UX refers to what a person experiences when communicating with an app or a website, which may involve a web browser, desktop computers, or some other form of human-machine interaction.
According to the Interaction Design Foundation, UX design is “the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users.” This includes elements of branding, layout, usability, and functionality and the whole process of purchasing and installing the product.
In the 1990s, Don Norman, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, coined the user experience term. In this video, he explains the origin of the term and how we should use it:
Smart UX design is crucial to meet the needs of the user. The aim is to provide a pleasant interaction that encourages consumers to stick with the product or brand. An intuitive user interface also guides the user through the actions they need to take on the app, ending with the final goal—conversion.
While user experience design is an innovative and ever-changing environment that encourages new concepts, there are certain basics of UX/UI design that all new designers should consider.
Follow the user’s behaviour
The most important UX design philosophy is to keep users in mind during the entire design process. The phrase “user experience” means that your activities should be based on enhancing your consumers’ interactions with your product or service.
When creating something people are going to use, it’s critical to analyze how they communicate and what habits they display to fulfil their immediate desires or overcome a dilemma. UX designers collaborate with users to build solutions that are simple to use and address a specific challenge by understanding their habits and priorities, defining needs and limitations, and associating with everyday experiences.
You must learn what consumers want from a design. You likely think a concept is fantastic, but bear in mind that you are not the one who will be using the product or the service.
In fact, stats say that customers abandon their purchases in 70% of cases due to poor user experience.
To find out how customers are thinking, use some of the following methods:
- User interviews have the power to discover many emotions because they rely on qualitative data, providing a lot of knowledge about how your design should look like.
- A customer journey map is a graphic representation of a user’s experiences while interacting with a product and their feelings about those contacts. This map depicts the user’s end-to-end experience and the degree to which the product concept was effective from the user’s viewpoint. It can highlight many pain points and weak spots.
- A user persona is a fictitious representation of the real user. These are used to detect changes in the users’ actions. They give you the impression that you’re working for real consumers rather than clusters of potential customers who would end up as numbers in your app database. You create your user persona based on the research you previously conducted.
Maintain a clear hierarchy and stay consistent
It’s not uncommon to overlook hierarchy, but it’s an essential UX idea for ensuring seamless navigation in a design. The attention is drawn to the most significant items on the screen through a simple visual hierarchy. Colour and contrast combinations, scale, and grouping can all be used to build it. This article by Nielsen Norman Group dives deeper into how you should develop a design hierarchy.
Users want apps to be similar to most apps or services they use daily. This makes it easier for them to get acquainted with the new interface without much hassle. It can seem surprising, but the more similar your interface is to already popular apps, the better people will be able to understand how to use it, which will improve their experience.
Since designers don’t have to start from scratch every time they embark on a new project, consistency makes the design process simpler for them.
Make accessible designs
Designing with accessibility in mind is becoming a more relevant rule within UX/UI design basics. It is a designer’s duty to ensure that their product is available for the widest potential audience. This implies that the concept must be usable by people with disabilities.
You need to delete any barriers from the design interface so that navigating is not a challenge for elderly people, people with limited hearing or viewing, decreased physical strength, etc.
Here are some examples of accessible design by InVision.
Have usability in mind
Usability is what determines whether or not a design is successful. It is not a successful design if a design feature does not assist the user in finding a solution or makes solving a problem incredibly difficult. If the user doesn’t know what to do on the app, the design is, again, not good.
Usability is more important than beauty in UX/UI. Designers always speak of building for amazement, but the best designs are the easily usable ones.
Designers can make users fascinated through complex animations, understandable language, and other sophisticated graphics. However, these things can be useless if the concept isn’t functional. In theory, this can seem to be a straightforward method, but this is not always the case.
Moreover, the product should be available to everyone, particularly those with disabilities or impairments.
Usability also refers to accessibility, which ensures that physical limitations or conditions do not prevent or obstruct anyone from using your product.
During the entire UX/UI design process, you should know that you are not your target audience. You should always have your users in mind.
That is, you are making your digital product for them rather than for yourself. This is why you should be motivated entirely by customer feedback and actions, rather than your own emotions.
This knowledge opens up new worlds full of unexpected ways for a customer to connect with a product.