User Experience (UX)

User Experience (UX) is a subjective feeling. Design for a user while enabling insightful experiences. The scope of the field is directed at affecting “all aspects of the user’s interaction with the product: how it is perceived, learned, and used.”

 

Key Principles

 

    • Research phase is where you immerse yourself in the project to get the background you’ll need to make design decisions later in the project. During this phase you will try to learn as much about your client’s business, objectives, users and competitors as possible.

 

    • Design phase is where you work out how what you are designing will work and how it will fit together. This phase will define its scope, its features and functionality and how it behaves.

 

 

  • Validation phase is where you identify whether what you came up with in the design phase actually works with its intended audience. This phase is typically followed by further rounds of design and testing to solve the problems you inevitably find when you test with users.

 

Designers

This field has its roots in human factors and ergonomics, a field that since the late 1940s has been focusing on the interaction between human users, machines and the contextual environments to design systems that address the user’s experience. The term also has a more recent connection to user-centered design principles and also incorporates elements from similar user-centered design fields.

 

As with the fields mentioned above, user experience design is a highly multi-disciplinary field, incorporating aspects of psychology, anthropology, sociology, computer science, graphic design, industrial design and cognitive science. Depending on the purpose of the product, UX may also involve content design disciplines such as communication design, instructional design, or game design. The subject matter of the content may also warrant collaboration with a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on planning the UX from various backgrounds in business, government, or private groups.

 

Design

User experience design incorporates most or all of the above disciplines to positively impact the overall experience a person has with a particular interactive system, and its provider. User experience design most frequently defines a sequence of interactions between a user (individual person) and a system, virtual or physical, designed to meet or support user needs and goals, primarily, while also satisfying systems requirements and organizational objectives.

 

Typical outputs include:

  • Site Audit (usability study of existing assets)
  • Flows and Navigation Maps
  • User stories or Scenarios
  • Persona (Fictitious users to act out the scenarios)
  • Site Maps and Content Inventory
  • Prototyping / Wireframes (screen blueprints or storyboards)
  • Prototypes (For interactive or in-the-mind simulation)
  • Written specifications (describing the behavior or design)
  • Graphic mockups (Precise visual of the expected end result)

 

Benefits

 

User experience design is integrated into software development and other forms of application development to inform feature requirements and interaction plans based upon the user’s goals. New introduction of software must keep in mind the dynamic pace of technology advancement and the need for change.

 

The benefits associated with integration of these design principles include:

  • Avoiding unnecessary product features
  • Simplifying design documentation and customer-facing technical publications
  • Improving the usability of the system and therefore its acceptance by customers
  • Expediting design and development through detailed and properly conceived guidelines
  • Incorporating business and marketing goals while catering to the user

 

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