“A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.” — Martin LeBlanc, Iconfinder
It is an open secret that product design today is primarily about convenience and benefits for users. The best, most successful products embody flawless user experience.
We at SumatoSoft strive to incorporate best practices in software we build for clients — and user experience design (UX) is one of them.
So what is exactly user experience design?
User experience design is the process of creating products that provide relevant and significant experiences to users based on their behaviour analysis. By analyzing the behavior of users, UX design identifies their motives and creates optimum digital experiences for them. The main objective of UX design is to improve the way users interact with devices, apps and websites, provide value to them and thus enhance overall user satisfaction.
Below we will talk about UX design in terms of software development.
In essence, UX design applied to a software solution results in a user-friendly product tailored to specific needs of customers.
User experience design embraces a variety of aspects that can affect the quality of user interaction with a software product. That is why user experience design involves branding, usability, functionality and even content, and UX designers have diverse experience in visual design, programming, psychology and copywriting. The main criterion for being a good user experience designer is being the users’ advocate that defends their interests and clearly conveys their needs to design and development teams.
According to the inventor of the term “user experience” and concurrently co-founder of Nielsen Norman Group (UI and UX consulting firm), Don Norman, “user experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
In a nutshell, what is the difference between UX and UI design?
You can often meet these notions side by side, however, UX design goes beyond UI design — as you may have already realized, user experience design is the concept that is much broader than any other kind of design. In fact, user interface design is the subfield of user experience design.
Both UX and UI are critical for building a top-notch software product and interact with each other. But their roles are substantially different. UX Design is more about analytical and technical aspects that take root deep in the software product’s functionality, while UI Design is more about how the application looks like.
UX design is like designing a building. UI design is like interior decoration.
Why do I need user experience design?
- UX saves resources
Effort invested in UX design may save you hours and days (and consequently money) that your development team would most likely spend on making changes and redesigning the product.
According to a study by Experience Dynamics, the involvement of UX designers can reduce time spent by developers on remaking the software by up to 50%. What is more, overall development time can be reduced by 33–50% through clear prioritization of development tasks and improved decision-making (thanks to UX).
2. UX boosts sales
UX design not only reduces costs but also brings you profit through increased sales. The Survey revealed that companies that invested in UX design managed to boost sales up to 75%.
3. UX brings high ROI
UX design engagement provides quite impressive return on investment (ROI). Forrester study has found that every dollar invested in UX design brings 100 dollars in return.
Forrester reports also show that focus on user experience encourages customers to pay by 14.4 % more and increases their eagerness to recommend your product to other people by 16.6 %.
4. UX improves customer satisfaction
Keeping the importance of user experience in mind will enable your product to fulfil its potential and hit the bull’s eye by responding to customer needs. Efforts will not go unrewarded and you will earn customer loyalty.
“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service — from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”
— Don Norman
What are the key steps of UX design process?
Here is the mini-guide:
At the initial stage, you should gather information about market requirements, try to understand who your customers are, collect ideas from the web, target audience’s environment and other sources. In addition, you will need to conduct сlient surveys, monitor what your competitors do and how users interact with their products.
This step is about digging deeper and structuring the data you gathered at the previous stage. At this point you will learn more about users, explore their behavior, find out their pains and what they need (through creating user personas and user flows), prioritize and decide what to design based on all these data.
3. UX Design
It is time you put into practice everything you learned before. Here you will leverage user flows you have created to build product structure. Start working on wireframes and prototypes, explore best practices in UX design, discuss with team and sketch.
4. UI Design
Bring UX and UI together. Work on visual presentation of UX for the product. Create a well-thought-out UI style guide and stick to it. The goal is to make sure that users will get the functionality of each element right.
Here software developers come into play. Pass everything you have done to them but note this is not the end: you will be involved in close cooperation with developers and consult them.
Perform usability testing, find out if the product is the solution users have always wanted and needed and whether it fully addresses their issues. Remember that there is no limit to perfection and find out what can be improved on the basis of user feedback.
Just a couple of tips:
Tip 1: Trust in data, not in opinions
Many men, many minds, they say. Keep in mind end users and stick to data, figures and facts when making decisions. Remember that your goal is to build a product that would meet the needs of users, not executives. If you are an executive, read the previous sentence.
Tip 2: To improve UX of the existing application, website or other product, check how users interact with it
Start with observing users’ interaction with the product, talk to them and then evaluate the usability of the solution. Analyze results and find issues that hamper your product from becoming top of the line. Fix them, improve usability, make necessary adjustments and the result will not be long in coming!
I work for SumatoSoft — an app design company with extensive experience in UX design. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach us out, talk to our experts and move toward boosting your business.
Why UX Design Must Be the Foundation of Your Software Product was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.