UX Design – Part I
What is UX?
The term User Experience (UX) has been introduced for the first time in the well-known book called “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman. User experience is the common term to design activity, emotion and reaction of a person when interacting with a product, service or space.
Experience: Think about the last time you came to the cinema. During 2-3 hours of the movie, you were attracted by the movie, the plot and especially the emotion of leading characters. When the leading character hear a strange noise in middle of the night and open the door, suddenly you become nervous. When the leading character cries, you also feel sad and sometimes you even want to cry. When a character acts something fool, you laugh. When the movie reaches its end, you feel like you just acquire something: You should cherish you own life? You should treat your family better? Or you simply feel relaxing.
No matter what are those feelings, you just experienced a movie.
However, UX reaches beyond the plot of that movie. Do you feel comfortable with the chair? Is the volume too loud or enough to enjoy? Is the theater dark enough? Are people around you silent or do they make noises that irritate you? At a higher level, UX doesn’t start when you enter the cinema. When you just come inside the theater, do the staff welcome you? They open the door and help you reach to the ticket counter. On the ticket counter, there are big boards with banner, poster and character from the films. The yellow light makes you feel warm and delightful.
Those things will create an ecosystem for the experience of users.
Is UX important?
You may think these factors are nonsense. When entering the cinema, you never pay attention to whether the light color is white or yellow, or whether the color of the staff’s uniform is. It doesn’t matter whether where the counter is either. Turning off the light when the movie starts is obvious. You never face the problem when the person in front of you overlay your vision.
A sentence is well-known in UX is: “You know the UX is good when the users don’t think about it.” Let’s compare between watching TV at home and in the cinema. When the movie starts, and some of you gather in front of a pretty small screen. Five minutes after the beginning of the movie, someone says that you should turn off the light, someone else complains that the volume is too low, even when you turn to the highest level. Ten minutes later, someone is hungry and go to the kitchen to find something to eat. After a half of the movie, a cellphone rings and later, you can’t even hear anything because people in your house is talking too loud. Before and after the movie, you don’t have the excitement “I’m watching a movie”. When you’re in the cinema, those problems just disappear and you just need to “feel the movie”.
UX and UX design reach beyond the movie, or at the moment, it is website, application, technology products that exist and those things are undeniably applied in almost every domains of life: Shopping in the supermarket, microwave, TV, banking services.
What makes a good experience?
A good experience consists of many different factors, but at the end of the day, the measurement of a good experience based on 2 criteria:
- Users can do effectively what they want
Does that experience express clearly what users have to do (such as buying things, completing registration process, searching for information, etc.)? How long does it take for those activities? The rate of person who can achieve that activity? How many taps or clicks do users have to perform? Are new features easy to understand and remember?
- Users are satisfactory with the experience
The effectiveness is only a piece of the big picture about experience. Not only effectiveness and usability, every single experience brings some emotion to users. Positive emotions are the happiness after quickly completing the task or even the confidence when others love the profile or product. Negative emotions are the irritation when users don’t know where to click, where to go or everything remains unchanged.
UX design in IT
Website and applications have become more and more complicated with the development of technology and new methodologies. One-way communication environment developed into diversified experiences with high interaction. However, even when there are many changes in the process of building, the success of a website will focus on only one thing: how to give users best experiences. “Does this website brings me any value? Is this easy to use? Do I feel comfortable when using this?” These questions are maybe the first thing that appear in customer’s mind when they interact with our products, and that is the base to consider if a customer will constantly use the website or the applications. UX must try to make the customers answer “Yes” for every single question as above.
Although the notion about UX always exists, when UX and UX Design become a crucial domain in IT, this term describes a process and a way of thinking to research and develop products.
This procedure consists of huge stages as below:
- Research to understand the users
- Bring out concepts and solutions that can be commercialized to solve the problem of users.
- Design this solution
- Bring this solutions into reality and measure the effectiveness
- Enhance products based on the observation and the measurement