UX Design: An Introduction
User Experience Design (also referred to as UX design or simply UXD), as the name implies, is the process of crafting an interaction between a human user and a product or service. In the world of digital marketing and software development, it often is focused around a simple yet fundamental goal: make sure that the interaction between human user and computer interface is pleasurable and effective. With UX design, we can figure out the best way to meet the needs of online users, and in the process, uncover what’s functional, efficient, and desirable to users. UXD fills the gaps between business goals and user needs.
How Can We Provide a Positive User Experience?
Inevitably, users will form their own opinions on the experience they have interacting with your product. That is the Problem. So what can you do to ensure that users go away happy with your product? Though every person will ultimately make up their own mind, there are steps that you can take to sway their opinion in one direction. To resolve the Problem, UX design must play an integral role in the development of any digital product or interface from the beginning. This entails the following foundational process:
- PLAN – Whether creating a new digital product or redesigning an existing product, it’s crucial to set a game plan from the outset. Why? Because it establishes the business goals that must be achieved and brings to light key performance indicators that aid your team in evaluating the success of the product later down the road. During this phase, we might interview stakeholders to better understand the company’s brand and what they’re looking to achieve with their product. Interviews help inform design principles that will later be used to create the product.
- LEARN – This phase is often overlooked but is essential in identifying the specific users that will ultimately be using the product. What are their needs, expectations, and thought process like? Many methods are employed to learn more about your users; this may include individual interviews, surveys, or focus groups. The results of user research will help our team make informed decisions when designing the product. If redesigning a product, rather than creating a product from scratch, this is the time to run quick usability tests to evaluate the existing Product.
- UNDERSTAND – The goal of this phase is to glean insights from the research data collected during the Learn phase. Trawling through the research data, we’ll begin to recognize patterns and validate or disprove prior assumptions. The research results are then translated into various deliverables, such as personas, user journeys, storyboards, and findings.
- DESIGN – This is the part of the process where theory is put to practice. Our UX designers may provide a wide range of deliverables, such as wireframes, workflow charts, and prototypes, in order to start visualizing the design ideas that the team has come up with through their research. The deliverables need to be validated by everyone in the product development team before they can be released.
- EVALUATE – The goal of the Evaluate phase is to iterate the design (meaning the design idea is repeatedly tested and validated by target users, resulting in multiple iterations). By using prototypes built during the Design phase, we can perform usability testing. This enables feedback to be gleaned from target users, which helps the design idea to be further refined.
- LAUNCH – During this phase, the final design ideas get developed into finished products. Visual design elements, content, and features are fleshed out. And ultimately, the product stakeholders grant approval to deploy the final product.
Implement User Experience Design Into Your Product
For the best chance at success, digital products and environments should always be designed with user interfaces and experiences in mind. Before setting off on any initiative, ask these fundamental questions: How will your user interact with your digital environment? How will he or she accomplish the goals you have outlined for them? Through what means will the user be able to manipulate and use your environment, and how will this inform their experience?
These questions, and their corresponding answers, get at the heart of why UX design is invaluable when it comes to creating digital products. Though the role of graphic design may be more conspicuous to some, it is ultimately UX design that dictates the usefulness of the end product.
If you would like to learn more about UX design, we encourage you to dive a bit deeper. In fact, to help you better understand UX design and the role that it can play within your business, we have put together the following resource. Download it today and get in touch!