Welcome to the basics of UX Design, a small series of easy to digest articles focused around explaining the basics of User Experience (UX) Design, identifying UX elements within your websites and application, along with how to start implementing UX principles within your business.
During this particular article we will be taking a look at what UX Design is, along with why we need it, and then focusing on the Anatomy of UX Design.
What is UX Design
The User Experience is the overall experience of a user using a product, application, or service. People always have an experience when using something; this can include feelings, thoughts, expectations and complexity. User Experience Design is a set of processes focused around enhancing the usability & accessibility, enabling easy interactions and generally making the experience satisfying.
Why do we need UX Design?
User experience is a fundamental part within designing and developing new websites and software applications, along with rolling out new features to existing products. Without it, that chancers are there will be many usability flaws within the product making it difficult for the user to use. Providing a poor experience will result to user frustration, unhappiness, confusion and ultimately lead them to leave and find another service.
UX Design can sometimes be overlooked, with the focus sitting around how the product will look, rather than how it will work. Creating a plan for the User Experience has a collection of benefits; it will help figure out the goals of the service/product you are defining. A plan will also help you understand your target audience demographics through research and creating user personas and help you to effectively organise and making smarter choices when creating your content, all of which when done right, will result in a fantastic product.
Anatomy of UX design
User experience is a fairly broad area, so in order to create a good user experience you generally have to address a few specific areas beforehand, such as: what the users want/need, requirements of the business, marketing, visual needs etc.
UX design can usually be categorised in to three different sections: Information Architecture, Interaction Design and Visual Design. These when completed effectively, work together to create a good user experience within your user interface.
1. Information Architecture (IA)
IA covers the overall organisation of your website/app content and navigational structure. The aim is to structure both your content and navigation in a logical and non-overwhelming way, that will allow your users to browse through your website/app with ease.
Areas of IA to consider are: how you categorise and structure information, present information, how users browse through information, and how users look for information. IA within Websites and Applications often focuses around how your main navigation hierarchy is structured and the content within the pages, along with any breadcrumbs, sidebars, footer menus.
When establishing your AI, It’s a good idea to try and understand the nature of the content, the context, and the users, then try and define a balance between each. Morville and Rosenfeld defined the relationship between the three as “information ecology” and can be visualized within a Venn diagram.
2. Interaction Design
This generally covers the overall experience received while the users interact with the website/app through undergoing a series of actions to achieve and end goal. An example would be providing a task to input information into a form and then posting to a database such as trying to book a hotel room. The Interaction design is the process of getting the user to complete the task with ease.
Areas to consider are interactive elements that are: click-able, type-able, scroll-able – such as buttons, forms, galleries, carousels etc.
3. Visual Design
The visuals of a website/app are perhaps considered very important since it covers everything visual, especially for those who love creating beautiful looking websites and software applications. Although important, a great looking application is worthless without thinking about the other two elements in parallel.
Visual Design predominantly focuses around the look at feel, featuring visual elements including pictures, colours, typography and more.
There you have a quick overview of the benefits of UX design along with its three main elements. Try and think how the Information Architecture, Experience Design, and Visual Design can be improved within your website and software applications.
Next time we will be taking a look at ‘Users’. We will cover the best way to learn who your users and take a look at creating User Personas.