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  • Writer's picturePepita Maiden

Understanding The Concept of UX Design

UX design is the abbreviation used for “User Experience Design” and by definition incorporates all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products. It refers particularly to the craft of making the user’s experience when interacting with a digital product as effective, efficient, and pleasant as possible. Simply put, UX design is the process of building products with the user in mind.

UX Design Processes

This comprehensive definition covers a wide range of factors, including accessibility and ease of use, brand setting and consistency, and overall aesthetics. The user’s moment to moment reactions and how it comes together to create the general experience is also covered. The role of a UX designer There are 3 very important aspects to be considered by a UX designer: The What, The How, and The Why: What can be done with the product? (Anticipating the product’s features and functionality) ·How simple is it to use? (It mainly considers how the product will be used and what the UX designer can do to guarantee that the entire experience is as intuitive as can be) Why would someone need the product? (It explains a user’s needs for a specific product)

Since UX design is a “human-first” approach and often needs layers of prototyping, research, and testing and the UX designer’s role often goes far beyond the range of a single project, it should not be surprising that UX Designers work closely with other related design fields, including: User Interface (UI) Design UI design covers the styling of the interface screens and touchpoints encountered by a user. In other words, UI design encompasses specific visual design choices surrounding layout, images, typography, other visual elements as well as micro-interactions. Graphic design is included here as well and contributes to visual elements such as designing logos etc. Interaction Design (IxD) IxD forms a connection between UI and UX design. IxD’s scope is wider than UI design and includes the process flow and functionality of interface elements. IxD’s usually depends greatly on front-end web development.

What is the UX design process? As mentioned previously UX designers focus on user experience in other words how a website or app makes you feel while using it. Establishing that takes research, prototyping, and testing, with notable role players working closely together with other types of Designers and Product Managers to bring every idea to life in a manner resonating with end-users. Tony Ho Tran states in Inside Design that every modern, successful product or business needs UX to design behind it. “With it, customers will remain satisfied and (ideally) loyal to your business,” he writes. “Without it, your user can be left frustrated and bitter with your product… resulting in, ultimately, fewer users,” Tran says the most effective UX design creates a positive experience for a company’s target audience by expecting — and ultimately satisfying — their needs. So, what is the actual UX design process to make it happen? The process can be broken down into a few key steps allowing a team to determine user needs, develop test ideas, and refine a design so it has a major impact. Understanding the problem As with any problem the issue can only be resolved with a clear and thorough understanding of the problem and parameters. Saadia for UX Planet explains that “Design solves a problem” and “In order to provide a solution, you first need to understand the problem.” In UX design this can mean talking to customers and coming up with ideas together, establishing which problem you are trying to solve for your company, their company, and the end-users, and bringing the project team together to ensure everybody’s understanding is the same before the real hard work kicks off. Research and Analyze Extensive research is the pillar of UX design and begins well before building prototypes or signing off on graphic design decisions. This might mean spying on your rivals to get an idea of their product offerings, including their shortfalls and any prospective sources of inspiration, while another area focuses on end-users. “Your user research is going to be the lifeblood of your project,” explains Tran. “The things you discover and unearth during this stage lays the foundation for how your entire project will turn out.” “Not only do UX Designers want to know who their users are, but Designers want to dive deeper into their needs, fears, motivations, and behavior,” writes Nick Babich for Adobe’s design blog. During this stage, it can be useful to create user identities – such as, fictional depictions of your target customers — to give you a clear guideline for what you would like to achieve. Sketch and Design During this stage, you are finally grinding out ideas and although they do not have to be 100%, they must be engrained in your research with the ultimate focus on solving the current problem. When sharing concepts with your teams or other stakeholders you can use whiteboard flows, wireframe prototypes, and even hand-drawn sketches as part of the process. Moving ahead, you will start to get into the finer detail of a final design and carving out specifics such as typography and style guidelines with your graphic and UI design team According to Babich, an effective design phase is both highly collaborative, requiring input from the whole product development team, and iterative, meaning that it cycles back upon itself to validate ideas and assumptions. “You’ll have to design, redesign, scrap it, and design it all again,”

Test, Launch, Repeat After the completion of building a final design that is supported by research and analysis, you are almost ready to send it off. Before this though you have to establish that works well, resonates with users, and if the initial problem is solved. This can only be done through extensive testing and making sure every piece of the product is usable and effective First, though, comes plenty of testing — ensuring every single piece of the product is usable and effective. Doing so requires a few approaches, according to Tran: Internal testing, end-user testing, and potentially a beta launch. “This is a limited release of your product to a small number of people with the goal of finding issues and cleaning them up before you launch it to the world,” he explains. “When it comes to the UX design process, there’s no one fits all solution,” says Babich. “But whether your UX process is lightweight or it’s full of a lot of activities, the goal of each UX design process is the same — create a great product for your users.” UX Design Basics in the UX design field From coluir and mood to typography and research, there is a lot to cover in the broad and ever-growing user experience (UX) design field.

Mood Boards When starting a design, it is always a good idea to create a mood board. A mood board is a type of visual presentation or 'collage' consisting of images, text, and samples of objects in a composition. It can be used to convey a general idea or feeling about a particular topic to the viewer or user Primary and Secondary colours When planning your design, it is standard to select sets of primary colours and secondary colours that will act as the dominant and accent colours of your design. These can all be complemented by a neutral or grayscale colour selection. If you are having difficulty with choosing colours, the 60-30-10 rule is a good place to start. Choose a dominant colour and use it 60 percent of the time, then use a secondary color that matches the dominant one. Use an accent color (the 10 percent) sparingly, or in situations where you want to highlight content. It also helps to choose a light background (white) or dark background (dark grey) to keep things simple.

Design Thinking Design thinking is an attitude to conceptualise and build products that solve problems while creating positive experiences for end-users. It places an emphasis on empathy and is a great companion to conducting good user research and high-quality UX design.

Typography When selecting the correct font, it is important to pay attention to sizes, height, and whether you are using serif or sans serif. Each component has a different effect on the feel of the content. Google has a broad Font Library which provides a great way to explore different styles and how they work together. When learning typography, it is best to pick one typeface with many weights – italic, light, bold, medium, etc. Learn how to work with different weights to create visual hierarchy and to better understand balance and structure. Once you are comfortable with that typeface, choose another and do the same. Visual Hierarchy Sizes are important to distinguishing hierarchy and establishing balance on a page. It is important to UX specifically as it helps with website navigation. Usually, the Call to Action and title predominantly draw the eye while the rest is deprioritized secondary information. Always order information in a manner that guides the reader’s eye to the important information first. Customer Empathy Establishing customer empathy is very important and is an essential aspect of the design thinking process. When creating designs, prioritize a user-centric approach to uncover insights and develop marketplace solutions that fulfill your customer’s needs. Prototyping and Validation The capability to build and measure success based on customer experience allows you to gain the benefits of prototyping. Validation frameworks test assumptions, confirm solutions, and maximize the efficient use of resources prior to a product launch is very important. Focus on User Research The heart and soul of UX design is user research. To know your customers is of utmost importance to produce a smooth user experience. Knowing your customers is the key to producing a seamless user experience. From surveys to usability tests, there are over 20 different qualitative and quantitative methodologies that allow for different kinds of exploration in UX practice.

Given its overarching influence on the way consumers interact with brands, UX design has become an essential component of today’s business world and is already changing the way organizations create their products and services.

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