User experience, or UX, is a person’s emotional response and behavior when using a product, system, or device.
The International Organization for Standardization (abbreviated as ISO) defines user experience as – “a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system, or service.”
Every industry has its own components of user experience, which makes defining UX a little tough. But if you delve a bit deeper into the ISO definition of UX, you’ll understand that the concept of user experience revolves around the emotions, perceptions, responses, and behavior of a user.
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How Designers Influence A User’s Experience
In the digital world, user experience is how a person feels while interacting with a swebsite, a web application, or desktop software. From a technological perspective, UX is determined through some form of human-computer interaction (HCI).
UX is a result of brand image, presentation, functionality, performance, interactive behavior, and more. This is why the definition and the concept of UX can be so challenging.
UX Best Practices
1) User Experience Research
User experience (UX) research is critical in producing data and insights about user interactions. From these insights and data, they determine what can be concluded based on those interactions. Proper UX design can ensure that product development activities are going in the right direction, as per the actual user needs.
It doesn’t matter at what stage in the product development lifecycle you are, research at any step will improve the value of your products and services. The earlier you do your research, the better the results will ultimately be.
The steps involved in the research may or may not include the following:
- Requirement gathering
- Diary study
- User interview
- Design review
- Competitive analysis
- Journey Mapping
- Benchmark Testing
- Search-log analysis
- FAQ review
2) Discover User Needs
Before you start making a new product or service, it’s vital to decide whether it serves the user’s needs or not. That principal is at the core of UX design. UX research begins first validating customer behavior and concerns. Once that step has been taken, the product development lifecycle can begin.
The purpose of discovery is to prevent wasting time and effort on a product. You want to make sure that the product is something consumers want and that it is targeted at the right type of people. Some of the ways to discover this include:
- Conduct user interviews and field studies.
- Go through diary studies to better understand users’ requirements.
- Conduct interviews of sales, support, and training staff, and ask them about customer problems and recurring issues.
- Perform competitive testing of your proposed product/service’ features. Identify the strengths as well as weaknesses of your competitor’s products, and compare them with your product.
3) Explore UX Design Possibilities
If you’re an aspiring UX designer, focus on understanding the problems that your target audience faces, and design a solution for it. You can do this by:
- Comparing the features of your product/service with the market competition.
- Identifying new ways to save users’ time and effort.
- Exploring different UX design approaches, brainstorming, and testing ideas to find the best designs to retain.
- Using paper prototypes and test interactive prototypes to iterate your designs. Allow users to underline your design’s efficiency or errors, and then redesign, and test again.
4) User Testing and Feedback
The most effective and economical way to do user testing is by interviewing users. Interviewing can be done with the help of a survey, feedback app, and remote user testing. Since user experience is a subjective parameter, the best way to gather information is through observation and by interacting with the users.
There are a plethora of user-feedback tools available. Depending on the type of survey, general survey tools like PollDaddy, or usability-specific tools as well as Usablilla are used. Even remote user-testing services, such as Usability Hub can be used to perform usability tests on reviewers.
Also, don’t forget to:
- Protect personal information of users, and plan to keep it secure over time. Make sure to destroy older data regularly, and avoid collecting unnecessary information from the user.
- Show the effectiveness of your design improvements, use numbers, and other indicators like error rates and task completion in usability testing.
- Include a wide variety of users to minimize variations in results because people are quite different culturally and demographically.
5) System Status
A user system should always be able to keep users informed and updated about the status of their actions. Try to not make the users wonder about what has happened. Instead, provide some sort of feedback to let them know what’s going on. This feedback can either be visual, audio, or haptic.
It’s critical to provide feedback to the users on the actions initiated by them. This is because the feedback lets users know that their request has been received by the system. In other words, the feedback acts as an acknowledgment for the users and alleviates the fear that the system is not responding.
6) Offer Control and Freedom to the Users
Quite often, users can choose a system function or operation unknowingly. At that moment, they would want to leave the unwanted state without going through an extensive process. Therefore, it is essential to provide Undo and Redo options for user operations.
This also applies to the changes they make to their personal settings for an online account. Provide them with an ‘emergency exit’ button to leave quickly, along with an option to revert any unintentional changes.
7) Notice User Sentiment
In today’s digital age, social media is the first choice for people to share experiences, vent their frustrations, or compare products. Whether it’s word-of-mouth advertising or new competition, paying attention to social media commentary on your product or service is vital.
8) Communicate Future Goals with Users
Some brands in the market have very loyal customers. In a way, people use their products to express their own identity. These customers feel valued when the brand tries to connect with them in some way.
Communicating with customers is not only critical to collecting valuable feedback but it also helps in defining future direction. For example, many iconic car companies consult their existing customers and ask for suggestions and feedback before launching new versions of their car.
Starting A Career in UX Design
Everyone wants to see their business grow and generate more conversions. The key to achieving all of this is to care about your prospects and customers. Make their interactions with your brand enjoyable.
If you’re new to UX, start off on the right foot by taking a look at our do’s and don’ts of learning UX.
When you’re ready to learn more about UX careers, a UX design bootcamp is a great place to start. You can also connect with a member of our team if you have any questions; we’re more than happy to help you find the right tech career for you.
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