UX is described as the "user experience", and includes anything that enhances the overall duration of user on a website. The main goal of UX is to create interactive sites, and present all relevant information in an intuitive and logical flow. User experience helps shape the feelings and opinions a user forms as they travel through your website. Was your site easy to use? Was all important information present? Were related topics linked together? All these thoughts that run through a user's head are the very things UX Designers are here to shape.
Customers trust and turn to digital platforms that are easy to use, easy to understand, and present information in a logical sequence. As a result, UX often requires designers to interview their customers and perform focus groups with website users. The UX designer is responsible for creating a web experience that's logical and intuitive. Because UX is ultimately about digitally pleasing your customers, conducting extensive research is a must.
1. The process will normally begin with research on the product or service. You might look at what similar companies are doing and audit what's missing. You might also conduct a survey or focus group to hear first what users would want out of an end result.
2. Next, as you begin to plan, you'll need to plot every possible pathway for a user or potential customer. What will their journey through the app or website look like?
3. In order to properly plot pathways, you'll need to categorize information into hierarchies, and determine where customers can access each topic from. Creating a map or chart will help you to understand the most comprehensive order users will want to access information.
4. The next big step in the process will be designing the wire frames. Wire-framing is the practice of composing a website layout with generalized building elements. These blocks (which usually have an 'X' to indicate pictures) won't include specific information, but rather is a general map to position website elements.
5. Lastly, you'll need to create a prototype. During this process, you'll need to invite your previous focus group or a new group of users to test the prototype. This step may be repeated several times, as you'll need to continuously tweak your prototype upon user feedback.
Research, Plot, Categorize, Wire-frame and Prototype - easy, right?
Remember from our previous blog that UI focuses on the presentation of a website, from aesthetics to predictable design. While UI captures the general aesthetics and presentation of a website, UX focuses on the general experience that UI (among other factors) generates. One could almost argue that UI design is apart of UX design, not a separate, independent element. A successful site can not be achieved without out both UX and UI. Both design approaches work together towards the same process of pleasing the end user, and site success is not simply reduced to aesthetics or organization alone. While aesthetics do influence visitors to a site, so does coherency, information flow and ease of use. The key is to achieve a harmonious blend of both UX and UI, so that the overall user experience is seamless.
Want to learn more? Read what these UX design experts have to say.