When we speak of design, most people immediately think of graphic or fashion one. In the case of UX (User Experience), they couldn’t be more wrong. UX Design isn’t only about drawing skills and aesthetics. It’s the process of developing and implementing meaningful and personally relevant experiences. It requires a broader look at consumers’ satisfaction – one combining design, branding, usability, and functionality.
As we’ve already mentioned UX Design is constantly mistaken with “making websites”, “drawing”, or “mapping user experiences”. While all these statements hold some truth they give an incomplete definition of what the work involves. UX Design is not a single step in the process, it’s the process itself, evolving through its numerous stages:
• Scope – At this initial stage the concept is being shaped. You have to work with data, research, ask colleagues for opinions and follow your intuition to determine peoples’ interests, needs, project goals. It’ll help you get critical insights into your business and the strategy you should be using by answering questions like whether your product is actually of any value to consumers and whether it positively impacts their lives.
• Strategy – While planning how the concept should be build it’s essential to focus both on company’s goals and consumers’ needs to offer a smooth valuable experience, people would love to talk about. This is why it’s important to consider audience-specific functionalities and content requirements. This is also a good time to build your business model as you’ll need to know how much clients will be willing to pay for your product, whether you are working to attract a broader audience or very tightly specified one, what are the typical user behaviors of your buyer personas, and other similar questions.
• Structure – People use apps and websites from 2 main reasons: to find information (Article Explaining UX Design) or to do something (Hire a website developer). At this stage we have to basically map out the user journey and ensure 2 key things:
- That all the information is easily accessible, intuitive to find and understandable;
- Provide a smooth user journey that will help the consumer perform their desired activity;
• Skeleton – At this stage you’re already picturing how the website should look overall. You have to focus on structuring content so it could be easily accessed, feel natural and provokes users to act on it. You’re now putting the finishing touches on your concept and polishing it to be able to turn it into a visual user experience.
• Surface – Finally, it’s time for the visual design of your website. It should be appealing to the audience, intuitive to use, and easily accessible. Visual design is a great way to emphasize core parts of your user journey and CTAs that will help you move leads down the funnel and reach predetermined goals. So make sure you keep up with latest tendencies and design based on the data you’ve gathered so far.
The first date, the first interview, the opening line, or the brand’s name – every beginning relies on a momentary impression. But for a relationship to bloom out of this short experience it should evolve over time. For this to happen, you need an entirely coherent story that will connect with people on all levels. Perception, action, motivation, cognition, they are all essential parts, without which all that you’ll have is just a moment that will never be able to outgrow time and become a relationship. Same goes for any product as well. You have to grab your consumers from the very first meeting and continuously build up the experience from there. UX design is about creating a meaningful relationship with your audience.
Nowadays people buy with their hearts. The practicality of 20th-century consumer behavior was lost in time. Tendencies are that by 2020 “experience will overtake price & product as key brand differentiator”. And that’s why every project should answer three simple questions.
• Why? – What’s the users’ motivation for using a particular product and would they have any? What might create such desire?
• What? – What are you offering in terms of functionality; what can your product do and is it useful in the first place?
• How? – How are people going to hear about it and gain access to your product, what aesthetics would help you on the road, how are you going to reach your target market?
UX is all over the media since 2005. With the development of the industry, many have argued that the end of user experience design is coming. These people just can’t see that, instead of disappearing, UX design is actually reshaping. Some of the professionals in the industry have oriented towards new fields such as AI, others have focused on a more deeper specialization in specific areas like UX writing, prototyping, or motion design. And some became “product designers” – the new equivalent of a UX designer which broadens the scope beyond simple interactions and emphasizes on strategy and development.
Due to the rapid development of technologies in recent years and the immediate adaptation by biggest brands, consumers now expect every company to put up with the standards of today. They are impatient and, due to the high levels of competition, clients would not wait for anyone to adapt while they can just choose a competitor offering the same service or product in a much more accessible or fun way. Everything in the world we live in happens now. News and events are live-streamed, shared and viewed by millions in real time, Snapchat offers a feature that could literally follow your every step, users can connect with anyone in the very minute they want to. Companies are trying to answer this real-time market, and thus a lot of them now offer a 24/7 support through chatbots. The little digital buddies are so smart that they post emojis, give information and links, and could even tell you how to make a transaction. There’s a new real-time digital world, and every business must take it into account!
As we’ve already pointed out – people nowadays buy through the heart not through the shelf and are affected by a fully coherent story on all levels. This said storytelling becomes a more vital part of the business with each year. Users expect to see, hear and be able to feel the story on all channels. They want it moving and developing. In the same time, visual experiences have been the king of engagement. They are an easy way to convey information and call-to-actions to your audience and create lasting user experiences. The aesthetics should focus on core messages; their purpose is to deliver these messages to the public in an understandable and appealing way through visual layers. The easiest way to do that is if you have written down the ideas you need to communicate with the audience and start designing from there. It doesn’t matter if you have the most excellent product if there’s no one to hear about it and data storytelling is the best way to deliver your messages!
Today we view brands as much more than the gods that deliver products to us. We look at them as equals, as living beings who are judged on their actions have their appearance and character. And some have managed to not only understand this but use it on a branding level. Google now has its own voice it’s associated with. Chatbots speak differently and have personalities – some are sarcastic others are so polite you could get diabetes. We are now talking of different “tones of voice” with which each brand chooses to tell its story. People demand experience similar to the one they have with other human beings and the business is rapidly providing and shaping its new face and character. And to be honest, without UX design that would’ve been quite impossible.
Did ideas about your own brand started popping in your head? Can you hear its voice already? Is it male or female? Don’t be shy, share your bold ideas with us, we’ll help your brand deliver experiences people will never forget! Be part of the change, don’t just watch it! Share your ideas with Infoleven now!