In Today’s industry of rapidly growing interfaces, UX design has become increasingly important. This article sums up what “User Experience” is all about.
What is user experience?
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/brand.
What makes a great user experience?
There is no right answer to that question. Truth is, user experience is different for everyone. 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 with 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.
Methods of the UX process
There are a number of steps to go through when developing user experience. Here are 9 basic steps to start with.
- User profiles and personas: The first step in the process is getting to know your audience. This allows you to develop experiences that relate to the voice and emotions of your users.
- Evaluation of the system: If a system already exists, evaluate its current state. Then report issues and suggest fixes based on their analysis of research data.
- Interface testing: Conduct a study to compare the effectiveness and quality of experience of different user interfaces.
- User surveys: Interview existing and potential users of the system to gain insight into what would be the most effective design. Because the user’s experience is subjective, the best way to directly obtain information is by studying and interacting with users.
- Wireframes and prototypes: Develop wireframes (visual frameworks of a website) of different layouts and perhaps also interactive prototypes.
- User flow diagram: Make a flow chart showing how users should move through a system.
- Design Patterns: Patterns provide consistency and a way of finding the most effective “tool” for the job. With user interface design patterns, for example, picking the right UI elements (e.g. module tabs, breadcrumbs, slideshows) for certain tasks based on their effectiveness leads to better and more familiar experiences.
- Site maps: Develop site maps (an organized list of pages on a website). This is an important step in proposing changes to the information architecture, which plays a key roll in the user experience.
- Style Guides: Consistency is critical to designing a memorable user experience through a brand. Content style guides give writers and designers a framework in which to work when creating content and developing a design, and they also ensure that the brand and design elements align with the owner’s goals.