You know that design defines the success of most software products. And software development discovers new ways of using design for various products. I speak of design for websites and applications. There is no great application without elements of style and ease of use. The effectiveness of the application is measured by the optimal combination of functionality and appeal. Visual communication must be simple, intuitive and attractive.
The role of the UI / UX design
The design of applications and websites pose special challenges:
- Facilitate complex tasks and workflows,
- allowing users to understand and manage complex data,
- taking into account a wide variety of roles, needs, and user processes.
But that is worth it! Because the design and implementation of effective applications can have profound and positive implications for productivity, efficiency, accuracy, and satisfaction in a wide range of environments, from entertainment to medical care.
A value of a great design.
The key to the successful design of an application is not a good idea or a good feature: it all comes down to the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI). No matter how good your idea is if the application looks horrible and impossible to use easily.
If you are developing a web or mobile application, one of the main things you need to do things right is how your application looks and feels. For example, if your field is e-commerce, a poorly designed application will lose many potential customers.
For example, what does the user of the application first see when he opens the application? The first thing the user sees is the landing page. What is a landing page? This is a starting point from which the user understands whether the application or a site will meet their requirements and meet their needs. It must be attractive and contain some call-to-action buttons so the user knows what to do next.
To add value to the work of UI and UX designers, here you can find some interesting comparisons of UI vs UX:
- The UX designer is like an architect. This person takes care of the users and helps your company improve the measurable parameters (reduce the bounce rate, improve the CTR, etc.). The UX designer understands the user’s behavior and psychology, knows a lot about the ergonomics of the interface and can analyze business needs to convert it into user flows.
- The UI designer at the same time is like a decorator. This person takes care of how the interface reflects the brand. It’s more about things that can’t be measured (for example, how cozy an interface is if it has enough style, etc.). The IU designer knows a lot about colors and color combinations, he knows how to read brand books and turn them into UI elements.
Sometimes, the UI and UX designer is the same person who is in charge of the entire design process. But let’s discuss each type of design separately.
What is UX Design?
The UX (User Experience) design is the process of creating products, systems or services that provide meaningful and relevant experiences for users. This implies the design of the entire product acquisition and integration process, including aspects of the brand, design, usability, and function. It also includes significant and valuable aspects of person-computer interaction and product ownership. UX manages the content architecture and site map.
As a spoiler, I would like to say that the UI (User Interface) design that we have already talked about in previous article, is an important aspect of the UX design, it is a subset of it. Because the UX design covers a wide range of other areas. Information Architecture is the second most viable aspect of UX design.
The UX design helps users achieve goals. It does not focus only on the creation of usable products but also covers the other aspects of the user experience, such as:
Until now, the good user experience is one that meets the needs of a particular user in the specific context where the target audience uses the product. The UX design is user-centered : the user type defines the type of design.
That is why the design of UX is dynamic and is constantly modified over time due to changing circumstances of use and changes in individual systems, the context of use in which they can be found, etc.
The main task of UX design is to create products that can be adapted to meet the specific needs of a user, but that provide predictable functionality. In other words, UX Design is to study user behavior and understand user motivations to design better digital experiences.
Let’s talk about the main requirements for the design of UX. What should be the perfect design of the user experience? The answer to this question can be presented as the list of UX design requirements that must be met at different levels. These levels form the UX design pyramid.
Principles of UX and full UX stack
The objectives at each level of the UX design pyramid could be achieved by following the main UX design principles:
Hierarchy is one of the best tools of designers to help users move through a product easily. It includes:
a). Information architecture (the way content is organized in the application or site).
b). Visual hierarchy (which helps users navigate more easily within a section or page).
In most cases, it could be achieved using a formal set of guidelines on how to design products for a particular device or format.
Request confirmation of any important or irreversible action to avoid errors that the user may accidentally commit.
‘Undo’, ‘back’, ‘search’ buttons of User Control, as well as keyboard shortcuts, are an excellent way to give the user control over a website or application.
It is crucial to make the product easy to use by as many people as possible. The UX design must remove obstacles for people when they use the product, whether those obstacles are temporary or more permanent.
UX design balances business, people and technology. While it is true that a product cannot succeed without a healthy business, a company cannot succeed without a happy customer, and it is the UX Designer’s job to make the customer happy.
A complete UX design
Therefore, there are many things involved in the design of UX. The full UX Stack consists of:
- Surface (here we apply user interface design)
- Skeleton (made through the application of Interface and Interaction Design)
- Structure (formed by the information architecture and user flows)
- Scope (Functional specifications and content requirements)
- Strategy (user needs and project objectives defined according to user research and business objectives)
But the user interface part does not go first. The design of UX begins with the identification of a problem through user research. It makes no sense to solve problems that users don’t care about.
UX design process
Simply put, the steps of the UX design process are as follows:
- User Research
- UX design wireframing
- UX prototypes
- UI Design (Visual and Interaction)
- User tests
Below, you can find an overview of the main approaches to the UX design process.
The UX design process can be described within several of the most popular UX design approaches.
Main approaches to the UX design process.
Currently, there are three well-known approaches to the UX design process:
- GV Design Sprint (GV stands for Google Ventures)
A classic UX design process is usually taught in universities and built using the waterfall methodology. Here is the classic UX design process:
- Investigation. Here the main problems must be discovered.
- Categorization of the problems that were discovered.
- Create people and travel maps (do not mix them with user flows)
- Ideation exercises to generate solutions for a great UX design and resolution of revealed problems.
- Building the prototype
- Prototype tests
- Sending the final prototype to development.
- Product Launch.
- Collection of user comments.
- Returning to the first step with the feedback received from the user.
But there is also the other approach to the UX design process that appeared in 2013 because the classic UX design process was incompatible with agile development. The new design process called Lean UX and allowed UX to operate within the agile cone of uncertainty and quickly update the designs based on user feedback. The design experience was brought back in harmony with product development.
Simply put, Lean UX is a set of principles based on the agile methods of ‘Lean Startup’, where the focus is taken to the present. Instead of launching design deliveries on the wall, the teams accept that a final design cannot be created in advance, and they believe that the answers will arise as the hypotheses are tested with the development of MVP (Minimum Viable Product). The Lean UX design process can be described as a ‘build, measure and learn’ cycle, or a ‘think, do, verify’ cycle.
Later, the Lean UX design process seemed to be inefficient when a product plan was not well defined, resulting in significant waste and rework.
Another great design process was suggested by Google Ventures. This was a Design Sprint. It allowed teams to quickly define and test low fidelity prototypes. The Sprint design by Google Ventures can be seen as a combination of the three approaches: Design Thinking, agile, and Lean. A key component of the sprint is the creation of a prototype, which is one of the best ways to collect data and test ideas.
All approaches to the UX design process are based on the same iterations but answer different questions.
- UX design parts
- Interaction design
Creating attractive interfaces with well thought out behaviors. Simple and clear communication between users and technology. The interaction design is responsible for the functions that allow interaction between individuals and individual user interfaces or across multiple interfaces (or systems).
Wireframes & prototypes
Demonstrating the essential components of the website as a model for the task or interactive prototype before the final design. (By the way, a wired is not a sketch and is not a model).
It is equal parts of art and science. Organize, structure and label content effectively and sustainably.
Understand user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. User research defines your audience and provides essential information on how to best meet your needs. To provide qualitative research to users, we must consider the full picture: – Who will use the application/site? – What are they trying to achieve? – What could get in your way? – What are the main business needs of the client? In this post, you can read about why user research is important for UX.
Description of user interaction with a project. These stories are very important both for the design of an interface and for usability tests.
This is a UX design to decide if users will turn the pages or move the content. And to assume such responsibility for details and predict their impact, UX designers must know a lot about human behavior. UX designers generally come from a variety of backgrounds, such as visual design, programming, psychology, and interaction design.