UX design is a multidimensional notion that includes many different disciplines like psychology, information architecture, sociology, visual design, aesthetics and usability.
The UX in UX Design stands for User experience. It is a vast and multidisciplinary field that shapes a product, service, gadget or even new technology we use in our daily lives. Over the years, UX Design has become a key differentiator to make or break the success of an organisation or brand. UX design is not just a new term. Think of it as an evolved form of HCI from the eighties and interaction design since the early nineties. The term User Experience was coined by Donald Norman, to encompass various elements that determine the feelings of a user while communicating with a product.
I would also like to inform the reader that a commonly accepted definition of UX Design does not exist. People define it the way they see it, and that’s what makes UX design a unique field to work in, as every perspective holds value.
So what is UX design? UX design is a process that considers every element that shapes an experience – such as the feelings of the users and how smoothly can the user accomplish their desired tasks? UX Design focuses on understanding the users – their needs, values, strengths, and limitations. The goal is to create a smooth, efficient and all-round delightful experiences.
Why Is UX Crucial?
In layman terms, UX fulfils the needs of the users, aiming to provide delightful experiences keeping the users loyal to a product, service or the overall brand. From a psychological standpoint, meaningful user experiences help define customer journeys for a product or service that are most contributory to the success of an organisation.
I want you to consider the below-mentioned benefits of why UX design is crucial for any organisation today:
- Investing in UX design during the early stages can significantly reduce costs down the line. In my previous blog about UX Statistics, I found out that the cost of correcting an error post-development is 100x that of fixing it prior development.
- UX design can aid to increase brand loyalty, which, in turn, can increase conversions.
- Good UX design can reflect in term of healthy SEO rankings. Google stated that 88% of users do not revisit a product or service after a bad user experience.
- UX design can help increase referrals for your brand. If I go by the numbers, then I can surely tell you that 72% of users will tell 6+ people about good experiences.
Things To Know About UX Design
UX and UI are not the same.
User Interface (UI) is a part of User Experience (UX). UX Design focuses on designing human-centred products after careful research and analysis. Click here to know the difference between UI and UX.
User research is crucial.
Ample user research is essential before designing the product, as it helps build user personas, representing what is learned about the users, creating the right targets to align with the designs.
Usability testing is pivotal.
Let the user test the design with no instruction beforehand to figure out how users will react. Usability testing is the best way to know if the design can engage the user and provide essential insights for improvement.
Keep things smooth and consistent
Every incredible user experience starts with a smooth and consistent user interface. The design has to be simple enough for the user to discover the features on their own without any demonstration.
Tools Of UX Design
To help improve the UX in the design, I’ve scoured the internet and present to you a list of the top UX tools to try in product development to bring out great innovation for the users.
For a test fee, UserTesting can release the hassles of user research and prototype testing. Each test comes with a video to understand the general emotional response of the user.
UX Pin is a cloud-based wireframe tool. It is favoured amongst designers as it is easy-to-use and versatile – two fundamental grounds that make it reputable. It is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows. The easy drag-and-drop functionality gives you the chance to bring your wireframe to life visually. UX Pin has numerous UI components for mobile, cloud-based and web wireframes.
Since 2010, Sketch has been amongst some of the best wireframing tools for macOS users. You can quickly create wireframes with numerous combinations. The interface is candid and more intuitive than vector design heavyweight Adobe Illustrator. Although you would have to download a UI kit from a third party to breathe life into your wireframe as Sketch wireframe doesn’t include UI components.
Balsamiq Mockup offers a Web UI mockup free tool that has everything you require to make your simple prototype. Its functions also allow you to drag and drop components relatively quickly. Some functions will enable you to switch between a layout sketch and an original interface.
Mockflow is one of the cloud-based free mockup tools provided with a drag-and-drop option and template library. Mockflow is one of those all-in-one free mockup tools for mobile app and web development. All the extra features make sharing simple and moving ahead in the process fluid. Mockflow is especially great for newbies. Mockflow is quite specific to mockup creation. But in case, if you need something for wireframing, you might as well check this out.
Adobe XD, another product from Adobe, is a great prototyping tool that helps in building your dream prototype. Adobe introduced it in 2015 under the name of Project Comet. One of its greatest strength lies in its ways to manipulate the visuals as per user need.
InVision is a complete prototyping tool, which creates live prototypes by applying its functional facilities to the wireframes. The strength of this product is its feedback management.
User Experience Design and Product Thinking
In UX design, features are often secondary to the mentality of why a user utilises a product or service. The reason is simple: the user views the product as a source of comfort and convenience to solve their real-world problem.
This is where Product thinking comes into play, as it allows UX Designers to create features that matter to the users. UX Designers can see the product in a particular setting and not as a blend of design efforts and features. Product thinking allows UX Designers to tackle relevant problems, reducing the risks of product failures.
To get a more in-depth understanding between User Experience and Product Design, why don’t you go through our blog to expand your knowledge base?
Tasks And Techniques Of UX Designers
Since UX Design is such a broad domain, the tasks of UX Designers is also an amalgamation of many roles combined into one. Think of UX Designers as a superhero, who can perform many heroic tasks withy their superpowers. To give you a basic idea, here is what a UX designer does:
- UX Designer understands product specifications and consumer psychology.
- UX Designer creates multiple concepts, test the product and gather necessary feedback for further iterations.
- UX Designer also creates personas through user research and data.
- UX Designers define the right interaction model and evaluate its success.
- UX Designers develop wireframes and prototypes around research based on the needs of the users.
- UX Designers work in tandem with UI designers to bring incredible designs to life.
- UX Designers communicate design ideas and prototypes to developers.
Coming down to techniques, here is a list below that contains some techniques used by UX Designers to design exceptional experiences for users:
The value proposition to focus on essential things.
Value Proposition maps the central aspects of a product or service: what it is, how it will be used and who it is for. Value proposition allows UX designers to create consensus around look and feel of the product.
Product strategy to lay a foundation
A product strategy is the starting point of a product life-cycle. It evolves during the execution plan. Product strategy allows UX designers to pinpoint their target audiences to focus on the attributes of the product.
Competitive audit for an overview
A complete examination of competitor products to figure out the current features of their product or service possess. The objective is to determine what works out for the competitor within the same industry, to design strategies that work best attaining a competitive edge.
Cultural probes to encourage ideas
Using this method allows UX Designers to come up with fresh ideas. It serves as a medium to collect data about the thoughts, lives, and values of the users. Researchers can collect valuable insights into that can assist in recognising problem statements.
Interviews to understand the accuracy
Interviews are mostly conversations UX designers have with their the people around them: aides, peers, chiefs, or users. These interviews allow the UX designer to develop a product or service based on their needs by outlining key performance indicators (KPIs).
Heuristic Evaluation is a comprehensive analysis of the product or service, focusing on the best and worst practices of design. It helps UX designers to envision a better version of the product when it comes to usability, accessibility, and effectiveness.
UX Designer – Key Responsibilities
Since UX Design is such a multidisciplinary field, there are many vital responsibilities of a UX Designer. Apart from the applied skills, some of the soft skills to be covered are:
Curiosity: It leads to asking the right questions, actively observing and listening, and engaging with the problems on a deeper level.
Empathy: An in-depth emotional understanding of the users allows the creation of better products or services that are engaging and delightful.
Communication: UX Design borrows some elements of storytelling. Hence, effective communication can help integrate improvements to pivot the product or service, which is a win-win on both sides.
Now coming to the applied skills, which are:
Research: This means learning the ability to strategise and analyse findings from various research methods.
Information Architecture: It involves organising information, which may include systems functions like search and navigation.
Visual Communication: Due to the high usage of graphic, proficiency in visual communication includes an understanding of design theory, layout, icons, colours, fonts, images and typography.
Wireframing: Wireframing specifies the elements present, including all interface components needed for interaction. It is created using boxes and lines, in black and white.
Prototyping: Prototypes help to test the functionality and overall look and feel of a product or service. It helps in identifying problems early on to make iterations meets both goals of the users and the organisation.
What to do now?
As I mentioned, UX design is a multidisciplinary domain that encompasses a lot of aspects. There is another good news for you, my reader. The barriers to enter this fascinating field is very low. so you will always have something relevant to bring to the field of UX design, no matter where you come from.
On that note, why don’t you have a look at our UX Jumpstarter to upscale your career and make the world a better place at the same time!