“Clutter is one of the Greatest Enemy of Efficiency and Stealers of Time”
Imagine, you had to solve a riddle written in some foreign language to gain access to your hard-earned money deposited in your bank account! Gruesome, isn’t it?! The thrills of puzzles and challenges are exciting and pleasing in fiction games and adventures that can be endured during the time of leisure. But when the purpose is to get an important work done, ease of use is what pleases the people. It is rightly said that,
“Ease of Use may be invisible, but its absence sure isn’t”
The story of each software product that fails to design the user experience of the product on the user centric ease of use phenomenon also falls on similar lines. To better understand how ease of use aids the product to excel, have a look at the image shown below:
No matter how good the product is, if it fails to deliver a captivating user experience, it will never reach at the Top of user’s mind.
User Experience (UX) is the secret ingredient of any product successful. Simplicity of UX design use is not just a facilitator, but also a differentiator. UX design helps the product owners in showcasing the very purpose of the product and the target audience that they want to attract.
For instance, the fiercest rivals of the Virtual World - Instagram and SnapChat are both image-sharing platforms. But their UX design targets on two very different set of audiences. If you have a look at Instagram, the app is passive in nature as it drives the user to the feed and prompt them to watch and like the updates shared by others. On the contrary, SnapChat directs its users straight to the camera (the only source of sharing updates) hence taking an active approach to better engage the user and compel them to make frequent visits to share the moments of their lives with their followers.
So now you know that UX design is essential. But, do you think there is a process that ensures a captivating user experience? Well, there is no right hand thumb rule to be followed, but there are few disciplines and processes that if followed by UX designers during the following phases of PDLC, it is more likely that the product will deliver a captivating user experience:
1. Preliminary User Identification:
A good UX design needs a head-start long before the actual product development. For instance, readable typography is a standard of making a good UX design. But, how can a UX designer determine that the typography design of the product is readable? Well, it totally depends on the users of the product. Designers need to identify whether the app users are senior citizens who need bigger fonts and greater space. Or the artists who adore bold fonts and designs. The needs and constraints identified by the UX designers during the user experience phase becomes the cornerstone of the design of a Product’s User Experience.
2. Research and Data Validation:
Once the users are identified, the second phase of UX design is the research and data validation stage to gather important data that defines the end-user behavior. Previously, conventional methodologies based on the secondary research like the study of Points of Parity (POP) and Points of Difference (POD) of the products offered by the competitors were used.
Though, it is important to collect such information, to collect authentic user data, a designer often have to move ahead of conventional data collection methods. There are many instances where designers take a primary research approach to better understand the user behavior.
For instance, to better understand the user experience of Facebook Mobile app users, their UX designers adopted an innovative “reverse laptop hugging” approach of research. They conducted a test where people having laptops with webcam have to turn it around and hug it. When the users use the app, the researchers can understand the behavior of the user through the webcam of the laptop. That is how Facebook delivered captivating app experience.
3. Design Shape:
The most important part of the UX design process is designing the Prototype or the Wireframe of the product. In this phase of PDLC, a designer utilizes the insights gained during the user behavior study and shapes all the minute details to deliver a market fit product. A well designed product reflects good qualities like
- Minimal and clean design
- Less page loading time
- Quick navigation through the functionalities
When a design reflects such qualities, it not only satisfies the expectation of the users, but also excels in providing optimum value that prompts the willingness amongst the users to pay a value-worth price of the product.
4. Quality Assurance:
UX design can be Tested OK only when it successfully passes the expectations of the users. Thus, the real test of a UX design happens during the User Acceptance Test (UAT). Designers keep a keen eye and verify whether the user can easily understand the function with Graphical representation provided without reading long text description. Also, they verify whether users can quickly navigate through the functionalities without any confusion or not.
In the current competitive world, it is all about reading between the lines and capitalizing on market gaps. To achieve that, designers have to conduct an extensive research and go beyond the usual to deliver a captivating User Experience. Henry Ford once quoted that
“If I had asked people what they need, they would have said Faster horse.”
A decent product can be delivered with the User Experience that meets the expectation of the users. But, to enter the realm of the legends, one needs to walk an extra mile to deliver a product that exceeds the expectations of the users!