Could User Experience be the missing link to your business’s growth plans?

The way in which we approach any design process is generally selfish and biased, and thats because we’re all very busy people, we have things to get done and deadlines to meet.

Making space for UX.

However, making space for UX research & design will guarantee you smoother sailing further down the line, better conversion rates and a better brand relationship.

User experience is gaining more and more kudos particularly amongst the digital community, it is becoming more prevalent, and that’s because more and more people are becoming more woke to the potential impact UX can have.

What is UX?

‘UX’ is a term used to describe several different things, first and foremost, User Experience or: ‘how successful stuff was when we used a thing’.

Here are some slightly more eloquent words from industry big- wigs on what UX design might actually be:
  • UX design is the process used to determine what the experience will be like when a user interacts with your product
  • User experience design is an approach to design that takes the user into account
  • UX is improving how useful, easy, pleasant, marketable, or addictive it is to use a product
  • UX design is the art and science of generating positive emotions through product interactions
  • UX design is a commitment to building products with the customer in mind
  • UX design is the creative and analytical process of determining what a website, device, or piece of software is going to be
  • UX design is design with an awareness of every touchpoint that makes up the overall experience with your product or service
  • UX design is a process of deeply understanding the user’s needs and objectives
  • UX design is about delighting users by anticipating their needs and giving them something they didn’t think to ask for
This is my favourite definition from the above selection:
  • UX design is the creative and analytical process of determining what a website, device, or software is going to be.

Because there are many different facets to UX, it’s not only an analytical process, it’s a creative one, and at times it can even be a draining process.

Source:

http://www.usertesting.com/blog/what-is-ux-design-15-user-experience-experts-weigh-in

What’s under the umbrella of ‘UX’?

The recipe we use to complete the UX process varies wildly from project to project. The cornerstone is always analysis of key user groups and the content they need to find. Weather this be determined from market research, analytical & desk based research.

Most of the time we think in terms of, “I want to target these people and this is the content I want them to see.”

Which is all well and good, but you’re only projecting what you THINK your users need to see, when in reality you might be missing out on key needs that your user has.

Feeding into this are creation of those key customer personas, we need to understand: personal challenges and roadblocks by creating individual user journeys and customer stories, this helps us DISCOVER what these hidden needs are thus helping us create and categorise content.

Then after all the initial research is complete we need to organise content in a logical manner for the user, this is often referred to is UI design, (User Interface Design). Which is not a new concept, if you think about any car, it has certain features that are standard, and that’s for safety reasons.

It is unsafe to make users learn a whole load of new features to drive different cars, that’s why we have standardisation.

When it comes to UI design, I don’t feel that this can ever be done well without the initial research phase, I don’t believe that at this point you should be making any critical decisions. If your research phase has been done correctly, there should be no major decisions to be made. Everything falls into place, and is logical, (usually).

Add into this mix the need to be creative, I look at it as: setting up the pins for the designers to knock out of the park, and you’ve completed what is loosely termed as UX.

Yet another aspect to this is the need to user test what you’ve made, which you can read about in the near future from our Client Services Director Nikki.

So how do you know if you need to work on your UX, UI, customer research and so on?

What it  comes down to is the honesty ask oneself; have I actually created/designed/produced this *thing* with my target audiences in mind, or have I just done *this thing* how I want it and how I think it should be.

Did you ask any real customers about their experiences with your products or marketing materials?

Did you map out internally who you’ll be targeting & what their needs and challenges are?

Because, you are not your users.

So, in order to not be a complete hypocrite, I’ve experimented with practicing what I preach with this very article, (yes, you’ve become part of a real-life experiment, how exciting)!

Because, while my motivations are to write about myself and what I do, I appreciate my audiences have slightly different agendas that are not necessarily the same as mine.

I’ve posed three questions to myself, which, I know IS the wrong way around and I should be asking a real audience, but I’m short on budget and the client (me) is very demanding!

Key questions:

What does my audience want from this article?
Hypothetical answers:
  • Some serious answers to a business problem you may have.
  • A light reprieve from your day to day work.
  • Some deep insight into User Experience as a whole
  • Snacks.
What content can I offer to help you get the information you wanted?
Hypothetical answers:
Serious answers:

This experiment, (I hope) illustrates the process that you may be missing, have you genuinely thought this way before and is therefore a help in determining what your next steps in solving your business problems are.

Light reprieve:

I’m TRYING to keep the tone light, hopefully you will be somewhat entertained by this article…

Deep insight:

You may be on a voyage of self-discovery, some deep analysis of what UX means and touching on the range of skills that make up the discipline should help you on your travels, Bonne-chance!

Snackers:

I cannot provide snacks, so I will not allude that I can (sorry).

What actions will you want to take, and what are my own business- related objectives for you reading this article?
Hypothetical answers:
Serious answers:

If you’ve read this article and think that, ‘yes, I’d like to talk about this more, perhaps Creative Sponge can indeed become the link in MY chain’ I’ve provided contact information; get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Light reprieve:

If this article has offered you some mild entertainment (you’ve reached this point, so we must’ve done something right?) I offer you the chance to share, or leave this page and never return. Or perhaps you’d like more of this content, so perhaps sign up for our newsletter!

Deep insight:

To continue your voyage of self-discovery, read more of our lovely articles if this has not been enough to sate your desires. Or even get in touch to talk more…

I mean, as for snacks… if you’re on a snack run, mine’s a bag of prawn cocktail please.

Whatever your own user journey, If this article has struck some chords of familiarity it’s time to get in touch with the team at Creative Sponge, give us a call on 01603 622766 or email: hello@creativesponge.co.uk, we’d love to hear from you!