As the technology advances, the design of new solutions becomes more complex and in need to face constantly growing customer expectations.
Nowadays users demand rich and interactive experience to really engage with the product.
This results in the emergence of new design-related roles that aim to satisfy these needs, and consequently help to create cutting-edge solutions. User Experience (UX) is a trend on the rise, but what really hides behind the curtain? Let’s find out!
Who is a User Experience Designer?
Most commonly, this role is described as follows:
A user experience designer ensures that the final product meets the expectations of its recipients. Through various research methods, they identify the need for products and users’ habits and challenges they face. Basing on collected data and good practices, a UX designer supports the process of building a product strategy focused on the user and designs a prototype, which is verified during usability tests.
In a nutshell, user-centred design is the process of arranging how the product ‘feels’. Its goal is to provide experience that – according to Peter Morville, a UX pioneer – must be:
UX design process requires both the approach and the conscious focus on usability of the product and the pleasure consumers will derive from using it. UX designer must find and incorporate in the product answers to the following questions:
It involves discovering users’ motivations and pain points to be used while inventing appropriate functional solutions to address them and designing the product in a logical way to create the meaningful experience.
User Experience Tools & Techniques
On a daily basis, UX designer focuses on analysis, research, designing and testing. A variety of tools, methods, tricks and techniques are handy when it comes to creating user experience. From pen and paper, through post-its and web apps supporting the process, up to advanced illustrating programs – everything can bring you closer to the value you strive to design.
Preparing mock-ups of product interfaces and building interactive prototypes are also great ways to show how the final product may look like on early stages of the design process. Deliverables such as storyboards, sitemaps, wireframes are then tested and audited from the perspective of usability.
The benefits of user-centred design
There are numerous perks of adapting a user-centred approach. First and foremost – as the product is based on data rather than assumptions and predictions, you can be sure that it is meeting the actual needs of its users.
Involving UX design in the project means better understanding of problems which results in improved quality and experience from using the product. In consequence, sales and conversion rate are boosted, costly redesign is avoided and the overall opportunity of market success increases.
On the other hand, the absence of user-centred design in the project can be a serious risk. As the product does not provide its users with what they are looking for or does not meet their expectations, they lack motivation to use it. Moreover, bad design can confuse consumers, making them unable to use the solution, jeopardising the whole project.
UX vs UI
User experience, user interface, usability – what’s the difference? Distinction between UX and UI is hard to notice and blurred. The major difference is that UX designers aim their attention at the overall feel of the product, and UI designers focus more on the layout.
UX can be described as more analytical, whereas UI speaks more of a graphical language.
Nevertheless, companies often combine these roles, as their responsibilities are shared.
The Take Away
Products meeting high UX standards are more likely to gain competitive advantage. The role of a UX designer in the project is very important, but it is crucial to remember that success of the final product is a combination of many factors, not just the usability alone.
However, putting emphasis on user-centred design creates effective and attractive results that are liked and appreciated by the consumers.