User experience design, commonly known as UX design, is a design process that focuses on providing an experience to end users that creates a positive response and a meaningful connection to pull them in.
UX design is used for creating a wide variety of products, but it is perhaps best-known for being utilized in website and software design.
It revolves around the whole design process of a product, which means it takes things like the overall design, visual design, branding, functionality, information architecture, interaction, and integration into consideration.
CEOs need to ensure that they hire UX designers who have the skill, experience, and expertise to implement UX design best practices and ensure modern customer experience. That partially means finding UX designers who do not overlook best practices mentioned below:
Conducting Thorough Research
When it comes to integrating UX design into software development and in other products, it is crucial that UX designers spend a lot of time researching relevant factors to ensure the product meets the actual needs of end users.
But some UX designers overlook this important step.
By researching in the right way before working on designing software, websites, and other products, designers can understand the requirements, motives, goals, expectations, and problems of end users so that they can include all of the functionalities and features that are best suited to the specific product.
Also, the data that is collected needs to be objective.
Utilizing Information Architecture Well
As you probably know, information architecture defines the structure of an application or website and the relationship between all of the areas involved with it. It combines user needs with content and the goals of the specific business.
When UX designers utilize information architecture appropriately, they can ensure that the content of a product, such as software, is easy for end users to follow. The content should be clear, easily understandable, and intuitive. It should also be organized in a way that makes it effortless for end users to find what they are looking for.
So, UX designers should never overlook the importance of Information Architecture when designing products like software and websites.
Creating User Flows and Wireframes for Visualization
To visualize a future application, UX designers need to ensure they do not overlook using user flows and wireframes. Both help development teams establish the right features for their products.
User flows are visual representations of how users will move through an app or website. For instance, user flows help designers determine the number of app screens or web pages that are required to achieve specific goals and how those screens or pages are arranged.
Wireframes are used to explore variations and they establish ways for designing single screens or pages, such as choosing where content like text, images, and buttons are placed.
The best practice for wireframes involves creating many variations of the same screen or webpage to determine the best solution.
Also, wireframes should be tested with real users, so that design teams can gain helpful insights into the users’ actions and adapt the screens or web pages accordingly.
Grabbing Users’ Attention with a Central Eye-catching Element
Every UX designer knows that he or she has to grab end users’ attention with the designs they use, but many designers overlook just how important it is to use one element that acts as a central attention-grabbing method.
For instance, a well-placed image or a witty slogan can grab users’ attention when they first land on a screen or webpage, so such things should be utilized rather than relying on a design approach that relies on every element on the screen or page to grab people’s attention.
Ensuring Designs Are Unique
Many UX designers will tweak designs that they have previously used to create customized designs for software, websites, and other products. But for a truly successful UX design approach, designers should be pushing boundaries to make every single product they design completely unique.
By providing unique designs, end users will be more engaged and impressed. In turn, they will use the product more.
So, UX designers should never overlook how important uniqueness is to make products stand out and grab people’s attention.
Also, many UX designers simply follow the latest trends. But trends come and go, which is another reason why uniqueness is so important.
To give just one example of how fashion changes, a few years ago, it was the trend to develop using the Ruby programming language. At present, coding in Swift is all the rage. Next year, another language may be more popular.
So, while it is most definitely helpful for UX designers to be aware of the latest trends, they should not rely solely on them, because fashion is fickle.
Trends should only be used in combination with unique design approaches to ensure designs remain relevant and engaging for years.
In the same way that you can create your own printable cards to craft greeting cards that are completely unique, UX designers need to utilize original approaches to come up with one-off designs.
Improving Design Elements
Following on from the last point, UX designers should never overlook how important it is to continually evolve their designs. That means even once designers think they have perfected designs, they need to look again to see if they can do things better.
UX designers should always look for ways to improve their designs, including tweaking the smallest of elements.
Making Design Elements Accessible
Good design needs to be able to be used by everyone. But some UX designers overlook how crucial accessibility is.
UX designers need to craft content that caters to people who have sight and hearing impairments and disabilities. For instance, around 25 million Americans are colorblind, so colors need to be utilized with that in mind.
When designers conform to accessibility standards, they will be able to design software, websites, and other products that are accessible to most people, thus increasing the number of people who can interact with the product.
So, UX designers should always bear accessibility in mind when designing products and use evaluation tools to test their design elements for accessibility.
Utilizing White Space
The best UX designers do not overlook how important it is to use white space in the right way on apps and websites, but many do.
When designers utilize white space in the right way, which basically means not crowding content together and ensuring there is plenty of space between different elements on a screen or webpage, end users will be better able to process the information they are viewing and decrease the cognitive load.
Many UX designers are tempted to overuse things like flashy animations, but simple and easy-to-understand design elements that are placed in an uncluttered way, alongside the appropriate use of white space, are ultimately much better for engaging end users. That is the essence of good UX design.
What do Experts Have to Say?
One way in which UX designers can better understand and implement their craft is to look at the very best examples of UX design by industry leaders and find out what UX design experts have to say about UX design.
For example, Justin Mifsud, who is the founder of the Usability Geek blog, says that UX designers should “take the principles that state how to make a product accessible, and actually embody those principles in the design process of a system so that a user that is interacting with it would find it as being accessible.”
Martyn Reding, who is the Head of Digital Experience at Virgin Atlantic has this to say: “In many instances, a user experience happens by the incidental smashing together of code and assumptions about people, so I think the distinction is in brands that recognize the value of a carefully crafted digital experience.”
The founder and executive coach at the coaching firm Vicarious Partners, Whitney Hess, says “User experience is a commitment to developing products and services with purpose, compassion, and integrity. It is the never-ending process of seeing the world from the customers’ perspective and working to improve the quality of their lives.” She goes on to say that UX design should be “the perfect balance between making money and making meaning."
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