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Why digital projects should always begin with user experience design

Want to give digital and data projects the best chance at succeeding? User experience design will go a long way in ensuring that happens. From what user experience design is to knowing how to convince a skeptic of its value, this article gives a good overview on the subject.
Michael Howard

What makes a digital platform most memorable to you? It’s likely good branding and design is what first caught your attention, but it’s the actual experience of using a piece of technology (for example an app or a website) that actually won you over - and kept you coming back.

Memorable and successful engagements with technology come down to good user experience (UX) design, the value of which shouldn’t be underestimated.

 

What is user experience design?

There is a common misconception that UX design is to simply understand what looks good. Instead, UX design is a process that design teams go through to identify the most meaningful and relevant experience for users. It goes beyond the visual interface design of the product, to also include usability and function.

UX is multidisciplinary and doesn’t just sit with designers. It also brings together engineers and developers, marketers, business analysts, customer support and other business functions who can each contribute their expertise and perspective. On top of this, UX design includes customers, previous customers, and potential customers too, all of who can provide differing perspectives and unique insights.

UX design can cover things like:

  • Signing up, onboarding, or using a product for the first time
  • Upgrading or purchasing products
  • Education and learning how to use platforms
  • Tech support
  • Customer support

 

Why start with user experience design?

Good UX is defined by the ease of the user journey, and its effectiveness in achieving the best outcome for your business. In other words, it’s about delivering the most useful, intuitive and delightful platform for your customers to interact with, so that they see value in what you have to offer.

UX design considers user research - their motivations and the problems they’re trying to solve - first. By prioritising these factors, you can create positive experiences that give users confidence and keep them loyal to your brand.

 

Let insights lead the way

The biggest factor for success in UX-led design is keeping your user at the centre of the design process. This starts by understanding who they are, and defining user personas and use cases. UX design can’t rely on intuition and experience; it takes research.

To truly get inside the minds of your users, it’s best to take a two-pronged approach.

Firstly, listen to your customers. Conduct both contextual and individual interviews, brainstorming sessions, observe behaviour and offer online surveys that give you the insights you need into their desires and objectives.

Secondly, use the power of data to discover and understand trends and patterns, reveal otherwise untapped opportunities, and improve the performance of existing product features.

The most important thing that UX design research avoids is assumptions. Using information from both quantitative and qualitative research, you’re able to build out very accurate representations of end users as personas. Having personas then allows you to ‘humanise’ the project, and consistently keep the customer at the centre of everything you do.

 

How to sell UX design to a skeptic

With an understanding of UX, it’s not hard to see the valuable contribution it makes to the success of a digital product. However, for many organisations, UX design potentially sounds like yet another layer of process (and expense) they could do without.

To prove the value of research and design, a good place to start is with a design sprint. It’s a framework for quickly making progress and decisions with reliable insights for a business case. It is a process that spans a week, rather than months, which you get something tangible as a result. It is, therefore, a smaller investment of both time and finances, but still allows you to:

  • Understand real customer needs
  • Remove assumptions and risks
  • Break big decisions down into smaller ones to tackle incrementally
  • Save time by getting real insights in as quickly as five days
  • Make decisions based on test data
  • Produce something real you can show to your customers and your business

 

Could your business benefit from UX design expertise?

Software design isn’t about data and screens - it’s about UX design, making things that work beautifully for the real people who use and value your business. At Jade, our process is design-led and fuels great ideas and turns them into software that people love to use. If you’re keen to create something that can really disrupt the market, get in touch, and ask us about our user experience workshops.



Want to talk to us about about UX design? Leave us a note.



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