“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good design fits our needs so well that the design is invisible.” Don Norman
In an increasingly digital world, understanding and enhancing User Experience (UX) has become an essential facet of product and service design. This comprehensive guide serves as an introduction to the realm of UX, explaining its core concepts, distinguishing it from usability, exploring the research methods used, and illustrating the benefits of investing in good UX.
UX, in its essence, encapsulates the experience and emotions a person undergoes when interacting with a system or interface. As technologies become more complex and ingrained in everyday life, the interaction between users and these systems shapes their experiences. This continuous dialogue between a user and their world through action forms the foundation of UX. The dynamic nature of user needs, driven by evolving expectations, necessitates continuous testing of your product’s User Experience to stay relevant and competitive.
Working in UX requires many skills, below is just a small subset.
UX design is the process of enhancing the end user satisfaction with a product or service as well as increasing business KPIs (if you have a great UX designer they’ll deliver both). In simple words, UX design is about how to create technology that can fit human needs, solve problems and make life simpler.
The more you understand your users the better you can design a product that is attractive and meaningful. User-centred design (that aligns your design to your users needs) will ensure the design of a successful product and an enjoyable User Experience.
A UX designer will ensure a product logically flows from one step to the next. UX design experts study and evaluate the ease of use of the product, the perception of the value of the interface, the efficiency in performing tasks coupled with business needs.
The checkout process of an e-commerce website is frequently evaluated in terms of the User Experience because it’s often a major jumping off point when customers are transacting. Testing how easy and pleasant users purchasing something on the website can be utilised to identify the challenges and obstacles that users face.
As human beings, we are all different. What works for one person might have the opposite effect on another. For this reason the aim of UX is to design for specific user groups (personas) experiences, promote certain behaviours and habits; User Experiences will be different and unique for every product. The design process must be tailored to goals, values, needs and expectations related to a specific product.
There is some confusion around UX and usability; they are often used synonymously, however in reality, usability is a part of UX.
UX addresses to how the user feels when using an interface; it is more related to the overarching process and interaction with the product, whilst usability is about whether a task can be achieved in a satisfactory time and manner. In fact, according to ISO 9241, usability is purely regarded as efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction.
Whereas UX entails everything that effects how a person interacts with something and can include a whole variety of psychological and social factors; social proof, trust, emotions, frustrations and satisfaction. Usability is just one part of UX.
The methods for researching UX are numerous and they are strictly related to the nature of the research and the final aims of the testing. Each research is tailored to which aspects of the interface is to be evaluated.
Some of the research methods in UX are:
The setting of the research is very important – a poor environment can undermine the validity of the test. As in psychology, the success of research is also based on the environment in which it has been run. A comfortable, cosy and natural environment will help users feel relaxed and behave naturally, as if they were in their natural setting: their own home. Keep It Usable pioneered the home style UX lab – our Home UX Lab has a living room design and cosy, relaxed feel to put people at ease and gather deeper insights so you get more value from your UX research / Usability testing.
Knowing your users and designing for them has a lot of benefits for your brand image, the engagement of your users and on your revenue.
UX design deals with users emotions and feelings and it has long term effects as well as immediate ones. For example, a simple improvement in the checkout process of a website can massively increase the revenue and, at the same time, it will grow loyalty resulting in repeat customers and referrals. If users find the product useful, pleasant and easy to use they will return and use it not just once but whenever they need it.
A positive User Experience will make users wonder how they could live without your product!
In the digital era, a website is often the first point of contact that costumers have with your brand. We have evidenced in our research, that first impressions have a big impact on user behaviour and their decision making process. It takes just a few seconds for users to judge if your brand is worth their time; remember that a bad User Experience will put them off, undermining their trust in your company and compromising future use of your brand.
Would you like to evaluate and measure the UX of your website or product?
Do you need help improving your online sales and conversion?
Would you like to understand your customer behaviour and opinions, discovering the whys behind your data?
Do you need to get your business thinking from the customers perspective so you can make informed, strategic decisions to increase sales?
Do you want to improve the quality of your customer research so you get deeper insights and more true-to-life behaviour?