“As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product.” —Jef Raskin
We are living in an experience economy. Experience creates top of the mind recall and converts customers into brand advocates. This fact has been clearly realized by brands over the last few years. They are investing time, money and efforts to provide personalized and contextual product experience to their customers. Often, the UX team maps individual customer journeys, conducts focus groups, and ensures that the product design is aligned with the expectations of end users. Some companies also hire design consultants to help them craft a compelling experience design strategy. While technology plays a crucial role in bringing the product to life, the importance of aesthetics can’t be underestimated. A design has the power to increase the stickiness factor and enhance user engagement.
So, here in this blog post, we’re going to talk about everything that makes for a good User Experience and the various rules and guidelines companies should follow to achieve excellence in this aspect.
Outlined below are the three major pillars of UX
A. Usability: The product interface should be easily usable. It should be able to help users understand what they are supposed to do and what will be the outcome of their actions. Since there’s already a lot of clutter, users want to navigate through the product swiftly. They want enticing CTAs, intuitive navigation and simple design elements so that they are able to interact seamlessly without dabbling. Being unable to use the interface as they want, there are higher chances that they would bounce off. Designing a simple, easy to navigate frontend experience should be the top priority. Research shows 38% users stop using the app altogether if they find the UI and content to be out of place.
B. Accessibility: Over the last few years, we have seen a constant surge in connected consumerism. No user today interacts with a brand on one single channel using one specific device. Omni-channel behavior and multiple devices immensely pressurize brands to provide a seamless and connected experience across web and mobile. User interface design of the product should be simple and easy to navigate. Ensure that the content is legible, the interface is seamlessly working across devices and platforms, pages are structured correctly, color patterns are used after studying users, fonts are appropriate and so on.
C. Performance: Product performance is extremely critical for continuous user engagement and positive experience. According to most surveys, users choose competitor’s website or application if they are unable to complete the task within a few seconds. While consumer-facing applications may just lose out on recall, business-critical apps might lose out on profitability. Companies are leveraging digital technologies to monitor and improve the performance of the product constantly. While designing key interactions, UX teams should ensure that these are designed in a way that it doesn’t impact performance. Along with usability and accessibility, performance plays a crucial role in making a product successful.
It is very important for the product to strike a connection with its user, make them feel comfortable while interacting, and also be helpful in achieving what the user initially intended for. Outlined below are some tips and best practices for a kick-ass product UX:
1.Become a Storyteller:
“You’re not a good designer unless you’re also a great storyteller”.
To develop a visually pleasing design, you need to be good at telling stories. Somethings to keep in mind include (a.) structure (b.) purpose (c.) personas (d.) problem statement of the user and solution to the problem. Everybody loves a good story and a good story helps create a great user experience.
2. Strive for Consistency: By offering a consistent experience across web and mobile you make it easier for the user to navigate and get used to the product. Consistency can be ensured by introducing consistent visuals, color themes, fonts, and CTAs to name a few. Make sure that users are able to relate to the icons and actions on both the touchpoints.
3. Represent Your Brand: What does your brand stand for? By addressing this simple question, you can easily create a favorable persona for your users. In today’s competitive business environment, it is essential to have your own identity and break through the clutter. A product interface should be able to translate and communicate the larger goals of the brand. Following your brand guidelines and persona to build a user experience design strategy is a great way to represent your brand through the product itself.
4. Keep it Simple: Sometimes, keeping it simple can be one of the toughest things to do. However, when it comes to building UX, simplicity wins the case. Since people have a shorter attention span, a simple structure, an intuitive design with minimal interaction is the best decision for a successful product. Whitespace and minimalism can boost the engagement and conversion at the same time.
5. Understand User Behavior: Before you finalize the UX, it is imperative that you understand your audience. Taking a deep dive into the psychology of your end user and creating an empathy map will take you a long way in developing a successful UX strategy, leading to building a great product at the end. Do some usability testing and analysis to find their intent, motivations and what are their key problems. You can also check the behavior through first click testing and undertake further research for various such insights.
6. Encourage a Goal Centric Design: While working in the UX, always think from the user’s point of view. Check if every element that has been placed on the app helps the user get to his goal faster. If not, you probably either need to get rid of certain elements or change the entire UX strategy. After all, the ultimate objective of the product should be to cater to the end user’s needs in the simplest and quickest way possible.
7. Bring Art and Logic Together: Designing UX is surely a work of art, but it is incomplete if it is not clubbed together with science and logic. Developing a UX design is more about providing a solution to a problem. The problem at hand is to simplify the overall design and refine the way a user uses the product.
8. Careful Image Positioning: Placing images is probably one of the most effective ways of grabbing the user’s attention. A careful and strategic look at the image positioning can truly enhance the overall product performance. Make sure that the images are chosen taking care of the end user sentiments and they match with the brand’s tone, content, and guidelines.
9. Introduce Simpler & Faster Navigation: The navigation of the product is one element which has no limits of improvement. The more you improve and optimize it, the better it is for your product. Adopting best practices to offer faster navigation is one of the best ways of enhancing the overall UX design. It helps keep the user from getting disoriented too quickly.
Quick Tip: Keep the levels of interaction to a minimum. The lesser number of levels ultimately leads to a faster product navigation on the whole.
10. Encourage Scrolling: Infinite scrolling has been debatable for some time now. According to invisionapp, Infinite scrolling can improve engagement and help to lower your bounce rate. Time.com’s bounce rate dropped 15 percentage points after they adopted continuous scroll.
11. Allow Design Evolution: A constantly evolving design is something that is sure to win hearts. Keeping in mind the pace at which companies are digitally transforming and adopting new-age design concepts it is highly necessary that the product interfaces are designed in line with the recent in vogue. The demands of the user are constantly evolving too, which makes it even more important for the UX designers to cater to the evolving user requirements by incorporating the modern trends.
12. Do NOT Ignore Content: Last, but not the least, content is also a crucial component of your entire user experience design strategy. After all, it is not only the product and navigation that needs to be simple but also the content that should be readable and relatable for the user. Since content is the main source of information, it is important to understand its power to influence the end user. By using the right fonts, copy and typeface across the interface, user retention can be increased to a great extent! Placement of content is also equally important. According to one of the reports by Adobe, Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.
To read more about the importance of building a great a user experience, as well as various ways that you can adapt to create winning interfaces, do give this Whitepaper a read.