Civilisation has come along way from when humans first began to walk the earth, we haven’t stopped evolving and as we continue to live in our complex society, we are highly influenced by human design through the technology we create.
We are able to expand ideas through communicating our thoughts, listening to feed-back and developing prototypes to ensure a ‘picture-perfect’ final product – this blog will be about, what ‘User Experience Design’ (UXD) means to us in the world of digital media: how important it is, why we use it, when can it be used and how can a UX designer use these skills to ensure a good user experience.
So what is UXD and how can it benefit designers? Being able to think creatively is a great start for any digital designer, by carefully considering the factors of ‘understanding what it takes to give our users a good experience’ – we can simplify a complicated system to our advantage. UXD applies a set of methods that relate to any interaction between humans and technology or with the world around them. A great UX designer will be able to recognise and understand how to convey a messages across a larger platform that can reach out to all audiences.
What methods does a UX designer use? As we continue to invent new technologies, platforms and interfaces and so does the opportunity in refining these methods for a smoother user experience. Understanding the objective is required to ensure that clients, users and stakeholders are all taken into consideration. Generally it’s best to start any project with brainstorming and Ideation – this can be done on a whiteboard or anything that can get your ideas out.
Next User Research and User Stories – how are designers meant to solve a problem when they don’t understand ‘who the problem solving is for’ – research is the key to unlocking a perfect design, performing interviews with people who you think might want to use the product is a great first step. From here we can create Personas and Storyboards – it’s a great idea to start developing a ‘user’ that would best fit the description for the product followed by, a storyboard of who, what, when, where and how they came in contact with the product. By this time the UX designer should already have an idea of how the product will look and thats when we create Prototypes – this is a lot of fun, prototypes can be made from anything; paper, wood, programs etc. There are no limits to how far you can develop these prototypes but be mindful that you may need to redesign the prototype from time-to-time again.
Yes, its true, UX designers will always need to go back to the drawing board a few times as UXD is never one-dimensional. Design Scenarios, Scrum (Agile), Mind Maps and Flowcharts – research, test, develop, repeat – nothing is worse than when a design fails and remember UX designers need to design within a certain time frame. Scrumming, Mind maps and flowcharts are all similar in a way but applied differently to each project. And finally Pitching – when the project feels solid and everyone is onboard, now is the time to shine, there are numerous techniques used when pitching, one example is called the ‘elevator pitch’, which basically means, you have your entry point, a section that contains all the information regarding the design, and finally the outcome of what you expect to see.
Where do I see my skills in the world of UXD? Because I am still a Noob to the world of UXD it’s easier for me to place myself as an example, or “user”. The reason being is that as a student, I am able to completely explore an idea through my imagination with no restraints. My lecturers have told me from time and time again that my designs are creative and I always seem to surprises them. I am a confident speaker and this shows through my personality not only in a working environment but as someone ‘whom’ you can relate to. Understanding who you are design for comes with practice – originally coming from a background in Fashion Buying, I am no stranger to understand the market place when it comes to trying to release a product however, designing for a ‘user’s’ fascinates me, as I need to take a lot more into consideration such as; age, gender, ability, location, environment, mobility, visuals, sound and the overall general experience for whom I design for. I am still in the early stages of UXD but the current skills I have now will only developing further and once I have my foot in the door working at my desired place, I’ll be able to show the skills and knowledge I have for this field in User Experience Design.