How To Ensure Intuitive and Effective UX Design
Written By Jessi Jennings, Creative Content Producer
User experience (UX) design is the process of creating meaningful interactions between a user and a website or product (Interaction Design Foundation). One interpretation or definition of meaningful interactions is for the user to complete a desired action from the product or website. For a non-profit organization, this could mean finding the “about us” tab or the “donate” button. For a music streaming service, this could mean creating a new playlist and adding songs to their queue. In order for the user to complete actions that the brand desires, the UX design must put users first and understand the needs of their users.
Companies create content, websites, and products for their target audience. Although this may seem like a self-explanatory point, it is the most fundamental principle of UX design: Everything that is curated for the user should be focused on the users' preferences and opinions, regardless of what the creator wants. Truly effective UX design, as a result, should include user testing and extensive research to analyze the target audience's opinions, pain points, weaknesses, wants, and needs (JUSTINMIND). However, putting the user first has its difficulties, such as misinterpreting and engaging in harmful stereotypes. It is important to recognize that, in any industry or job, mistakes can, and will, be made and to try to be as informed as possible to try to catch these mistakes before they are exposed to the users. UX design begins and ends with the user, with research, understanding, and empathy playing a significant role.
Also relating to the users, it is also critical to understand the context in which users will be accessing the product. The context can include the device on which the product is being accessed, the time of day, the physical location of the user, their needs and current emotional state (99designs). Similar to their personal needs, wants, opinions, and so on, their environment and their correlating relationship need to be deeply considered to create an effective and intuitive product for the user. Not only does the context need to be identified by the UX designer, but also needs to be provided to the user. Adding detail and clear explanations to a product can minimize the number of user errors and misinterpretations. Although users are becoming increasingly intuitive with technology, providing tutorials or clear directions to fill out an online document can help to address and minimize the amount of conflict with a product. Context helps to identify possible problems that a user might face and provide solutions before the user encounters them.
Putting the user first and considering the context of the user are just two of many principles of UX design. For example, understanding consistency, prioritizing usability, and instilling visual hierarchy are just as crucial. It is important to remember, however, that the user comes first Catering to the needs of the intended audience through extensive research and
understanding can help solve possible user errors, allowing for more intuitive and effective design.