User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are two very important aspects of products and services, but are very different from each other. UI makes up the product – visual elements, buttons, website pages, or anything that someone would interact with. UX is how someone goes about using your product or service and how they feel using it. While UX and UI are different aspects, they go hand in hand with each other so as you work on one, you should always be thinking of the other.
UI should constantly change as you improve your product or service. The easiest example is how an iPhone has changed from their first one to the current version. As each prototype has been developed, Apple thought of the end user and listened to changes that needed to be made. Think of how many settings and buttons we have now on an iPhone. Apple simplified the charger and headphone jack to one hole, eliminated a button being on the screen at all, added portrait mode on the camera, created face identification, and more.
Your product or service can always be improved as UI has limitless opportunities to improve upon. If you’re the UI designer, here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
1. What feedback does the user receive as they perform functions?
If a user submits a wrong password, do they get a notification? When a user
hovers over a button, does it change color when it’s over it or clicked? Think
about loading screens and what a user sees as the page loads.
2. Can these functions be reversed if there are errors?
Think about when you empty the recycling bin or trash can on your computer.
Does the user get a notification before something permanent happens or is
there a way to reverse their mistake if they do?
3. Is the design simple enough that any person could perform the function?
Think about the newest person to use your product or service. Can they easily
figure out functions of your product or service?
4. Have I created enough prototypes before choosing a final design?
Just like in writing, you always have a first draft. From there, you have a second
draft, an editing process, a final review process, and then a final write-up. This
should be your same process when developing a prototype.
5. Have I included my end user in all testing of the design before launching?
Have an open line of communication with your end user. Set up focus groups,
interviews, and send out surveys.
UX makes or breaks a product because you could have great UI, but if it’s not a good experience or easy to use, the user will become frustrated with the product or service. Let’s use the iPhone example again. From the point of purchasing a phone, to setting up your new phone, logging in to applications, sending a text, and more, this is all part of UX design. Similar to UI, there are some important questions to ask yourself when designing a product or service:
1. Who is our end user?
Include their age, demographics, needs, goals, and what they want while using
2. What problem are they trying to solve?
This is a good place to start when talking with your end user. Find out if there
was a competitor that wasn’t solving a need properly or if this a new problem.
3. How will our design help them solve their problem?
Research with the end user on how they are temporarily solving their problem
and what the simplest way would be for you to solve it for them.
4. Which platform are we designing for?
Think about whether this is for Apple or Android, a certain website platform, etc.
5. How do we do all of this better than our competitors?
Determine who your competitors are, how they are solving the problem, and any
lessons you can learn from their experience.
Just like with UI, it’s very important to include the end user on UX testing as well. Never design a product or service based on what you think the end user needs or wants. Always include them in testing especially after each iteration of a product. When developing a product or service, be sure to include a system to receive feedback from customers.
UX and UI never end. Launching a new product or service will never be perfect, but it’s important to get a version out so you can quickly make changes and improve. Apple
December 22, 2018