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What Is User Experience Design?

Craig Greenup 07/12/18, 14:01

What Is User Experience Design?

User experience design is something that has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years. Commonly shortened to UX, it’s the process of designing things which enhance customer experiences, helping users to have a meaningful interaction with a product or brand.

Scientist Don Norman gets the credit for inventing the phrase in the late 1990s, stating that ‘User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.’

This broad definition doesn’t specifically refer to digital and it can be applied to everything from the on/off switch on your car stereo through to complex government security software; as digital specialists, our involvement with user experience design generally takes place in the digital sphere and relates to websites, apps and other digital products.

What Makes Good UX?

These days we spend a good portion of our time navigating a complex digital landscape, so it’s only logical that UX is becoming more important than ever. There are a lot of factors that work together to create ‘good UX’, but improving end user satisfaction and inspiring customer loyalty are at the core of the process. When a customer is interacting with your products there are three questions that form their opinions:

  • How easy is it to use?
  • How enjoyable is it to use?
  • How much value do I gain from the interaction?

As UX designers, we have to go a little deeper and think about the user’s journey from start to finish. The best designs from a user experience perspective strike the perfect balance between four main elements:

  • Usability – Products need to be designed in a way that is familiar and easy to understand and therefore easy to use.
  • Desirability – Things don’t just need to work in a straightforward and intuitive way, they also need to be aesthetically pleasing and (if possible) fun to use.
  • Accessibility – Products need to be designed in such a way that any user can have a meaningful experience regardless of physical and mental ability.
  • Usefulness – The product needs to meet a specific need in your customers, addressing their pain points and enhancing their daily experiences.

It is a combination of all these factors which help assess whether a product will offer good or bad UX. As you can see, it goes beyond simple aesthetics and makes us consider the why, what and how of customer behaviour.

  • Why – What motivates your customers and how do their values and views inform their choices?
  • What – What pain points are you trying to address and what features and functionality will facilitate this?
  • How – How will the product incorporate all the elements of good UX to create a useful product which is easy and pleasant to use?

Paying close attention to the quality of your user experience design can be hugely beneficial to your brand – if you’d like to know more on how we can boost your UX then contact us online or by telephone at +44 (0) 161 818 6861.