The idea used to hover on in my mind since a long time, but it was not until recently that I realized it holds some truth. Recently, I happened to catch up with some old friends of mine and amidst them were an Architect and an UX Designer.
I brought up the topic of their professions and surprisingly, the talk seemed to be very interesting. In fact, their professions seemed to be more or less similar.
There exists similarity between Architects and UX Designers. In fact, we had a deeper conversation regarding the same and finally, all three of us came to a conclusion that I should be writing something related to how Architects and UX Designers share a lot in common.
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Of course, I do have plans to conduct a detailed research on how both these professions are similar from various aspects and then write about it. But, for now, I shall cut short my inferences from the discussion and help you get to know UX better:
Let us draw a comparison between designing a website on one side and building construction on the other side and I will help you find out how they are similar:
The architect lays out a foundation! They could have restrictions or limitations, of course, laid down by the government. They have to utilize the given space and transform it into a beautiful living or commercial space to fit into the client’s requirements.
In the case of UX designs, the web is their canvas. There are no limitations or restrictions here! Next is the navigation which connects different sections of a page and finally, brings about an intuitive sync between all the various aspects of a website design.
If a proper and perfect synch happens between these sections, then, you are on to your path providing a great user experience which is what even an Architect is striving to achieve!
UX designers need to think more or less like an Architect! My Architect friend says that all Architects are blessed with the boon to carve out beautiful things but many are unsure whether these beautiful spaces will serve a purpose or not. The soul of a space that is beautifully designed depends on whether it is successful in fulfilling the customer’s requirements which is directly proportional to usability.
It implies that by accomplishing a task wherein you have the approximate solution that addresses a problem and is aesthetic in appearance too helps to shape out a perfect balance between the user’s needs and your design.
Now you have an amazingly appropriate answer that is perfectly customized to meet the user’s needs.
When you have the functionality, content and everything else put in place, you are automatically curating a perfect design.
You have not just one person to please but many! This is not a physical store that you are opening, but it is accessible over the internet and as you know you cannot predict who could be your next visitor or customer?
So, the question is how do you tailor make your website or app to meet the needs of your customer (not just one person but everyone)?
UX is the only answer!
Believe it or not, but UX is the only one way to help yourself while you help your customers.
UX stands for User Experience (Just for your information, if you are someone hearing the term for the first time).
What if you have no User Experience defined?
I will answer this with a question- then, why are you designing your app or website in the first place?
Ok, now you know you are going to design an app or a website! But, who are the people for whom you are designing it? Who exactly is your audience?
Or, do you expect a few people to pop out of the blue one morning and come to you and make a deal with you when they don’t even know how could it benefit them?
Pick the right audience, define your intend, and analyze how your audience are going to benefit from what you are going to provide them.
In short, UX designer is someone who realizes the soul of a design and they know very well the User
Experience when they use the app or website designed by you.
Imagine I have a 12 layered cake with a different flavor such as the Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Choco chips, etc. in each layer and I invite 12 people to taste a piece from one of the different layers. They all love the layer they tasted. Here, again some might not like the Chocolate layer, while some might not like Strawberry, while some do not like both! So, how do you bake a cake that all love?
Before that I need to be sure that all these people are cake lovers!
The point here is your website should be usable.
From the UX designer’s perspective it could be that point of a website where the UX could be viewed as an architecture which improves the user’s experience each time they happen to use the app or website.
(Simply, put it as adding value to the people’s lives).
You have an aim when you design your website and the users also have an objective when they visit your website. But, when they reach your website and find that it appears like a game of chess where they have absolutely no idea why the black chess pieces and the white chess pieces are arranged on the opposite sides and they are wondering why the chess pieces have this particular arrangement?
Here, your intent is to provide them with an intuitive methodology that will guide them in the right direction.
This is what will lead them to the treasure and you will ultimately, accomplish your design goals.
What is UX and UI? Where does UI come amidst all this?
Remember, the 12 layered cake that I offered to 12 different people! Now, imagine I offered them a rubbery, mushy, lopsided and densely arranged cake. Do you think they will come anywhere near it?
This exactly is the UI of your website! The visual impact has an important role on the user’s decisions and actions.
User Interaction or UI of your website or the app intends to simplify the actions that the users are supposed to perform.
UI forms a significant part of User Experience and it could include the shape, color, typography, and even the cues of your website.
The more interactive and intuitive your user interface is the more likely the user will accomplish the task.
Difference between UX and UI well explained:
A beautifully wronged solution implies a great UI with poor UX!
A perfect solution with poor appearance implies great UX with poor UI!
Your product has a logical flow which happens from one step to the other intuitively. Conduct user testing in real time to find out how users mingle with the following factors:
Deliverables: Wireframes, Storyboard, & Sitemap
The tool-kit: Photoshop, Sketches, Invision, etc.
Do the users reach the Thank You Page where they have signed up at last?
Processing all this while laying out a beautiful picture is your UI.
Now you know UX always comes first and its role in enhancing user experience which is incomplete without UI but
So, what exactly is the UX process?
You have a business in the first place and why exactly have you got it?
People have a problem or a query and you are here to solve it!
It is important to have a strategic approach which will embody the long-term goals of your organization. Long-term is because you are here to stay!
You should have an idea of the goals you plan to accomplish with this project. Also, the metrics that you will be implementing to measure the success!
How do you think you can plan your product unless you know more about your audience?
Depending upon the complexity of your apps the mode of research tends to differ!
For instance, if you are designing a startup website, you could conclude your research with a few casual interviews! But, for bigger and complicated projects it is necessary that you conduct a market research and competitor analysis.
A poor UX is always the outcome of a research that never happened!
Analysis is the low-fidelity phase where you are analyzing the data collected in the research phase and draw inferences based on it. Here, you are preparing a canvas for analyzing better “what” can be done to understand the “why”. Connect with your end-users to find out whether your assumptions have been laid out across the right path.
This is the phase where you now have the inputs or ideas shared by people who belong to the audience category that will use your product and also, here you will be adding up new ideas with the existing ones to enhance your assumptions.
Design phase progresses in a loop
Now you know what exactly your audiences are expecting from you. This phase mainly deals with putting up ideas and suggestions to the users, gathering their feedback, enhancing and validating your ideas based on the feedback and repeating the cycle again.
Your actual working version of the product is finally ready and you are going to enhance and improvise it further by including your stakeholders and end-users through the user testability process.
UX designers transit smoothly from one phase to the other where they are creating, enhancing their strategies with help from developers and testers who guide them through the process.
What is a good UX?
1. Define User needs, use cases, user behavior and combine these to decide the experience of your product.
2. UX comes first. Define UI after UX!
3. Defining UI before UX is like building a home without foundation.
4. The UI Designer’s goal is to beautify the roads created by the UX designers.
5. UX defines the goals of your business and who will benefit from it. You will succeed in your product creation only if you understand your product well; understand the need for your product, the users, and how the product will contribute to solving their problems combined with a great UI.
6. UX involves humanizing. Avoid machine-like interactions. You are generating trust with human interactions and this is the most important aspect in the success of a business.
7. Stay simple and humble but do not forget technology! Slow loading times are always a bad UX Experience. A statistics reveal that 40% of website users abandon a site where they experience a loading time more than 3 seconds. The UX should be the constant factor while you design your website that offers a great user experience.
8. Aligning the goals of your business with the goals of the user.
9. Creating contextual awareness: User Experience goes through a series or a journey when the customer reaches your website or utilizes your app.
It moves through 3 different stages: Useful, Usable and Delightful.
Useful: You are solving the user’s needs.
Usable: Users needs to understand your product well.
Delightful: The user experience! How they found your product? Did they enjoy the overall experience?
What are the different processes that you follow while defining your UX process flow? Share your ideas, thoughts and suggestions with us!
Have you got a great product idea and would like to develop it further? Then, we can help you.
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