We often hear about UX design, we see it everywhere on social networks and also in the latest job offers. But what does it mean? What is the purpose of UX design and who are these popular UX designers?
We're going to go over UX design with a fine-tooth comb to help you understand what it is and why it's important in our highly digital world.
In this article, I will use the term UX design all the time. But you should know that UX stands for "User eXperience". It is clear that, when we know what UX means, the meaning of UX design is more limpid.
The UX design includes all the work done on a website, an application or a connected object to satisfy the experience that the user has while browsing it. The idea behind UX design is to think about and design an intuitive user experience that is as simple as possible.
UX design is above all about emotions.
Everything must be done so that the user can navigate on an application or a site in a natural, clear and smooth way.
It is important to know that the UX contributes strongly to the development of a brand. Indeed, if the user likes it, he will make actions like buying a product, subscribing or contacting. And therefore, the conversion rate will increase. One thing leads to another and Google will see that users like the application in question. It will therefore enhance it and make it more visible.
Beware, in UX design, there is no code! UX design is done upstream, before developers start coding.
Did you know that? UX design does not only apply to the web! Think about Heinz Ketchup. To make ketchup bottles easier to use, the UX designer at Heinz thought of putting the cap down!
Do you know Donald Norman? You are reading an article about UX design and you don't know Donald Norman?! Don't panic, we're going to solve that 😉
We can also call Donald Norman, the father of UX. It is thanks to him that the term "user experience" was born. He is an American engineer with a degree from MIT who went on to teach cognitive science and founded the Institute for Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego. Then, in 1993, he worked at Apple as a user experience architect and was Apple's vice president for two years. After this experience at Apple, he founded the Nielsen Norman Group, which today publishes numerous studies about user experience and the many missteps we make in our daily lives.
By the way, isn't it thanks to Donald Norman that the UX in Apple's products is so advanced and polished? And that it is so easy to use an Apple product. Something to think about 🧐
Donald Norman is the creator of the idea that design must be centered on the human, but not only on the man-machine relationship, rather on the environment as a whole. We are more in a logic man + machine + sun = brightness of the screen which changes so that the content on the screen is readable.
Here is an example of user experience and intuitive use of an element and its correspondence in the web.
When you see a door with a handle, what will you intuitively do? 90% of people will pull the door. And why? Because the handle is there. If you remove the handle from a door then instinctively the human will push the door.
This experience is also done in the web. On an element, if you add a highlight or an underline to it, it means that it is a link. Without these distinguishing elements, the element will pass for a simple form or just text.
For those of you who are curious, here is a video from Donald Norman that shows us 3 ways that design can make us happy. You'll notice that this video is from 2009, but everything he says is still relevant today.
To explain things simply, UX is the functional while UI is the pretty. Well, I'm really simplifying things here, but at least everyone can see it.
UI design means User Interface and will allow to work on the interface that the user has in front of his eyes. Once the UX is established, the UI will bring the graphic touch by working on :
So, on one side, we have the UX that will anticipate the needs and expectations of the user and make the application intuitive and ergonomic. And on the other hand, we have the UI that will make everything look good by adding the right colors, the right typography, the attractive buttons and the visuals in the right places.
We can say that one does not go without the other because making a very ergonomic interface entirely thought for the user but which does not please, it does not work.
And making a very modern and beautiful application, but which goes in all directions and loses the user, it does not work either.
This first step consists of learning about the end user. This can take many forms such as an interview or a survey.
Once the need is defined, it's time to think about all the possible paths that the user can take. We then work with a lot of post-it notes, sketches and arrows to express the different paths. At this stage, teamwork can be very rich in proposals!
Again and again wireframes! A wireframe is a diagram that shows the location of texts, buttons, texts or visuals. The purpose of a wireframe is to show the main content and interaction areas of the site.
The creation of a clickable prototype will allow real users to test the work done by the UX and UI designer.
Once the tests have been carried out and the feedback from users has been inventoried, it is time to improve the product in an iterative way. That is to say, little by little, by having the users re-test regularly.
Once all these steps are done and the last user tests are conclusive, the development phase can begin.
The UX designer job is quite new and not well known. Many people equate this job to making wireframes and playing with post-it notes. Unfortunately, we forget the psychological study of the user, listening to his needs and also all the work to bring him satisfaction.
Today, out of all the job offers in UX design, only 10% really correspond to the job. What companies are looking for is often the "five-legged sheep" who will do UX, UI, graphic design, team building, cooking and coffee. Well, I'm exaggerating a bit, but it's to make you understand that today's job offers are not adapted. You always have to explain what a UX designer's job is so that people understand it.
As Malija explains to us so well, "When you're a UX designer, there are many jobs that gravitate around you like UI designer, developers, product manager and product manager."
Well, there is no UX designer degree as such. However, there are UX designer courses in art, graphic design or computer science schools. Personally, I think that the best way to learn a job is to practice it, in internship or apprenticeship.
And for those who are fond of online training, OpenClassrooms offers a very good training to become a UX designer. It covers all the basics of the job with real-life situations.
Here is a small non-exhaustive list of knowledge that a good UX designer must have:
Marketing knowledge will help sell the product better. It will help to know how to attract and convert the user.
Having some knowledge of graphic design can be useful to prepare the ground for the UI designer and also to prioritize the information.
The psychological and emphatic aspect helps to put oneself in the shoes of a user and to understand the negative feedback of testers.
Knowing the basics of development allows you to anticipate feedback from developers on the non feasibility of something.
The most important thing for a UX designer is to know how to listen to and understand user feedback during user testing. Whether they are positive or negative. And especially if they are negative! You have to know how to question yourself and change your mind if necessary. An idea is never completely finished, you can always improve it.
The salary of a UX designer will depend on his years of experience, but also on the company that will hire him and also on the city where the job is done. On average, here are the average annual salaries.
How important is the UX design for a website? For a website the UX design has an impact on the conversion rate, that is to say the number of users who will be converted to the product. It can be a purchase, a contact or a registration. Indeed, the users present on a website with a worked UX will better understand the messages and offers presented on the site. And, if the information is more readable, clearer and more understandable, then the user will take action.
UX design also has an impact on brand image. And yes, UX will help the user understand the psychology of the brand! The more the content displayed and the way it is displayed is worked and relevant, the more the brand image will be impactful.
Before going into the list of essential points to optimize a website, we must know how to proceed. First, you need to know how to analyze a site and find the UX flaws. Then, you have to improve the existing site and finally study the figures of the site to find new features to add.
Knowing the needs of its users
Create simple and clear content
Create and respect an information hierarchy
Add calls to action on pages
Have an ultra-fast loading speed
Have a responsive site that fits everywhere
Add visuals to aid understanding
Add visuals to aid understandingDisplay clear and intuitive error messages
Optimize navigation to make it simple
For this audit, we will visit the Withings website. This e-commerce offers watches, scales and other everyday objects for purchase. All the objects sold by Withings are connected objects to follow your health.
Computer loading speed
Mobile loading speed
At Apple, when a user wants to buy a product, he can personalize it. But, in order not to overwhelm the user with a lot of questions, Apple has worked on the UX of the product sheet so that the personalization is done in steps.
In order, we have:
And, if the customization requires an additional cost, the price is listed right next to the customization.
On the Amazon application, you can buy a product even faster! You don't even have to go through the shopping cart anymore. Now, with a slide of the finger, you can place an order. The user has even less steps to buy his product. For impulse purchases, it's perfect. The user can buy a product in less than a minute. The usual delivery and payment information is pre-registered, so the user has nothing to do.
Django documentation is a very good example of UX. Indeed, it is designed to be convenient to use and to give information in very few clicks. The people who go to this documentation are developers who don't have time to read multiple pages to get the information.
All categories are arranged and sorted on the home page. Once you have found what you are looking for on the home page, you will be taken to a detail page. On the right side there is a very detailed summary and a search field. Then, at the bottom of the page you will find some very practical data:
Important elements of the page such as notes or code are highlighted to be clearly distinguished from the rest of the page.
When you go on Air BnB to book a stay or an activity, the user experience is totally successful. Once you have entered a destination and an arrival date, you are taken to a page with a map. On this map, you can see all the available accommodations and their prices. A great option allows you to drag the map to another city or another country and associate a search for accommodation.
From the search page, we have :
Then, when you choose a property, you can book your rental or change the dates depending on the availability of the property.
For this travel site in Finnish Lapland, there is a work on the user experience extremely visible. Indeed, depending on the user's preferences, the website will not be displayed in the same way. For users who have set their computer or phone to dark mode then, the website will display in dark mode. And, if they have the basic settings, then the website will display in light mode.
Another user satisfaction is present on this website. When paying for the reservation, the payment page will adapt according to the user's location. That is, if the user is in the United States, then the page will be displayed in English and in dollar currency.
When a user wants to create an account on Qonto, he has several steps to go through and fields to fill in. Well, when I say several, I mean less than 10!
The fields are clearly described, so the user is not lost, there are no technical terms, no long text. Everything is done so that the user reads quickly, understands quickly and goes quickly to the next step.
Instant messaging is also triggered to indicate to the user that he can ask for help if he gets stuck.
As you may have noticed in this article, UX design is omnipresent in our daily life, as much on a ketchup bottle as on a website. Still too little known by companies and the general public, UX design is becoming more and more thoughtful.
And, if we listen to Donald Norman, we need to rethink our current UX logic by thinking more globally. By making better use of materials and thinking about their second life cycle, everyday objects can be functional longer, can be repaired better and can be recycled more easily. UX also helps to preserve our Planet.
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