Designing in current age has much more to do than it was in yesteryears. It is nor more the same. It is no more how people think about it. It is not more how people see the product as. It has more to do with the way it is operated, it is handled, it is cared, it is used, it is rubbed again and again and much more than a designer could think. A single product could become a million use cases because every user has his own way of using it.
Today we are looking for more than a great product that performs numerous functions, they expect a better usability. No matter what you are designing, one thing for sure it has to subscribe is the great experience it gives to its users. If you are designing a phone, a car, a web app, a mobile app, a plane, beyond its functionality, one thing that it has to cater to and to take care of is user experience. This may be the reason, why apple is the market leader with its products such as iPhone & iPad being the market leaders. They provide that great user experience and no doubt people pay them more when compared to other products that do more or less same but don’t stand a chance as soon as the affordability factor for a user is over, people switch to apple products.
The entire view of people towards industrial products has changed. People want simple, user friendly products, even at the cost of lower functionality. In this designers across, have been working hard to give a diamond corner glittering experience to the users and new trends in the web & mobile design industry has altogether changed. Enterprise applications are being revamped or re-looked. Banks who use to offer minimum complex UX functionality have changed the entire way they used to deal with their users.
So, if you are designing a Phone, a Car, A web App , a Mobile App, all you have to think is about the user Experience and nothing less than great. Lot of great products solving multiple problems fail to stand in the market compared to simple products solving few problems and reason being user experience. Imagine you have google, facebook, twitter, mail,ticket booking, travel manager, movies booking, restaurant, navigation and several other things given in one single app. Imagine yourself searching for the options under all these things e.g facebook-post, messages, like, comment, share, photos, audio, video. In total you have million pages on your 4 point some inch screen. You would find yourself either in zoo or junk yard or to be more precise YAHOO!!
As an example of search engine, Yahoo and Google do more or less same but why do you prefer that Google search. At the end you are just searching for a simple dictionary term. Why not YAHOO!! Why Just Google. That is because, that is User Experience, levels of comfort you find.There are more than just this reason, but this is THE ONE. YAHOO!!!!
Why a Mercedes when a normal budget car can drive you anywhere in the same way or may be economical way saving you huge money on Gas/fuel, maintenance etc. It is all about user experience, the levels of comfort that one is ready to shed millions.
Customer experience should be one of the biggest priorities in any web app, mobile app that you are designing. So What are the ways you develop this amazing User Experiences. Well, sorry to say there is no rule book, there is no written bible. But there is always a way, that you provide your users the best that they want. The best User experience comes only when you Step into customers Shoes:
Before you start moving your pencil over that canvas, your mouse over that white space on your computer screen, make sure you understand the purpose of the product, you understand whom you are building this product for. Any colour combination, any layout, any look and feel, any metallic or non metallic design, any great and innovative animation may fail if your user are not comfortable using your product. It has to give that feel…Vooowwww.ahhhhh… For that you have to make sure that you know whom you are designing your product. If any website has users of different age groups, they may use different font sizes for different age groups, smaller or normal ones for kids and young one and large fonts for older people. If most of your users are school going kids, you may use funny font styles and animations to add fun and excitement to the purpose of the site. If you are designing for some group of users who are going to work whole day on that, you may have to take care of exposure, colour combinations, sharpness, contrast etc. While I was working for a client who had come to use to revamp entirely how his business was working and it had users across a country in the range of 30,000 to 50,000 concurrent users using the website for multiple purposes almost round the clock. Some were using it for bill payments, some were phone recharges, some were for money transfers, some for insurance and 30+ such services. Our prime focus in this was just the implementation of best technology and we all were on it. Building it really big and robust. Implementing best of the technological platforms to provide best experience by giving faster, reliable and better solution. We had kept really a small budget for UX almost negotiable. But the design team was doing there job well. They came up with really a good design, good colour combination, good graphics and for us everything was good. Everything was going good until a few days after making the application live, people started saying that the pretty looking beautiful colours were tiring the eyes and this was our own internal support team which was supporting the end customers. We saw people rubbing their eyes which was really uncommon. We called for a short meeting which lasted for maximum of 7 minutes and decided to change the layout for internal users for a day or two. The team worked continuously for next 15 hours and fixed the design and next day when people returned for work, things had changed. We found the difference and informed our client that we wanted to test the same on production and client readily agreed. By then we had not received any complaint from end users. But after doing this, many of the end users said that the new design is better. In this case we have forgotten:
- Who are the end users.
- How and how long do they use the website.
- What are the expectations
To achieve this, a few of the million things can be:
- The great user experience design begins with a common vision, but then must cross the borders between product, pages, transitions, loading, caching, user engagement and many other disciplines. Human-experience design always supplements technology-driven design, and environmentally sustainable design. Multi Disciplinary Skills and Perspective should be applied.
- Do your Home Work, With the advent of interactive social media, involving real customers and prospects who fit the desired demographic is not a big deal. With these, you apply common tools, such as field research, user groups, questionnaires and interviews to understand your user well. Engage with your customers closely and do the user-centric evaluation before you touch that paint with your brush.
- Simple is not always the Best but complex is always Complex, Yes, you have to maintain that sharp line where you include all your features that your business is for without making things go complex and without missing out anything. Redirections and pagination can be pain sometimes and lot of features on a single page can be a mess. So that sharp line where the grouping of features, clubbing of menus, minimum redirection, work flow based direction and URL management could be real great but how to do depends on how you envisage the user and usability.
- Integrate Customer behaviour and environment, While designing, you have to consider the user behaviour, preferences, usage, goals and aspirations. You may not need a like or poke option on Stock and Finances websites but not giving the same on a dating site may matter a lot. There will be a guy who will be using the both. The main goal should be give such UX which develops a relation between your site or app and the user. Also, Customer engagement is must
- Iterate but fast. Make the designs conceptual and idea based and reach out to your users and get the feedback. Keep iterating fast and keep designing mock up or wire frames. There are lot of tools available for wireframing or mockups but use only those which offer least functionality and less time utilization. Else it will be designing not wire framing. You may use hand sketches for wire frames. I have seen highly experienced people in the industry doing so and coming up with multiple wireframes in a few minutes . It is easy to pen down an idea than sketch it on Photoshop. Use Tools that make your life easy, not complicated.
With that we don’t suggest that you should not use photoshop, we are saying don’t use tools that take time , for wireframing.
- User Centric Approach Again and again we would remind you of being user centric while designing your app.
- Loading and Caching, User experience doesn’t end at colour, fonts, text, size and position. It is lot more than that. Your design should have included everything be it page redirections, loading of pages which should be interesting, engaging the customer to stay on you page, use better but low size images to enable faster loading, use of minimum images and graphics wherever you can avoid it.
- Don’t be Loud, a website selling girl products doesn’t necessarily have to be pink or among the 50 shades of pink but a page featuring Barbie doll may or may not be. The choice of colours, Font sizes, Font Colour etc should be based on indiviual user usage not a common human perception and to know the individual user usage refer to above point no 2.
- Make things that are needed, make sure you are trying to solve a problem not creating one. In the process of solving a NO Problem, you are actually creating one. So if you are not well experienced and not hooked tightly to your work, then you may not be solving the problems your users expect you to.
Near my home there is an engineering college. Everyday i leave my home and reach office within 7 minutes. One day i started from home and saw a few kids from this engineering college trying to manage the traffic near my street which till this day was naturally managed and i found myself in a long cue in my street joining the main road which had never happened before. Unaware of the situation i followed the cue and reached the main road and came to know that a bunch of kids along with their teachers are managing the traffic and it was all mess. They were not experienced , no formal training, no equipment, nothing at all and more than that they were solving NO PROBLEM and in that they created a new one.
- Make things that make sense, You may create a UBER with Starbucks online-In-Cab Delivery clubbed into it and may make sense or UBER with a newspaper inbuilt, or UBEr with Weather Man but creating a UBER with furniture may make no sense. This may not be the thing most people would use while being in a cab or do after booking a cab. Example can be Ford making a Car boot to be opened by Foot. That is the beauty of design.
Companies now have changed their opinion towards design. The First Car maker wanted its designers to change the way the design and let them step into customers shoes, did something amazing which you can see here
So Step into your customer’s shoes, rub your feet, feel that vow factor to create that and then you are all set to hit that white space on your computer screen. Mouse is all YOURS!! . You can now design for different screens, adaptable designs , responsive designs, anything but Have that empathy. #Customer #Shoes