Think about your favorite mobile app. What do you like most about it? Is it easy to use? Are you able to do something easier and faster than with anything else? How about your favorite online store? Do you like how easy it is to find the product in the configuration that you’re looking for?
These are the questions UX Designers think about during the beginning phases of the app, web, and product design and though may have never heard of UX design, it’s a necessary component for many of your everyday experiences.
So… What is UX Design?
UX is an acronym for “User Experience,” meaning the process of designing how people interact with products. Keep in mind that a product can be almost anything – a mobile app, a website, even items such as kitchen appliances are all created with UX design in mind.
Maintaining a user-centered mindset throughout the whole process of designing a product is important so that designers can give the user the best experience possible. Because of this, it’s important to develop an understanding of the end-user; how they use their product, what will get them to buy more, what will keep them using it longer, and any other way the user interacts.
Each UX Designer solves user experience challenges in different ways but the basic processes are very similar. Here at Square 205, we have a few basic steps our UX Designers take to create each product:
We define and understand the purpose of the product. What does the brand want out of the product? What is the intended use?
With this, the Designer must understand and in some cases discover who the target audience is. This is a critical step in UX design because it’s where the user-experience essentially begins.
Upon understanding the target user, the designer begins user research. What are the user’s habits? What does the user want out of this product? What do similar products do well and what do they do poorly?
For example, if building a product for children who’re not ready for more complex systems or reading a lot of text, we’ll design a more simple and colorful product using symbols and graphics.
Researching and understanding the target user drives the entire creation process and possibly the most important aspect of the design process at Square 205. It’s not by chance that we’re described as a user-focused digital creative agency.
3. Design, Test, and Evaluate
Once the designer has defined the purpose of the product and the target user, (which together we often call “Discovery”) it’s time to create the prototype. The creation of a prototype for the UX designer typically begins with wireframes, workflow charts, page copy and data models. Sometimes, graphic design is included but often this is the next step in a more overarching product design project.
Depending on the scope of the project, one prototype may be created or multiple to be tested against each other. Often for a website design project, we’ll create multiple version of wireframes as we determine the best content layout for the best user experience.
During the testing process, a designer will survey and analyze the actions of users to determine what they do and don’t like. When the product reaches the evaluation stage, the UX Designers use the feedback and results from testing to decide if they should go back to the drawing board, or if the product is ready to move on.
Importance of UX Design:
UX design can make or break a product. In a study published by the Gomez Report in 2010, it was found that 88% of consumers were not likely to return to a website after they had a bad experience, and over one-third of these consumers informed others of their bad experience.
So, not only can bad UX design create a loss of current consumers for brands, but it can also push away potential consumers.
But what about good UX design?
Focusing on the user when designing a product can lead to increased customer satisfaction, which leads to more return users as well as an increase in sales.
ESPN.com is a favorite website a few of us sports nerds visit several times per week. Over the last five or so years, it seems their page layouts continue to become simpler and simpler. According to Mind Touch, ESPN.com had a 35% increase in revenue after listening to user feedback about their website and it all came down to simplicity with their user experience.
One other great example of user-focused UX is Airbnb. Their website and mobile apps are incredibly easy to use as they lack the clutter and junk content that many travel brands employ. The experience on Airbnb guides the user through booking their stay in a straightforward and fun way without being overwhelmed with too many options, promotions, confusing navigation, or buttons.
Simply, good user experience design is about eliminating the unnecessary and displaying only what’s needed for the user to make the best choice and accomplish their goals the quickest.
Square 205 and UX
Here at Square 205, we have a dedicated UX Designer as well as several members of the team who have the experience needed to ensure an incredible and meaningful user experience for each product we launch. Just check out our portfolio to see for yourself.