Thursday, June 30, 2016

Embracing UX Design

Growing and maintaining a product now requires recognition of User Experience or UX Design. Even service oriented companies should pay attention to UX Design because the world is so digital and connected – your online presence requires great UX design.  Regrettably, many companies have yet to embrace the concepts of UX design. 

“Great products are no longer good enough to win in business. Success and the future of business is experiential and this is the time to learn how to create and cultivate meaningful experiences. Without defining experiences, brands will become victim to whatever people feel and share. In an always on world where everyone is connected to information and also one another, customer experience is your brand.” – X: The Experience When Design Meets Business by Brian Solis

When someone uses your product, you want them to have a great experience. This can cover many perspectives:

  • How usable is your product? You want to make it easy for the customer to use your product. Companies may take this for granted, thinking that everyone knows how to use the product. You should seek out better ways on how people can use your products.
  • Does the customer want to buy your product? People often want to buy a product based on intangibles such as brand recognition, perceived value, or other emotional factors.
  • How easy is it for the customer to buy your product? You want to make the buying process as easy as possible.
  • Does your company and product convey a positive image? Reputations matter and if you have a bad reputation, how can you expect the user to have a positive experience?

Because user experience can involve so many touch points, you can jump-start your UX commitment by referring to various UX Models.  Take for example the Honeycomb Model, developed by Peter Morville, which expands on the four elements we’ve just described:

The beauty of a UX Model such as the Honeycomb is that it lets you set priorities around the values that you can bring to the table. Value or Valuable is the target, but this requires elements of Affordance and elements of Utility. Once you master certain elements of the UX Model, you can expand to the full range of values required. Without UX Models, creating the complete user experience can be a guessing game. There are so many issues involved – how users interact with the product, usability, visual aesthetics, brand recognition, technical architecture, etc.  

Another view of UX Design comes from the well-respected designer Jesse James Garrett:

Garrett’s model consists of “S” planes of development with each plane requiring that you go from Concept to Concrete. Each plane above builds from the plane below, guiding the product development process.

This article has touched on two UX Design Models helping you start your UX Design journey. The smartest companies such as Apple are all about user experience in their design. This has become a critical mandate for almost every company that wants to compete with the best companies. If you need more models, here is a recommended article with eight UX Design Models:

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