The origin of the User Experience (UX) is sometimes associated with the birth of Feng Shui in 4000 A.C. China, where people looked to harmonize everything with the environment. Later in Greece, the discipline of ergonomy became popular, which is concerned with designing interactions between systems and humans. But if we come back to the present day, one of the UX pioneers that applied the principles of a large number of complex interactions was Walt Disney . At the end of the ‘60s, he started to focus on each point of contact with his park visitors, creating what is known today as a magical experience. A visit to a Disney Park is unforgettable.
If we focus on the user experience with a machine or device, Apple began to apply the principles of usability with their first laptops in the ‘70s , which was called HCI (Human Computer Interaction). This success, however, wasn’t solidified until they understood that the use of their products wasn’t the only thing to worry about; all points of contact with clients matter. It’s not a coincidence that their famous “unboxing” videos on YouTube have so many views.
The most recent definition comes from Donald Norman in 1995, which he called “ User Experience Design ” and explains with the following words: “I invented the term because I thought that the human interface and usability were too limited; I wanted to cover all aspects of a person’s experience with a system, including industrial design, graphics, the interface, physical interaction, and the manual.”
The 5 Areas of UX Design
Once we’ve cleared up what UX Design is, we have to keep in mind the 5 areas that determine it: Usability, Utility, Functional Integrity, Visual Design, and Persuavity.
This refers to everything related to efficiency and user satisfaction when reaching determined goals in an environment. It’s linked to easy use, discovery, value, accessibility, credibility, and desirability. Some questions we can ask ourselves to see if we are on the right path are: can I easily identify the key functions of this product or service? If I can identify them, do I know how to use them and to what end? If we answer yes, we’re on the right track.
A product or service doesn’t just have to be easy to use, but it has to be useful for the public to which it is directed . You can end up using a complex product for a long time if it’s useful, but you’ll set it aside quickly if it doesn’t make sense for you. Utility must guarantee that the product satisfies user needs.
When we talk about a trustworthy product, we’re talking about its functional integrity. This is a very important factor that marks the difference in the buying decision and it’s a territory in which you’ll also be able to find brands that are based on their principle values.
Between two similar products or services, the one with higher visual attraction tends to win. With design, you can also justify a higher price; it’s proven that people are willing to pay more for a better-presented product. In digital services, we call it UI (User Interface) . You have to keep in mind that a good design must go hand-in-hand with other areas like usability and utility to be considered a success.
Persuasive design is an area that focuses on influencing human behavior through the characteristics of a product or service . There are some principles of human behavior that are based on this point: reciprocity, scarcity, contrast, comparison, perception, consistency, and social tests.
Methodologies to Improve User Experience
To study the user and understand their wishes, frustrations, and needs, UX uses many methodologies and processes. The path isn’t always perfect or straight and each project can have its own combination of tools and methodologies; one of the most well-known and used is Design Thinking .
The Design Thinking Process is a method to create innovative ideas that focuses on efficient understanding and providing a solution for real user needs. It comes from the way in which product designers work and is made up of five stages; it’s an iterative process that serves to take on complex challenges made up of the so-called wicked problems, complex problems that are hard to define and resolve.
Challenges are discovered throughout the 5-Stage Design Thinking process . You’ll start by collecting lots of information, creating a great number of content that will grow or shrink depending on the phase you are in. The next image describes the ideal work process, but keep in mind that it doesn’t always work like this. This is just a guide.
The Web User Experience in your Company
The search for UX profiles in companies has grown significantly over the last few years and for good reason. There’s a better understanding of the importance of this role for persuading potential clients and increasing the number of conversions with a much better user experience. However, a look at the job description shows that this interest is part of a trend rather than an in-depth knowledge of the skills that the profile can bring.
If you want to improve the user experience process , think about what a UX specialist can provide at each step. Their role can be from the creation of new products and services until its prototype or development. If the product has already been launched, a UX expert will help you improve it, run a user experience analysis for each point of contact, and, with Usability Testing , plant scenarios for a better conversion and added value growth for your service.
For agency jobs, the ideal choice would be to start with an initial consultation about what you’re going to take on: the challenges and current issues. The webpage is the main focus as it’s the starting point of the project; even so, you can go further because the more contact points that are related, integrated, facilitated and simplified, the better the experience will be for the final user . This way you’ll ensure you have a stronger brand connection and it’ll be easier to make your clients loyal to you.
Pablo’s company has 600 employees and all of them have to fill out forms to complete their reports. After an UX audit , we detected that the task could be completed and 45 seconds could be saved in each process transaction to complete a report.
An average of 10 reports are completed weekly. The cost of implementing this improvement is 8.500€; when making a decision, we have to run the numbers :
- 45 seconds x 8 transactions/report = 360 seconds
- 10 reports/week x 50 weeks/year = 500 reports
- 360 x 500 / 3600 seconds/hour = 50 hours
To be more exact, 50h x 600 employees/year is 30,000 hours. If we calculated the cost/hour of each employee to be 20€, implementation would pay for itself in less than a wee k. And that’s not even counting the emotional value that the change will have on employees for improving the experience and making their time more productive.
In conclusion, betting on user experience usability , improvements, and perfectionism is key to elevating a company’s benefits. It also allows us to take better advantage of our time, facilitate processes, and be more productive. And for our clients, we facilitate conversion to optimize each contact point with the product or service so that it’s as attractive as possible for the user. It’s clear: invest in UX. It’s a choice with a clear future.
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