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Misconceptions of the user experience process

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I’ll let you in on a secret. I love thinking about the way people consume things. What goes through their minds when they decide to buy something, what they are thinking, what makes them click the buy now button.

I spend quite a bit of my time explaining the difference between user experience and user interface. Yes, the UI is a huge part of how people engage with a website, because the design and style will have a big impact. But it is just one piece of the UX puzzle.

Let me try to explain. When you buy a car, your journey starts with you realising that you want one. You do this even before you go into the dealer and buy it. It doesn’t end after you’ve driven the car away either, it considers how you feel to get your emotional engagement, what you might be thinking on your journey to purchase, and how to ensure that your encounter is as successful as it can possibly be. This is what we call the entire user experience.  The UI is just one part of it – the part when you sit in the car, interact with it and get a feel for the controls.

So how can brands hook the customer so the next time they want a new car they think about their brand and their brand alone?

That is part of my role at JJ.

There’s sometimes an expectation that UX  is solvable by a single functional specification. But the reality is, it must be so much more than that. By continuing to learn about your users and responding to their behaviours, you are more likely to improve your product or service.

So how do we work with our clients to perfect UX?

Firstly, we must recognise that UX isn’t just about applying technology. It’s about using it to enrich the experience. Helping us to live better lives. It’s about everything that we do, everything that envelops us.

When we develop websites at JJ, we always dig deeper. And that’s the part that I really love. Talking to people. Designing something based on research, so you can always back up the solution with evidence. Brainstorming ideas for tools to help make the process even easier for the customer. Coming up with a concept for a web tool which is built with automation, helping achieve greater business efficiencies.

Basically, taking an idea and using simple web technology to take it to the next level.

It’s important to remember that a User Experience Designer’s primary objective is to help people, not to make the next innovative piece of technology.

This feels like a good place to point out one major thing. In some ways, the biggest misconception of UX design is the ‘U’. Yes, it’s absolutely about the user. But in the client’s eyes there are a set of business objectives that need to be met. So, any good UX Designer worth their weight in gold will find the ultimate balance between the user’s needs and business goals. This will ensure that the main problem is solved, and user goal is achieved.

It’s not easy though. The role of the UX Designer requires them to understand the business language as well as the coding language too.  We need to understand that if we speculate about who the target market is, we’ll probably always be wrong. But if we take the time to get to know them and design things based on this research, we will nearly always get it right.

Investing in the UX process isn’t a choice. It’s a basic requirement. To survive, we must think about the user’s need, what the crux of the issue is and how they are affected. Engage with them. Respect them. And listen to them too.

Once the website or service is designed, that’s not the end of the road. Iteration is the next stop. It’s about looking at the data to refine it, to make it even better. Then giving it back to the people who matter – the users – to test and give you honest feedback. This creates an entire end-to-end UX process, making it even more meaningful to the customer.

At JJ, all the work we do for our clients has the insights and creative thinking to achieve the desired result. We are always looking to improve the UX of digital services by creating intuitive interaction and emotional engagement through better design. We add value by defining the real context of need through the UX investigation, spotting opportunities to look at the bigger picture and help our clients get closer to their users and customers.