User Experience Design
User Experience Design (UXD) is one of those terms with multiple interpretations. To me, UXD is about everything from first impressions, to desirability, to usability. To engage a user and allow them to appreciate the experience of using a product or service, is a win. The real success story happens when they can't imagine life without it, and they keep coming back for more.To achieve this requires a deep dive into defining user needs and delivering a solution that answers them to the fullest extent.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. First impressions set the stage for the adventure to begin. Quality, integrity, simplicity....The list goes on. Those first impressions drive the user to want to learn more....
"I want it!" You know you have engaged a user when they declare that your product or service is a must have. You have tapped into an unmet need or an aspiration. Initial impressions and promises are the first steps of the journey. Continually delivering on those promises is what keeps them engaged and wanting more.
This is where the rubber hits the road. You know what your user wants....Now you have to make that solution usable. This step can make the difference between performing a task accurately and completely or not, and enjoying the process or being frustrated. Usability is about making tasks efficient, effective, understandable, and comfortable. It's about feeling like you are in control and on your game.
Defining User Needs
For any given product or service, there are multiple stakeholders. User needs are expressed and articulated to address the needs of those stakeholders. Here, the audiologist or medical professional has one set of needs related to use of the medical instrument utilized in a procedure. The patient has a complimentary and related set of needs associated with safety, comfort and successful outcome of that procedure. The needs may overlap, but the perspective may change. Both are intrinsic to the success of the product.
Defining user needs is the first step. Translating those needs into product concepts is what follows. By successfully translating defined user needs, we create a product or service that offers a more efficient, satisfying, and user-friendly experience for the user, which is likely to increase sales, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction.
Graphical User Interface (GUI) design is one aspect of usability. The right buttons with the right labels in the right place with the right layout and the least number of clicks to perform the right task. User needs research, task analysis, concept sketches, wireframes, workflows and iterative testing with customers ensure you hit the target.
Believe it or not, some products don't have a touchscreen. Each aspect and detail of the Margaritaville margarita maker played a key role in delivering the user experience. The authenticity of analog controls draw upon the retro and quality aspects of high end kitchen appliances. The user is in control and this increases the confidence that a quality outcome with be delivered.
Who does it fit?
When a product has to fit the human body, ergonomics and physiology are key considerations in user-centered design. Defining the range of users and then conceptualizing methods to accommodate the range within project requirements is an iterative process. While ergonomic charts provide a baseline, it is often the mock up and prototype process that provides the proof of concept.
Fitting Multiple Users and Contexts
Optimizing fit to one set of circumstances is a challenge. Sometimes, multiple contexts and complex scenarios are required. Exploring and understanding the parameters individually and finding the zones of overlap leads to baseline concepts that address user needs.
A Day in the Life....
Sketching the appearance of an idea is but one aspect of concept development. In user-centered design, defining all of the touch points associated with that object or service is what grounds that concept in reality. Here, "A Day in the Life" scenario explores the range of touch points including the physical packaging concept, shipping requirements, storage of that carton upon delivery to the customer, grip size of the user's hand, considering weight limits for that user and interaction with the product in context.
A product that considers and addresses the right user needs is targeted for success. A concept that works in the selected system of use provides an even more targeted user experience. Illustrating steps in a process is called storyboarding. These steps help define key interactions and drive product or service features. The final solution is truly user-centered and delivers a quality user experience.