What is UX Design?
User Experience design is the design of any application that assists the users to achieve their goals through it in an effective way within any given constraints.
To have a better understanding of the concept, consider that the Earth has been destroyed due to some atomic blast radiations and you are surviving in a capsule floating in the outer space. You wake up after a full, 8-hour sleep, yet you keep feeling exhausted. You wonder that you could have felt better if the recent hour would have been any different from the one that you slept at. This is because the experience of the early mornings on Earth was pleasurable due to the different elements you got to enjoy, like the chirping of the birds, the soothing light of the rising sun, and the fresh, cool morning breeze.
If we ponder over this person’s experience in the morning at these two dissimilar places, we can clearly see that the basic difference at play is the elements involved. We can say that these elements helped in creating the complete experience for the person. They made the person decide whether his overall experience was delightful or boring.
The word UX is actually the shorter version of the phrase “User Experience”, which can be defined as “the experience of a person using a product, in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use”. This depends on how the different elements respond to his actions and what emotions the respective experience evoke in the end.
Let's get back to the real world and look on some practical examples.
It is very easy nowadays to book a hotel room for your vacation. There are a hundred mobile applications in the market which you can use to select a suitable room for you. Observe the key factors that you would keep in mind while making the choice. It would usually be the location of the hotel, the size of the room or the cost of it. After you successful book the room and check in the place, imagine you open the window with excitement, only to see the busy roads and loud traffic. This sudden realization makes almost half of that exhilaration fade away. As a user, you are already disappointed by the experience but the fault was not yours as the mobile app you used to book the room didn't make you consider these factors in the first place. If they had presented an outside view of the room during the booking process, your decision would be have been completely different, as you might have ended up choosing one with a sea view instead.
The difference between UI and UX:
We can’t talk about user experience without mentioning user interface, so no wonder these terms get confused as the same thing, even when they are not.
Mostly, the example of a human body is used to explain the difference. We can say that the bones are the code, constructing the body piece by piece. The UX can be compared to the internal organs that help the body function, while the UI is its external organs, like the skin, that makes it pleasing to look at.
Therefore, UI design is all about the visual and interactive elements of a product and focuses on its looks and operation. This comprises of the complete process of designing; covering everything from the navigational flow, to the graphical design. Afterwards, the UX adapts that design according to the users.
Designing a UX Design:
The most important aspect to consider while designing the UX design is the person that would be using the product. One should keep in mind the basic human psychology of the targeted audience such as their lifestyle, behavior, expectations from the product, and the result that would be needed etc. One should have to know the relative users in order to be in the place where it is possible to create a product or service that produces an enjoyable experience for them.
The next important consideration is the product and the service which is to be delivered to the user. These majorly impact the features of the product as well as the way in which those features would be presented.
The UX designers go through what is called “The Design Thinking Process”, which can be broken down into four different stages:
- Inspiration: The designers try to understand the requirements for the product during this stage. They often do researches, analysis, and interviews of people who would be interacting or engaging with the product.
- Conceptualization: In this stage, the designers try to come up with as many ideas as possible to meet the expectations that are being held from the product.
- Iteration: During this stage, the designers make a prototype of the project, which is a scaled-down version of it. They also perform user testing of the product.
- Exposition: This is the last stage of the process and involves the final presentation of the product.
Factors involved in the UX:
The main factors that have to be kept in mind while designing the UX design are as follows:
- Usefulness: Is the application’s content original? Does it fulfills the need of the user?
- Usability: Is the application easy to use?
- Desirability: Do the design elements like images, identity, brand etc. evoke emotion and appreciation in the user?
- Findability: Are the contents searchable and locatable both onsite and offsite?
- Accessibility: Is the content easily accessible to common people or the ones with disabilities?
- Credibility: Is the information given to the users trustable?
We can easily see that the chief goal of the UX design is to provide the users with an easy-to-use and attractive design, which results in a complete gratifying experience for them. It contours the product itself and the services that it provides, and plays a major role in making or breaking the success of a business.
As Thomas Watson Jr., the CEO of IBM says, “Good design is good business.”