As more and more websites and apps are competing for your users’ attention, it is crucial that user experience design is at the core of your solutions.
In a nutshell, User Experience (UX) design is about creating a product that meets the needs of your customer in an easy to use way. The theory of user experience goes way beyond websites and mobile apps. This is explained fantastically in a video by Dr. Donald Norman. He explains what “User Experience” meant to him when he originally came up with the term “User Experience”, while working at Apple.
“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.
Dr. Donald Norman, Nielsen Norman Group
When it comes to User Experience Design for websites and applications our UX designers will analyse sub-systems and processes within your project. We’ll find new opportunities and improvements that will encourage your user’s to become regular visitors.
User Experience is as important as visual appeal! Why? Simply, there is no point having a great looking website if no one can use it, right? Starting UX design at the beginning of your project is especially beneficial for start-ups and new products, as it can give you the cutting edge over competitors. Time and time again we’re seeing seemingly unknown businesses achieve amazing success when focusing on User Experience to make things simple, just look at Spotify & Uber.
Research, research, research, is one of the major parts of User Experience. We will work with your team through workshops, meetings and interviews to get a clear picture of your objectives and goals. By identifying these early it means you can get the most rewards out of your product.
Your users are what User Experience Design is all about. First of all you need to know who they are. As a result we do even more user research. Through surveys, focus groups, analytics analysis or creating persona’s. We will help figure out who your users are so you can give them a tailored experience.
By doing the research into your goals and audience we will be able to work out a plan for your content. By knowing who that person is and what we want them to do is the best way to achieve human-centered design. Instead of just creating a page and being done with it, we will find what your users are looking for and provide them with engaging and relevant content. At the end of the day people go to websites because they are looking for something.
The old adage goes “A little bit of planning goes a long way”. This couldn’t be more true for UX Design. By making smart decisions based on research from the beginning of your app or website, you will enjoy a long term impact.
To put this into context, if you focus on the needs of your users at the start of your project, you will limit the risk of going off and spending precious time and money developing a feature that no-one will use.
For ongoing projects, incorporating UX Design as part of an iterative agile process can help you learn from the initial decisions and help to make continuous improvements.
In the same sense that UX saves you money, it can also make you money. Through planning and research, making a website the drives your customers to achieve your goals will in turn lead to return on your investment. A great example of UX making money is the eCommerce industry. There a many techniques that have been introduced over the years to help increase UX and drive conversion. One page checkout being a great example.
At the beginning of any project the UX process starts with research and analysis. A variety of methods are used to add insights and context to the design process. Taking direction from traditional market research and UX techniques we will dive deep into not only you customer but your business objectives.
The goal of this research is to provide information that informs the design process based on the experience of your user. As part of this process we will begin by gathering data in a variety of methods. This includes surveys, interviews, heatmaps, competitive analysis and web based analytics.
After, gathering the data the next step is to analyse it to provide an overview of your customer and their needs and behaviours.
After all that research and analysis, comes the fun part of making personas. One of the best ways to ensure your product meets the goals of your user is creating user personas. A Persona is a representation of your users created from quantitative and qualitative data gathered in the research and analysis phase.
Personas can be basic or extremely in depth looking at age, occupation, status, children, location, behaviours, motivations, goals and frustrations. Some companies even go a far as trying to figure out what the user has for lunch. The most important aspect of personas is to reinforce them throughout you organisation. MailChimp do a great job of this by creating beautiful eye catching posters that they have on display.
Personas help you focus on the customer you have and not the ones you want. Done right keeping this in mind personas provides an all round better User Experience.
Information architecture is the creation of a structure/sitemap for a website or application. Often the role of creating information architecture will be shared by many including designers, developers and content strategists. The overall goal of Information Architecture Design is to help users navigate their surroundings. Helping users to find what they are looking for, in a way that reflects their mental model.
By collaborating with these different roles, we use the sites objectives combined with user personas to create user flows. User flows look at the path a user takes to achieve their goals on the site. This will influences the design of the information architecture.
Wireframes provide a high speed process of delivering page layout concepts in an iterative process. The wireframes will be based on user research and shows how a user may interact with your product.
Wireframes usually begin with a low-fidelity hand drawn version of the site. This version is free from design elements such as colour, typography and images. User testing on low fidelity wireframes provides proof of concept. If a user doesn’t know where to go on a hand drawn version of the site then no amount of colour or typography is going to help.
From there we’ll create high-fidelity wireframes that showcase the elements of the page in-depth. This helps to show how your users will interact and engage with your website or application.
The most exciting part of the User Experience Design process is Visual Design. Visual design involves creating a style guide, page templates, mockups from the wireframes. Piecing all of your hard work together to provide a breathing design that suits your objectives and audience.
During the visual design stage all of the images, colours, typography and animations are added. After a little back and forth getting the mockup perfect. You’ll be presented with a pixel perfect mockup ready for prototyping and implementation.
Now comes time to test! For most projects, we’ll create a clickable version of the design or a working prototype used for usability testing. Usability testing involves assigning a series of task to participants who match your target audience. This highlights any roadblocks that real users may come across.
The User Experience Design process is rarely finished. Through changes in technology and expectations from end users, there is always room for improvement. This could be through refinements, small changes or new releases. By working on your User Experience continually, you make sure you and your users are never left behind.