The World Wide Web is evolving and that too at a fast pace. What started off as a revolution of sorts has now made a lot of progress, thanks to the technological development. With these advancements, this medium which earlier served as a one way contact point has now been converted into an interactive platform.
However, one thing that has still not changed is the fact that a system’s success still depends upon how the users perceive it. Unless, the end users find anything worthwhile, they are hardly going to spend any time browsing it. This is where User Experience Design popularly known as UX design comes into play.
What is UX Design?
UX design generally refers to the interface offered to a user by any given system. This could be an app, a website or desktop software. The main function of the UX designers is to analyze any given system and find out what it offers to the users. A lot of parameters are taken into account for this analysis like convenience of use, efficiency of the system, perception of the users etc. It is based on this analysis that the designers work to design an efficient and effective UX design platform.
Fundamentals of UX Design
Designing a system that is functional and efficient and at the same time offers a user friendly interface is easier said than done. However, experts in this field have come up with certain fundamentals which can actually help in creating a great UX design. Take a look at what these are.
Researching the End Users
The information that you get by researching the users is what forms the base for the design. By getting to know the users, you can find out more about their behavior and preferences when it comes to working on certain platforms. Asking them forthright as to what they expect from the new system would give you a fair idea as to how you should go about designing it.
There are a number of ways in which you can research the end users. Setting up a user forum for discussion would allow all the users to express their views and needs. You can also try out online surveys which seem to be just as effective. Conducting one on one interview is another way in which you can get to know your users.
Minus the research work, creating a great UX design is next to impossible. If experts are to be believed, unless you know what the users want, there is no way you can be sure whether your design would appeal to them or not. Designers who tend to forego user research generally end up creating designs which fail miserably just because the users don’t relate to it.
Have you ever wondered what makes a software or platform usable? It is generally the ease with which the users are able to operate it and the end results which are delivered. There is no doubt that as a user experience designer you would be tempted to create something novel for the platform. But what if your users are not comfortable with these novelties? In order to ensure that the users like what you have to offer, it is always a good idea to follow the well treaded path.
With most users being champs at managing and browsing through social media networking sites, these designs seem to be much in vogue these days. The easy interface that they provide and the efficient results that are delivered, offering similar UX design pattern is what would enamor your users.
Information Architecture is the Key
Don’t forget that the content on your website is what would attract users to it at the first place. Thus, it is extremely important to ensure that the content is easy to find and at the same time quickly understandable. Designing information architecture would help in structuring and labeling the content and arrange it in a proper way on the site.
With such architecture in place, users can easily find what they looking for. Also, with a well thought design in place, even the new users would find it easy to make their way through the system without having to look for help.
Systems or platforms that do not have an easily findable content design generally end up turning off their users.
Visual Hierarchy Rules
What with so many options on the platform, the users may be rendered indecisive as to what is most important. According to seasoned UX designers, offering a hierarchy would do the trick.
Doing this by altering sizes and colors of the options and tactfully deciding on their placement is the best way to offer a great UX. A simple hierarchy would make it easier for the users to maneuver their way through the platform. Without a proper hierarchical arrangement, the users may lose their path and end up just logging off the system.
Wireframing is Crucial
Once you have analyzed your users and have a design in mind, what you need is to create a wireframe of what you intend to create. This is more like a blueprint or a foundation of the design. Decide on what options you would provide on the page, where you would place the content and the images etc. Once this is done, plan out the navigation of your website or system. This should be done first so that you don’t get lost once all the content and other visual parameters are placed into the frame.
A well though wireframe would make it easier for you to create a great UX design and that too within no time.
Start off by creating a rough prototype of your design and then invite a few of your end users to test it. This will help you to find out about the strengths and weaknesses of your design. Based on these findings, you can further improve your design to ensure one that would appeal to all.
Testing a prototype on users is extremely important as pulling back a design once it has been implemented is not easy. Designs which are launched without being tested generally end up with lots of problems and liabilities.
Implementing your UX Design
After multiple dry runs and troubleshooting sessions, once you are completely sure of your design, it is time to implement it or launch it and be all set to gauge the reaction of your users.
Designing a great UX design is definitely not child’s play. It involves research, analysis, creativity, troubleshooting and what not. However, these fundamentals are sure to help you in coming up with a great design.