Apart from aesthetics and functionality, user experience (UX) design is about crafting meaningful interactions that resonate with users on a deep level. It’s about understanding their needs, aspirations, and frustrations, and creating solutions that not only meet those needs but exceed their expectations.
Join as as we uncover the scientific approach that drives evidence-based design decisions. We’ll explore stages in design thinking that underpin successful UX design, and share practical insights to empower designers, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in creating remarkable products and services.
Bringing an idea to life requires more than just creativity. It demands careful planning, meticulous execution, and a deep understanding of the user’s needs and desires. Despite often being used interchangeably, User Interface (UI) design is not the same as User Experience (UX) design.
UI refers to the user interface of a product and is concerned with all the visual and interactive elements of a product interface, covering everything from typography, color palettes, and icons to animations and navigational touch points (such as buttons and scrollbars). UX is focused on the user’s journey to solve a problem. In short, UX is what the user experiences, while UI is what the user sees.
UX and UI go hand-in-hand, and the design of a product’s interface has a huge impact on the overall user experience. They are conceptually different, but they complement each other during the design process to create an effective, successful product.
When crafting user experiences, we use design thinking- an ideology of approaching every problem in a user-centered way. To practice this ideology in designing our product, we must consider these five steps:
Empathy is used to understand the user’s wants and needs, and the environment or context in which they’ll experience your design. This understanding is achieved through surveys, interviews, and observation sessions. Step away from your assumptions and guesses and let your research findings inform your decision-making.
The Define stage is where we analyze research findings from the empathize phase and determine which user problems are the most important ones to solve, and why. This will drive us toward a clear goal for the design of the product.
We clearly define things like:
A problem statement that defines what pain point our product solves
User story focuses on a very particular user (persona) and how the solution maps to the different elements of the problem from the user’s perspective
Value proposition is a summary of why a user would use our product or service over a competitor
In the Ideation stage you need to come up with multiple solutions or Ideas that might work to solve the problem. Brainstorming sessions can include stakeholders, and should remain a judgement-free zone: don’t think about whether the idea is good or bad, come up with as many solutions as you can.
Then, analyze your potential solutions and start to make choices about which ones are the best options to pursue as prototypes. You might return to user or competitive research to help you narrow down your ideas, and you might also create user flows to illustrate how the user will interact with your solution.
The next stage is Prototyping. Produce an early model of a product that demonstrates its functionality and can be used for testing. Prototyping and testing are interconnected, which means that you’ll test your designs at each stage of prototype development rather than waiting to test until after the working prototype is complete.
Here are some example of how we might test the concepts behind our designs:
Presenting users with a simple sketch, wireframe, or a sitemap
Make a detailed design on paper (low-fidelity prototype) and do testing
Iterate a design into a working, interactive model using software (high-fidelity prototype) and test
Create different prototypes and test them at the same time or
Test prototype on multiple platforms, such as laptop, tables, and smartphone
The goal of testing prototypes is to continue to refine the prototype as you gain insight into whether the design for your product or service is easy to use and solves the user’s problem. At some point, you’ll finalize a prototype, and then you’ll provide it to developers, who will then turn your design into a product.
We came to understand that the UX design process is an interwoven system where user-specific factors and stakeholders’ inputs converge. Being empathic and observational is key if we want to understand our user’s pain points and define the problem in the form of a clear user story. We work closely with team members to narrow down ideas and turn the best ones into a fully functional prototype.
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