User Experience design is a term that has been at the forefront of techies and businesses alike in the past couple of years. Although it might seem new, UX design has been around for a while.
In essence, UX designers focus on making a product or service better, easier and more pleasant for the end-users. For example, we do that by having different phases for each project that we like to call Chapters.
In the words of Walt Disney, when talking about what will become Walt Disney World: ‘’an experimental prototype that is always in the state of becoming, a place where the latest technology can be used to improve the lives of people.”
Do you really need a UX designer?
Let’s make this simple. Your business needs a UX designer because you want to get maximum revenue. There’s no need to be shy: businesses need money to operate. And the more money you get, the more you can pay your employees, invest in innovation and create a better and more stable future for the company and its product or service.
Now, the real question is not why you need a UX designer, but how they can help you.
If you have a website or app (or if you need one), a UX designer will help shape the customer experience. That will help users to quickly and easily find what they are looking for and have a smooth check-out process.
Nothing is more frustrating than getting stuck on a confusing or poorly crafted app. Having a product that is more complicated than necessary can quickly cause a potential customer to turn to your competition instead.
Although certain UX principles are good to follow, the real value of a UX designer lies in research and analysis.
A UX designer can talk to your users and find out where they come across problems, and then provide solutions to these problems. After that, it’s all about testing the new solution and seeing if it has improved the overall user experience.
Now that you know more about the User Experience process, let’s take a look at some of the things UX designers do in their day-to-day job:
What does a UX designer do?
How do your direct and indirect competitors position themselves on the market, what are their good and bad features, what is their tone of voice (how do they talk to their users?)…
What do users do and, more importantly, why do they do it? There are different methods for user research (like interviews and surveys) and the key is understanding the way users think and what their actual problems are, as opposed to what we think the problems are.
Target audience research
Every business has an audience that they want to reach and an ideal audience that their product is for. Not everyone will want or need a laptop stand they can take anywhere but, for those who do, the product will be there. The UX researcher at this point takes a look at the demographics of the target audience and also tries to understand their interests, hobbies and routines.
Creating user personas
User personas are created based on target audience research. They are the ideal customer and help designers understand who they are designing for. When we talk about these personas within teams, it is easier to talk about Kate or Rick than it is about ‘’the 35-year old entrepreneur from Shoreditch’’. We then try to define as much as possible about the personas, so that the whole team is on the same page: this is who we are designing for.
Conducting user interviews
User interviews are a great way of getting to know details about the people who will be using your product. What matters to them when choosing a product? How do they approach buying? Are they more of a spontaneous or strategic buyer? All of these questions help us improve our existing knowledge that we have collected while creating user personas. Now we have a chance to talk to real people and get to know them and their habits in more detail.
The product strategy is not handled by a UX designer alone or even the in-house design team. It goes hand in hand with the business strategy of a company and it is part of making sure your business idea is off to a good start. Talking to CEOs, founders and the internal company team is invaluable in terms of understanding the company’s values. Only after that can the design team start evaluating the current state, setting up priorities, establishing KPIs etc.
Creating prototypes and wireframes
During this phase, the UX designer creates a ‘’skeleton’’ for your product. How will users navigate a website once they land on it? What do we want users to do? How should the navigation be displayed? We can call this phase the ‘’sketch’’ phase because it is all about figuring out how things will work, and less how they will look. Getting to understand the functionality is key to having a good product. If a website or an app doesn’t work well – the users will leave. It is as simple as that.
What is the difference between UX and UI designers?
The most exciting bit is seeing the designs come to life. In order to do that, UX designers collaborate with User Interface (UI) designers that bring to the table colours, fonts, icons, illustrations and photography to make the gray ‘’skeleton’’ wireframes into something worth looking at.
During that whole process, UX and UI designers will collaborate with developers who will translate these visuals into lines of code and, voila’, launch it online!
The world of design is vast and knowing what different design roles mean will help you make more informed decisions about your business’ needs. Coupled with knowing what questions to ask a creative agency, you’ll be on the right track!
Whether you need help with your existing product or your great big project, we’re here to help you on that journey. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for you, check out how we work, and get in touch with us (no strings attached!).