A high executive from Microsoft was once bragging to Steve Jobs at a family function about how Microsoft was going to rule the world with their tablets and stylus pens, and that Apple should just license it. Jobs hated this person passionately, and he lost his patience at this conversation.
During this period Apple had developed a prototype of an Ipad on which you could move photos with your fingers. Steve approached Scott Forstall, former head of iOS, and asked,
“Do you think you could take that demo that we’re doing with the tablet and the multi-touch and shrink it down to something small enough to fit in your pocket?”
When the design team presented a prototype of a phone, Steve said, “put the tablet on hold, let’s build a phone.”
And that’s how the iPhone came into the picture.
Steve Jobs hated styluses. He knew the importance of user experience which, in this situation, dictated that the users didn’t need a stylus but an easy to use the phone.
Below is a beginner’s guide to user experience and its use in design.
User experience, commonly known as UX, is a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system, or service. It is the pattern of interaction between humans and computers when it comes to digital products.
If the user expects an easy and fun way to achieve the goals through your product, the UX design delivers this easy and fun experience.
UX DESIGN IS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN THE PAIN POINTS THAT USERS EXPERIENCE WITH AVAILABLE SOLUTIONS AND GOALS THAT THE NEW SOLUTION AIMS TO SOLVE.
The UX Design can be summarised into 6 steps:
1. Analyzing Data: User-centric design is based on data. The data collected from user observation leads you from understanding their pain points to ideating a product that will solve those pain points.
There are two types of user data:
1.Quantitative: Quantitative data tells you what is happening. The sources of quantitative data are page views, click rates, session duration, conversion rates, bounce rates, etc.
2.Qualitative: Qualitative data tells you why something is happening. The sources can be user interviews, observing users performing the activity that you care about, surveys, reviews, etc.
Quantitative data tells you where your users are struggling, while qualitative data tells you why they are struggling.
2. Creating Personas: Personas give you a clear picture of who your users are and what are their pain points. They allow the entire team to get on the same page and develop and deliver to the people with similar attributes.
“Personas are imaginary yet realistic and detailed descriptions of the users of your product.”
– Chriss Nodder.
When you are creating personas for your product/service you are describing your target user in as much detail as possible. These descriptions include likes-dislikes, user quotes, needs, pain points, goals, etc.
3. Ideation: After chalking down personas and their pain points it’s time to get creative. Ideation is the process of coming up with the best possible solutions for user pain points. Ideation should involve no restrictions.
“Ideation is when building castles in the air is considered as talent.”
– Jason Ho
4.Storyboarding: Describing how you expect users to complete their task is the first step to develop a software solution to the problems you identified. Storyboards help you convert these expectations into stories.
If the user is the main character of your novel, your product is the user’s magic lamp, and the storyboard is the novel.
Storyboarding puts the restriction-free ideation process to check in the real world. It ensures that the solution you design will be buildable by your team and desirable by users.
5. Prototyping: Once the ideation and storyboarding processes are completed the team moves on to prototyping. A prototype is a mockup of the solution that the team desires to offer the users to achieve its goals.
The 2 steps in Prototyping are
1.Paper Prototype: A paper prototype is your product’s mockup and functionality from beginning to end on a piece of paper.
“The less cost you sink into a prototype the less concern you’ll have about throwing it out and starting again if you get things wrong.”
– Chriss Nodder
2. Interactive Prototype: Based on the finalized paper prototype, an interactive prototype is designed to demonstrate how the product interaction might work and look like. Consider this to be the beta version of your product.
Background: What was tested, the environment under which testing was conducted, and who conducted the tests?
Methods of Testing: What activities did you ask the users to perform, what questions did you ask, what data did you collect, subtle observations?
Test Results: The quantitative and qualitative data collected, user quotes, user actions, etc. The intent here is to understand whether the product has negated all the previous pain points and helps the user to achieve the goals that they intend to achieve.
Further Recommendations: Based on the above test results what changes do you recommend and how will that alter the user experience.
Remember user-centric design is a result of teamwork and cannot happen in isolation. And, the entire team’s focus is to prioritize, not what feels good to them, but the user.
“People ignore design that ignores people.”
– Frank Chimero
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