User Experience Design(UXD)
User experience design (UXD) is the process of enhancing user interaction with a product or service by improving the usability, accessibility, and desirability provided in the interaction with a product.
User Experience Design is everything that we interact with during the journey of using a product or service from start to end.
Let’s talk about opening a door. Yes you got it right that User Experience Design plays even an important role with the basic operation of doors as well. Some push doors that are meant to be pulled, pull doors that should be pushed, and walk into doors that neither pull nor push, but slide. A door is a very simple device so how can doors be so confusing to some people? Suppose you are walking to a very urgent meeting and the door in front of you is confusing whether to push or pull, or if the door slides then in which direction or slides up into the roof? It might sound simple but imagine a person who is walking into a huge building with series of doors in front of him where he is not aware of which one to pull or push or slide.
There are two most important characteristics of a good design:
1) Discoverability 2) Understanding.
Discoverability: It defines what, how, where, when of the desired product to be designed.
Understanding: It defines the overall understanding of the pros and cons of the product.
All artificial things are designed by humans. But even though people have designed things from prehistoric times, the field of design is relatively new, divided into many areas of specialty. The number of areas of design is enormous ranging from cloths to complex design including bridges and airports. Whatever may be the product or service it must be delightful and at the same point of time enjoyable, which means not only the engineering involved should only be paid attention to but also the overall interaction including the aesthetics and color of each form should be designed properly in order to give it a good interaction with the user.
With complicated designs the problems can lead to accidents, injuries and in some cases even deaths. Its time that we should start blaming the machines and the way they have been designed rather than expect humans to understand the machine’s complex parts and the codes running behind it.
As said by Don Norman, the father of UX in one of his books that “Those who have not studied human behavior often think it is pretty simple. Engineers moreover, make the mistake of thinking that logical explanation is sufficient enough. "If only people would read the instruction, “ they say everything would be all right.” Engineers are trained to think logically. As a result, they come to believe that all people must think this way, and then they design their machines accordingly. When people have trouble, the engineers are upset but often for the wrong reason, they will think “ what are these people doing, cant they read instruction carefully?”. The main problem with these designs is that they are too logical. We have to accept human behavior the way it is, not the way we wish it to be.
As I started observing people carefully struggling with the technology of devices, it became clear that the problem is with the technology itself not with the people who are suppose to use them. So we must create designs on the assumption that people or user will make errors, then only then can we create what we call a good design.
Qwerty Keypads were revolutionary UX which were in use sometime earlier as now we all have touch screens. We all remember struggling to text on our old mobile phones, with repetition of pressing keys in order to get the character we wanted. This evolved with Blackberry bringing in the QWERTY keyboard to the touch keypads now. UX around us is not just about real-life products but also merging of Real-life and Digital experiences too.
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding UX, some examples are given below:
UX is about making the product look aesthetically good
The look of the product is an important part of the user experience but it’s hardly the most important. UX has to be functional and effective for it to be good, it’s about the way it works and not how it looks.
You = Your User only
While designing a website or an app, it’s very easy to assume that every user’s thought process is the same. But this is not true as your user often have different attitudes and goals, resulting in a design which is inefficient. Hence to avoid creation of an inefficient design, it is important to study your user and at the same time other user segments as well.
UX and UI is the same thing
UX and UI are not the same. UX is mainly how the users feel when they are in process of using a product, while on the other hand UI is how efficient and friendly the product or the design is to use. UX is a broader picture whereas UI is an integral part of it.
Icons enhance usability
Icons don’t increase usability as they are hard to remember.
UX is asking people what they want
Most of the times users themselves don’t know how to use a product or system. The way they will use a specific product will depend on there past learning curve, existing comfort levels, motivations and 30 other demands. When you as a UX designer design any product you have to keep in mind these common factors.
Search will solve a website’s navigation problems
Generally people first scan the trigger words when on a website, if unable to find a satisfactory link that is when they use the search option. People are able to better recognize the things rather than remembering them. Hence it is simpler for the user to click options from the list instead of typing a search term.
Design is successful only if the final product is successful. When people buy it, use it, enjoy it and then tell others to use it that's when you can conclude it as a good design.
In other words design must be thought of as a total experience.
- The design of Everyday Things , By-Don Norman.