What is User Experience (UX) Design?
Put simply, UX design is the process of creating a meaningful, engaging and enjoyable user experience through an improved and sophisticated product design that optimises usability, accessibility, branding and functionality. A website or app with good UX design will aim to give the user a pleasurable interactive experience.
…and why is it so important?
UX Design, by definition, is about the interaction between the user and the website or app. To keep the user engaged, UX design needs to be sophisticated, fast, user-friendly, and enjoyable. Generally the main aim for a good UX design is to keep interaction levels low – i.e. ensuring the user can access the information, service or functionality they’re looking for, within the quickest time and least amount of browsing time / interaction with the app.
The easier it is for users to engage with a product, the more likely they are to use it again, and to associate positively with the brand. It’s for this reason that UX design is key to businesses developing their product. It’s important for a website, but particularly key to the development of apps, which by their nature are expected to be easier to use and to improve the user experience more than a website.
Key features of a good UX design
- A clear and easy path from opening the app to your required outcome.
- Designers optimise the user flow – i.e. by familiarising themselves with the natural path of a user’s experience when using the app, they can simplify the process to make it as easy to use as possible. For commerce sites this could involve breaking the purchasing process into clear and easy steps.
- The app using the information it already has about you to simplify your experience – eg. Your location. Many sites and apps from cinemas to delivery services and of course apps like Uber will automatically know where you are, so you’ve already skipped the process of having to tell them.
- Delivers only relevant information – particularly when accessing sites / apps on your mobile where you’re looking at a smaller screen, it’s important to cut out the extraneous clutter, and include only the most important information.
- Optimised for the medium – tablet, phone etc.
Developments in UX Design
Pace IT’s approach to User Experience Design
At Pace IT, we understand the importance of the customer journey, and when developing for clients we always take into account human interactions, personas and user behaviours. By improving the User Experience we can:
- Generate productive outcomes
- Facilitate users’ interactions
- Provide an easy-to-use service
- Increase overall customer satisfaction
- Lower cost of customer acquisition
- Reduce mistakes
- Increase customer retention
- Lower support cost
- Help users complete their tasks in the easiest and quickest way possible
Our dedicated, experienced designers use a clear and streamlined process to ensure you get an end product that fulfils all your requirements – even those you may not have thought you had!
The first stage of any project is to gather all the information we can from, firstly, the client on what they’re looking for, the functionality they need, their targets and desired end result etc. And then we research the market – what’s already out there that does this, what are the client’s competitors doing, what’s their target audience looking for, etc. We use this research to advise the client on the functionality that would work best for their purposes.
Wireframes are the graphic structure of a website or app. It’s what designers build first, because this is what contains all the content.
At Pace IT we use the wireframing tool Balsamiq. Creating wireframes is the first thing we do, after the research stage, to help organise the client’s requirements. It allows us to display the general layout (without any design, colours or typography), explain the functionality, and link screens together.
The screens represent a functional website in a form of a prototype that could be used and tested before building the actual system to avoid any misunderstandings.
In effect, we create a prototype that we can use to test the site or app before building it.
A Pace IT project using Balsamiq Wireframes - Here are Balsamiq wireframes and final designs of a tenant portal for Property Consultants Allsop.
Once the prototype is approved we start work on the visual design. This incorporates the client’s branding guidelines, and designs are uploaded on to our digital product design platform (InvisionApp) which we can use for feedback and testing. This is where we can show the client how the website or app will look, before starting the development process.
The use of the wireframe reduces the cost to the client because we carry out as much of the testing as possible using this prototype, reducing the need for costly changes to the end product.
Developing the final product
After the testing phase our developers are ready to build the final product.
Case Study – Allsop Lettings
Market-leading independent property consultancy Allsop Letting and Management were looking to build an online system which would help their customers find and reserve a property, take 3D virtual tours, book viewings, make online payments, complete referencing, upload required documents, sign agreements etc. Their aim was to make their customers’ journey and experience efficient, quick and as user-friendly as possible.
The end result, following the process outlined above, is a bespoke property web application that is fast, easy to use, simple to navigate and looks professional.
Let us help you improve your customer journey
If you’re looking to design a website or app to improve your customer journey, build your brand and streamline your processes, contact us and we’d be happy to discuss how our UX focus can reap benefits for your business.