UX Design

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Definition

UX design (an abbreviation of user experience design) is a term used to describe a process that businesses utilize to ensure their products and services deliver a pleasant experience.

User experience applies to both face-to-face and online interactions, and to digital and physical products. This is an extensive process that encompasses the entire product development procedure, as well as marketing, sales, and post-sales stages. UX has applications in virtually every industry sector, from software development to engineering or e-commerce.

The concept was initially developed by Don Norman in the late 1980s. With the appearance of UX, product designers stepped away from the previous paradigm that mainly focused on systems and interface appearance rather than on user needs. The field of UX design has been in continuous development since, and expanded significantly as technology became more widely adopted by businesses and consumers.

UX draws on a variety of related disciplines, such as psychology, visual design, and programming. This field is now considered an integral part of business operations given the benefits it offers in areas like customer acquisition, care, and retention.

UX design principles

Since UX design has evolved into a distinct discipline with multiple digital applications, designers and marketers should be familiar with its main principles. These are outlined below.

People first

This idea is what originally drove the development of UX design as a discipline. According to this principle, all design elements should enable whichever action a user is trying to perform.

Usability throughout

In the case of websites or mobile applications, this means making conscious design choices for icons, text, buttons, page structure, and every element users interact with.

Narrative design

The placement and succession of design elements should tell a compelling and coherent story that moves the user to take action.

Accessibility

This entails using the right color contrast, typography, and hierarchy to ensure a site or app can be navigated by users with different needs.

Design features should give the user more freedom and control

This principle is especially important when navigating a website. Designers will want to give users the option to go back or correct mistakes in the easiest and fastest possible way.

Efficiency and minimalism

The principle of less is more is a core concept in UX design, in the sense that each action should be comprised of the minimum amount of steps possible. Efficiency is also relevant in terms of the amount of information offered, as the main goal should be to present content that is clear and concise and to avoid information overload.

Consistency

This must be evident in appearance, layout, and processes so that the user can become quickly familiar with what is required to use a site or product.

In addition, the so-called UX honeycomb summarises a set of values that can guide the practice of this disciple. The honeycomb suggests that the design process must ensure the result is useful, usable, accessible, valuable, findable, credible, and desirable.

UX design is always user-centric

UX design is always user-centric and this must be evident at every point of contact between the user and a brand. It is important to note that UX is context-dependant and is always built around current user needs. This means taking into account the following aspects in each stage of the design and development process:

  • The what: what is it that a customer is trying to achieve or acquire, what are the expectations in terms of functionality, and what are the essential and desirable features.
  • The why: why would a customer be motivated to use or acquire a product or service. This implies having a thorough understanding of target customers, their values, and their opinions.
  • The how: the details of the process through which conversion occurs, especially where aesthetics, functionality, and accessibility are concerned.

This also highlights the importance of having a clear understanding of the customer journey and applying the principles of UX design every step of the way.

We should also remark that user-centric UX design revolves around testing and iteration, which means it is under constant revision and updates. It may help to conceptualize it as a cycle that feeds itself in loops through the following stages:

  • Discovering the context in which a product or service will be used.
  • Understanding user requirements.
  • Creating appropriate solutions.
  • Assessing the extent to which those solutions meet user expectations and making the necessary adjustments.

Benefits of UX design

Good user experience can improve conversion rates because it has a crucial role in the process of moving customers to take action. Important factors contributing to this are the design and placement of call to action buttons, page loading speeds, mobile device responsiveness, readability, and the use of high-quality images.

Additionally, since UX does more than create user-friendly and functional experiences, it can increase customer loyalty. Ideally, its application is geared towards creating a strong emotional connection with the target user. Achieving this type of identification with a brand and / or its products plays a key role in improving customer loyalty.

Another benefit is long-term cost-efficiency. Because of its iterative nature, UX can help identify issues that could interfere with customer acquisition and retention. In turn, this helps reduce the expenses involved in making changes to products and processes in the late development stages.

UX design can also support cross-selling strategy since it motivates users to interact further with a brand and may lead them to discover other products or services they did not know about.

In addition, good user experience can help turn users into brand advocates, promote word of mouth recommendations, and increase social media sharing.

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