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What is user experience

What Is UX Design?

User Experience (UX) design services is a method of user-centric problem-solving. It’s also defined as a human-first way of designing products for use online or in real life. So what does this mean? The end goal of UX is to create an intuitive, user-friendly experience. To ensure a user-centric experience, the users’ preferences and desires for functionality contribute to the design of the experience or product.

A quick definition of user experience from the cognitive scientist who coined the term is: “User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-users’ interaction with the company, its services, and products.” The definition of UX applies to anything that can be experienced, whether online or in the physical world. UX is simply the interaction that a human being experiences with a product or platform. It’s an overall experience that will create a lasting impression.

So how is the user involved? Here’s a quick example: instead of one master developer deciding how a website should function, where the home button should go, how the menus should look, where the contact information is located and so on, UX will research and survey potential users or possibly use data to see how they would like to interact with the website. The potential user’s input will be taken into account and the website will be designed in a user-centric manner.

What Makes for “Good” UX Design?

Good UX design is founded on an understanding of a user’s needs and creates a product, app or website that enables the user to achieve the best possible outcome or solution as easily and quickly as possible. This comes down to usability of a product or service. How easy is it to use a product? How intuitively can a user accomplish his/her objectives? Whether they be leisurely browsing or a quick purchase, ease of use is paramount. At the end of the day, whatever the business, the service it offers solves a user’s problem in some way shape or form. A UX designer’s job is to figure out a way for users to quickly and effortlessly visit a site or app, and solve a problem with a feeling of joy and ease.

Top Tips for Designing a Delightful User Experience

Take a look at these top tips for designers that make for a positive user experience in application design and beyond.

Easy Navigation

Perhaps the most important and obvious consideration with UX design for apps is that the navigation of the app must be easy to use and intuitive. Complicated interfaces lose users. Follow the rule of one action per screen at a time. This makes the necessary action clear for the user and avoids confusion. It also helps keep the screen free of clutter which is all the more important when designing for small screens such as a phone.

Seamless UX Among Devices

As users connect with brands and businesses on multiple devices, there is a need for congruent design and UX. An app needs to follow many of the same design principles and overall appearance of a website so that as a user transitions between two or more devices, the visuals and the experiences are nearly parallel. Savvy brands provide the same ease of use across devices. And a well designed app should function the same across devices and interfaces.

Typography

A key part of communicating with the user is the typography and fonts used in an app. With current design trending toward minimalism, designers are using simple and legible fonts to quickly get the message to the user. They avoid using more than two fonts. Selected fonts are representative of the brand and product. For example, an app with a male target audience would likely not use a cursive or decorative font. Not only would it be hard to read, it would risk alienating many users within the target audience.

Button Size

When designing an app for mobile devices, an important consideration is the button size. Buttons must have adequate space (40 pixels minimum) to enable users to correctly select the control that they want with their finger. Any closer together or smaller could result in frustration and accidentally engaging the wrong button.

Minimize Typing

Typing on the small screens available on mobile devices is awkward and not a particularly user friendly experience. Keeping the user in mind, good UX designers recognize the difficulty with typing and minimize the amount of information and input required. Experienced app designers opt for drop down menus and use auto fill options as much as possible.

Advanced Personalization

Personalization provides a relevant and individualized experience to each user. Personalized UX with appropriate content and visual presentation helps better meet users needs and expectations. Personalization can be completed with user data. For example, a news app that feeds news based on selected sources and location will be more accurate and personalized than one that provides a random assortment of world news.

Going even further, an app that includes the user’s name on the screen and offers in-app messaging is an easy way to provide personalized service. It’s important that in-app messaging and notifications stay relevant and do not inundate the user with irrelevant information or too many push notifications, as this risks alienating the user.

Creative Data Visualization

Good UX design includes data visualization that is creative, fun and engaging. Data visualization is the act of taking complex data and presenting it in a visual format. The data can be interactive and is always meant to be compelling and engage the user with the information available. For example an app that helps users pair appropriate wines with their meal choices could use data visualization to create graphic and playful descriptors such as maps and or charts.

Use UX Icons

Icons are a visual representation of an object, action, or idea. Usually icons are clickable and enter a user into a different page or phase. The use of icons in user experience assists in providing a small visual of an idea to make for greater ease of use and delightful visual experience.

Responsive Design

While this one might seem obvious, too often a design is created for a website and the mobile app is an afterthought and it’s not creative with responsive design. Responsive design scales according to the device (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc) to offer users an optimal experience. Designers can size elements in units relative to the device enabled, so that designs can automatically adapt to the available space.

Test with Users

Every iteration, no matter how well executed and imagined, will have errors or functionality that could be improved upon. This is easily remedied by testing apps with real world users before release to the public. Test users help you ensure that your app design and functionality work as well as possible.

Design With Security in Mind

An app with faulty security is a sure-fire way to lose clients, money and your reputation. Security is absolutely essential and should never be an afterthought. Secure design ensures that sensitive information provided by users such as credit card numbers or date of birth and so forth are protected from would-be-hackers. There are many UX measures that can be built into the app design such as end-to-end encryption, block chain technology, two-factor authentication and more.

There are many components that make up user experience but above all, the performance is critical. The visuals help create a pleasing and joyful experience, as well as an emotional connection with an app or other digital product.

Why Invest in User Experience Design Experts and Consultants?

The most obvious benefit of investing in user experience is that in both the short and long term it will generate more income for the business. The UX design and experience of a product becomes even more important given the current competitive climate. UX is often a user’s first impression of a product and the company that produces it. If it’s not an agreeable and easy encounter, the odds are slim that a user will continue with a purchase or relationship. On the flip side, if the UX is positive, increased revenue is likely.

Let’s take a look at some important numbers that confirm this hypothesis.

  1. ESPN’s profits increased 35% after listening to their clients and implementing their suggestions regarding their webpage redesign.
  2. Selecting a particular tone of the color blue increased Bing.com’s yearly income by 80 million dollars
  3. 88% of online buyers will probably not return to a site after a bad experience.
  4. According to a report from Forrester, every $1 invested in UX results in a return of $100.

User experience design specialists directly influence the profitability of a software product, website, app and more. A user-centric UX approach makes problem-solving easy and gives users a sense of ease and joy. Specialists can help with understanding what users are looking for, data research as well as in person focus groups, user personas and more to generate a holistic picture of who a businesses users are and create compelling UX for them. Good UX is not only about a sleek appearance, but about creating a connection and solving problems quickly and beautifully.

User Intent and User Experience

What is user intent and how does it relate to user experience design? User intent is the “why” behind an action, as Simon Sinek explained in his now uber-famous Ted Talk. And if we can understand the why, the reason a user goes to a website, the reason a product or service is used, we can meet that need. Creating user-centric design involves understanding a bit of psychology behind a user's engagement with a product or service. This is user intent. User intent is growing in popularity as SEO has begun to employ user intent as one of its criteria for search.

User Personas

The user's intention is almost always to solve a problem, but to truly grasp the issue at hand, It’s important to have an understanding of who your users are. The use of personas will help define the success of your next UX project. Through the process of gathering data and creating personas, designers can create a UX that resonates with target audiences and actual users. Outstanding UX will create high user satisfaction, brand loyalty, and will result in conversions for the business increasing profits.

For example, user persona, Jane wants her dinner table to look nice for her upcoming dinner party. Flowers will be perfect! She, however, doesn't have time to go to the florists before the party. To solve this problem, she goes online and orders flowers to be delivered the afternoon of the party. Her why is that she wants her table to look nice AND she doesn't have time to solve the problem herself. She needs someone to bring the product (flowers) to her. So it’s a bit of a double why or a two in one solution. Understanding her why enables the florist to better meet her needs quickly with an online ordering system.

This means that software product creation should, in theory, work backward. Design should begin not with the product itself, but with the client using the product, and his or her intentions with the product. Questions such as, Who is my client? Why would they want to use this product or interface? are important to ask. From this point of departure, the user experience of a product can be designed in the most useful way. If designers and UX can help solve users’ problems by enabling them with easy and quick access to the tools they need, then they’re part of the solution and this engenders loyalty and returns on investments.

AI and UX Overlap

How do we find out a user's intentions to then build good design around it? While there are many ways to research, focus groups and also the use of data are two popular methods.

Through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), user experience (UX) designers have been able to provide experience at a level unimaginable in the past. Take, for example, delivery drones.

A user experience that enables a consumer to quickly order a product and have it flown by a machine programmed with the use of artificial intelligence right to his or her home is a demonstration of a seamless melding of AI and UX. In more cases than one, AI helps inform UX.

AI, Machine Learning, and UX and Marketing

AI contributes to both UX design processes and understanding user intent, enabling user-friendly design based on data. AI and its sub set of machine learning algorithms can be used to organize, sort and analyze data. It can also be used to predict behavior, which comes in handy for UX designers.

Using algorithms, designers can predict how humans will react to prompts. For example, predictive analytics tells us that people who bought a novel by Jonathon Franzen also bought a book by Dave Eggers. Positioning these two authors and their works side by side will (given past data) encourage a purchase. This pairing is selected through algorithms based on past interactions and therefore an understanding into what types of literary experiences a customer is looking for.

Let’s take a look at more specific ways that AI has already influenced UX designers and their designs.

Automation

Taking a direct approach, AI can streamline a UX designer's role and process. AI can easily and very quickly handle mundane and repetitive tasks through automation. AI can resize images, make updates, color corrections and more. This frees designers up to focus their energies in other areas of the design process and eliminates some mindless tasks.

Data Analysis

AI can process and analyze vast amounts of data to disclose patterns and deliver meaningful results for UX designers. AI can generate questionnaires and then based on the information gathered, provide data analysis. From this information, UX designers can update, and change the user experience of a product or service.

Personalization

A big part of the success of digital products has become personalization. AI helps personalize user experience. The use of AI and data can create an experience that speaks to a user and creates a behavior. A benefit to the user is that he or she also receives information that is likely to be of value and interesting, rather than recommendations or offers that are not relevant.

Design Interfaces

UX designers have created large scale systems for clients that collect metrics and data that can show how users interact with an interface. Now AI is able to add a layer of intelligence to systems that enables the analysis of elements and can understand what works best in terms of functionality.

Heat mapping is one technology that can show designers how individual users are engaging with a website. This type of information enables them to see what is working and what’s not. Based on this feedback, designers can enhance engagement and improve UX. AI will likely take technologies such as heat mapping and personalize them to provide immediate feedback and enable quick, personalized changes.

The Future of AI and UX

In the future, AI is likely to continue to assist and shape UX. UX designers will continue to use artificial intelligence to both improve the UX design process, saving time and enhancing user experience. As our understanding of what AI is capable of continues to evolve, the opportunities for businesses to use AI to improve the UX design process as well as products and services are unlimited. UX could possibly become completely customizable or personalized based on the user.

In time, UX will likely change from focusing on designing for a screen to designing screenless interfaces and experiences, but AI will continue to play a role in enabling ideal user experiences. For more on this see our article about human computer interaction HCI where we discuss coming trends including screenless interactions.

User experience is a constantly evolving field. Changes in technology are rapid and influence what is possible within UX. UX Design is ever-shifting toward making it easier to help solve users problems, understand their needs and provide a joyful experience while doing so.

User experience is a constantly evolving field. Changes in technology are rapid and influence what is possible within UX. UX Design is ever-shifting toward making it easier to help solve users problems, understand their needs and provide a joyful experience while doing so.

About Pixel506

If you're looking for a nearshore User Experience partner with software development services, or a technical staff augmentation service, Pixel506 can help. We are located in Costa Rica but also have Pixelians (team members) based in Peru, Nicaragua, and Colombia. We help businesses gain a competitive advantage and exceed business goals through software development, design, user experience strategies, data, and innovative solutions. Founded in 2009, we have over a decade of experience helping big, medium, and small companies succeed in the digital world. Contact us today to see how we can help―we look forward to getting to know you and your business over a digital cup of coffee.

Key Takeaways:

  • UX (User Experience) design is a method of user-centric problem-solving. The end goal of UX is to create an intuitive, user-friendly experience.
  • Good UX design is founded on an understanding of a user’s needs and creates a product, app or website that enables the user to achieve the best possible outcome or solution as easily and quickly as possible.
  • User experience design specialists directly influence the profitability of a software product, website, app and more.
  • The use of personas will help define the success of your next UX project. Through the process of gathering data and creating personas, designers can create a UX that resonates with target audiences and actual users.
  • Through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), user experience (UX) designers have been able to provide experience at a level unimaginable in the past.
  • User experience is a constantly evolving field. Changes in technology are rapid and influence what is possible within UX

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