The User-Centered Approach: How UX Design is Changing the Game for Modern Businesses
UX design is actually changing the game for businesses these days. Every single touchpoint that users have with your brand contributes to the overall user experience (UX). It can be the landing page of the website, the subscription, every feature of your product or service.
Let’s first of all understand what UX design is!
What is UX design?
UX design includes all the elements that determine what interaction the user has with a specific product or service.
How do these elements make the end-user feel?
How easy is it for them to accomplish the tasks?
People often use the terms UX and UI interchangeably, but there is a big difference between them. We have touched upon the differences between UI and UX design.
Now let’s focus on UX design. It helps us use the products and services in the easiest and most efficient way. It can guarantee the success of a brand and, in the worst case, ruin it. UX design can be about how the product feels in your hands or how easy the online buying process is.
UX designers bridge the customer and the brand. They combine market research, product development, and design to create a great user experience.
The UX design should:
- Meet the users’ needsThis means that whatever the user came for, they should reach that outcome in any case. For example, if the person orders food, s/he expects it to be delivered in a certain amount of time. You should try to cope with that.
- Be easy to understand and useThis means that whatever the user is searching for, it must be easy to find. The user should not spend too much time looking for something s/he needs. It should be easy to learn what to do while using the product or service. Even if s/he has never used it, the steps should be easy to follow.
- Give the user control and freedomControl and freedom are important in case the user changes his/her mind and wants something else. It should be easy to control and make the necessary changes.
- Delight or surprise the userThis step is quite important in any case – whether something has gone wrong or not. Try to delight your users, put some extra effort into that. For example, if you are delivering dessert, add an extra piece of cake, or put a warm greeting note.
5 basic steps of UX design
Let’s look at 5 main steps that are important for UX design.
Step #1 Understand
Try to understand the user’s needs and goals. Ask yourself: What is their motivation? You do not want to do something just because you like it that way. It is important to understand the way end users look at things. Whenever you understand it, you are one step closer to your goal: a great user experience.
Do some user research and identify their goals and pain points. We have already talked about the 5 Most Popular UX Research Methods (https://bdg.am/en/blog/design/ux-research-methods/) before. You can use any of them and draw up detailed user personas to keep the UX design focused on users. You can also do some market research in order to see what similar products are on the market. Identify all the opportunities to differentiate your product based on the user experience. You may also dig deeper into history. Use previous iterations to make better future design decisions.
Step #2 Analyze and create a prototype
Try to analyze and interpret the data provided by the users. Do deeper research in a clear direction. Data analytics would be a great tool here.
After the analysis stage, create a prototype and wireframe of the product. See how the product will look visually and how the user will appear from one “place” to another.
The prototype will be considered your minimum viable product. Users can test it and give some feedback.
Step #3 Ideate
Many users face some problems. Here, the most important thing is to understand their problems and try to solve them. Solving them would not be enough. You should try to solve them in the most efficient way. In this stage, you identify the existing or potential problems with the product. For example, a confusing UX design, features people show no interest in, any user actions that create friction, etc.
Step #4 Validate
In the “Validate” phase, you again start looking at what other people might think about this or that issue. When you have the results of testing you will refine your prototype and make the necessary changes. Once your product is ready, you can launch it. Launching is often done in stages. For example, it can be launched in a “soft” version. It means that it is released to only a small group of people to get additional user feedback. After that, when everything seems ideal, the main launch process can be started.
Step #5 Iterate
All the above-mentioned phases should be repeated. The designer should try to continuously improve the quality of the product or service. More testing follows the launch process. In the iterative process, the team will continue making changes and updates to the product. After that, they will closely monitor how the changes affect the product and continue working on it.
What is a user-centered design system?
User-centered design is an approach to designing a product by involving users in the design process. In this case, designers focus on the users and their needs in the first place. In designing a product, it is now quite essential to understand who it is designed for. It is important to do the UX design for the right audience. This is what UCD is all about: a tailored experience for the specific user.
It works on the principle of generating a smooth and trouble-free user experience. This experience is incorporated into the flow of information you get to meet the needs of your users. After getting the information, you use it for your business goals and work for a specific audience.
The main principles of user-centered design are:
#1 Involve the user in every stage
It is important to understand which audience your business is targeting. After deciding on the right audience, you can create the product.
#2 Test the product
After having involved the user, it is important to understand whether you are on track or not. Measurements and testing of your product will play a crucial role in this phase. Definitely, no one wants to create a useless product.
#3 Iterative design
You should follow the iterative design process. A complete overhaul and rethinking of a design can be done via testing.
What benefits does a user-centered design have?
Benefit #1 It can increase sales tremendously
When UX design is user-centered, it may change the flow of the business. With the UCD method, you can involve your potential users at every stage of the design process. It will give you a better understanding of their requirements and needs. Once those requirements and needs are met, you will have more sales.
Benefit #2 There will be less chance of human error
When you involve the user in the iterative UX design process, things get much easier. There is less chance to make a mistake and have further meetings for changes. The product will be trouble-free.
Benefit #3 This approach leads to more inclusive products
This approach will help you include more people as users or potential customers. There will be more variety regarding their age, sex, culture, occupation, etc.
Benefit #4 It will provide easier work for UX|UI designers
The more you know the users, the easier it will be to do the final design. UCD helps designers to understand the users’ pain points and to address them. This can be done by testing and measuring key demographics and getting instant feedback.
Whether you are a UX|UI designer or want to specialize in this sphere, this article will help you. Here is some more detailed information about UX|UI and why to study this specialization.
As you can understand, user-centered design can play a crucial role in the life of a business. It can lead to its prosperity, or vice versa.
Here at BDG, we highly appreciate the importance of professional UX|UI specialists in the market. This is why we continuously create courses for all the students interested in this prosperous field. That’s why we are soon starting our UX|UI course for beginners. You can join the course and start your career now.