Have you opened an app before? Digitally ordered food? Played Candy Crush? Of course, you have! You are human after all. Whether these interactions take place on your phone, computer, or in virtual reality, all of them involve UX, or “user experience” design. When done right, UX design gives users a seamless, easy, and intuitive experience across any digital platform.
A common misconception is that UX is just web design with a techy name. While the two work together it’s a bit more complicated. UX establishes the purpose of the user’s journey while visual design helps support it by creating a feel and look to the experience.
Whether it is an app or a website, UX determines the most enjoyable way for the user to find what they are looking for. UX answers the questions: why, what, and how? In marketing, UX design not only has to advocate for user’s needs, but it also has to help the business reach its financial goals. It needs to support both sides of the transaction.
As with all good things, the UX design process starts with research. As designers, we have to place ourselves in the customer’s headspace and ask questions like, “Why am I here?”, “What am I looking for?”, and “How can I find it?”. Answering these questions will help us create a functional and simple user experience.
Why – Motivations, Values, Views
What – Functionality, Features
How – Accessibility, Aesthetics
Now that the UX research and user testing is complete and we have figured out the best path for the user, we can introduce UI design to the equation. User Interface focuses on making digital experiences pixel perfect. In layman’s terms, UI makes things look pretty: the colors, gradients, the percentage of shadow a button has when hovered over is all UI. It’s aesthetics.
UX is the reason WHY people want to push that button, it determines where they are going after and how it’s all connected.
UI supports and enhances the user’s experience.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
UX design is like any other creative process. It starts with an idea that gives us a guide to begin with. Then comes research, research, and more research. This will support or refute the initial idea. All of this is good! If the idea doesn’t work, we toss it and move on to something that does. When the research has borne fruit it’s time to create a prototype and test. Based on feedback and performance, prototyping and testing loops until something worthwhile is discovered/created.
What Falls Under UX Design:
Best UX Design Practices
You’re waiting for me to show you cool new shadows or gradients’ we’re obsessed about? Wrong, again that’s UI design! We will cover that extensive topic at a later date. For now, let’s focus on what’s making a big splash in UX design this year. Some of our favorites are storytelling, conversational design, gestures and connected experiences.
With the overflow of information and junk marketing in our digital lives, people are starting to pay attention to things that really matter – stories. UX designers and writers are creating engaging experiences that tell us a story. No websites simply sell toothbrushes anymore. They tell you brand-oriented oral hygiene stories that gently lead in to tell you why it’s essential that you buy their toothbrush. These websites tell stories about how they were created, why they matter and why their products need to be incorporated into your life as quickly as possible. UX designers are focusing on brand stories that actually make our “lives better.”
As we begin to only speak in emojis, we are starting to have in-depth conversations with our technology. UX designers are jumping in to make sure the process is as smooth and natural.
You swipe down, swipe down, swipe left – these movements are redefining how we communicate and it’s becoming the norm to no longer click a mouse and wait for the screen to load. We want our virtual spaces to function as effortlessly as our bodies do. And that means UX design has to put more and more effort into creating the easiest and most intuitive way for us to function within our small screens.
We no longer work on computers or phones of universal size. We have laptops, tablets, TVs, watches ranging in all sizes and resolutions. In fact, it’s predicted that one person will own and be connected to seven devices by year 2022. When creating a site or an app UX designers need to think of the most useful and easiest way the user can approach, use, and sync all of the content between all the devices.
Bad UX design will create a product that’s frustrating, difficult, confusing and will be abandoned. Whether you’re creating an app or building a chair, you want it to be functional and exciting for people to purchase. Without the correct research, testing, and design principle usage you will end up with a product that will lose you money.
You should care because without good UX design your user will abandon you and your product.
If you’d like to learn more about how thoughtful UX design could impact your business, go ahead and give us a call. We would love to talk.