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Nowadays, you must be hearing a lot about the term UX design. In the tech circles, you may have encountered this word several times. If you are new to this term, you may be wondering “In what cryptic languages are they talking”. UX design stands for User Experience Design and is coined by Don Norman in 1995 during his tenure as the vice president of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple. As per him, this term covers all the aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual. But, with the rapid growth in technological innovations, it has widened to cover a large number of aspects of business development and is still evolving day by day. Some of the advancements in voice technology and AI capabilities has made it necessary to have experiences in these technologies to make sure that you can provide better UX designs. A UX design can also be used to define the quality of the product and have the capacity to either make or break a project. Without any proper UX design process, the development of the project may be a bit tiresome as the developers may have no idea on how to proceed with the project.
UX design industry is growing by leaps and bounds day by day. There are more than 150,000 UX Design jobs available in America right now and has been ranked amongst the top 25 highest paying jobs in America by Glassdoor. It is because UX design plays a significant role in the development of the company. More and more startups and top ranking companies are investing a major portion of their investment in the UX design. Its popularity can be known from the fact that Amazon had invested 100 times more into customer experience than advertising during the first year of Amazon. To gain a competitive edge over the others, it is necessary that you have a proper idea of the user experience design.
Now you may be considering what is the latest definition of UX design. UX design is defined as person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use and anticipated use of a product, system or service. It aims to make the user’s experience with the product as the best to attract more and more visitors as possible. After the visitor is on the website, it is the task of UX to make their journey from the homepage to purchasing the product. The user interface (UI) is essential for the website and app design and aims to provide a visually pleasant interface to the users. User experience (UX) aims to provide the overall experience to the users. UI forms a part of the UX, and hence it has wider aspects. It helps to design the products that are useful to the users and thus helps in getting good business and reap huge benefits.
Since the role of a UX designer is quite complex and important, there are several character traits that are necessary to become a great UX designer. These are:
This is quite an important trait and helps you to understand why a person behaves in a certain manner. In this, you have to put yourself in the shoes of others to get an idea of how the people perceive of your product that you have to offer. They must care about the people and must make sure that the customers are not struggling to use their product.
To become a good UX designer, it is necessary to have a trait of curiosity to know how a thing is and why it is so. One must also have an idea of the latest innovation taking place and also monitor on how their users utilize a product. Apart from that, it is also necessary to have an idea of the latest innovations undertaken by their competitors. Based on the changes taking place in the competitor’s organizations, they must also be able to get an idea of how it can impact your organization.
This trait is also quite essential as it is necessary to explain even the complex concepts easily and in a better way to even the ones with little or no prior knowledge in the field.
UX design is quite a complex topic in itself and is quite a challenging field. In this, the experts must be able to tap into the minds of the users about what they need, how they need and how much they are willing to pay for the same. Apart from having a proper knowledge of the human psychology, it is also necessary to have an eye on the latest technical innovation taking place in all walks of life. This will help understand the user behaviour and also help you to get an idea of the user requirements and also suggest you to what changes are to be made in the same. Some of the latest technological trends like Big Data, AI, VR, etc. is changing or is set to change the UX design shortly.
When it comes to UX design, there are various factors that need to be kept in mind and involves a lot of activities in the different phase of the project. Each of the organization does the UX design differently as per their needs. Even with the difference in principles, the flow and the process remains the same. It is because the one size fits all principle do not work in this case. In every case, only after you have an idea of the project, you will be able to have a proper idea of what UX design principle should be followed.
With every UX design, there are three major processes involved. These are User Research, Design, and Testing. All of these must be properly researched and then executed to ensure that you can get the best returns on your investment. The UX design is a continuous process and must be modified with the changing times. E.g. Even the best typewriters designed in the 1980’s are outdated now, and hence it becomes necessary with the changing times, or you will be out of the business in no time. Hence, no matter in which industry you are on, it becomes necessary to provide a good UX and update it from time to time.
As the products are developed for the users and not for the developers itself, it is necessary to know how a user feels about a product. The products designed from the perspective of the designer may look and feel better to him but may turn out to be a nightmare for the users. Suppose you are given a phone where you need to type in ASCII codes to dial a number. Although these may turn out to be interesting to its developers, these may turn out to be huge flops as the users are not accustomed to the codes. Even if you are redesigning a product, it is necessary to a proper user research.
It is due to these reasons that user research forms a major milestone in the UX design. A good user research helps you to provide a good user experience. This helps you to get an idea of the users, what they want, how they want, and why they want. It also helps you to know about their goals, behaviour, and needs. In most of the cases, what the businesses think will work for their project may not work for their users. This, in turn, leads to lesser returns as expected. Hence it is necessary to conduct research from your required user base and then device the project based on the same.
There are various ways in which you can do your user research. These are conducting interviews, online surveys, user testing, and many more similar tasks. It is necessary that while conducting the research more focus should be paid on observing the user than on listening to them. It is because more information can be garnered about the user by observing the users as compared to just listening to them.
After conducting user research, you may come across different types of people thereby providing you with the different user experience. You must focus on gathering data about the user behaviour and must not intend to change the user behaviour or influence it in any way. The sole focus must be on to accommodate it in your product. Suppose you have a visually challenged person, who wants to use an ATM machine. In this case, you cannot tell them on how they should use it or suggest to use it like a normal person. In such a case, the ATM service must be designed to be friendly for even the visually challenged person as well.
There are various ways in which you can conduct user research. It must be done frequently at each step of the project development and even after the project has been developed. This helps in making many important decisions. Some of the major ways in which projects are developed are as follows. The advent of the internet has helped a lot in the user research process as it has helped to reach a large number of users in any corner of the globe and thereby to save time and money.
Surveys are the oldest form of doing research. Even in the earlier days, it was used to gain various information about the social and financial life of the people. In this method, the target users are provided with a set of questions which is then reviewed later to get an idea about the responses of the users. Nowadays, you can also make use of the internet to reach a large number of people and view their responses thereby providing you with a large and varied sample size.
The interview is the best form of user research method as it helps you to know about their experience. Asking questions while conducting interviews can also help you to know what the users like or dislike about your product. Any problems if encountered can also be taken into consideration. This method can also be used to ask about any changes that need to be incorporated into it. In this method, the users are not limited by the choices provided and hence they are free to venture into any territory and provide answers to different problems. Nowadays the interviews can be done online as well with the help of video calling service. This will help you to reach a large number of people and help you to save time and money.
This is one of the best methods if you are planning to upgrade your product or wish to add some features to it. This helps you to get an idea on how the users struggle with your product and also provides you with the information of the experience of the users, the problems encountered, and also to make final changes before finally releasing the product. This has been quite popular in the software field where different developers gain access to the preview build of the software for free before its final release. This method is followed by Microsoft, Apple, Google and several such organizations before the final release.
This word is quite misunderstood by a lot of people in the field. It doesn’t simply mean the visual aesthetics of the product but focuses on the overall user experience of the product. If any new product is introduced in the market, the users tend to follow a certain procedure based on their previous experiences. In such a case, it becomes necessary to help them provide the best experience on how the customer behaves already. Steve Jobs on the launch of iPhone in 2007 said: “You don’t need a stylus” thereby enabling the users to use the already used method of fingers. Apart from being visually appealing, the product must be able to solve the problems of the users. In this case, it becomes necessary to design a prototype and then take reviews of the users on the same before delivering the final product. The prototypes must be as close as possible to the original product. The prototype helps in some ways as it helps you to identify the feasibility of the product, problems encountered in the product design, gather feedback and reactions of the users, introduce any changes, and interact with the product. Any problems if encountered can be easily fixed and is relatively cheaper as compared to making changes in the final version. The problems in the prototype version are not criticized while those in the final version is heavily criticized. This, in turn, may cause a negative impact on your branding. One major thing that a lot of businesses use is that they create user personas as in quite a few cases you may find out that you don’t have sufficient users. In such cases creating a user, persona helps a great deal.
Persona helps you to help understand the mindset of the potential customers. In this, an additional layer of real-world consideration is implemented. This helps you to make any important decisions keeping in mind how your potential customers will behave. This helps you to internalize the customers and relate them to real humans and identify their context, attitude, behaviour, needs, goals, and various other such aspects. However, it is necessary to have a sufficient number of user personas as it helps you to look at the project from different points of view. It is beneficial to provide the persona with a name, a job, a role in a company, family, and other such parameters to provide the best possible results. A good persona reflects the patterns observed in the research and focuses on the current state rather than the future state. It is necessary to provide the persona with a realistic and challenging target that is not impossible. Before creating a user persona, it is necessary that you do some research on the same. Some of the most important questions that need to be answered are age, gender, education, device usage, family, challenges, company, personal background, shopping preferences, goals, daily timetable, and much more such parameters that may turn out to be helpful for you.
Testing forms a quite important part of the UX design. This ensures that the problems are encountered fixed in the earlier stages by the developers itself than to be encountered later by the users. Testing can differ based on the product and the users you intend to target. It is necessary that you choose the proper test subjects which match your user base. E.g. If you are developing a product for ladies, it is necessary that you choose the similar test subjects as compared to your user base. The user base may change depending on the user’s age, sex, location, educational qualifications, etc. A proper testing is quite necessary as it has the capabilities to either make or break your project idea. This helps you to get an idea of the minor problems that may be encountered on the product. It is necessary to have the testing being done by the people who are not associated with the product. It is because the people who are associated with the project tend to become a bit sympathetic towards the project. If possible, the testing must be done at each phase of the project development as this will ensure that in the end, you have to work on quite a few problems. Along with the same, the prototypes can be tested for any problems and then appropriate steps can be taken to rectify the problem.
While testing, you can use any of the testing methods like A/B testing or remote user testing to ensure that you can find out the problems encountered and get them fixed in no time.
After all the process has been completed, now comes the time to roll out the product to your users. But, just rolling out the products to the users is not enough. To make sure that the users can get their tasks done, it is necessary to validate the design and perform the metric analysis of the product. This can be done by getting reviews from the users and find out about any problems encountered. Then these must be resolved properly as fast as possible. Any negative review of the product can pose huge problems and may tarnish the brand image and reduce the brand value. Making sure that the users are satisfied with the product is quite a difficult task, and further requirements must be kept in mind which must be solved accordingly. You can also use some analytical tools to see if these are used in the same way as intended to do by the developers. However, if this is not the case, certain steps can be taken to ensure that the users use the product as intended to do. Apart from this, the changes can also be made to make it convenient for the users to use it.
By following the steps mentioned above, you will be able to design UX for your company and fulfil the dreams of becoming a successful UX designer. However, it is necessary that you keep an eye on the latest innovations in the field to remain updated about the same and implement changes accordingly. The role of a UX designer is quite challenging and provides the users with the chances to explore their potential.
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