UX Design in Simple Terms
So you’ve probably heard of the term UX (User Experience) Design, but are maybe not too familiar with the details involved in this, or what separates this from UI (User Interface) Design? So we thought we would provide a bit more insight into UX Design in it’s most simplest form.
User experience design isn’t a new term, in-fact it’s been around since the Early nineties when Donald Norman coined the phrase when joining Apple.
User Experience Design is the process of enhancing the customers loyalty and satisfaction by improving the usability, ease of use and pleasure in in the interaction between the customer and the product. There are no flawed users, but we do have flaws in how a product can work for a user.
There are many levels to UX design and the details of the process you follow will depend on a number of things: The Project, the Client, the Budget, and the Deadlines as well as many more. We’ve separated these levels into a few major groups, but how you use and master these is up to you.
This shapes the goals of the project and what the organisation is trying to achieve.
- Competitor Analysis - review and user testing of competing products / compare summary
- Analytics Review - analyse existing product data - visited pages, bounce rate, demographics
- Interviews - Conversations with key stakeholders who are driving the product
The research phase can be the most varied as this depends on the complexity of the project. We start here by applying different research methods;
- User interviews - Interviewing users in the location they would use the product, to understand their tasks and challenges
- Surveys - Creating an online survey can be a very useful tool for user research, primarily to gain feedback from current or potential users.
- Content Audit - Creating a list or spreadsheet of the site’s content will come in pretty handy at various stages of the project, whether to remind yourself of the details of each page, copying this into the new system/cms or to discuss a re-write for SEO purposes. Content should be arranged into categories i.e. Navigation title, Page Name, URL, Comments, Content Type/Description, Tags, Attached files.
- Heuristic Review - A good method for determining how usable a site/app is entails working through a checklist and giving a score out of 10 for each item and documenting any flaws against this. A good example of Checklist categories would be, ‘Features and Functionality’, ‘Homepage/Starting page’, ‘Navigation,’ ‘Search’, Control & Feedback’, ‘Forms’, ‘Errors’, ‘Content & Text’, ‘Help’, ‘Performance’.
- User Testing - Sit with users and ask them to perform specific tasks on the site/app and to think out loud while doing this. it’s a good idea to set a scene with a few questions relating to the task. If possible record the screen and audio as well as taking notes. A good idea would be to do this with multiple users of different age groups. Capturing notes and comments on Post it’s can be helpful by organising these onto a board of big picture findings to visualise patterns. Hopefully you’ll notice some recurring themes.
- Remote Usability Testing. This works in a similar way only the user does the testing from their own chosen location. Common scenarios when Remote Usability Testing would be helpful would be, Tight deadlines, The environment i.e. an outdoor use app, Tight Budget, The Audience is hard to access.
- Storyboards - It can be useful to create a quick sketch to show a sequence of events to key stakeholders in order to achieve buy-in for a concept.
- Personas - Create a handful of identities of real people who would use your product. Include names, photographs, motivations, goals and a background into why they would use the product.
- Card Sorting - This is a technique used to create an information hierarchy, which can form the basis of a website navigation menu.
The Design process is made up of quite a few key items but essentially we want to put ideas in front of users, gather feedback, refine them and repeat.
- Collaborative Design - Here we invite input from Stakeholders, Users and other project members
- Sitemaps - This details all the pages available in a site/app. This can start the process by showing which pages would need to be wireframes first.
- Wireframes - This is a rough mockup for the layout of the website/app structure
- Lo-fidelity prototyping - this can be done by paper prototyping. Putting the screens on a wall or whiteboard and running through the user flow and refining.
The production phase is where the Hi-Fidelity design and prototyping takes place.
- Visual design of the product is completed
- Content and Assets are created.
- Hi-fidelity prototyping begins, using products such as invision or Principle
- Development - turning the completed design into a working product.
- User Testing - allowing users to perform tasks on the site/app and recording findings
- Beta Launch - here we release a closed version of the site/app to a select group of users to gather feedback before releasing this to the general public.
There is a lot more involvement in UX than just stated above but this should give you a base understanding of where to start.