UX for beginners: Strategy, Process and Examples

When designer and researcher Don Norman coined the term user experience (UX) in the 90s, he never expected it to grow into a life of its own. After all, the UX field had been around for hundreds of years already before he gave a name to it. Today, no one in their right mind would design a product without considering the UX.

UX is about how the user feels when interacting with your product, service, and overall brand. We know instinctively whether we loved, hated, or felt nothing within a short period of using a product.

The role of a UX expert is to make sure you constantly love using their product or service. This is how brands build a strong base of loyal fans. The ones that do it well are more likely to grow into a household name like Google and Apple.

What makes a good UX?

One of the most popular yardsticks for good UX design was created by Peter Moville, and he called it the UX Honeycomb.

What makes a good UX? The UX Design Honeycomb
What makes a good UX? The UX Design Honeycomb

There are 7 factors that affect the user experience.

  1. Useful — users can achieve their goals when using your product.
  2. Usable — users find your product easy to use.
  3. Desirable — users are attracted to your product.
  4. Findable — users can find what they want and need.
  5. Accessible — users of all abilities can use your product.
  6. Credible — users trust your product.
  7. Valuable — users see your product as adding value to their lives.

When you’re designing a product, you can prioritise which UX factors you want to focus more on, especially if you have limited budget and resources. Ideally, you want to hit each measure, but it is more realistic to do incremental improvements over time.

Furthermore, UX is a broad field because it is not only one product, but the whole ecosystem. For example, your smartphone needs to synchronise seamlessly with your laptop, tablet, and any other devices. Your app needs to deliver a smooth experience when switching between the different functions, customer service and third-party software.

What are examples of bad UX?

1. Google Wave

It made such a big buzz upon release in 2009, especially since the creators had also built Google Maps previously. But Google Wave was trying to be too many things at the same time. It was a communication, file sharing, and wiki-like platform all rolled into one software. Most users were confused on how to use it, and soon didn’t see any value it would add to their work. By 2010, Google canned it.

2. Clippit the Microsoft Office Assistant

Non-millennials will remember Clippit as the annoying paper clip that obstructed views or slowed down work on Microsoft Word when chasing down deadlines. The cute character was parodied and mocked all over the world, before Microsoft killed it sometime around 2007.

3. DeLorean Cars

Did you think this car was custom designed for the “Back to the Future” series? No, it is a real car manufactured by a company called DMC DeLorean. It was the only model released by the small company in the 80s, but which made the company bankrupt.

The driving experience was bad, and the car lacked power, even though it had a look ahead of its time. It’s a good lesson in why you should prioritise experience over looks.

What is a UX strategy?

What is the UX design process?

UX design process
UX design process

1. Understand

  • User interviews and feedback
  • Focus groups
  • Previous usability testing
  • Market research
  • Surveys
  • User personas

You need to define the current user experience, the issues, existing products in the market and the UX goals. It’s about understanding your user personas and aligning it to the brand’s vision.

2. Mapping

  • Empathy maps
  • Customer journey maps

3. Design

  • Mock-ups
  • Wireframes
  • User flows
  • Site maps

4. Test

  • User testing: designated users are called in to use the prototype
  • Guerrilla testing: walk up to anyone in a public place and get them to test your prototype
  • A/B testing: give users two options, called A and B, and see which one they prefer.

5. Build

6. Evaluate

What is Lean UX?

Lean UX
Lean UX

The Lean UX concept is a strategy and process that marries agile development and UX.

Instead of spending a long time understanding and researching, the UX team outlines a few assumptions and then designs the prototype for testing. If it failed, the team moves on to the next assumption, until it gets a decent UX.

If the design passed user testing, it goes straight to development phase. This is a great method for bootstrapping startups keen to release a minimum viable product (MVP) to test the market or before a bigger competitor snatches the market.

Spotlight on your users

Family first // Principal @relabstudios // Customer-obsessed digital design agency // Design sprint advocate // Melbourne // Say hello @alhermanto

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