What is meant by user experience? What do we refer to when we say that the user “must be at the centre”? At the centre of what? User experience is now increasingly important because it refers to a large part of the services and “objects,” whether physical or digital, that we use and interact with daily, directly impacting people’s lives. And also on that of companies, aware that overall customer satisfaction is ultimately the element that can determine their success.
In this article, we will focus on digital products and, in particular, we will see:
- what is meant by user experience;
- how to improve web and mobile user experience;
- what UX design is and how to become a UX designer;
- what the difference between UX and UI is.
You will also find a glossary of some terms related to the field of User experience.
If you want to delve into the topic and discover all its secrets, after reading the article, request information about the User Experience course and enter this magical world that could open up interesting career prospects for you.
What does user experience mean
User experience refers to the experience that a user has about a product or service.
This end-user is inspired by the words of Don Norman, a prominent figure in cognitive sciences and UX Architect:
“User experience includes all aspects of the end-user interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
It encompasses the entire process, from the initial impact to finalization.
According to the technical definition of ISO 9241-210:2010 set by the International Organization for Standardization, the user experience:
- comprises all the emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors, and accomplishments that occur before, during, and after use;
- is a consequence of brand image, presentation, system functionality, system performance, interactive behaviour, and interactive system support capabilities, as well as the user’s internal and physical state resulting from previous experiences, attitudes, abilities, personality, and the context of use.
According to the “User experience honeycomb” model, devised by Peter Morville, a pioneer in Information Architecture, the factors that impact user experience are:
- usefulness: satisfying a need originally and innovatively;
- usability: immediacy and simplicity in solving problems;
- desirability: a product must evoke emotions;
- findability: ease of finding resources;
- accessibility: usability of the product by as many people as possible;
- credibility: what we produce must generate trust in the user.
8 basic rules to improve user experience
What does user experience refer to? To a set of approaches, procedures, and rules oriented towards people’s satisfaction. Those who use a physical or digital product have a relationship with it that can be more or less positive depending on the emotions the user experience evokes. This applies not only to individual moments and operations the user performs while interacting but also and especially as an overall journey. From the initial contact to the completion of everything related to the experience, they have with it.
Let’s now see some general rules to follow when approaching user experience on both the web and mobile. In reality, these suggestions could be applied to both areas. Still, I preferred to divide them, taking into account the small nuances resulting from the characteristics of each.
How to improve UX for websites
When talking about user experience for websites, we refer to:
- the quality of user navigation;
- ease and practicality of use;
- esthetic pleasantness.
The user experience involves emotions and perception. Therefore, it must be positive for the user.
Below are some elements to consider to make the user’s stay on a website better and favor conversions.
Simplicity and clarity
Ensure that users, when visiting your website, do what you want and do it smoothly. The arrangement of texts, multimedia elements, and buttons must be designed so that the path is clear and targeted. It is not necessary to make all options on the page visible. Prioritize the ones most important to you and hide secondary ones.
The design of the page must be consistent. Colors, functions, and aesthetics must be thought out to facilitate the user. If they get used to and become familiar with all the design aspects of your site, they will be more inclined to stay longer, favoring loyalty and conversions.
On the web, people do not read; they scan. Or rather, they first scan the page to see if it suits their needs, and only then, if you have managed to catch their attention, will they read and delve into the content that interests them.
Make elements and topics covered clear. Use titles, spaces, infographics, integrating and arranging them with clarity.
Play on emotions to make the user’s experience memorable on your pages. Quality information and data, well-written and rich texts are essential, but they must synergize with graphics, layout, and aesthetics. Those who visit your website must have a unique experience. One that they will remember because it made them feel good. This also allows you to differentiate yourself from others and leave a lasting impression on people’s minds.
Knowing your audience
Before building, you must design. And to design, you must first know your audience’s needs. Find out what they are looking for, what they want, and how they think. Try to understand their needs thoroughly and build your pages accordingly.
Research, studying buyer personas, analyzing the customer journey: Ux Research means gathering information about the user through quantitative and qualitative methods using tools such as:
- contextual studies;
- usability tests.
These activities can occur in the initial ideation phase and subsequent process validation moments.
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Improving mobile user experience
Let’s also see in this case how to improve the user experience through mobile devices. Considering When designing the mobile device’s design, you need to decide in advance whether to create a single design that adapts to multiple devices (respWhen designing the mobile device’s design, you must.
Unlike content consumption on desktops, browsing on mobile devices, whether they are smartphones, tablets, or others, is strongly influenced by screen sizes and usage modes.
Mobile users have specific needs. Their attention span is very low. They want quick results without effort and friction.
Mobile devices are mainly used for:
- micro-tasks, with intense but very brief usage, for example, purchasing a ticket;
- local search;
- entertainment while waiting to do something else.
Ensure that navigation is simple, with full-screen navigation menus and clear labels. Prioritize the most frequently used elements by placing them at the top. Buttons must be well-defined and easily selectable. Include quick selection buttons and clearly show links, highlighting them when the user activates them.
Pay attention to content
Page loading times are crucial. Therefore, ensure that images are clear but lightweight, the bare minimum. Maintain a clear visual hierarchy and use colors and contrast to optimize the display of various elements.
Each element has its importance and must count; make good use of spaces to highlight what you consider priorities. Ensure that the content of your pages is supported by the majority of devices.
Continuity and consistency
Users must be able to resume from where they left off, easily switching from mobile devices to desktops. Even while navigating, screens and their contents must be consistent. It should be possible to track orders and enter information without having to re-enter what has already been requested.
Ensure maximum results with minimal effort. Fewer taps and data entry guarantee more speed and satisfaction for the user. Pre-fill where possible, or at least minimize data entry in forms. Include voice commands and allow permanent access.
Offer search functionality and retain data in case operations do not succeed.
Also, for the mobile user experience, what was said about the need to know your target audience before starting to design applies.
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How to become a UX designer
With user experience design, the design of the user experience is meant, while the professional figure that deals with it is the Ux designer.
The Ux designer studies the “why,” the “what,” and the “how” of using a product or service. They must investigate user motivations, understand the aesthetic, functional, and accessibility characteristics that what they are designing should have, and, finally, based on this informal, they must create positive user experiences.
Positive means meeting usability requirements, with continuous efforts to understand customer needs and their feedback.
The steps of UX design include:
- user research;
- building personas;
- wireframe and interactive prototype design;
- ongoing testing of projects.
Given the subject’s multidisciplinary nature, user experience design often involves professionals from various disciplinary fields: psychology, visual design, programming, and information architecture.
According to Jason Ogle, founder of the “User Defenders” podcast, User experience is about “solving problems through empathy,” while for Tomer Sharon, Head of User Research and Metrics at Goldman Sachs, User experience is “the art and science of generating positive emotions through the use of products.”
If you are passionate about UX design and want to know how to become a UX designer, here are some fundamental steps to follow.
- start by finding out if User experience suits you, especially if you are more interested in the analytical, testing, or more “practical” part of creating prototypes. The disciplines that constitute UX design are diverse, and understanding which one suits you best will give you a good push to delve deeper;
- learn the fundamentals of UX design, starting with the core principle: the centrality of the user;
- acquire knowledge about the four stages of user experience design: research, design, testing, and implementation;
- at this point, to deepen your knowledge and take a leap forward, you should search for a course on User experience that focuses on practical projects, building a portfolio, and providing continuous support during both the learning process and career development;
- practice and look for opportunities to apply what you have learned. Consider volunteering to gain experience and acquire the skills required in the job market;
- learn how to use industry tools effectively, which are useful for conducting research, creating prototypes, and conducting usability tests;
- build a portfolio showcasing your work: it will be your most valuable asset to get noticed;
- network and collaborate with other UX designers, focusing on meaningful relationships that allow you to grow and expand your knowledge and opportunities.
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Here are some of the most important terms to know in the field of user experience:
- project management: planning and organizing a project and the necessary resources to carry it out through the coordination of a team responsible for UX design;
- user research: a phase of User experience that studies and understands the behaviors and motivations of the audience through observation and analysis of people’s needs and feedback derived from product usage,
- usability evaluation: the level of user satisfaction regarding the usage experience;
- information architecture: how information is organized, structured, and presented;
- user interface design: the design of the user interface. It involves studying the elements that allow optimal use of the digital product;
- interaction design: concerns the development of engaging interactive systems;
- visual design: focuses on the aesthetics and usability of a product;
- UX writing: involves writing microcopy to facilitate navigation and associated operations. This last point emphasizes how user experience also influences SEO in search engine rankings.
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Difference between UX and UI
UX and UI are often mistakenly used interchangeably. In reality, User experience includes UI and encompasses both physical and digital products. UI, on the other hand, is specific to digital products only.
Using the analogy provided by web developer Dain Miller, “UI represents the saddle, stirrups, and reins. UX is the feeling you get while riding.”
The user interface concerns the appearance and functionality of various elements, visual design, buttons, animations, colour palettes, fonts, page size, and all the visual and interactive elements of a website, an app, or any other “digital product.”
The concept of User experience is much broader as it involves the entire user journey, and how to solve a particular problem or achieve a certain goal in the simplest, most effective, and most satisfying way possible. That’s why it is not limited to digital products but applies to “products” in general.
The UX designer focuses on the journey, while the UI designer deals with the details that make the journey possible.
Conclusions and free strategic consultation
Satisfaction, pleasure, and the desire to repeat an experience. The result of a good user experience should always be summarized in concepts like these. Whether you produce physical goods, develop digital products, or offer various services, you should think, invest, and design with the awareness that only those who enjoy using your product or service will repeat the experience. They will also speak highly of the quality they found in your company to others.
In an increasingly competitive market, where price often makes the difference, playing on another level, placing the quality and satisfaction of your customers at the centre, can guarantee their loyalty and, in turn, business success. Book a free consultation now with one of our User Experience experts and let us guide you in enhancing your website from the user’s perspective.
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I direct Digital Coach®, the professional training school, leader in training all professionals who work in the Digital Marketing & Sales field.
As a trainer, I have trained over 35,000 business professionals from over 300 large multinational companies and over 5,000 Italian SMEs.
I devised the “Digital Strategy Framework®” method, thanks to which since 2014 I have been helping companies to define and improve over time a digital strategy that maximizes the generation of turnover and online sales.