Exploring the idea of User Experience Design, how to optimise it and how it differs from normal design.
What is UX design?
User experience [UX] design takes something useable and makes it desirable. Think of the brand Apple. How well do you really know your customer's consumer behaviour? UX takes our understanding beyond that what we ‘think’ of as clients to what we ‘know’ of as customers. If UX is done right, it leaves the customer feeling great and wanting more - it has the potential to change both the direction and focus of your company's branding.
The UX design process includes research, planning, workshop and implementation. These outcomes then influence all aspects of the build, the design, the content and the marketing that follows.
Here's a brief overview of what UX practice may cover:
- How? Begin with a UX fact find listing current vision and goals followed by a workshop.
- Where? Check out your offline and online position and target audiences.
- Who? Create researched personas for each audience, so they know precisely who you are talking to.
- Why? Map out the journey that each persona takes from the second they think they might need your product or service to the second they reach their goal through your website.
- What? A prototype gives an informed structure of what your customers require from your website.
- Words? Focus on your text, tone of voice, menu structure, titles, impact and action copy.
- Use? What will really increase your success, is testing and refining before, during and after your project.
What does it mean for me?
At the moment a ‘desirable’ online experience is rare and definitely not the norm, but the more customers get used to an online experience that they find enjoyable rather than purely functional, they won't be as likely to go back to websites that don’t offer this added layer of appreciation for their custom. As with mobile responsive web design (RWD), which a year ago was an exception, websites are less likely to gain valued custom if they don't have it. It is our job to alert you to the future of web design - with early adopters of a new platform or methodology usually getting ahead. Customers are loyal creatures and we want you to capture their loyalty as early as possible.
Is it not just included as standard?
The answer is ‘No’, it is not. If UXD isn't mentioned, the likelihood is that it's not included. Just like Responsive Web Design has increased the cost of crafting a website, in its early days - understandably - clients were cautious of paying this cost until they could see the benefits that it drives, now this cost is included as standard. It's the same with the cost of UX Design services. Although it has been proven that this service sets you apart from your competitors, it isn't the norm to give you the breakdown of costs so that you can compare like for like, giving you transparency in your decision making.
How does this differ from 'normal' design?
Our websites are crafted exactly to fit with your brand, to portray your values and activate your goals. We offer you high quality visual and interaction design (often called User Interface Design), that reflects your business perfectly. Yet, until we add the extra layer of customer perspective and desire, we miss the polish that, for example, makes an outing in a Porsche a day to be remembered whilst the daily school run in your identikit run-around is useful, but certainly not memorable or desirable.
How can I find out more?
UX Design is an enormous and exciting subject that is changing the path of human computer interaction. This article doesn't even scrape the surface, but if you want some more in depth information about what this can really do for you, I am always happy to chat.