You may have heard at an industry conference that "if you're not investing in UX, you're not really deciding, you're guessing".
Or maybe your business was doing great stationary, but after moving online it's no longer as good as it was.
Or you are doing even ok in this digital world, but competitors with similar products are performing much better.
Whatever your exact situation is - I assume you want to find out what all this UX is and whether it can actually be useful to you.
So get to work!
What is UX and why bother with it?
UX is a collective term for all the emotions, sensory stimuli and thoughts that people experience when using websites, apps and other digital products.
If you sell online, customers always come away from you with some sort of experience - and although 'experience' seems like something abstract, it's not at all.
You have influence over them and can consciously design them.
It is simply about making your product:
- respond to the needs of the people,
- was logical, easy to learn and comfortable to use,
- It was aesthetically pleasing to users and evoked positive emotions in them.
"Did he evoke positive emotions? I just have an online shop"
You also have competition and (as research shows) about 20 seconds to keep your customers' attention. If your solution doesn't make a good impression on them or they don't see the value in it, they won't spend any more time on it - after all, they have plenty of other options at their fingertips.
The same can happen, for example, when shopping. If the user gets lost in the information jungle, gets frustrated or does not find what he is looking for, he will simply give up after a short while.
"I have great products at good prices. I think that's a rational reason to buy from me."
This is true. It's just that unless you are the only or one of the few companies on the market offering a particular product, competing on goods or price is not enough.
Besides, people are not only guided by reason in their choices. Emotions are equally important.
Imagine this situation.
A post about a new cafe catches your eye - the menu looks good, the prices are affordable, plus the place is only a few minutes from your house. It looks great! You go there and... you're pretty disappointed.
The place is close, but it's also dingy and the music is so loud you can barely hear yourself think, plus the barista seems more interested in his phone than in your order. And the barista seems more interested in his phone than in your order. It also turns out that you can't pay by card, so you thank fate for that unexpected change in your pocket.
And coffee? Coffee is cheap and quite good.
A few days later, you go for a longer walk and visit another pub. The person at the door greets you with a smile, then asks about your tastes and recommends a coffee to match. You get your drink in an elegant cup and sip it slowly while listening to relaxing music. You pay a little more than at the previous place, but somehow you don't mind. Maybe you'll even order a cake today?
If we assume that the choice is to be rational, the better option is definitely coffee at the first establishment. It is good, cheaper and closer to home.
I don't know about you, but I still wouldn't choose it.
The same is true of products and services on the Internet, which:
- are discouraged by outdated or underdeveloped design,
- are full of pop-ups,
- have an illogical arrangement of information,
- require you to create an account to shop,
- contain other errors that leave the user confused, feeling incompetent and frustrated.
They may get customers once. But they will not keep them.
"After all, my website is logical. You know what and how."
From your perspective, of course! After all, you are still working on it and know the project inside out.
But can you 100% say that others perceive it similarly?
Fortunately, you don't have to deal with all these conundrums on your own and by feel. You can play it strategically by taking care of the UX.
Psst! If you want to test the usability of your product and the emotions it evokes, a good first step would be to reach out to UX audit.
Who is part of the UX team?
According to experts at Nielsen Norman Group:
"[...] to provide a superior user experience, there must be a seamless blending of multiple disciplines: engineering, marketing, graphic design, industrial design and interface design" (EF translation)
Don Norman, Jakob Nielsen [in:]. The Definition of User Experience
Sounds like something complicated and abstract?
It just sounds. It is, by the way, a repetition of what you already know.
Remember how I mentioned that your product needs to be responsive, and on top of that it should be simple to use and aesthetically pleasing? Well, let's break that down into pieces:
- it must be needs-responsive - you need to investigate what people need in order to help them solve the problem effectively,
- It must be easy to use - it must be designed to be intuitive for future users, in line with their way of thinking and lifestyle,
- must be aesthetically pleasing - you need to produce a graphic design that pleases the eye and complements the product, but does not distract from the users' goals.
"That's still a lot!"
You're right, UX design requires many different competencies. This is why you will need a team. It's worth inviting to it:
- UX Researcher - who will research the problem, get to know the target users and then test the product on an ongoing basis,
- UX Designer - who will determine how it should all work, i.e. refine all the processes and the way information is arranged in the product, keeping in mind the researcher's findings and your business goals,
- UI Designer - who will give the whole thing a graphic shape and turn the rough prototype into an attractive interface,
- UX Writer - who will give your product a unique voice and do everything to ensure that messages and other textual signposts carry users straight to their destination.
What are the stages of UX design?
Perhaps you are caught in doubt.
"Involving so many people is a big cost and risk. How can you be sure it makes sense?"
In fact, investing in UX will save you a lot of money, but I'll tell you more about that later.
Let's deal with the risk. You'll admit that it's virtually minimal once you understand the approach that UX design professionals use - the design thinking double diamond approach.
Graphically, they are usually presented in this way:
As you can see, the process consists of 4 stages:
- Generating ideas,
- Verification and testing.
Let me give you a brief introduction to each of them.