Since taking some user experience (UX) design courses with Google, I’ve been trying to learn more about how people interact with websites and apps. I read an article on techjury.com that said that 52% of users wouldn’t return to a website if the aesthetics are bad, and 53% of mobile users left apps after only 3 seconds.
Developing my growth mindset is something I’m interested in, so I’ve been doing a lot of things, like learning a new skill to help me grow. You can read about five activities that can help you develop a growth mindset in my post “5 Growth Mindset Activities For Your 30s”.
You can read more of my posts on the UX industry here if you’re interested in learning more.
In this blog post, I will break down the fundamentals of UX design and how you can develop innovative solutions for users accessing the internet for the first time.
I spent the first month of the course learning the fundamentals of UX Design and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you. I got a better understanding of the principles, the stages of the design process, and the kinds of jobs available within UX Design.
To keep it simple UX design is the process design teams use to come up with a product that meets the user’s needs and goals. As a UX designer, your design is based on how the user thinks and feels. It’s about the user and not you as a designer so keep the end-user (the person actually using the product) in mind at all times.
The main goal of UX design is to create a design that solves the user’s problem; more people are gaining access to the internet, and face challenges ranging from different levels of digital literacy, limited accessibility, disabilities, use of older technology, or slow internet speeds. These are all issues that need a design solution.
What Makes A Good UX Design?
A good design is one that the user finds enjoyable and should have the following:
- It will be easy to use for both beginner and advanced users
- it’s the solution they were looking for
- The user understands the language. Fancy jargon is not recommended.
- The user can easily find the information they are looking for
- The user finds the design valuable
If all these things are in place your user is likely to engage with your will product long term.
A great example used in the course was the design of glass ketchup bottles. Remember how challenging it was smacking the bottom of the ketchup bottle? You either got a glob of ketchup or not enough. That was until they change the design the bottle from glass to a plastic squeezable bottle, giving you better control over the amount of ketchup.
The Design Process
UX Design is a collaborative effort, it takes a team of people with different perspectives and in different areas of the design process to take an idea and make it into a product like an app.
The five stages of the product development lifecycle are:
- Brainstorm– Think of this as the discovery stage. You’re coming up with ideas about the user and their potential needs that need solutions. The user’s needs or challenges will be determined by the research collected from surveys, interviews or focus groups.
- Define– This is where you take all the information you learned during your brainstorming session to identify the specific problem. Once you have narrowed down the problem you want to create a design that solves it. You begin thinking about who the design is for, the features needed and what the product will do.
- Design– The designer begins working on ideas that are realistic to the user. You will create a storyboard depicting what you think the user’s experience will be like. Sketches and wireframes ( the outline of your layout) will be done during this stage.
- Test– You will test your first prototype or early model with users and use their feedback to improve your design. The testing phase can happen multiple times until your design successfully meets the needs of the end-user.
- Launch– Your final product is out in the market! Keep in mind that you may still receive feedback after the product has launched. This feedback could give you a better idea about the experience the user is having or simply enhance the original design.
Working as a UX Designer
As an entry-level UX designer, it’s essential to know that your responsibilities can vary depending on the company and its size. More prominent companies typically have larger design teams equipped to cover each phase of the design process, whereas smaller companies may not, so you may have more tasks. This isn’t necessarily bad because it’s an opportunity to learn more.
You can enter the UX Design industry as a General UX designer, T-shape designer, or Specialist. As a Generalist, you may have a lot of responsibilities in the design process because you are knowledgeable in different areas of design. Specialists, only focused on one area of the UX Design. That means that you’re very knowledgeable in either interaction design, visual design, or motion design. ( I’ll break those down further in another post) T-shaped designers are designers who also specialize in one specific area of the user experience and possess other skills that make them a stronger designer. Think of this as a combination of a general and specialist designer.
The longer you’re in the field the more you learn and will develop new skills.
Understanding the basics of UX design will help you create products and designs that people actually benefit from. As the digital space rapidly grows so does the need for UX designers. This is a space that focuses on the users needs and goals which will require teamwork. Everyone’s role is equally important because their diverse backgrounds and skills bring insight to design solutions in a way you won’t find working alone.
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