It’s undeniable that UX design processes, short for user experience design, can impact our everyday lives. We’ve all been there, trying to navigate a website with a nightmare user interface. It’s slow and dated, almost as if it’s a slice from 90s internet history and manages to ignore countless years of web innovation. But alas, Mother’s Day is approaching and it’s one of the few online stores that provide custom, hand-carved signs for your mother-in-law’s prized camper. You know the ones, they usually say something like, “The Johnson’s: Living the Good Life” and feature mountains, wildlife, or a cartoon camper. As you struggle to put together the ideal sign, your eyes strain to read the Papyrus typeface. You think, would she prefer a duck or a bear? Too late. The website won’t let you undo your edits. A bear it is. After an hour and a half of intense online sign making, you’re finally ready to submit your order, except you can’t seem to find out how to do that. Sweat beads down your forehead as you begin to reach peak frustration.
If you’ve experienced something like this, odds are you were using a website that was poorly designed and wasn’t optimized for “well” humans. When identifying these issues, it’s easy to see the value of UX design. And to help you understand this vital process, we thought we would highlight its basic components.
What is UX design?
Simply put, UX design is about creating streamline and stress-free experiences for your users. An effective UX design draws in interested users and funnels them to a purchase or a conversion in an easy and enjoyable manner. The website layout, design, and copy should all work in unison to be aesthetically pleasing and speak to the needs of the user.
Furthermore, UX design is not just about making users feel good about your website; it’s about defining your user experience. Every product or service offers a unique experience, and it’s up to designers and developers to work together to define those experiences and optimize user flow while also being mindful of business and user goals.
What are the components of UX design?
The UX design process seems less nebulous when you understand its 5 main components. Of course, these components only scratch the surface of what UX design can offer, but they should give you a better idea of how to compartmentalize each aspect of it.
- Information Architecture
- Information Architecture (IA) plays off of the user’s mindset and organizes information based on their needs. It’s the process of creating a hierarchy of content that not only speaks to their personal desires but helps make website navigation feel natural.
- Usability is the process of harnessing a wealth of user data to be used as a driving force behind major design decisions. When creating a website for a client, odds are there will be several passionate individuals trying to dictate its content based on their own goals. With so many hands in the pot, waters can easily become muddied and it’s up to UX design processes to be a voice for the needs of the real user, not internal ones. However, based on tests, data is needed to back up these decisions, which can be collected through numerous means such as focus groups or A/B testing.
- Visual Design
- The visual design of the website is vital to how it will be experienced. It’s a key element of the brand and will ultimately influence how attractive and engaging it is. Through color, typography, imagery, and other visual elements, the designer must reign in all of the IA and usability processes to create something that is visually appealing and telling of the brand’s purpose, vision, and values.
- Interaction Design
- While visual design focuses on how brand elements are communicated, interaction design concentrates on the impact specific interactions will have on users. While staying true to the designer’s layout, it’s important to be mindful of how certain elements will be experienced. For example, let’s say the designer needs a call-to-action to be animated. This can be done in many different ways (fade, slide in, etc.), and it’s up to proper interaction design processes to govern how it will be executed and experienced.
- Prototyping is an easy way for designers, developers, stakeholders, and everyone in between to get a clear idea of how the final website will be developed. Some ideas sound great on paper but fall flat when executed. The prototype helps weed these issues out and serves as the straw man manifestation of the strategy and the designer’s vision thus far. It offers a visual anchor for others to give feedback and ensures the functionality of the website before more time and money are invested.
If you’d like to learn more about UX design or other essential processes, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Versa Creative. Through strategic and creative processes, we strive to deliver powerful and purposeful stories to audiences near and far. It’s what we do, it’s what we love. At Versa Creative, every project is a passion project. See them for yourself by taking a look at our featured work. Also, do yourself a favor and get your mother-in-law a nice wicker chair instead.