Though visual design steals most of the limelight, user experience is equally important. Even when you have a beautiful website or an application, it won’t help if your users don’t know how to interact with them or don’t have fun during such interactions. By understanding and meeting the users’ needs, UX offers them positive experiences, which in turn make them stay loyal to a business or brand.
From ensuring a user-friendly navigation to understating the site/app easily and using them without any difficulty, UX is the key to offer an interactive experience that will drive users back to you. In contrast, neglecting it would result in sloppy sites or apps, which will find no takers. Be it start-ups, small budget sites and apps, or retail giants and online stores, every digital product needs UX to create an impressive first impression on users and encourage them to come back.
How UX design is applied
The basic steps involved in developing user experience include:
Knowing the business goal and the target audience
It’s important to learn the goal from the main stakeholders of the project. It’s equally important to figure out what the audience needs as well, which is done by creating user profiles and personas.
In case of an existing system, the present state is analyzed and then based on this research, issues are reported along with suggested fixes, if any.
Testing different interfaces
Different user interfaces are tested to compare and note the quality and effectiveness of experience.
Leveraging user surveys
By interviewing and interacting with present and potential users, information is obtained about what design would be the most effective one.
Development of wireframes
Based on the above points, wireframes (a website’s visual skeleton) of different layouts are created along with some interactive prototypes in some cases.
Flow diagrams for users
To help users, a flow chart is developed that directs them how they should walk through the system.
They are used to find the most appropriate tool to maintain consistency. For example, user interface design patterns help in choosing the right UI elements (such as slideshows, module tabs etc) for specific tasks, which would help in creating better user experiences.
Developing site map
You can call them the information architecture of the website, which help in navigation by displaying what is located where, thus playing a key role in offering high-quality user experience.
Content style guides
They help in content creation and organization while ensuring that consistency is maintained between the project’s goal as well as the design elements and the brand image.
The effects of UX on your business goals
Some studies show UX investments during a project’s conceptual phase decreasing the development cycles by 33% to 50%. Even building and testing prototypes during the development phase is crucial to spot issues and fix them ahead of releasing the product in the market. Rather than releasing something that your users reject or find fault with and spending again on building it from scratch, focusing on UX would help you to get it right the first time round and save the entire expenses that a repeat project to fix glitches would cost.
An effective UX can dramatically change your business by making your users do what you want them to – from sticking around on your web page to tweeting about your apps to buying from you and more. You should remember that every person coming to your website or app is having an experience. How good or bad this experience is would influence their judgment (‘Do I like it?’), probability of making a referral (‘Should I talk about it on my Facebook page, or tweet about it?’) and finally, conversions.
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