What is UX Design?

by | Jan 31, 2018 | User Experience | 0 comments

Some may think of User Experience or UX design as a new concept, but really its origins lie as far back as the Ancient Greeks who designed their tools with the users in mind. UX design has derived from ergonomics which analyses human factors to improve usability, convenience and efficiency. Its influences are usually utilised in the work place, for example, in the 1940’s Toyota implemented their Human Centred-Production System which really made users a central focus in the workplace.

‘Culture, leadership and employee engagement are the essentials for great customer experience.’ – Steve Cannon, President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA

However, regarding the evolution of technology and especially in commercial computers, user experience has had to play a vital part. Otherwise how would they have been able to get a global population to successfully use (and now rely on!) a product they had previously never encountered. In 1995, famous cognitive psychologist and designer Don Noman, who was working for Apple at the time, first used the term ‘User experience’ to describe what his team were implementing in their work.

 

Why is it important?

The actual definition of a UX designer will differentiate depending on who you ask, but their key role is bringing the user to the focus of the design and development of a product. Good UX design not only considers the usability of the product but the individuals entire interaction. This includes: their emotions; mental processes; cultural biases, and perceptions. When designing websites, you want your users to be able to interact with your website as easily as possible without them having to work hard to get to were they need to be, and, for businesses, for their users to reach the ‘ultimate goal’ of purchase or sign up button.

In a study by Akamai (2009) that interviewed 1048 online shoppers, it was reported that 47% of people expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% will abandon the web page if it takes longer than 3 seconds.  Furthermore, the Gomez report in 2010 found that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

‘People ignore design that ignores people’ – Frank Chimero

UX Design in action

Once a UX designer is involved in a project, the entire team that is working on it has entered in to the UX world and will now view the project through the UX philosophy. UX applies to entire development of a project and has become a necessity to be budgeted in when looking to create a great quality website. Different design team’s methods when implementing UX design will vary depending on the techniques they prefer and what is the most appropriate approach for that project.

An image of a whiteboard with post it notes stuck all over it

Ultimately, the UX designer will try to understand the wants and needs of the client; the industry the project is in, and the users that are the target market. Influenced by budget and time there might be focus groups or interviews with possible users to really understand their perspectives, or personas might be put together to create imaginary users that can give insight into what features should be included. Using information about the users and the wants and needs of the client, this information can then be applied to create wireframes (which are like a sketch of the website and gives an idea about features and placement) and stylescapes (that give an idea about branding, colour palettes, imagery etc..).

User experience design is an ongoing process that involves metric testing, such as usability testing, analytics and split testing, to help the design team to learn and improve to gain more successful interactions from their users. The website can then continually evolve and become more enjoyable for the user and more effective for the client.

Hannah Kolka

By Hannah Kolka

Hannah is Head UX Designer at Unity Websites. She rocks a Masters in Psychology and is a fanatical people watcher, painter and box series aficionado. 

Hannah Kolka

By Hannah Kolka

Hannah is Head UX Designer at Unity Websites. She rocks a Masters in Psychology and is a fanatical people watcher, painter and box series aficionado. 

Hannah Kolka

By Hannah Kolka

Hannah is Head UX Designer at Unity Websites. She rocks a Masters in Psychology and is a fanatical people watcher, painter and box series aficionado. 

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