User experience design, shortened as UX, is known to be the trend of 2015. All the good web designers are shifting their focus from web apps’ looks to experience. So what is it that really creates this experience? Let’s check out the essentials of UX and their live examples.
In the stone ages of web design (a few years ago), we focused on the looks of a web design and we listened to the client. The client only.
Things have changed now. Now user has the ultimate say in web designing. Why? let’s figure out.
During 18th and 19th century, the consumer market was called a “producer’s market.” What it means is that producers could manufacture anything and it would sell. The only thing they had to take care was that their product must look and work as good as its competitors. Then things changed.
During 20th century, marketers realized that competition has reached a level where just a competitive product is not enough. There came the rise of marketing.
Marketing emerged as the single largest industry related to commerce because there were too many producers of the same product and customer was becoming choosy. The very same thing has happened to web designing.
In the early days, we designed whatever we (or should I say, the clients) liked but then customers (i.e. visitors) started to become choosy and the competition became fierce. Now we have to do make designs focused to users. Of course we do need to take care of business also but business can only grow if users love it. If the users are having a bad experience, no business can grow.
If you already well familiar with the concepts of UX, you can skip this video. Otherwise, it’s a nice idea to check out this video.
This first step towards creating better user experience designs is knowing your users.
In marketing, it is called “selecting the target market.” What it means is that you need to analyze your target customer, or in our case, target visitors.
In the targeting process, we need to know at least the the following things:
- Cultural Background
Once we know the above mentioned things, we can design an app optimized exclusively to them.
One of the 80 quotes by genius designers.
I cannot emphasize it enough how important it is to know your target audience.
It is so important because if you don’t know anything about my decision-making process, you cannot customize your design for me.
Knowing the target user in mind is the foundation of everything. After that, we come to second most important aspect.
Keep it obvious
I love David Krug’s book Don’t Make Me Think. This is the book that defined web design to our generation of web designers. This title basically has the secret code of success in user experience design.
The idea behind this book is that the designer must never require the visitor to think. Everyone hates it when they have to figure out something. Everyone loves when everything just fits together. When everything is just obvious.
Let’s take an example. Nearly all operating systems use a cross icon for closing windows. If you design a software, would it be a good idea to replace that icon with something else? What if that something else looks cool?? It’s still NOT a good idea because the cross icon already familiar for everyone. It is already obvious to everyone. So keep everything obvious.
All elements, such as navigation bar, featured slider, buy button, sign up and login form etc. etc. etc. should be placed where it is usually placed in websites. Keep everything at its obvious location so that the user doesn’t have to think.
The second phase of making a good product is test marketing. This is the phase where the producer tests his/her product with real customers. You should also do the same.
You should take feedback of your design, not just feedback from designers but people from targetted segment of the public.
For this purpose, you can launch a beta version of your website on the current running website or you can use any other method of test marketing. The bottom line is that you need to check how your targetted audience is responding to your design.
All gadgets are turning “smart” these days. Nearly every home appliance has become smart and we have to design our apps accordingly.
There was a time when we only had to care about computer screen’s resolution. Back in those days, there used to be a disclaimer like statement in the footer of most websites. It went something like this:
This website is best viewed at 1024 * 768 resolution using Internet Explorer.
Web design is improved slightly since those days. Now we can’t put such a simple disclaimer and take a freedom nap. Now our websites need to be viewed perfectly across browsers, across operating systems and even across devices. And those devices start from little mobile phones and go up to 105″ SUHD TVs.
Thankfully, responsive web design is here to help and enabling us to create such websites.
I’m summing up the article right here but there are live examples of websites with great UX, they are not to be missed.
Users have become king now so we must design according to their demands, or else the business will face doom.
The foundation of creating a better user experience design is knowing your user. You should know as much as you can to customize the app exactly the way your user wants it.
It’s a good idea to take feedback from targetted segment of the public before you officially launch the design.
And in the end, the design has to be cross-browser/OS/device tested. This is something that cannot be avoided.
7 Examples of Great User Experience Design
David is a designer from Chile. He has one of the cleanest, easiest to navigate interfaces among all designer portfolios.
A design company based in Roseville, CA (USA).
This is an award-winning design agency from England. They have an extremely modern looking design but it’s hard to believe that they put it live two years ago. That’s some future thinking.
Another award-winning design agency from the UK.