It’s no secret that mobile applications and webpages are more and more important in almost all the industries. It has been evolving into an interactive experience for users, and in order to transform a visitor into a loyal client, the offer of a high quality experience is now a must. It has always been an important part of a business, but now that we are living in a the “digital era”, devices are a big part of our daily life and can’t be omitted. The easiness to use and the added value provided are key factors to the success of a website & mobile app, or just a digital product in general. So we should all be focusing on UX design, how to provide a better experience and what kind of UX design process to follow.
Here I’ll start off by explaining briefly what a is user experience design, why it’s so important and what process we follow here at Apiumtech.
What is user experience design?
In my opinion, the user experience design is one of the most important part of a project. More and more you can see that companies are pay big attention to this aspect and therefore, it becomes even more difficult to impress a user. You need to double the efforts!
So when we talk about the user experience, we are more or less talking about how the user will live the whole process of using your product. This means both your system and how the people react to it. You have to keep in mind that everything about you product will affect the experience of your user. We can be talking about sizes of letters, colours, where is a button places on the page, images, how fast it loads, is the structure logic?
As you see, it’s not really about “visual design”. Also it is also extremely important, because at the end of the design, it’s actually the first thing that is seen from your brand. But user experience design goes deeper than that. It’s more about the core I would say. It’s the logic behind. And the visual design should reflect it.
So yes, user experience design is part of the design process but it’s more about providing an overall satisfying experience. We go through a UX design process in order to increase the visitor’s satisfaction while interacting with an interface. The main objective is to enhance the experience by improving the usability and the fluidity of interactions. Nice and easy.
So there’s a lot of work to it, you’ve got to go through research, trying to understand what the user needs, build prototypes and test them, see how people react and iterate.. but before talking about the UX design process, let’s have a closer look at the fact that user experience design has a very customer centric approach.
Customer centric approach
I hope we are all aware that UX design has absolutely a customer centric approach. What we’re doing is that we’re building the user’s confidence in our brand by providing him with an environment where he can feel comfortable while navigating. How to do that?
- By keeping it simple. Today with all the competition and advancements, you have less time to impress customers by your web. It’s very important to make it intuitive and you always need to keep it simple and smooth.
- By making the information clean & clear. Don’t omit to be transparent regarding the user’s information because be sure that in order to build trust and increase your credibility, you need to make the user feels secure.
- By never underestimating user testing. Put yourself in the user’s shoes. If they are unable to use features of a site, if there are constant errors, it looks like the project has not been completed, as if the developers didn’t really care to finalize it. User testing will just make the developer pay attention to functions or options that were not thought about, and that will help in getting a better usability.
- By always double checking. There’s nothing worst than errors due to a lack of attention. The website might load quickly and have an amazing design, but if you didn’t pay attention to details and have spelling mistakes or even broken buttons, you’re just telling to the user that you didn’t spend enough time to do a last check up and that you actually don’t care.
UX design process at Apiumtech
Let’s start with: it depends. In fact, obviously we take into consideration different factors as the budget, the clients, the deadlines and the project itself which might result in small changes in the UX design process to follow, but mainly, our UX design process is the following:
As always, first step is strategy. Why? because that’s when you basically determine the objectives you want to achieve and their priorities. In other words, we get the input of requirements, we collect information regarding the image and the brand of the company, the business model and the audience of the product. All of that to transform them into User Stories which will guide the project.
Research & analysis
To have a well thought user experience, you need to do some research and then analyse the data collected. That’s how we’re able to build the “personas”, a representation of the end users that use our product. It’s a great way to lean more about the users, their behaviour, goals, motivations, and needs. You also get to understand better how they use our product, what are the problems encountered, how they feel when interacting with our product, etc.
To consider all the possible actions, we build user cases which are sorts of scenarios of what happens when the users are interacting with our product.
As you can see in the image above, the design phase has a sort of cycle. To validate the assumptions made, we go back and force based on the user’s feedback. We do sketches and prototypes and test it on the end user until we validate the perfect product or interface.
This involves going working on the information architecture (structure, label and organize the content so that users fins what they need), doing wireframes (illustration of a product, where are things placed on the site, etc.) to connect the visual design of the site to its information architecture. After that, comes prototyping before building the end product. Experimenting in a way, to see if the idea works before really building the final product. And then you user that prototype and you test it.
Delivery to developers
Once the design has been done and chosen, we work with various tools that facilitate the integration to development. I think it’s important to know that the developers are the ones that will transform a design ideas into a real product. I am mentioning it to make it clear that the relationship between both parties is really important and that is something that can determine the success or failure of your project. At least this is how we see it here, we really always want to be on the same page with our software development team.
If you’re interested, here’s a list of amazing tools we use in our UX department.
Ok so now that you know more about the UX design process we go through at Apiumtech to try and provide the best experience to users, you might ask what are the benefits of going through all that work?
Benefits of following a UX design process
Get a competitive advantage
Having a web or app is nothing original nowadays and to be able to compete with the rest of the industry, offering a good experience will definitely help your business.
Lower your costs
It is actually less expensive to prevent a problem or usability issue than to let it happen and then have to fix it later on. So you spend less money on redesign costs. Also, the more logic it is, the less support you need to provide. In fact, you’re improving the ease of use and learning for your customers, so yes, you are reducing user assistance costs. But also you lower development costs, maintenance costs, and documentation costs.
Get the user “attached” to your product
By offering a beautiful experience the user falls in love with your product, it almost feels as if it were made for them. In fact, it makes it more ideal for them as UX design enhances the usability of the interface as well as satisfaction of the user, increasing therefore trust in your system. This usually means an increase in the audience size and in the number of return visitors, giving them the confidence to recommend the system to others.
Make more money
At the end of the day, you are researching a lot and basing your decisions on that so you really create a product that your customer likes and as I just mentioned, you increase in audience and returning visitors, and that translates into an increase in your sales. When this happens, you will get a big return on all of the time and effort that you spent on building an amazing experience.
Don’t forget SEO
Search engines will love you. To rank higher, you would better have a good user experience on your site. In fact it’s one of the main aspects taken into account, so if you don’t want to be penalised (and believe me you don’t) and want to appear on the first page, your user experience design better be well thought!
Marketing & UX testing
From a marketing point of view, many user experience tests can be used as tools to increase the results of our marketing efforts.
An example could be the fact that you can understand better how you compare with your competition on the market. In fact, by collecting data on your customer and by analysing the way that behave on your web and your competitor’s web, you can determine why do they prefer one to another.
Also, it’s the perfect way to test your marketing content. Instead of having to launch a campaign and discover later on that it doesn’t provoke the results you were expecting, with UX design tests you can do that ahead of time and therefore iterate it until you reach better results.
Finally, mainly all companies build their target’s profile, who they are, what they do and how they feel. User testing can help confirm assumptions and determine the how and why behind the persona profile.
Hopefully you enjoyed this article, the idea was to explain better what user experience design is, why is it so important and what is the UX design process. It’s important to say that there is not only one UX design process, there are different ways of dealing with it, but today I was explain how we de it here at Apiumtech, and so far, it has all been going quite well!
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