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UX basics – everything you should know but you don’t

January 27, 2020 Sylwester Karnuszewicz 9 min read
Sylwester Karnuszewicz

UX was not a big thing a few years back but these days it is on the lips of every single digital marketing guru. You may have come across statements saying that if you don’t take care of your UX design you neither inspire trust nor encourage visitors to explore what you have to offer. Or that with poor UX design you will always stay behind your competitors.

Truth being told, these statements are highly accurate as UX design has a significant impact on your online business success (or failure) and it cannot be overlooked. Once you read this article you will know:

  • what is UX,
  • what is UX design,
  • what are the most most important UX design principles,
  • how does UX design process look like.

What is UX anyway?

UX stands for User Experience and, to put it briefly, is the way your visitors feel about using a website or a specific product or service. It takes into account their emotions, attitude towards particular products and services and includes perception aspects like utility, easiness of use and efficiency.

UX is an evolving domain and it does change overtime or in regards to current circumstances. Since it heavily depends on individual perception it may also be subjective. However, there are some best UX practices that are generic and should always be implemented when it comes to website or product design.

What needs to be emphasized is that UX is just the effect of user designers’ work and is often compared to an iceberg. Users see just the tip of it and all remaining processes behind it are hidden under the surface. In order to have UX design of high quality you need to pay attention to these processes, because only if you take care of every single one of them your project may succeed.

levels of user experience

(click to see full image)

Source: https://cxl.com/

As you can see high quality UX consists of:

  • appropriate strategy based on a solid research,
  • defined scope and requirements,
  • a meaningful and user-friendly structure,
  • an appropriate skeleton (responsive design, intuitive navigation),
  • appealing visual design.

What is UX design?

UX designs basically is user-oriented websites designing. UX is all about creating such products and services that take user’s needs, habits, skills, sensitivity or doubts into consideration. Thanks to UX and its appropriate implementation business websites, platforms, applications, products or services sites are useful, informative, intuitive, convincing and appealing.

Looking at the world today, UX design had an enormous impact on creating easy to use banking systems, credible information sites, beloved and user-friendly applications, most popular social media platforms or desired digital products. By putting users first, all these platforms have become widely used and partially displaced some systems and services (think of how many times you were in a bank and how many times you used banking systems instead in the past years).

What are the most most important UX design principles?

UX design does not only consist of well-thought and tailored appearance. Besides that, UX design should follow the best practices such us:

  • usability first,
  • consistency,
  • fulfilling users’ needs,
  • simplicity,
  • honesty.

When it comes to UX design planning what should be taken into consideration is definitely the way users consume the content you provide them with, how it impacts their lives and what results it brings. It is the absolute essence of well-prepared UX and only when you take care of it you can seduce your users and outperform competitors on digital market.

How does UX design process look like?

A UX design process is something that everyone in UX industry use in slightly different way depending on a project specification. However, there are 5 key phases that every UX process should consist of:

levels of user experience

(click to see full image)

Source: https://theblog.adobe.com/

Step 1: Definition

The first step in User Experience design process is obviously defining the problem you want to solve. Frankly speaking, it is the most crucial phase as it is a jumping-off point that will be impacting every single aspect of user experience design. Think of what your business or a specific product does for your customers and how it can help them.

Once you get to the root of the problem you should start with a kick-off meeting with key stakeholders such as developers, data analysts, designers, a UX specialist and a project manager. The outcome of the meeting should be:

  • a set of goals and expectations,
  • a value proposition – defining what critical aspects are,
  • a product story – 1-2 sentences summing up the value of the product,
  • detailed plan with measurements – KPIs, prioritisation, target users, definition of information architecture and content,
  • timescales.

After the meeting, the crucial thing is to gather all the information and the outcome together and send the notes to all vital people as effective communication is one of the most essential success determinant.

The first step in User Experience design process is obviously defining the problem you want to solve.

Step 2: Research

Once you establish the key goals and expectations towards the undertaken project you need to make a solid research, both market and user. The first focuses on determining what people want and checking whether there will be the demand for the type of product or service you want to provide your customers with. When it comes to user research – it is principally about obtaining information about users’ behaviour and their needs.

Market research is highly helpful when it comes to a new product development, adding features to existing products, better understanding of customers and putting in centre of customer perception. On the other hand, user research can be helpful when it comes to getting to know your potential customers, observing customers’ behaviour, providing them with additional data and focusing on enhancing user experience.

Step 3: Analysis

Once you gather a lot of useful information about market and users it is about time to make use of it and conduct appropriate analysis. Scrupulous data examining may confirm the validity of the assumptions made in the previous phases.

During this phase creating a user persona – a representation of different user types or experience maps representing visually the user flow – may turn out to be very helpful. The first one may assist you in segmenting the audience in a reliable and realistic way while the latter enable you sketching out the UX.

Step 4: Design

Yes! We finally made it to design in UX process design. It cannot be any sooner as only once you have clear business objectives and the mission of your product defined, you may create the final product. People don’t buy things because of a nice and colourful package but the idea behind it. As Steve Jobs once said “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” And that is why building fundamentals first is such a crucial action.

In order to facilitate a design process it is advisable to implement design specification which is a highly detailed document with information about a product and can serve as a map during the design process. It should consist of an introduction (what problem it solves), colors and styles of interface, information about user and task flows. Providing designers with such information significantly decreases the risk of an inappropriate design.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – Steve Jobs #design #landingpages

Step 5: Validation and testing

Since you have gone through all conceptual and designing phases now it is time to finally validate your design with the stakeholders and test whether the users will fancy what you have created.

There are two main types of testing you should go through: usability and user testing. The first is pretty easy and you can actually conduct it by yourself by simply getting into shoes of your visitors and check the user flow on your business site or using your product. Be your own critic and check what is working perfectly and where you can find some areas of improvement.

The latter is usually associated with complication and expensiveness but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many different techniques to check whether your actual users will be keen on your work like A/B testing, surveys or focus groups. Choose the most appropriate one and just check. Some costs will be inevitable but it is an investment that might bear fruit in the future.

As you can see, UX is quite a hefty and compound area. However, these days it cannot be ignored as otherwise it will affect negatively users’ trust, new customers acquisition or existing ones retention. Be aware that there is no solution that fits all, but your goal is to create a business website, a product or a service that your targeted users will fancy. And the rest of the world doesn’t have to 🙂

Looking for great examples of UX?

Check Landingi templates
Sylwester Karnuszewicz

Sylwester Karnuszewicz

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