This lesson is designed to help you:
- Explore the concept of User Experience
- Identify the elements of a great User Experience Design
- Identify common UX Myths
- Grasp the UX Design Process
What does UX Design Really Mean?
User Experience Design, abbreviated as UXD or UED, is the process of designing the experiences or interactions of a product so that it is usable and enjoyable. This is done by taking into account the elements that’ll enhance the user’s experience while using the product. This makes the product interactive, meaningful, more efficient and easy to use.
It aims to make users’ experiences more seamless and helps them achieve their tasks with minimal steps while using the product. The simpler the design, the more improved the user experience will be.
There are different misconceptions about what User Experience (UX) really entails. They are myths, and they don’t hold.
For example, one of the commonest of these UX myths is that UI is the same as UX. However, so far in this course we have established the differences between UI and UX.
There are other misconceptions about UI/UX which will be highlighted in subsequent slides.
The UX Design Process
As we have earlier established, a successful UX Design is designed with the user in mind. At the heart of every UX Design is the user.
The steps to a successful UX Design Process are as follows:
- User research
The UX Design Process – Understand
Before designing your product or service, you need to understand the problem(s) your users are trying to solve and what you are trying to achieve by creating it. This is the stage where you define the objectives of your project which forms the basis for designing your product.
A product is viable when it both satisfies the needs of the users and fulfills the objectives of the producers. It is at this phase that a company decides what solution is worth pursuing.
The UX Design Process – User Research
Researching your end-user will require that you gather information from a sample audience who have similar needs to your target audience. As opposed to merely speculating or predicting the user’s behaviour, this step helps in understanding what the end-users really need, if the product will be relevant and who the possible competitors will be. Research should not only be done at the beginning of your project but at every stage.
The UX Design Process – Analyse
What this stage seeks to achieve is to make sense of the data (or results) from the User Research. The Analysis stage goes from what the users want to why they need it. Understanding ‘the why’ will provide context to how the product must be developed to meet their needs.
This will require that you create User Personas, User Journey Map and Storyboards, which in turn, influence the ideas that help in designing your product, or service.
User Personas: The fictional representation of your potential customers.
User Personas are fictional characters that are used to represent the end-users of your product or service. It entails their biodata, behaviour and goals. They are profiles of your potential customers. You can have multiple personas to represent your different target groups, as opposed to being represented by just one persona.
A typical user persona framework entails your end-users:
- Pain points, etc
User Journey Map: This is a visual representation of the process a user goes through in trying to accomplish a task while using your product.
User Journey Maps are visual representations of the engagement that customers have with your product or service. It shows the different stages customers go through while interacting with your product from the awareness stage until they finally purchase the product.
Creating these User Journey Maps puts you in the shoes of your potential customers. It helps to see things from their perspective and what motivates them to take certain actions.
Story Board: The visual illustration that predicts the user’s experience with your product.
UX Storyboards help in predicting and exploring the end-users’ experience with your product. It connects User Personas to User Journey Maps by visualizing how users will interact with your product or service.
The UX Design Process – Design
Now that you understand what your users need and what their expectations are, it’s time to create the design. This phase is both collaborative and iterative, as it requires brainstorming, which involves all stakeholders, and it repeats the ideation process to validate the ideas.
The key stages in the Design Phase include:
- Creating Wireframes
- Defining the IA
- Mapping the User flow
- Creating Prototypes
Sketching is a form of drawing used for generating, proposing, refining and communicating ideas. It usually helps to brainstorm sessions by visually representing the multiple design ideas being deliberated on before settling for one.
Wireframes are sketches that highlight the design elements and layout of a product. They serve as the backbone of the original design without the visual elements. Simply put, Wireframes are blueprints, or skeletons, of a website or digital applications. It is the layout that determines what the visual elements of the product look like.
Wireframes help with visualising the design the actual design behind it. They are low-fidelity versions of the product that help in communicating your design ideas to stakeholders and getting their feedback before creating the high-fidelity prototypes.
Mapping The User Flow
The User Flow is a diagram that shows the steps the end-user will take in completing tasks. It maps out the path the user will take from the entry point till the final interaction with the product.
The User Flow can be created at any stage of the design process and should be treated as an interaction. It helps to figure out the next step and other subsequent steps the user will take, that is, laying out the movement of the user while interacting with the product. They also help in building the Infrastructure Architecture and Wireframes for the product. These help in creating highly suitable UX designs.
It is also known as the Flow Chart.
The Prototype is a mockup of what the designs will look like when launched. It is a sample version that illustrates a product to the product owners to see if it corresponds with their requirements. It is an iterative process used in gathering feedback from the relevant stakeholders.
There are two (2) main types of prototypes:
- The Low-Fidelity Prototypes; and
- The High-Fidelity Prototypes
While Low-Fidelity Prototypes are hand-drawn or geometric projections of the final product, High-Fidelity Prototypes give a more visual representation of how the final product will look.
The UX Design Process – Launch
After implementing and redesigning the initial prototypes based on the feedback generated, the stage is set to transform the prototype into the final product. This is the where the User Interface (UI) is designed with the prototype for a more visual representation (images, colours and icons).
The UX Design Process – Evaluation
The final stage of every UX Design Process is Evaluation. The product should be assessed for quality, usability and acceptance. This can be done either by:
- Beta Testing
- User Testing
- Internal Testing
The feedback from these tests informs the refinement for the final product. However, if the outcome of these tests meets the requirements, then the product is ready for the market.