What is UX?
The ISO definition is "a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service".
In simple terms it means that we should strive to ensure that the user has the best experience possible when using our product (e.g. website). User Experience Design is the process used to get as close to this ideal as possible.
UXD encompasses the following:
- Visual Design
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- Usability (including Accessibility)
- Human-Computer Interaction
Some of the design stages/outputs are:
- Site audit (of an existing site perceived to require an update/redesign)
- Establishing flows and navigation maps
- Analysing user stories and case scenarios
- Evaluating the type of user you wish to attract and developing personas (fictitious users for testing various case scenarios)
- Site maps
- Prototypes for testing interactions
- Visual designs and style guides
Sometimes a project will not require the full UXD process and undertaking an audit and some simple usability testing might reveal that an adjustment to some of the user interactions on the site (usability) is all that is required, rather than a full redesign and/or rebuild. Obviously this can save a considerable amount of money in avoiding unnecessary work.
A positive user experience of your site/ application can have considerable benefits as people will tell others about it, either on social platforms, in person or by reviews and testimonials and word of mouth is the very best recommendation a business can have. Undertaking a UXD approach can therefore lead to real rewards for any business!
UXD is a very detailed subject and the above only scratches the surface but hopefully we've given you enough of an idea as to why we support using this process and recommend our clients adopt this approach.
Responsive Web Design
The rapid adoption of mobile devices as a means for interacting online has lead to the need for all online projects to consider how the content will be viewed and develop strategies to address this. Long gone are the days of one size fits all.
At Tapit we only work with responsiveness in mind and encourage our clients to do so too. It is a false economy now to build a fixed size 'desktop' site and expect visitors to have a less than optimal experience on smaller devices.
For us, an essential part of the analysis process is to determine who the user will be, how they might access the content and what their motivation will be for doing so (see UXD above).
These findings become the bedrock for content strategy, design and development of any solution.
Creating the product
Design and development is now much more of an iterative and collaborative process, engaging the visual, technical and client parties throughout. No longer do you as a client have to wait until the project is finished before you see any more than a static Photoshop mockup of a web page (visual design).
We believe that it is so important that everyone involved in trying to reach a solution gets to play with any 'product' as early as possible, as this can often help to consolidate thinking and in some cases has actually resulted in the project taking a completely different path to that originally envisaged by the client.
Working prototypes are also a great way of enabling early User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and Usability testing, helping ensure that the final visual design and user interface (UI) provides an optimal experience.
Monitoring and reviewing performance
The process does not stop with the delivery of the actual completed product, as we then use analytics to monitor the product post launch and evaluate any potential enhancements. User testing is always only a sample group and success of any solution can only be fully evaluated once it is released for use by the intended audience.