How we design using User Experience.
UX design is about making a user’s experience with a product as enjoyable, easy and efficient as it can be. The goal is to attract people to a website they are interested in. Once they arrive, making each step from the homepage to the purchasing the product as easy a seamless as possible.
UX is more than just the digital, it captures all possible interaction a user has with a company, from its customer service to the quality of the products.
The aim of this article is to demystify the process of UX design so you have clear picture of how it works. From this you will understand how UX design improves the experience of the user of the product and how good user experience increases the adoption of products.
The first stage of user experience design is User Research. User Research teaches us about the users, their goals, motivations, needs, and their behaviour. It shows us how a user actually uses our products and, very importantly, how they feel whilst using the product.
Empathy is key in the research stage. When working with groups of users who come various backgrounds and experiences it’s important for us to come to the table with no preconceptions. Our job is to try and understand why they are behaving in a certain way, not to try and change that behaviour or influence it but accommodate it within the design.
When we work based on our own assumptions and experiences we often don’t spot or realise what the user experience could be like for others. This increases the chance that we miss opportunities to improve the service or product.
By researching first, we save a lot of wasted effort, time, money, and resources further down the line, as fewer adjustments will need to be made. If we dive straight into the design then researched after, we would enviably have to incorporate major changes into our designs to meet the needs of the users whom we have spoken to.
The same is true of a redesign. For those working on a redesign of an already existing product, they have the benefit of directly seeing how users respond to an existing system.
A user interview is a one-on-one conversation between the UX designer and a user that fits the product’s target demographic. The objective of the interview is to discover the needs and requirements of the user whilst interacting with the product/service. The questions are designed to give us an insight into the user’s pain points. The greatest insight comes from when the user describes the issues they are having in their own words.
Our online survey is a set of precise questions sent to a sample of the target audience via a form online. The length and format of an online survey can vary from project to project, the data is compiled in a database to be reviewed at a later date by our UX design team.
Personas are fictional profiles based on the customers you have currently. They represent your real audience and their behaviours. Personas are created from qualitative and quantitative user research including analytical data taken from your website.
Effective personas are:
- Representative of real people, their motivations, goals, and needs.
- Representative of the sites’ user base.
- Key in highlighting the connecting features and functionality that are common amongst users.
- Outlines of what a user’s expectations are.
Like User Research, Testing is a fundamental part of the UX design process. We test because it allows us to improve upon the original product or design and to analyse if the changes we made during the design phase work under practical, real world usage.
It’s a great way to eliminate problems or user difficulties that were unforeseen in the design phase before getting started on the implementation phase, the outcome is a product that is a design that is backed by objective data.
User testing is not something you can afford to bypass, as even a simple round of testing could make or break your product idea. The time and money a company spends on testing at this stage will save it significant amounts of both later on
The purpose of Information Architecture (IA) is to structure, organise and label the content on a site so that users can find exactly what they what they are looking for, whether that is some information or to perform some action.
Through the information architecture, a we find out not only how each piece of the site fits together, but also how each item relates to all the other items within this structure.
This process helps the user understand what to expect when they navigate the site, as items that they logically, and from past experience expect to come together will.
Benefits of Information Architecture:
- Increased customer self-sufficiency and therefore more satisfied customers
- Effective page navigation
- Reduced support costs
- Decreased drop-off rates
In a card sorting session, users organize topics from content within your website into groups that make sense to them. They then need to label each group in a way they feel accurately describes the content. This can be done using actual cards, pieces of paper, or one of several online card-sorting software tools.
Wireframing in UX design refers to an illustration or diagram of a website, software, or app page that looks at
- The allocation of space on that page
- The distribution of images and content
- How content is prioritised
- What functions are available
- What behaviour is intended and accommodated.
Wireframes rarely contain colour, images, or styling because their job is to help the us understand and establish relationships among a website’s different templates. These templates need to be determined before any aesthetic considerations are taken into account.
we use wireframes to connect the visual design of the site to its information architecture. The process of wireframing helps us uncover different methods for representing or displaying different types of content and information as well as prioritising that content in order of importance to the user, their expectations, and their goals. Wireframing helps a us decide on the main functionality for that page and prepare for prototyping.
A prototype is a draft version of your site or product that takes you as close as possible to a good representation of your website/product and its user interface before any coding has begun. This allows us to explore and experiment with ideas as well as check functionality and usability before any money is spent on full-blown development. With the use of the prototype, the intention behind different features becomes clear, and we are able to see how the overall design will work together and fix any inconsistencies or errors. By building a prototype of your design before further development, the UX team make a number of savings, both in terms of cost and time.
Additional benefits of prototyping:
You can quickly try out your ideas and test them with users.
Once the prototype has been put together, it can then be used to gather even more user feedback and reactions from potential customers, so you can continue to develop and improve upon the original idea.
It can be used to demonstrate your product to management, clients, and other stakeholders so they have a clear idea of your intentions with the design.
Interaction is something that happens over time, not in freeze frames or still images, prototypes allow you to experience and interact with the design for yourself in real time.
In-person usability testing is usually a one-to-one, moderated usability session. The idea is for participants to perform tasks using your product, site, app, or software as a service (SAAS) while the our UX design team observes. The purpose of in-person usability testing is to identify problems or issues the user has with the interface and why these issues arise. The advantage of this type of testing over remote user testing is that the very actions the user takes, not just his or her opinions on a product, can be noted
How Does It Work?
- Simple observations
We create a test plan in which we outline the objectives for the test and have real users on hand to perform actions, give their opinion, or answer questions.
Before we begin we approach these interviews with the question: “What do we need to know from this test?” and then, once we’ve pinpointed what we need to know, we write the questionnaire or survey with that objective in mind.
When you’ve finished, you’ll then be able to analyse your findings and produce a report summarising the results. You’ll be able to make the changes to your design, if needed, before going into the implementation phase.
A/B testing is a method of comparing two versions of a web page, product, newsletter email, or system, and seeing which performs better. By creating and testing an A and B version, you can try new design changes, test hypotheses, and improve your user’s responses. The goal of a split test is to look at differences in the behaviour of two groups and measure the impact of each version on an actionable metric.
Want to learn more about how User Experience design can take your businesses to new highs? Get in touch and we can discuss your project.