What is User Experience (UX)?
UX stands for User eXperience. The user experience is what a user of a particular product e.g., website, software, device, even a service, experiences as the “end user”.
“User experience” as a concept Is not new. In fact, we’re having user experiences every day of our lives, when we go to a restaurant, have a test drive in a new car, stay in a camping ground. How you as a person (a user) interpret an experience influences the likelihood of you going back to that restaurant, purchasing that vehicle, or returning to the campground next holidays.
In the last decade or so though, “User Experience” is typically associated with the digital field, especially digital design.
Donald Norman is credited with inventing the term User Experience which first appeared in his book, The Design of Everyday Things (1988), which has become the UX bible. He was the first person to have an actual job title that included the term “user experience”, when he worked for Apple in the 90s as a User Experience Architect.
User Experience Design – UX Design
In 2013 Norman completely revised The Design of Everyday Things to be more inclusive of today’s technology and business world. The last two chapters in particular explain the problems of design in the practical world of business, competition, and the need for profitability.
Norman seems to be a strong believer that it’s not enough for something to be pleasing to the eye, if it’s not fabulously functional. Have a look at this amusing and at the same time thought-provoking short TED talk video:
UX Design is a user-centered process. It’s the practice of intentionally designing a website, application or device so that the user has a truly positive experience. It’s a combination of psychology, engineering, classic design and web design principles. Primarily, the user experience is designed to avoid frustration and delays, and to be effortless.
The goal is for the user to easily understand what to do and how to get to where they want to go. This is absolutely essential in business and e-Commerce. UX design is a process that incorporates all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with a company, its services, and its products.
You know it’s a big thing when, around the world, governments are conducting in-house UX training, and vocational training and education institutions and universities are providing courses to try to meet demand. In addition, community-of-interest groups and associations have sprung up with the purpose of sharing knowledge skills and resources related to UX. Conferences and festivals of UX are booming.
UX Design has become a trending career choice for students and professionals. It’s big. And there are simply not enough people trained in UX design.
Uses of UX design:
- Software, Websites, and Apps: success in these spaces depends on making it easy, making it work in the best possible manner with the least effort, and making it pleasing to use.
- Services: UX designer can also be applied to the design of service systems in order to improve quality and the interface between the service provider and customers.
- Voice Command Technology: voice design is increasingly necessary as more and more people utilise the AI assistants for searches and commands online and within apps.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Technology: These technologies have ongoing great potential but must be made accessible to many types of users, which is where UX designers come in.
From a business and marketing perspective
It’s easy to see how UX design can work to benefit businesses. Products that provide great user experience (e.g., the ubiquitous iPhone) are designed with not only the product’s consumption or use in mind but also the whole process from ordering and purchasing, accepting delivery, noticing the packaging, the reveal, the feel, the look – and we haven’t even got to the importance of useability and function yet!
At Webyroo we recently assisted Bandesh Wines and Spirits with a UX design process. The end goals were: a great design, a sophisticated brand experience for the customers, and seamless UX. Webyroo’s User Experience Design Consultant assembled a stellar team of UX design experts to create a design that balanced the vision, the founders personal story and the needs of the customers. The team kept customer needs and experiences front and centre while working through the design process with the client.
We organized weekly discovery sessions with Bandesh Wines and Spirits team on Zoom, uncovering ideas and gathering feedback on work completed every week. As well as any other elements that needed to be added. It was a collaborative process from start to finish. The end result? A beautiful and instinctive website design that showed off the products and created a polished brand experience overall. You can check the website out here: Bandesh Wine and Spirits.
Would you like a design team to bring your vision to life? To create a website that looks great and performs brilliantly? Click here to book in a call with Webyroo’s Founder Tony Jose, to talk about a UX design process to suit your specific needs.
A fascinating case study of a UX project undertaken with a non-government agency Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand in 2018, demonstrates the process of A UX redesign of this non-profit medium size enterprise’s website.
A team of four UX designers worked directly with Fairtrade ANZ to provide the .org company with recommendations and suggestions on how they could improve the overall UX of their current website and create a positive user journey that aligned with their existing marketing strategy. It is quite detailed and outlines the steps in the process that was used.
Steps in the UX design process involves four overarching key phases:
- user research
- And implementation, followed by “rinse and repeat” as needed.
In a cyclical process as both design and user input are revisited, and improvements continue. A designer can’t create anything of value to a user unless he or she understands what kinds of problems the user wants resolved or improvements they want to see. It can be an incremental process, clarified only by interacting directly with users.
To look at how a very large department (the USA government General Administration Services department) defines the benefits of UX design, check out their site, it gives a summary of the benefits, including interesting notes on calculating ROI (return on investment).Steps in the UX design process involves four overarching key phases:
Does your site pass the honeycomb test?
So asked Jolene Taylor on her blog site Prototypr.io.
She was referring to a 7-facet user experience “honeycomb model” devised in 2004 by an information architect, Peter Morville. He came up with the model to guide UX designers. Each facet identifies aspects of quality UX. The model breaks down the essentials of UX and is a great framework for anyone looking to develop software, build a website or app, and market their products or services.
It’s also useful for existing businesses to use as a guide to reflect on their own sites, software, and applications, with these seven components in mind.
The seven components of the UX Honeycomb as outlined by Dane Wesolko are as follows.
Peter Morville’s user
This one is pretty obvious – a business’s product or service needs to be useful in the broadest sense and fill a need. Assuming useful doesn’t just mean functional in a practical way…. some businesses may produce items purely for aesthetic appeal, for example.
The website (or software or application) should be easy to use, and users should be able to achieve their goal effectively, efficiently, and intuitively. Designers should make sure that all the features and options included are easy to use.
How many times have we all searched for an app in an App store, only to read several reviews of it by disgruntled, disappointed or angry people who have bought the app and found it glitchy, not living up to its promise, or downright unusable??
Information needs to be findable and easy to navigate. If the user has a problem that Brings them to your site, they should be able to quickly find a solution, if you have one. The navigational structure should also be set up in a way that makes sense. Quickly.
Information intended for everyone should be accessible to everyone. This sentence deserves its underlining. It needs to stand out because the accessibility facet of UX design is the least understood and implemented. Content needs to be available to people with a range of abilities.
The best article we have ever read on this topic is a post by Jesse Hausler, the Principal Accessibility Specialist for Salesforce. It is full of the most useful information, techniques, and suggestions. And eminently readable.
The visual aesthetics of the product, service, or system need to be attractive and easy to translate. Design should be minimal and to the point.
Credible: The company and its products or services need to be trustworthy.
With all these aspects met, the centre facet of the honeycomb, Valuable, will be realized, at least for now.
To sum up – Webyroo is here for you
UX design is important for businesses. It can significantly reduce costs down the track – think ROI. Troubleshooting and re-working cost time and money, whereas a great user experience can help with sales conversions.
UX design can also help with Search Engine Optimization.
Brand loyalty will be improved and “word of mouth”, to use the old-fashioned term, will certainly spread the good news – nothing works better for customers than a great product or service, and a great related experience.
Let it work for you.
Please feel free to contact us at Webyroo about any aspect of managing your digital presence. Webyroo will help you. Click here to book a call now, or check out this video which shows how we help small to medium businesses.