UX Design or User Experience design is a phrase that has gained prominence since the dawn of the ‘app culture’. Increasingly, companies that create applications for any purpose have been dedicating a lot of time, energy, resources, and finances to developing a User Experience on their apps that hits home with their potential and current users.
But what does it take to actually understand, conceptualise and execute a UX that not only looks appealing but also makes the user come back to the app for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 400th time?
In this article we shall dive into a few qualities that a good UX designer must possess:
A thorough understanding of their user base.
Before a UX designer sets out to create a prototype of how the customer journey will be mapped, they need to have a thorough understanding of who they’re building for.
For instance; If you’re building for a market of tech enthusiasts, your UX language can mirror their level of knowledge, that is to say, you can create a slightly more complicated UX that resonates, even fascinates, people who have a bend in that direction.
However, if you’re building a UX for a larger market, which may not be that deeply ingratiated into the how’s and what’s of the tech ecosystem, the approach has to be very different. In that scenario, the UX has to be kept as basic as possible, without compromising how you want them to access and benefit from the app.
Build, Test, Change, Repeat.
Like anything else, a good UX designer has to ultimately rely on their gut feel, after all the theories have been perused. The good part about that is that you build with a certain perspective in mind. The bad part is that you’re probably wrong. But is it worth a shot: Absolutely!
Nobody will ever know what works and what doesn’t until they try and execute. This is where testing what you’ve built comes into the picture. First test with a sample group of people who resemble your TG, if the results are not up to your expectation, go back to the drawing board.
If the sample group feedback is encouraging, then deduce a plan to launch to your demographic. If it works, good. If it doesn’t, go back to the drawing board again. It’s a simple philosophy, but very hard to execute, because it requires you to put your emotions aside, which can be tough to do if it concerns something you built from scratch. It can be difficult to accept that it isn’t good enough.
What comes next is probably the most important aspect of building a UX, or anything really. Changing, what doesn’t work. Especially elements that you for sure thought would be absolute home runs. This is where it is critical to have an open mind, be receptive to feedback and listen to your users. It may lead you to tear down the best parts of the UX, but that’s just it, your user will very seldom resonate with your design philosophy of building a UX for them.
Understanding and Accepting Limitations.
One very understated aspect of being a good UX designer is to acknowledge that sometimes what you want to build is simply not feasible, no matter how path-breaking. People are always limited by the technology of their time, and this eats at individuals with amazing ideas because they aren’t able to execute what they envision.
This is where you need to accept that everything takes time. You may have the best UX concept ever visualised, but if people aren’t able to experience it the way they want to, then it’s not going to take off, or you’re going to have to change it to a more basic version of the UX you designed.
Being a good UX designer is as much about understanding people, as it is about understanding the technical aspects of the job. It is important to listen, articulate and absorb what people say, how they feel, and how they act.
It is the nature of people to be resistive to change, but therein lies the beauty of creating a good UX; you get a chance to change the way people think, feel and act. A good UX can expose people to ways of operating that they never thought could exist, and once you have a foot in that door, there is no limit to what you can offer them, and be all the better for it.
Remember, it’s about the User after all!