Things You Need to Know About the Basics of UX Design
A rather common misconception about UX design or user experience design is that it is all about a thing’s usability. It is easy to understand why because the common understanding of usability is that a thing is both useful and usable.
For example, when you see an empty space, you can imagine just about any use for it. It can be an office, a studio, a bedroom, or a walk-in closet. It can be anything at all. All you need to do is to put the right kind of furniture in it to make it the room you want it to be. This is where we can see the difference between useful and usable. An empty room is usable, but without the things necessary for it to be a certain room, it is yet to be useful.
UX Design is About Feelings
What for you makes a great experience? Is it because the experience is memorable? Memories can both be great and horrible. And it’s easy to recall experiences that are either of the two. Do you remember the enterprise software from the 90s? It was like you had to wrestle with it first before it got to do some work. And you know what? There are still products like that today. These kinds of products cause us much frustration and trauma.
But about user experience, the thing about it is that it doesn’t really have to be significant, it just has to make you feel good. In an ideal world, it should be able to make you feel that this certain product is easy to use and can solve your problems effortlessly.
When people talk about products, they think that whatever delights a user is a good product, but this is often a misunderstanding. A good product isn’t just one that has beautiful design and colors. A product with great user experience is usually not connected with the way it looks. User experience is about how a thing works and not about how it looks. To delight a user with a product is to create a product that charms the user every time they interact with it. Which leads us to our next section.
It is About Behavior
People these days do so many things at once, they live their lives, they work, they create their projects, and they try to reach their goals in life. What the UX designer does is to assume the kind of behavior people have when they are interacting with a product and how these interactions can help them in achieving their goals.
A UX designer anticipates how a product will fit into your life and the values it adds and the hassles that it takes away. The designers have to be empathetic to the issues you are facing so that they will be able to design a product that can certainly be of help to you.
By being empathetic, the designer gets to see the problems from the perspective of the user, but not the solutions. What this means then is that UX design is still an ongoing process and not a step in prototyping. As the product continues to evolve and change, so will the user experience. Even the smallest updates and a redesign in the UI can have a tremendous effect on the feel of a product.
It is About People
Everything around us was built by people. It began with ideas, and it has evolved into countless services and products we use every day. The best kinds of products are those that consider us as users and not just another consumer.
When people use products to do some job, it is the UX designer’s task to connect humanity with technology. The UX designer must be able to understand that technology is a way to solve a problem. Every person who uses technology uses it so that their lives will be easier and more convenient. It is part of the job of the designer to understand this and make it happen through a well-designed technology.
What UX design is about is finding that midpoint where the needs of humans and the goals of the business meet. If technology companies don’t understand that, they might risk assuming self-importance. The result of this would be them creating software which behaves as if it’s the only product you’ll use. These kinds of products take so much of your time and this often happens because of their UI which is hard to navigate.
What’s the Difference Between UI and UX?
UX is the goal, and UI is the way to get there. These two are not mutually exclusive; they most often overlap in fact. The UX designer’s task is, to begin with, the psychology of the people who will use the technology. The designer must always remember that the goal of the technology is to be able to provide a solution to a person’s problems, to give some convenience in their lives. This is why the UX designer does not need to know how to code, what they do have to know is how people think and what drives them.
As for UI, it visualizes the path to solving a problem and makes it easy for the people to follow. Most companies want designers that can do both UI and UX because of how intertwined these two are. When a designer is talking to people and crafts a journey for them, he or she is doing UX. When he or she begins to build a strategy with the actual graphics, or a process known as wireframing, then that’s the beginning of UI. If you aspire to be either of these two, don’t worry, you do not need to begin as a great visual designer already. Most of UX can be learned along the way and mostly through improvisation.
What we have discussed here is just the basics of UX and some of UI. If you want to be either, don’t be afraid to start practicing and learning all that you can about them. Remember that it is important to understand first the people who will be using the technology you will be producing. When you understand what they need, you will be ready to fill in the gap and provide them with something that can make their lives a little bit easier. If you find, however, that the tasks of a designer are too much for you, you can always ask the help of marketing agencies to guide you and even do the job for you as you are learning.
Nicolas Finet stimulates Sortlist strategy in line with the strong market and business insights he possesess. He earned his master’s degree at Solvay Business School and graduated as Cum Laude in Business Engineering (management) with a Major in Marketing. Connect with him on LinkedIn.