U to the X to the WHY?
By Stu Ross, 4 March 2018
Surfers, cruisers and users of the digital world - good UX matters, right?
The role of User Experience (UX) has slowly morphed around in a strangely organic way to suit the ever growing might of digital, and now it’s here with big flashing lights. Every studio worth its salt now has a UX Wizard dabbling in the likes of Adobe XD, Protopie, InVision, Sketch or Framer.
What is it and why should I care?
The simple fact is that without an effective UX, digital products are likely to fail. Awesome UX design is useful, seamless, usable, effective and meaningful, like a website that gives you the exact information you need, in just the right format, at just the right time. But on the flip side a sloppy experience can make us seriously frustrated, switch off and see red. That bad taste in your mouth might last a long, long time.
Sometimes I think of users as bicycle riders coasting through a thoughtful and enjoyable brand connection. Our mission, to successfully help them navigate from A to B down a defined lane and if any obstacles or potholes appear we offer direction and visible instruction for a joyful ride. A safe and reliable cycle route will encourage repeat journeys, user confidence and ultimately brand loyalty. If accessing your service is frustrating to learn, the consumer will seek an easier option, it's only natural.
UX and building better interactions is an art form of its own, you never can predict for certain how your website or app will be perceived. What you can do is gear up with the tools and guides to make acute informed decisions about UX in the design process. Here are some of my favourite resources from a couple of top designers:
Elizabeth Bacon’s comprehensive model of Understanding, Defining and Communicating (UDC) user’s needs is an awesome self-assessment - encouraging us all to understand, define, and communicate the entire spectrum. Liz is Head of Product at Quantas Assure.
The Honeycomb methodology by Peter Morville & Friends is a tool that explains the various facets of user experience design. Peter is a designer and information architect who has held positions at top companies like Google and Gopher.
- Useful. Is your product or website useful in any way? The more useful, the better the experience.
- Usable. Ease of use. If it’s too complicated or confusing to use, you’ve already lost. Usability is necessary (but not sufficient).
- Desirable. Our quest for efficiency must be tempered by an appreciation for the power and value of image, identity, brand, and other elements of emotional design.
- Findable. We must strive to design navigable web sites and locatable objects, so users can find what they need.
- Credible. Websites need to be credible - know the design elements that influence whether users trust and believe what we tell them.
- Accessible. Just as our buildings have elevators and ramps, our web sites should be accessible to people with disabilities (more than 10% of the population). Today, it’s good business and the ethical thing to do. Eventually, it will become the law.
- Valuable. Our sites must deliver value to our end-users. For non-profits, the user experience must advance the mission. With for-profits, it must contribute to the bottom line and improve customer satisfaction.
In review, your UX is your brand, meaningful design matters because we live in a high speed world with limited time and resource. By highlighting and defining all the areas that are both important and pertinent to UX design (why it cares to care), you can gain a better understanding of what UX is and why it’s an essential tool to drive sales and engagement.
“People react positively when things are clear and understandable.” - Dieter Rams
If you're interested in a UX audit of your product, or UX research within your industry, get in touch today.