User Experience Centered Design (Part 1)

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So what makes a fantastic design?

On one hand, it is very much down to the overall look of it, how it visually appears to the target audience.

On the other hand however, there is a strong foundation built up, which includes the on-going development cycle of strategies, research, analysis, understanding, design and production.

UX Development Cycle The Development Cycle of User Experience Design[/caption]

“The central premise of user centred design is that the best designed products and services result from understanding the needs of the people who will use them” – Design Council. 

What is it?:

User experience, or UX for short, is a very broad term which refers to people’s emotions and thoughts when they use a certain service, system or item.

The term “User Experience” was created by Don Norman in the 1990’s, whilst he was vice president to the Advanced Technology Group, Apple:

   “I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of a user’s experience with the system, including industrial design graphics, the interface, the physical attraction, and the manual”.­­

Design of UX Experience?:

UX Centered design takes into account the usability, information architecture, user experience, UI design, interaction, E-commerce, and cross-channel user experience of something being designed and developed.

It’s vitally important for designers to make the distinction between User-centered design (UCD) and user experience design (UX), as although they’re thought to be extremely alike by most, they do have their differences. UX design is about the discipline, what a company is able to do and achieve – alongside the development cycle of such; whereas UCD is more of an actual process of how to achieve what the company wants.

UX Design Don Norman - His take on User Experience Design[/caption]

There are many common methods and techniques used within UX design, as to understand the target audience a company is designing for. Then, with this information and data collected through the various methods of research, it is possible to create effective experiences and memories for the customers, within the product or service being provided.

Some of the main techniques include:

    • Competitor analysis – By conducting a review of competing websites, apps and more.
    • Stakeholder interviews – after identifying any key contacts and clients, this can help to find out details on funding, selling and driving the company’s products or services available.
    • Surveys – Online ones primarily. These get direct feedback off potential or even current users of the company’s product / service.
    • Content Audit – Reviewing and systematically listing client data or feedback.
    • User Testing – This is where current users or potential clients sign up to test a company’s website or app, and whilst doing so, think out loud what they are experiencing: Pro’s + Con’s etc.
    • Personas – A persona is an identity of one type or specific group of people, whether it be age, nationality, personality etc. By creating personas, a company is able to morph qualitative and quantitative data from interviews, online surveys, analytics and results into groups of users.
    • Sitemaps – This is a complete catalogued list of the pages available within a company’s website, and can really help in the early stages of the design process to see how responsive design will pan out across various types of devices, such as iPad, tablet or laptop.

This blog post will continue into a second part soon,

Until next time..!

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