User experience design (UX-design) is a design methodology comprising of integrated processes that seek to generate positive emotions among product or system users by enhancing their satisfaction through improving the accessibility, usability and friendliness in the user/product (or system) interaction. The sole objective of UX design is to offer a great experience to the users.
User experience design is a relatively new discipline in design. The term “user experience” was the brainchild of Dr. Donald Norman, a user-centered-design evangelist and a cognitive science researcher.
Today, a lot of emphasis is put on user-centered design, and it is getting more important to describe and justify the importance of designing and enhancing the user experience in product and systems design.
Looking at the web design industry for example, one realizes the clear paradigm shift in the way designers create user interfaces. Web designers used to make decisions based on what they thought was awesome and what their clients would like to see. The focus was on aesthetics and brand, with little efforts made to understand and cater for how the people using the website would feel about it. Today there is a new pool of professionals called User Experience Designers whose sole focus is the interaction between users and a system or product.
User experience designers take the principles that create a great experience for a user and embody them in the design process. These principles are founded on the theories of; user interface design, information architecture, Human Computer Interaction, accessibility, and usability.
Several phases make-up the UX design process. The process begins with ‘strategy’, goes through a closed loop of phases before terminating with the ‘launch’ of the product.
Strategy And User Experience
Strategy articulates the product brand, business vision and principles. It underpins the goals of the designer/organization, and shows how success ought to be measured and what to be prioritized.
Research In UX
This forms the discovery phase in the design process. Significant user research is done to create an informed user experience. Sometimes the research extends to cover competitors in the same line of business.
Analysis Phase of User Experience
In the analysis phase, the design team draws insights from data collected in the research phase. UX designers are able to use those insights to make inferences on possible answers to the “what”, “why” and “how” in user experiences and expectations. Designer’s understanding is communicated back to the end-users to confirm the validity of assumptions made.
When It Comes To Design
In the design phase, the designer engages the input of different people and iterates ideas and assumptions building on user feedback to loop design to previous phases. In design phase, ideas are put in front of users, their ideas collected, refined and applied repetitively. Ideas can be represented by paper prototypes, semi-functioning prototypes or interactive wireframes in low-fidelity to delay any discussion about visual details, branding or graphic identity.
Production Phase Of User Experience
In the production stage, digital and content assets are produced, after which a high-fidelity product version is validated through testing sessions with users and stakeholders. The UX designer plays a role more inclined towards collaborating with developers to guide the product vision, rather than creating ideas.
The UX design process has considerable overlaps and there are a lot of iterations. The UX designer needs to revisit the research undertaken for additional user feedback as he learns more about the users, stakeholders, subject problem and constraints.