User Experience Design (UX, UXD, UED, or XD) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and desirability provided in the interaction with a product.
User experience design encompasses traditional human–computer interaction (HCI) design and extends it by addressing all aspects of a product or service as perceived by users.
What is User Experience Design (UX)?
User Experience Design (UX) is the process design used to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product: branding, design, usability and function.
What User Experience Designers do goes Beyond Design
“User Experience Design” is often used interchangeably with terms such as “User Interface Design” and “Usability”. However, while usability and user interface (UI) design are important aspects of UX design, they are subsets of UX design and cover a vast array of other areas as well.
A UX designer is concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function. It is a story that begins before the device is even in the user’s hands.
Products that provide great user experience (e.g., the iPhone) are designed with not only the product’s consumption or use in mind but also the entire process of acquiring, owning and even troubleshooting the device.
UX designers don’t just focus on creating products that are usable; they concentrate on other aspects of the user experience, such as pleasure, efficiency and fun. Consequently, there is no single definition of a good user experience. A good user experience is one that meets a particular user’s needs in the specific context where he or she uses the product.
Digital storytelling keeps users engaged and creates a valuable experience while reinforcing a company’s expertise and credibility.
Interactive technology allows us the ability to guide our audience through a compelling narrative while affording opportunities to drill down to the user’s specific desired details. Providing the user an interactive and customizable flow of information conveys one’s story in a way that is uniquely useful.
People are used to having access to information when and where they want it. You’ve got a very small window in which to grab someone’s interest. People can process and retain visual images in as little as 13 milliseconds (MIT). In order to keep people engaged, you need to give your audience the freedom to access the particular information each individual needs.
In order for Digital Storytelling to work, you must begin with some basics.
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- Who is your audience?
- Why should they care?
Audience research is key. Use those answers to make sure your content tell a compelling story.
Begin with the facts, then handle the details.
Next, you’ll want to separate out the essentials that you want everyone to understand from the details and supporting facts that will bolster your argument.
These secondary elements are then slotted in as modular on-demand details or side routes that your audience can explore on an individual level. For example, someone viewing a story about demographics may want to dig deeper into the data about their hometown before moving on to the conclusion of the story. These micro-interactions are important because they will allow users to freely navigate and dig deeper without feeling like they’re missing the key points of the story.
Now it’s time to create a responsive framework that lets your audience determine how the story is told. Simple features such as breadcrumbs and smart user-driven navigation are essential to help guide the user.
Interactive infographics, charts, maps, and other data-driven or detail components can be particularly compelling when the viewer wants a deeper dive.
Intelligent application of responsive storytelling will keep users engaged longer and create a valuable experience that tells a more effective narrative, reinforces your credibility, and instills trust in you, your message, and your brand.
Meaningful Micro – Interactions
If you love something, an appliance in your house, a wearable, a great app on your phone, it’s often because of the micro-interactions you have with it. Micro-interactions are contained moments within a product, which revolve around a single task: (i.e. setting an alarm, deleting an email, or syncing your device).
Though micro-interactions are near-invisible due to their minute size, if done well, they can play a vital role in dramatically increasing the user experience. As the web is becoming more complex, users expect your User Experience to be built around simple, effective, and tiny micro-interactions.
Personalized User Experiences
Due to the ever-growing need to obtain finer data, tracking users’ activity is at an all-time high. To achieve this, cookies are being used on a much larger scale than ever before. Using cookies, one can gain large-scale quantitative data about their users such as their browsing habits and where they are located. This presents an opportunity to personalize the user’s experience by providing relevant content.
When used correctly, cookies give a lot of flexibility to you as a designer. Personalized user experiences delight users and can be a major driving force for higher conversions. Another great example of personalized UX is YouTube which takes advantage of cookies to remember videos you have previously watched to be able to generate relevant video recommendations.
Parallax Scrolling was one of the hottest and most impressive design trends. With the torrid growth of internet access from mobile devices, the act of clicking is slowly becoming extinct. Today’s user finds scrolling much easier than clicking.
Parallax Scrolling not only delivers a seamless content experience to visitors but also cuts down on website load time. When it comes to one-page websites, there is no better design element than Parallax for conveying information to visitors in a storytelling fashion.
The way users consume your content, irrespective of the device being used is an important factor must be taken into consideration while designing websites this year. Forget about lots of dynamic menus, heavy graphics or the “12pt” font size. These are all are things of the past. Now is the time to start designing websites with the core focus being in making them more readable, accessible, and usable.
This year designers will be using design elements that decrease page load time while increasing responsiveness – all without negatively impacting the overall aesthetic element of the site.
Icons over Text
We have all heard of the saying: “a picture is worth a thousand words” …so is an icon. Over the last year, designers are taking advantage of icons for making websites more lightweight and attractive. However, icons are also being used in many other forms such as Infographics, sprite sheets, and apps.
Icons are a perfect replacement for heavy images and traditional text labels. A glance at the icon gives visitors the idea of what functionality is about. Being quite easy to understand, icons play a vital role in grabbing the user’s attention.
In 2014, Google introduced Material Design which is a ‘Flat’ design. In the preceding months, only Microsoft and Apple were promoting the flat design concept, but with the release of material design. If you have ever used any of Google’s apps, or Android 5.0 itself, then you are familiar with the look and feel of Material Design.
Similar to flat design, Material design is content-focused, adaptable, and streamlined, while bringing motion, visual, and interaction design together. The popularity of this minimalistic design approach will continue as it makes a website look cleaner and load faster by eliminating unnecessary elements.
Bigger Emphasis on Typography
Gone are the days when you were required to shell out hundreds of dollars just to make the text of your tagline look good. Web font services like Google Fonts and Typekit are now offering a wide range of high-quality fonts.
Card Style Layouts
The “Card” style layout has emerged as a great way to organize huge amounts of content without any hassle. From popular e-commerce to news sites, card-like content boxes are now being used on a relatively large scale. Card design can be summarized in three words: simple, clean, and versatile.
Being extremely functional and having a nimble size, card design can be easily integrated with responsive layouts. Also, it allows your visitors to get an immediate glance at what you are offering to them. If you have ever run a Pinterest campaign, chances are you have already come across card style design. Trello, a free web-based collaboration tool, is another great example of this technique in use.
Content Marketing by way of Digital Storytelling is the future of Content Marketing.