The success of any product majorly depends upon one factor, i.e., its ability to satisfy the requirements and needs of its possible consumers. These needs include all the issues and problems that a user expects a company to solve for them through the services and products that it provides. Therefore, the first step that is essential for the project to be made is to identify the different types of user and their requirements.
Importance of Identifying Target Audience and their Needs
A product or service cannot attain any notable accomplishment if it is unable to meet the requirements of its audience. For this, it is important to recognize what kind of audience the product would be targeting, what possible expectations the consumers would have in mind when using the product and how to improve user experience for them. The expectations, or needs, could range widely from customized user experience, well-performing design, powerful functionality, and reliable services to clear information, easy usage, and high interaction control. Along with this, identifying target audience is also a significant factor that should be taken seriously and thus, should be carefully interpreted. It is only then that one will be able to identify and handle the different types of user needs.
The Role of UX
When talking in terms of UX, it indeed plays an important part in serving the needs of the users. These needs can efficiently be met if the product is capable of providing good user experience. An effective UX can not only bring contentment to the users but can also increase the overall revenue of the product by creating loyalty and trust among its customers. Following are five of the UX methods that help meet the requirements and help improve user experience for customers:
- Creating Personas
When trying to understand a product's audience and their needs, creating personas can turn out to be a very useful technique. Personas in UX design are the fictional or dummy characters that represent the different kinds of possible users. Each persona includes the basic data of a user, such as their age, gender, marital status, place of residence, profession, etc., as well as other personality-building data, such as hobbies, favorites, followed trends, media usage habits, etc. To enhance the utilization of these personas, more information related to one’s product could be added too, e.g. if the users have used similar products before, if they are familiar with the functionality of such products, and the reasons why they have been using, or plan to use, these products. This data can be collected through researches or brainstorming. All of this helps in recognizing the users and testing the product’s performance from their eyes, keeping their possible information, behaviors, requirements, experiences, and motivations in mind.
- Customers Journey Mapping
Just like personas, customer journey maps also help one to understand the targeted audience of their product. In simple words, the map is a record of the relationship that a customer has had with a company or its product and is described from their point of view. The map analyzes the feelings and views the user has concerning the complete user experience journey they’ve had, from the initial knowledge of the product to the final interactions and achieving of the result. This data can also be mapped through researches, interviews, and brainstorming. The main objective of the customer journey mapping is to help a designer understand the actual needs of the customers and the issues that they want the product to solve.
The idea of storyboarding is almost the same as customer journey mapping, but instead of the textual or graphical data, it uses images or animations to portray the user experience. In some cases, storyboarding benefits more than personas and journey mapping as it includes images, which are both visually appealing and tend to stay longer in the viewer’s mind than simple words and graphs. Storyboarding can be extremely helpful in times when a new phase of the project-building process has to be started. Moreover, it can also be used to depict the complete process, especially the areas describing user interaction.
A wireframe can be defined as a basic outline of the structure or layout of the product. This could consist of simple paper sketches, or advanced and detailed digital mockups, called prototyping. Wireframing can help create a visual idea of the flow of the product or service, i.e., how it is supposed to work. This not only enables one to review its performance beforehand but also know whether it is serving the user needs as expected or not. The process enables one to enhance the user experience through the UX design.
- Usability Testing
One of the most effective techniques that help check the performance of a product or service is usability testing. This involves the testing of that product directly by its targeted audience. Users belonging to this audience then provide important feedback and insights regarding how well the product is functioning, how easy it is to interact with, and if it is fulfilling their requirements. It is often suggested to apply these tests on individual phases and prototypes rather than the final product, so issues can be detected and solved during the product-building process rather than at the end of it. Among these tests, a popular one is A/B Testing, in which two versions of the same part of a service are presented to the users to analyze which is better.
The main goal of a good UX design is to improve user experience for customers and meet their needs. Contentment of the customers results in their trust and loyalty towards the company, leading to the ultimate success of their services and products. UX methods have been proven to provide means to understand and identify the targeted audience, satisfy their essential requirements, and meet the expectations they have from the final product.