User Experience, or UX, is a popular term used in design and tech industries. However, many people are still unsure of what it means and how to use the term correctly. Here, we’ll look at UX design and its importance to your product or service.
First of all, what is UX?
Let’s start by looking at the definition of UX, which stands for “user experience.” When we use the term “user experience,” we’re referring to how users or people interact with a product. For example, we always interact with a light switch to turn on a light in our room. The design of the light switch, from its material, color and appearance, can affect how we feel about the interaction.
This works similarly in the digital design world, as UX refers to everything that affects a person’s interaction with a digital product. When people use a product, they tend to evaluate their experiences based on the following criteria:
- Value: Is this product valuable to me?
- Usability: Is this product easy to use?
- Function: Is this product working properly?
- Overall impression: Is the product pleasant to use overall?
A quick history of UX
The term “user experience” was coined by an expert on cognitive science, Don Norman, in 1993. When Norman joined Apple, he came up with the term to help boost Apple products’ industrial designs, letting users set up and use computers easily.
Norman says, “User experience encompasses all parts of the end-user’s interaction with the company, their products and services.”
The things you should know about UX include:
- User experience is about what people both think and feel. Humans are rational and emotional beings, and both sides play a major role in how users feel about a product.
- UX also depends on the context of where the product is used. To design a good product, you also need to understand this context. It’s also important to understand the product’s role in the user’s life.
- A user’s experience with your product may be different over time. When they start to use a new product, they may have mixed feelings about it. But they can easily change their minds when they become more familiar with it.
Understanding UX design and UX designers
UX is usually always followed by the word “design.” With this term, people who work in this field are known as “UX designers.”
So, do UX designers actually design user experiences?
The simple answer is no. It’s impossible to design user experiences as it refers to a user’s impression of the product. However, you can create conditions that will likely make a positive impression. Therefore, you can say that the UX designer’s main task is to design for User Experience.
To put it simply, UX design is the process of making products (whether digital or physical) that are usable and practical for the user. Here are the characteristics of a product with good UX:
- Functional: The product should be simple and easy to use.
- Useful: The product should fill a need. If it doesn’t serve a perceived gap in the users’ lives, then there’s no reason to use the product.
- Accessible: The product or service should be accessible to anyone.
- Desirable: The presentation and aesthetics should be attractive and recall positive emotions.
- Credible: The product’s company should be trustworthy.
Indeed, there are more than just these five characteristics. Now, let’s look at the three things to remember when defining UX design.
UX design isn’t only about good usability
The product design’s usability can help us understand whether users can complete tasks effectively. Good UX isn’t possible without good usability, as usability is only one attribute of a good UX. It can also help us make well-functioning products, but just because a product is easy to use doesn’t mean people will use it.
UX and UI design are totally different things
Designers usually mistake UX design for UI (User interface) design. This is because people generally associate the word “design” with visuals. Even though the user interface is a crucial part of UX, it’s only the outer layer of a product.
UX designers think above the surface layer as they design the function behind all the pretty visuals, which bridge the gap between how a product looks and how it works.
UX design is about the users
A German industrial designer said: “You can’t understand great design if you don’t understand people.”
UX requires a deep understanding of the user, including their wants, needs, behaviors and the context where they will use a product. Empathizing and understanding the user’s needs is crucial for UX designers.
Essential tools for UX design
UX design is more than only designing for a screen; it considers all aspects of a product or service. Even though a UX designer is in charge of making a button, a flow or a toggle beautiful and functional, they focus on all the things that make the user experience great overall. To do this, they need the right tools. Here are wireframing, prototyping, A/B testing and user behavior analytics tools essential for any UX designer.
UXPin is a product design tool for designing wireframes, mockups and prototypes. The best part is that it syncs with Sketch and other files. So after uploading, you can change them into interactive prototypes.
Figma is an interface designing tool that allows you to draw shapes, change colors, and layout pages and fonts exactly how you want it.
InVision is mainly a prototyping tool as you must design the pages on other apps (Sketch, Figma, etc.) and import them to InVision. You can then link these up to get valuable user feedback and improve the UX accordingly.
Adobe XD allows UX/UI designers to create designs as efficiently as possible. This app offers many valuable features that help designers create realistic web designs, app designs, brand designs and design prototypes. The tools include vector drawing tools, 3D transforms, render animations and many others to create real-life prototypes with motion.
Miro helps UX teams to be aligned on the same page and keep relevant files in one place. The app offers great flexibility and ease in creating workflows and diagrams. Miro also offers an endless canvas for any kind of work, such as concept reviews, collaboration for brainstorming ideas and others.
Conclusion — UX design is one of the keys to your business’ success
Great UX is essential to the success of your product and business and UX designers are a key part of the process. By learning about your customer’s expectations and putting their needs at the core of your design, you’ll exceed their expectations, bringing loyal customers who praise and spread good things about your product.