Web sites and applications have progressively become more complex. The methodologies and technologies have advanced beyond the former one-way static medium. It is now a very rich experience, full of interactive segments. How users view a website is all that matters in the production today. (Design your user experience in 7 simple steps) Although the business has a stake in the fire, they have no profit if the user is not happy. This is where UX design becomes very important in web development.
UX Design is a relatively new notion that is all about user experience. It is called by many other names: user engineering, human factors engineering, and usability, but it all hinges on the user experience. UX design is always user centered. It is a fixed point between the triad of usefulness, usability, and enjoy-ability, while avoiding the triad of pointless, hard, and frustrating that plagues many websites of floundering companies clueless as to why they can’t get web traffic. Smart e-commerce websites such as www.amazon.com are fluidly focused on UX design to build their business; it is the cornerstone of their business philosophy.
Why is UX Important?
Prior to the advent of UX design, web design was about two things: what the business wanted, and what the client wanted to see. Little thought was given to how the user feels about their time spent on the website. UX goes far beyond that. It makes the design friendly as well as functional. Now the science of user experience has a place at the table and a say in the design.
The complexity of websites must be designed for user experience. Every website must work on every browser and every type of internet connection. Every gamifiaction application must function at a level that is fun. Every smartphone application has to work for the user. Accessibility is a must in design for ethical reasons.
Qualities of UX Design
The qualities that make UX Design so functional are its effectiveness, memorability, efficiency, error reduction, and the satisfaction of its users. It should be easy to learn and hard to forget. It should anticipate and forgive mistakes. It should do what the user wants when the user wants it, while always providing feedback. It should minimize brain burden, reduce workload, and be satisfying; even possibly fun to use.
Although this concept is quite simple, the job can be quite difficult. You need to give your users what they want and do not create any obstacles for them. This job goes beyond making sure no page takes more than three clicks to get there. The rabbit hole can be longer, as long as it is logical to do so with a breadcrumb trail to assist the user in knowing where they are on a website at any given time.
UX designers study and evaluate how the users feel about the system. This is done through surveys and usability studies early in the process, and beta testing and additional usability studies later in the process.
Goal of UX Design
The goal is to produce a product that, within a specified context of use, can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals, with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. This goal is not a one-size-fits-all end product. It can’t be in this world of varying interest, training, and intuitiveness toward technology. Just as every brand knows its target audience in advertising; it must also know it even stronger in web development.
Without knowing who you are designing for, how they will use the product, and what they need to do, you cannot possibly create the correct solution. When you understand your audience, you can make your product useful, usable, and enjoyable to your user.
You need to keep in balance not only user goals and needs, but also business goals, and the technology available. Although the design is user centered, it must meet the needs of the company the product is produced for, and be within the confines of the technology available to this company, and their budget.
Project Phases of UX Design
You will be focused on the phases of discovery, definition, and design. Development and delivery are not a part of UX design.
Discovery involves learning about both your users and the business. During this phase you conduct initial business and perform a user needs analysis. You also conduct user and task analysis to develop a more accurate picture of how the user works.
Definition involves converting all the information you have gathered during the discovery phase into insights. These insights direct the entire solution. They include user journeys or task maps. During this phase you also develop your design principles for the project.
Design uses the insights and principles articulated during the definition phase to create the concept for solution. This phase is where information architecture happens, the structure, organization, motivation, and taxonomy of the project.
The development and delivery of the project is the actual building of the product based on your design, and then putting it out live for the audience. After delivery, there may be more usability testing, and the whole process can start again to create the newest, updated version of the product.
The Job of a UX Designer
The UX Designer studies and evaluates how the user feels about a product, checking for ease of use, value perception, utility, and efficiency in performing tasks. They also look at processes and various sub-systems within the site or application. They might look at the checkout process to see how efficient it is, whether it is frustrating or annoying to the customer, or seamless and easy, leaving the customer happy about their experience. These checks could also involve online forms and navigation throughout a process. They also design the interface interactions and create the wireframes, first by hand sketching, then with a program, during the informational architecture phase. Graphic design follows, but is often not a part of the UX designer’s job.