17 Mar Let’s Talk About UX
Alright, people, here it is. The brand, spanking (sorta) new article in all its glorified form. We’re going to take an in depth look at the mysterious UX, or translated, user experience.
Firstly, let’s look at it from a different perspective, from it’s full name. When you rephrase it to ‘User Experience,’ it’s doesn’t look as nasty does it? So we’re just going to have a chat about how a company can invigorate its user experience.
What is UX?
How does one investigate user experience? Well, according to Matthew Magain at UX Mastery, it starts by asking questions. ‘What?’ ‘Where?’ ‘Why?’ ‘When?’ ‘How?’ and sometimes ‘Who?’
At usability.gov, they lay out the most basic of definitions: “User experience (UX) focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations.” In short, what do your product users want?
There are a whole range of fields that seek to discuss and analyze how your product or service can be serve the user including project management, analytics, user research, information architecture, content strategy, visual design, and accessibility. Most often it relates to branding, design, and web content (as they are most prevalent in the field today). However, it also includes relationships with clients, personal interaction with users, and current business demands.
Colin Eagan advises that the best way to measure the elements of UX is in a UX Chakra Model. He states these four elements are what comprises UX: Business Needs, User Needs, Strategy & Design, and Technical. By balancing all these elements, and not focusing to extreme lengths on one or the other, one can achieve a well-centered, holistic, and hopefully successful project. Let’s break these down properly.
Business Needs – the financial and promotional desires of the company surrounding the product or products
User Needs – how the user needs to interact with a product so they get the best possible experience and reaction out of it
Strategy & Design – the discussion of how one should implement UX and planning it out
Technical – all the nuts and bolts of the project and its actual physical representation
When one focuses too much on any particular element, the project becomes unsound like a building without supports and is liable (though not necessarily guaranteed) to collapse. Therefore, it is important to remember all the elements.
How is UX different from UI?
Often user experience (UX) and user interaction (UI) are mixed together in one genre. Designers say they are skilled in UX/UI and they’re taken as a given pair. However, while they do often collide, there is a distinction. Lo Min Ming describes it well by calling UX how a product feels and UI how a product is laid out. UI is concerned with wireframes, layouts, and the design of the interaction. This is most easily interpreted in a web page, concerning where items on the screen are placed, how many links to use, and if the page is simple or complex. UX would be more concerned if there was a welcome screen or not and how that would affect the user’s emotions.
How can we curtail misconceptions about UX?
There are many misconceptions concerning UX, primarily because people don’t know much about it. Brian Pagan from UX Magazine gives further insight and insists that it is an essential piece of business and can increase the aptitude of success in your company. Firstly, he writes that it is not a soft topic but relevant: “UX is based on 200 years of scientific knowledge, 30 years of industry best practices and specifically applied research.” Secondly, not just everyone can do UX. The specialty requires an understanding of several parts of business, design and human psychology, which often demands training in each of these fields. Finally, though it is a specialization, it does not have to be expensive. Instead, small businesses may prefer to hire a freelance contract specialist for this role to ensure that it gets a proper shape.
How can we utilize UX in our businesses?
Good news, folks. While it may require special training to completely reap the benefits of UX, often you have already been doing a good bit of it yourselves! Whenever you consider how a user might feel about a product, that’s UX. When you consider adding or deleting new elements for the ease of your client or user, you’re doing UX. And when you consult with the finance department or tech while pursuing a specific route in a project, that’s really good UX. So there’s no need to fear this new field but it’s important to learn about it. UX can be the secret to your success.
Now, ladies and gents, I will admittedly assure you that this is not all there is to know about UX. It’s based on history, science, psychology, art, and a bit of a knack for understanding human nature. However, I hope you’ve learned a bit in this introduction (I know I have) and if you want to learn more, I’ve included some helpful links in the bottom for you to get started. Additionally, feel free to look for courses and workshops on the subject for a more hands-on approach. We can all take this one step at a time and if you give us a call, we can work together to do what is best for your company.
:: Link & Connect ::
For more from UX Mastery, check out Magain’s YouTube video, ‘What the #$%@ is UX Design?’
To find your UX balance, find more at The UX Chakra Model
Want to know more about the differences between designers? Go to UI, UX: Who Does What?
There are quite a few misconceptions about UX. Debunk them here!
Get more in depth at usability.gov.
And for all you ever wanted to know about UX (and information about events in your area), go to UX Magazine