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In 2020, after several months of research, I completed an examination in UX Design and gained a diploma in the subject. I have since worked as a UX Designer for ECS on a client project and am incredibly pleased with my decision to transfer into this aspect of digital transformation; I find the work stimulating and I fully understand the importance of good UX design in a project.
Design teams are often side-lined as an added cost, and one that is not always necessary to complete a project. This blog serves as an introduction to UX Design to those unfamiliar and will try to pinpoint the relevance of UX Design, why products benefit exponentially from time invested in good design, and why it is a popular business buzzword right now.
User Experience design is the art of manipulating how a person feels when interacting with a system or product. This includes websites, mobile applications, desktop software – or any form of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction).
UX Design aims to fulfil the needs and requirements of the user. It tries to deliver positive experiences that keep users’ loyalty to the brand in question. One bad user experience can deter a user for good, and so it is important to make sure each user interaction is worthwhile and beneficial.
Additionally, a meaningful user experience allows the designer to define customer journeys for the product that are most conductive to business success.
Listen, observe and question – these are the three main aspects of the research done ahead of designing a good experience. It is vital to get close to the users (not the stakeholders, although they too play an important part). Understanding the users is key: talk to them, watch them using the product or service, get inside their heads and try to develop means for understanding their decision making.
Great experiences come from well-designed products, that are created with the user in mind. When a client comes to a UX Designer, it is easy to jump straight to solutions. Instead, it’s important to trust the process, and define the problems, all the way back to the root problem – before starting to work on solutions.
User experience is different for each product, and it is hard to define, but one of the most important things to keep in mind is product integrity, customer happiness, and making sure that although you have designed the product, you have designed it for the users, and not for yourselves (you are likely not the target audience) or for the stakeholders – it must be orientated specifically for those who will actually go on to use the product/service.
It is also important for the UX Designer to find the root problem, to better determine a relevant solution. Whilst the UX Designer/Interviewer needs to leave questions open ended and not ask ‘yes/no’ questions – they should still dig down from high level answers by continuing to ask why. For example, ‘I don’t like this product’ is not a helpful answer, the Interviewer must keep asking why until there are specific examples of the issues at hand.
UX workshops and presentations to stakeholders are designed to create empathy between the product owners and the users, make stakeholders feel involved and responsible for ideas and research findings, create awareness of usability issues and design challenges, build common ground across all parties involved, and bring together many types of backgrounds and expertise.
Affinity mapping quickly and effectively groups ideas and observations as well as prioritising the ideas to determine the next steps in the design process.
Altogether it is critical to implement UX design principles when carrying out a project. The most successful companies in the world can attribute a large part of their profit to their good customer experience, and when designing products and services, putting the needs and emotions of the user at the forefront can contribute hugely to success.
Lucia Gore has worked in the Digital Practice at ECS for 2.5 years on a number of client site projects, including The Times, HSBC and Vodafone. After 2 years working as a developer, she trained as a UX/UI Designer and has since been working to improve her skills in this field and deliver outstanding user experience for ECS’s clients.
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