Today, product design or UX design is a crucial component in the making of mobile apps and websites. As you already know, design matters. As such, UX design helps to turn a simple idea into a beautiful, stunning and useful digital product. Thanks to UX design, users are able to return and use brands and their digital products over and over again.
If you are a mobile app developer, program manager, product manager, project manager, marketing manager or a general user, it is important to understand UX design. In this article, we will focus on what is UX design, how UX design influences digital apps and product design. Also, we will touch on how UX designers can achieve user acquisition and retention.
What is UX design?
This is a creative and elaborate process where professionals identify a market opportunity, define the problem and create a solution for the problem(s). Also referred to as product design, it is the creation of digital products that enhance user experience.
The process involves the design of digital products such as mobile apps, includes aspects of design usability, functionality, and branding among others.
Ways UX designers influence digital apps and product design
Create digital solutions that support and enhance human interactions
UX designers contribute in numerous fields with one goal in mind, to enhance the experience of users as they interact with digital products. By doing this, they help to enhance growth and development among the people.
How are they able to achieve this? Working as a team, they create flows of layouts and interactions for health care, e-commerce, and education among others. These apps are applied in the fields above to offer tips, solutions, knowledge and technical support among others.
All of them help to influence how the final digital product will appear and function.
Product research is a critical step in UX design. It allows the team to get feedback on what users are looking for. It also enables the team to learn what competitors have released in the market. Finally, it allows the team of designers to learn what aspects need to be improved in order to beat the competitors, attract users and retain them as well.
How should UX designers conduct research? Through user interviews, through online surveys, through competitive research, and through contextual inquiry. To ensure research is successful, plan your questions, find an experienced interviewer, keep it short and include both open-ended and closed-ended questions.
The team of designers and analysts should carry out meaningful research before settling on a certain design. As you already know, time spent during research is never wasted. It goes a long way in improving current and future products too. This helps the team save money, time and a lot of resources. As such, selling your ideas to other clients is easier. Here at Borne, we work with several UX tools that allow us to track user behaviour and consumer interactions that allow us to best design for the consumer.
Data gathered from research needs to be analyzed in order to make sense. Through user analysis, the team is able to draw insights. Basically, they are able to capture, organize and make inferences about the users’ needs which helps UX designers to come with the best digital products for the market.
Thanks to user analysis, the team identifies key user groups. Using this infor
mation, they are able to create personas. These personas are fictional characters that help UX designers to figure out how users might use a digital product. Thanks to the creation of personas, UX designers understand the user’s goals. This is useful in ideation.
Designers should base the personas on real data. They should avoid using real names of people they know. Apart from personas, designers should create an empathy map, a tool that helps the team understand what users’ want and need.
Consider the why, what and how of product use
Before embarking on a project, UX designers always consider the why, what and how of product use. The “Why” is all about product adoption by the masses. How they relate to tasks they want to perform and the views associated with the use of the product.
The “What” is all about functionality – things users will do with the final digital product. Will they use the digital product to learn, to gain knowledge, to collaborate, to entertain or manage everyday tasks?
Finally, we have the “How.” This encompasses the design of functionality. By this we mean, the designer should focus on how accessible and aesthetic the digital product will be.
In product design, UX designers always begin with the “Why” before embarking on the “What” and the “How.” By following this process, the team is able to create aesthetically pleasing and functioning digital solutions that offer meaningful experiences. Basically, the designers should ensure that the app, software, and website offers a fluid experience.
Solve actual problems
There are tons of problems that digital solutions can solve. For instance, we need apps, websites, and blogs to disseminate information and news to the masses. To organize our daily schedules, we need to do list apps, calendar apps and note taking apps. When it comes to shopping for products, we need e-commerce websites and mobile apps. Finally, we have entertainment. Without apps and websites that enable us to stream, music, games, and videos, life would be dull.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. We need apps that allow us to do even simple things like keep time. To enhance usability and accessibility, UX design helps in the creation of aesthetic and intuitive interfaces and navigation. To achieve this, designers and mobile app designers spend hours building these products.
Convert simple operations into intuitive and aesthetic pleasing to the human eye
A lot of people imagine that UX design is all about dragging and dropping elements such as buttons, menus, color, and other elements. Yes, part of UX design is creating aesthetically pleasing interfaces for digital solutions. The other major part is largely about planning, research, analysis, and collaboration.
A vast majority of designers have been trained in internationally recognized institutions while others are self-taught. Thanks to the knowledge gained over a number of years, UX designers are proficient in combining beauty and functionality. And that is how they add value to digital solutions such as software, mobile apps, blogs, and websites.
User Engagement and Retention in UX Design -How to Achieve It
Upcoming designers always imagine that to attract and retain users on a mobile app, website, software or blog, the interface should be pretty. Well, that is not always the case. Take a website like Reddit. Even today when popular frameworks like Bootstrap and Material design feature on hundreds of blogs and websites, people still visit Reddit. Why? Simple layouts are still attractive.
So, what is the secret to user engagement in UX design? It is the experience itself. Users want to interact with an app or web platform on a simpler level. Yes, designers can incorporate colours, buttons, graphs, and menus but at the end of the day, what they want is to move from one page to the next with ease.
So, how can UX designers encourage user engagement? Here are a few techniques to achieve this
Use of UX Animation
Today, 2D animation plays a critical role in UX design. How? Different animations can be created to elicit a particular behaviour. For instance, when a user hovers over a button, it can change colour say from red to green to show its clickable. Another example is error messages. They can pop up on a screen and shake. This helps to draw the attention of the user. So, to ensure user engagement, UX designers should create realistic animations.
Simply the interface design
As a UX designer, what you need to know is that users hate jumping through hoops when interacting with your mobile app, blog, software or website. People are interested in the final result. To achieve this, they need to use the quickest and simplest method. That means when designing, you should build UX flowcharts for every page especially when sketching wireframes. Imagine this, your website or mobile app requires users to sign up. If locating the sign-up page is difficult, they will opt to use other apps that offer a better experience. To simplify your digital products, start researching UX designs.
The success of any digital product today and in the future will depend on better UX design. If you would like to find our more about how we employ design thinking and usability research into shaping our design decisions then get in touch.