UX design: what is it and why it has a crucial role in your business
In another way, it’s a “user first” mindset - how to enhance and improve the user’s satisfaction with your product. What does it mean for your business? Higher conversion rates of course! By improving the application and making it more user-friendly, you are also developing the results - getting more customers and keeping those who have already come into any kind of interaction with your app/website. There are many aspects of the product to which it could apply: accessibility, usability and so on. It is not only the strategy, the content, wireframing and prototyping but mostly skyrocketing the performance of the application or the website by improving processes and making it more efficient. Then comes the execution part together with testing and analytics. Of course, UX designer has to cooperate with a web developer (or a dev team in general) and UI designer to make it real. All of this to connect two worlds: business needs and user’s needs. Deep insights about the process and UX services you can find in the interview with Maria Borowy - an experienced UX designer.
As you might understand, UX design is a machine that needs a lot of cogs to work properly. This is when the project manager/SCRUM master comes in - something that you can get in a software house and makes easier the whole process of creating the app of your dreams. Moreover, the UX is going to be one of the main aspects when it comes to your… success. If your app isn't intuitive, based on responsive design and user-friendly in every possible way, your future customers will simply find an easier solution. Unfortunately, it means - your competition. Even if the service or application is not business oriented, you still are creating something that could either represent you (or organization, event or whatever you want to show to people) or be useful for others. Then making the user experience pleasant is the goal in each case.
UX and UI - what is the difference and why do you need both?
We have discussed UX design before; now it’s time to talk about User Interface (UI or GUI). Even if they are quite different, they strongly depend on each other. Imagine that UX would be a frame of a painting but without the actual painting doesn’t really complete its purpose. On the other hand, UI designer without a UX would be like a painter throwing oil on canvas without a particular structure or goal, just wishing that it would work.
User Interface design is, simply put, about the look and this delightful feel you get while using an app or a service. Aesthetically pleasant while making user’s interaction simple equals great UI design that automatically makes the whole UX better.
Are there more roles to make the UX for your web app work? Oh yes!
No matter if you have a small or more complex project, you need a team to work on it, of course, it all depends on the scale of the project, but there are few essential positions that should be covered in following areas: UX and UI, Development, Business and Data Analytics.
If until now you thought, that to make a successful app, it is enough to find a developer and ask a friend to create simple graphics - well, unfortunately, this might not work anymore. The web environment is highly competitive due to a huge amount of content and future possibilities - this means, that you need to do much more to be noticed.
The process of creating a proper UX service
You can either find a freelancer or a UX agency to prepare the project and afterwards hire a developer to write the code and implement guidelines, or find a software house which takes care of both. How does the process look like? Well, depending on the project, the process might be flexible, but there are core elements which cannot be omitted.
Defining a problem and final users is the key to success. Who will use the product, where are they from, where to find them, how is the product going to help them and how is it going to be used - just a few questions to mention. Research needs great communication between the team members working on the project, so everyone is on the same page without false assumptions.
Here is where the whole team kicks in with its skills to fully understand the project and work on it together from scratch. It is important to get the idea that not only the Project Manager owns the product - everyone in the team does, and it is a collaborative work. You might think that creating Scenario Maps for each user story and user flows is time-consuming, but in the long run it is saving it and not allowing confusions and misunderstandings to rain on project’s parade.
Design and development
Now it’s the time for some real fun! Visual impressions about the product boost the motivation and design explorations. While UX is the whole package, UI is about beauty - but both should stay very close with each other. Having it consistent and based on agreed guidelines it is time for delivery to developers. The communicative approach and building a share-understanding environment between UX/UI designers and developers is a way to go. Even the most beautiful and creative UI won’t do much if you can’t present the vision, explain it and work on it together with the dev team. Also, experienced developers will know in a breeze what can be done and what is a no-no in the web application world.
The first version of the application is ready, what now? Let’s see what users say! Design validation is extremely important because by using analytic tools, we can understand how users interact with the product and estimate if the goal can be reached. If not, what is wrong? Based on this data the team will find solutions and recommend improvements in the design - in the end, the whole product to be tailor-made for users and business purposes.
The team of specialists
To make it real in the simplest version and launch an MVP or MMP of your product to then work on it even more… you need a full team of specialists. People working on a final project, which is not only some lines of code but a full and ready to use a product, have to communicate well through the process.
We have discussed the UX and UI designer roles, but you might also need a UX Researcher (often covered by the UX Designer competences). Another role that appears more and more often is a UX Writer or Content Designer. We all know that content is the king on the web so it definitely should support the visual aspect of your app. Additionally, creating a website, service or an app that works well also for people with disabilities, benefits everyone - this is where not only the UX designer comes in but also the Content Designer. If your content is not only appealing but also described well, it makes it way easier for a screen reading software to deal with it. Of course, this is not the only way that the accessibility could be enhanced but just a reminder that shaping the web in the way that all of us can use it is the way to go.
Let’s move to the team that makes it alive: engineers! Front-end, back-end, mobile devs… yes, you need them all. What follows is the Quality Assurance team, which will test, try to crush, destroy and find all the weak points of the app - before is going to be launched. As you might see, there are many roles to be played in the process of creating an app and a well designed UX service. Without a strategy and someone that could lead the team, the project is bound to fail. In software companies (as well as in advertising agencies, corporations etc.) there is a special position called a project/product manager, and yes, that’s a huge responsibility. If you want your product to be delivered on time, within budget and be happy with the result, it’s in the manager’s hands to make your wish come true.
Moreover, the majority of tech companies and software houses have a particular way to deal with projects and manage time and the work that has to be done. Those which are considered to have an Agile approach usually use SCRUM at the workplace.
This is something that you definitely can’t get if you are not keeping your UX in one software house. There are quite many tasks and roles that need to work very closely with each other, or it is likely to… fail.
Communication is the key
Of course, you might want to try and find independent freelancers or other software house and ask for each part of the app to be made by another person/team. However, if you have in mind time and budget principals, having one software house is not only a wiser choice but also a less stressful experience for you. There are many aspects that should be taken into consideration, and most likely a well-shaped team with proper teamwork ethics will guarantee you quality solutions.