No.1 UX guide -A systematic approach to creating the best user experience

UX plays a very important role in designing your applications. An attractive UI is the first thing that captures your audience’s attention and UX is the one that keeps audience hooked to your app/site. The fast-changing consumer preferences and growing variety-seeking behavior among users, the experience you give your user while he is interacting is the only thing that can help you stand apart.

This growing trend of UX has led many in discovering a career in UX designing. So to guide your career path we have designed this UX guide for our readers. And we believe that our carefully designed and detailed UX guide is just a one-stop answer to get all your questions of UX getting answered.

We have got you sorted by offering you this complete comprehensive UX guide that covers all the information you need about UX design practices and the latest trends. The UX guide answers all your questions related to what is UX, it’s principles and design process, tools available and how you can become a UX designer.

We will go step by step into every detail but if you are short on time you can directly skip to the section you wish to explore in this UX guide.

The UX guide contents

Why UX is needed?

Do you know as per calculations, approximately 380 new websites are created every minute? However, the actual number of new websites being created every day is probably a little more. So you might be wondering why we are discussing this and what is the context of this with UX? Let us understand it.

So for any business, the first thing people get is a website for it then work on great SEO with effective SEO tools to increase visibility. Although these things do make a powerful impact to gain visitors and users to your site. But later, you may often observe a fall in visitors who are actually exploring the site after landing.

So even if you are successful in bringing traffic to your website. You may not always retain visitors to it. To increase your bounce rate, you must ensure that visitors love scrolling and discovering your app.

Your website should capture your user’s attention completely to keep him engaged.  You might know about this 15-second rule which states that a user stays on the page for approx. less than 15 seconds.  And that’s the maximum time you have to capture someone’s attention on your website.

So If you haven’t generated interest in 15 seconds, then you probably aren’t going to even in 30 seconds. And what happens is the users move on. The user experience is what makes someone engage with your app and makes them recommend it to others.

UX, or user experience, focuses on the end user’s overall experience, including their perceptions, emotions, and responses to a company’s product, system, or service. UX is quite a variable technology as it must change and evolve with evolution and changes in the end-user.

Due to a variety of things on a platter to explore, customers today want quick and simple ways to interact with fewer or no pain points. That’s why user experience matters so much.


UX Design Principles and process

UX focuses on offering usability to the end-users. Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object. The easier a product is to use and learn, the better the user’s experience with it.

So when implementing a great user interface and user interaction, designers have to have all these aspects such as usability, aesthetics, interactiveness, intuitiveness, and clarity of the design that they will create.

This UX guide gives you the perfect step by step overview of the basics and foundations used in the UX design process and the principles to create an effective user experience. Let us discuss the steps involved in the UX design process first and then followed by design principles.

UX Design Process

Before diving in, remember that your business’ UX design process is going to differ from other businesses. That means you might stray from the stages we outline below and that’s okay! What’s important is that you find out exactly what works for your company. That means researching, iterating, and testing.

First let us discuss UX mapping and things included in it. It includes empathy mapping, understanding customer journey, experience mapping and service blueprinting.

  • Empathy mapping helps team members understand the user’s mindset.
  • Customer journey maps focus on a specific customer’s interaction with a product or service.
  • Experience Mapping generalizes the concept of customer-journey maps across user types and products.
  • Service Blueprinting are counterparts to customer journey maps, focused on the employees

UX principles

So we looked at the steps in the UX mapping in the UX design process but to increase the chances of your interface design to become successful enough in attracting the user’s attention, designers must stick to and consistently follow the UX principle in this UX guide when creating interfaces. The design principles represent high-level concepts that are used to guide software design.

As by now, you have understood that UX is about providing meaningful and relevant experiences to users to increase interactions and retention. Now your pre-design/UX research work is done so below we have listed the UX principles to follow while creating, implementing and enhancing user experience design for your applications.

  1. Focus on real users
  2. Focus on business
  3. Data-informed design
  4. Design for the user’s mental model
  5. Design for Learnability, Memorability, Task Efficiency, and Human Memory
  6. Validate Designs
  7. Design Consistency


Design thinking to enable UX designing process

Design thinking, sounds familiar right? A term often heard in context to business, entrepreneurship, etc. but this theory of design thinking can help you shape your thought process to develop customer focussed digital interface. And thus this concept can be a catalyst in shaping your UX design approach. Let us see how.

Design thinking is a 5 step process concept that provides a problem-solving approach using a human-centered design where the emotional, cognitive, and aesthetic needs of users need to be fulfilled.

Let us start with the first principle of design thinking i.e Empathy.

Empathy

It leads you to UX deliverables which are created in mapping an end-user and those are Empathy maps. Empathizing with users means focusing on their experiences, especially emotional ones. For that matter, a helpful tool may be the so-called ’empathy map.

Empathy map defines a rough user persona and characterizes your target users to make effective design decisions. UX specialists from the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) and define this as a tool for understanding every aspect of the user.

This empathy map splits it into four quadrants – Says, Thinks, Feels, and Does.


How to create an enhanced User experience? – UX tools

Through the research and testing mentioned above in this UX guide, we can say user experiences can always be improved. So we gave you a brief idea about the theoretical views and aspects to develop your UX designs.

But to practically apply and enhance your current UX projects, you require efficient and advanced software tools that offer a platform for you to experiment with all your quirky, wild, innovative, or creative UX ideas. As you never know one of your design pieces from your portfolio may become the next big UX trend.

So it is always better to keep practicing and experimenting with building a great design portfolio with any of the latest design software listed below. And you don’t have to research where to begin from, as this UX guide has listed down the complete details of the design tools to get you started with an exciting UX portfolio.

UX Design Tools

Whether you are researching, prototyping, wireframing, storyboarding, or creating graphics, there are multiple UX tools available to assist you during the design process. There are so many tools on the market, some free and some that require a subscription fee, that it may be overwhelming for you when unsure of exactly what you need. 

To get you started, in this UX guide we have listed some popular and valuable tools for designing UI or UX:

1. Adobe Fireworks

Adobe Fireworks CS6 gives web designers a way to create graphics for their web pages without getting into the code or design details.

2. Adobe XD

Adobe XD is one of the latest and best design software by Adobe that can design websites and mobile apps, as well as create prototypes, wireframes, and vector designs. Users can share interactive prototypes on multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, so it’s perfect for team collaboration.

3. Axure

Axure RP Pro is another great UX design tool — that’s also free. Axure has several capabilities including wireframing, prototyping, and documenting. It can even help you create user flows and sitemaps. 

4. Adobe Illustrator and a Free Alternative

If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to Adobe software, such as Adobe Illustrator (which is primarily used to create vector graphics). Then there is Inkspace. Inkscape is known for doing most of what Illustrator does, but for free. This software is open source and can be used to create impressive vector graphics.

5. Sketch

A sketch is an end-to-end software with specific features including non-destructive editing (meaning Sketch won’t change the pixels in the photo you are working with), code export, pixel precision, prototyping, vector editing, and more. With Sketch, you can reuse and update your designs easily.

6. Storyboard Software.

Storyboarder is a free storyboard software option, which has basic features made for designers of all levels. This software allows users to quickly create drawings and stick figures to lay out a plot or idea.

You can check out these creative design portfolios created by our designers at RethinkUX that can better guide you to developing an amazing UX portfolio.

Define

In this phase, you must start thinking about and defining the steps that users need to make to successfully use a website. (User journey mapping)

  1. A retrospective map should be used to track the current moves of the users, the way they usually behave on the Internet, based on the research.
  2. A prospective map should be used to outline how you expect users to behave with a completely new product.

When you go through the first two stages of the process, the next step is coming up with as many relevant, fresh, and innovative ideas. So, get ready to brainstorm.

Ideation process

  1. Asking the right questions;
  2. Thinking unconventionally and beyond obvious;
  3. Discovering unexpected possibilities of your product;
  4. Coming up with innovative solutions.

Prototype

When creating a UI or UX design, trying out different solutions and designing an interface that will bring enjoyable user experience is all you should focus on. The best way to visualize solutions is to start by drawing a website sketch only to proceed with creating a digital wireframe.

Creating a working model helps in dealing with complex design issues. That is why optimizing the beta version of a website and making it available to the public can always be a good decision.  For this phase of the design thinking process in UX designing, you could also benefit from the so-called Agile methodology, The core Agile concepts include:

  1. Iterative development
  2. Risk management
  3. Transparency

Test

Mistakes during a UI/UX design are inevitable, but the most important thing is to identify them while there is still time to fix them. Hence the user testing phase after the prototype is developed is an essential part of every design process.

Design deliverables

UX designers do a lot of brainstorming and execution in the entire process of creating a great piece of UX. In the end, professionals need to communicate design ideas and research findings to a range of audiences. For this, they use deliverables (tangible records of work that has occurred) for this purpose.

For your guidance, this UX guide has got it listed down the things that contain the most common deliverables produced by UX designers as they craft great experiences for users. For better readability, We’ve presented the deliverables according to UX activities in a tabular format:

We can add UX design deliverables separate blog and connect here as there is much more information available on this topic

Deliverables : Expected documents/prototypes etc required to be prepared

UX Activity DefinitionDeliverables
Project Assessment Helps UX designers understand the current state of the product. Analytics Audit required by UX designer
.Content audit and Usability test report need to be prepared
Competitor Assessment It is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors.Competitive analysis report
Value proposition
User Research Focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, motivations through observations, analysis, and feedback. PersonaUser storyUse casesExperience MapStoryboards(Current)Survey
Information Architecture It is a practice of deciding how to arrange parts of something to be understandableSitemap Taxonomy, Wireframe
Interaction Design It’s a process by which designers create engaging user interfaces with logical and thought-out behaviors and actions.Storyboards(Planned)User flow diagram Prototype


UI V/S UX Design

The words ‘experience’ and ‘interface’ give an idea of each term’s meaning. In a previous article, I used the analogy of designing a house to illustrate the process of web design. UX is best described as architecture (planning, structure), while UI is the interior design (style, color, look, and feel).

The user experience is the result of their interaction with a product or service, which means that user experience includes, but is not limited to, a user interface.UI is one of the contributing factors for the end-user experience.

Basically UX and UI complement each other. Although there are differences in UI and UX may be in their concepts and principles but they overlap somewhere. And only when this two complement each other you can have a great working digital product developed that pleases your audience.


Top UX design trends of 2020

Till now we studied the process and principle for UX design in our UX guide. Now it is the time to get inspired and stay updated with what’s going on in the UX world and know what are the latest trends to practice and execute.
Dark mode

All top brands such as Instagram, Apple, and Android offer alternative themes in their products and have embraced this dark mode feature lately or earlier. Here are the core reasons for the trend’s popularity


Immersive 3D elements

3D design elements have fascinated users for many years. The popularity of this trend is going to increase in 2020 as VR and AR technologies gain momentum now. So, it becomes a perfect idea to combine these techniques to create hyper-realistic 3D visuals taking up the whole users’ screen.


Soft shadows, layers and floating elements

The innovative design tendency stands for building intensity. Do you want to create a 3D element but smooth it over? Soft shadows and floating visuals evoke positive emotions. They show the depth in elements and make your webpage look slightly 3D. 


Mixing photography with graphics

Another hot UI/UX design trend in 2020 is overlapping graphics onto the images. Such a mixing technique allows you to unleash creativity and implement fabulous designs.


Voice User Interface (VUI)

Voice chatbots and virtual assistants definitely become one of the hottest technology trends in 2020. They change the way we search for information, take notes, and so on. Such brands as Apple, Android, and Google implement the trend in their UI/UX design process.


UX writing and microcopy

Make your website texts more informal, casual can give a welcoming sense to your readers as users are bored with standard phrases, an informal writing communication can light up your reader and he may stay to read more and explore your site. 


Glowing, luminous color schemes

Web design is becoming more bold and daring, using glow-in-the-dark neons and highly saturated colors in combination with darker, muted shades to give the designs a luminous feel.

Duotone web designs in particular make this trend shine. Duotone keeps reinventing itself to maintain its place at the forefront of design. This latest iteration is the boldest yet, relying on futuristic, neon pops of color and stark color opposites to make veritably vivacious visuals.


Ultra minimalist navigation

With the rise of wearable devices like smartwatches, web design, in general, is thinking smaller. The area most affected by this is navigation, the glue that holds a website together. Over the last few years, navigation has been getting simpler and simpler to accommodate extremely small devices and even smaller attention spans.

Extremely minimalist navigation takes away much of the difficulty in usability. The less a user has to think about moving around, the more time they spend immersed in the site, actually moving around instead of wondering how.


How to become a UX designer?

Now comes the most useful question. After reading all the interesting stuff in this UX guide so far exploring the know-hows of user experience and core design principles and approach, we are sure this has stimulated your internal creative and design instincts and you truly wish to explore new horizons of opportunities in this trending and flourishing career field of UX designing. So our first dose of advice would be to start following the steps mentioned above, hoping that you have sincerely taken down the tips this UX guide has covered so far next is using the below tips. 

  • Understand all the design directions
  • Study the following tools based on your work. So earlier we mentioned the various UX tools which help you to work and play with your ideas. But the specific tasks may need specific tools at times hence below is a list of UX tools based on what output you require.
Type of taskSoftware tool
For interface designSketch
For interface design with collaboration capabilityFigma
For creating layoutsBalsamiq
For interface design, prototypingAdobe XD
For prototyping and collaborationInvision App
For collaborationRedPen
  • Start paying attention to design
  • Surround yourself with design
  • Watch and Copy Others or get inspired
  • Create a strong design portfolio
  • Find mentors and become mentors. …
  • Take a design course on
    1. Coursera
    2. Lynda
    3. Udemy

We have tried to condense all aspects of user experience design in this one UX guide. We hope you liked reading it. So this UX guide gives you a significant overview of the knows and hows of the very impressive field of UX but you must definitely check out our FREE E-Book.This is a quick guide that can rescue you from doing some common mistakes in UX .Get the E-book on “8 Common UX mistakes which every beginner does”by clicking below and recieve it directly in your inbox.

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