are many, so let’s just look at a few of them here.
Good UX design gets you business
As online and mobile touchpoints become ever more important to the user/buyer journey in virtually all industries, UX design is increasingly becoming a major differentiator between competitors. While price will always remain a factor in commerce dealings, good UX design is considered a good way to increase acquisitions and conversions, which benefits your bottom line.
More user-friendly design means that your users need to do less work and take fewer steps in order to be converted. Streamlining and shortening this portion of the buyer journey is crucial, not only to get those conversions, but also to wow your users. By showing that you truly understand what your users want (and what they don’t want) in their online experience, you will stick in their minds. That will also lead to more social sharing and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Good UX design helps you keep your users
Especially in E-Commerce, customer retention is vital. You want your customers to keep coming back again and again for new interactions and new purchases. This isn’t getting any easier with the current proliferation of Commerce sites around the world and across industries. As stated above, UX is increasingly becoming a differentiator, so you need to leverage it to make your app or site stand out from the crowd.
Good UX design reduces development costs
Having a great design ready when you start development will considerably cut down on your expenses. Such a design is based on studying user behavior and extensive usability testing in the prototyping stage. What this means is that real users get to use a non-functional version of an app or site, a so-called prototype, so designers can test whether it is user-friendly.
Doing these tests ahead of the actual development enables development teams to estimate costs much more precisely and prevent feature creep, the steady addition of new features during the development process. Making sure a design works ahead of the actual implementation also means that fewer re-design and re-workings will be necessary, further lowering costs.
Misconceptions about UX design : -
Ø The more you personalize
With development of the latest technologies in a digital arena personalization has become a big thing. Every business wants to make their products highly customized to deliver a unique experience to an end user. However, some businesses forget about users in the whole process.
Imagine a situation where you’ve just found the perfect app for audiobooks and you just want to jump to one of your favorite novels. But before you start, there’s a long barrage of questions you have to answer before you can start reading. As you trawl through one question after another, you just get discouraged and want to leave the app as soon as possible. It’s clear that your app users will be annoyed if you grill them about the minutiae of their lives before they can do something that takes 3 clicks to complete.
Ø Your users are predictable
There are many ways users can interact with your application and, of course, you can predict much of their behavior by sketching user paths and creating different scenarios. Yet there will be times when they will surprise you with how they interact with your product. That’s why user testing is essential in getting closer to understanding their needs, pains, and expectations.
Ø UX design is just about users
There are many anchor points whenever you want to build a successful digital product, and users are just one of the dimensions here. The other one is business, which needs to be satisfied to make sure the product converts to revenue streams. Another anchor point is technology, because it defines the boundaries for the product’s development
It doesn’t make any sense to develop a system that nobody will use or pay for, either due to lack of functionality or an ineffective business model. It also doesn’t make any sense to design a system that cannot be developed, either from a technological or financial point of view. Balancing between these boundaries successfully is one of the most important challenges of UX design. A good understanding of business and at least basic understanding of technology are two great assets of a good UX designer.
Ø UX design is just about experience
Of course, the better the experience, the louder the “wow” you will hear from the users, but such result is not the ultimate goal. Considering that the product is a tool in the hands of a business owner, the UX person needs to think about how to direct users towards the conversion points. To do so, a UX designer needs to attract them, keep them engaged and make sure they will not leave. This task very often touches upon areas that are only indirectly related to the product.
Experience is something that happens at every single touchpoint between the user and the product, or even the whole brand. Having an idea who to attract, how to attract them and how to find the touchpoints, as well as the ability to learn from users’ actions are great assets here. And lastly, all of this requires some technological solutions to be used – solutions that trigger costs and may cost even more when a wrong technology is selected.
Ø UX Design is just about design
Usually, a UX designer is not someone who will come up with the final version of the interface. He or she may happen to be a UI designer as well, but this is a whole different story. Many tools and techniques in our hands don’t apply to design per se but to collecting knowledge about users and the market, planning and experimenting. For example, underestimating research and the strategy that comes as a result of research may be one of the worst mistakes one can make when building a product. No matter how bold your idea is, delivering a feature or a set of them based on untested assumptions may be a hit or a miss. At the same time, developing it is always a cost. It becomes a question, then, if a feature should be developed or not, and user research plays an important role in answering it. Note that this becomes even more interesting for highly innovative products, when you want to solve a problem that has not been addressed by any other product so far.