Ours truly is the great age of technology. That means that your work in the IT field isn’t just in demand. It’s always engaging. Whether you’re a programmer, a software engineer, a designer, or a product manager, every day brings new challenges and new opportunities to innovate, learn, and expand your skills.No matter how advanced the systems you’re creating may be, people are at the heart of the work you do. Ultimately, your principal mission is to provide the best possible user experience for your client.
Unfortunately, though, it can be easy to lose sight of this seemingly simple, but all-important, mission. Indeed, one of the greatest obstacles to great UX may well lie in the designer’s tunnel vision, the risk that creators may sacrifice usability for the sake of innovation. This article provides strategies to help you break up, at last, with bad UX design.
Break up with bad UX design step 1: Do your research
The first and most important thing you can do to free yourself from bad UX design is dive into your UX research. You simply can’t expect to provide end-users with stellar experience if you don’t understand what that means.
Fortunately, defining your target clients’ needs, expectations, and requirements isn’t all that difficult, provided you’re willing to invest the time. Use interviews, surveys, and customer reviews to help you determine what your customers’ goals are when using your technology.
Once you have a clear set of evidence-based goals in mind, begin usability testing the product for yourself. Engage in a range of scenarios that your clients are likely to be engaged in. Then, deploy the technology from that perspective to see if it still enables your users to achieve their goals.
For example, you might construct a scenario in which you are designing an online store for a clothing retailer. In your scenario, your end-user may have a vision impairment and is looking for a deep blue dress appropriate for a casual business lunch. Your design should encompass features that enable your end-user to browse your online catalog using screen readers and alt-text for images.
Testing your tech with such a task scenario in mind will enable you to identify deficiencies in your design that might otherwise have escaped your notice.
Break up with bad UX design step 2: Understand the customer journey
Testing your technology using a task-based scenario is important. However, it’s only a small portion of the process of comprehensive usability testing. Your mission isn’t just to explore the functionality of discrete segments of the customer experience.
You need to understand the entire customer journey, from initial contact to (hopefully) conversion. Collecting data such as bounce and click-through rates can help you pinpoint problematic areas on your site. Use these data points to identify which features your target customers use and which they ignore. Determine which pages generate clicks and what the average viewing times for each page actually are.
This will help you understand exactly what elements engage and interest them and which ones discourage or repel them.
In addition to data analytics, it can also be highly beneficial to observe the entire engagement process.
Thus, when you’re engaging in usability testing, try recruiting non-experts for the process. Invite test subjects who resemble your target end-user and observe them as they interact with the technology. Ask them questions about their perceptions, thoughts, and feelings as they sample the various features of the technology. You can also request that they narrate their thoughts as they work. Ideally, you should record these sessions to review later on as you formulate your plans to improve UX.
Break up with bad UX design step 3: Use proven problem-solving strategies
When you’re saying goodbye to bad UX, you’re going to have to engage in some pretty intensive problem-solving. If you want your revision process to be both effective and efficient, you need to have a clear framework for defining, analyzing, and remediating the problem at hand.
Visual aids, including cause-and-effect diagrams and problem-solving flowcharts, can be instrumental in understanding both what, exactly, has gone wrong and how, specifically, to fix it.
Above all, a visual problem-solving tool will ensure that you don’t lose sight of your central mission and goals. These tools enable you to visualize how elements connect to these essential needs and goals–and to recognize when elements do not connect to the core objectives at all.
UX lies at the heart of technological design. It is not always easy, however, to remain focused on providing superb customer experience when you’re also striving to design for cost efficiency, advanced functionality, and creative innovation. The good news is that designers enjoy a range of opportunities for usability testing, abandoning bad UX design, and providing target clients with an extraordinary user experience every time.