Posted on April 18, 2018 at 05:00 PM
In the current IT scenario where mobility has taken the front and center seat, there has been a fierce competition for the user’s attention. Due to a plethora of options available to the user in the palm of their hands, the attention span has decreased significantly. So, creating a desire or incentive for the user to keep coming back to an app has taken a primary focus and the UX plays the most important role in it; with not only improving acquisition but also improving the retention of the user base.
You will hear the term UX thrown around a lot while starting with your mobile app development projects. But what exactly is UX? UX is just a literal abbreviation for User Experience; the experiences of the user while they are interacting with your product. It has been in spotlight mainly for the modern web and mobility apps. However, it is not just bound to it or even the IT industry in whole.
You can find that UX plays a very important role in all the fields where the product is to be handled by a user; from ketchup bottle designs (being the flagbearer of the UX) to the subtle doorknobs; each and every product has a UX component attached with it.
As seen in the image with ketchup bottles, the image to the right is considered a better UX by the general consensus as the user does not have any difficulty getting the ketchup out. However. the main thing to notice over here is that both the bottles are from the same company but from different generations. Where the glass bottles were initially considered best for UX, over the time they were refined into a new form factor to provide the version that is considered exemplary for UX. However, the process does not stop here as this product can always be improvised with newer innovations to provide an even better UX.
This helps us understand that the UX is not just a straightforward principle which can be applied, neither is it a one-time process. It is an iterative process with multiple steps, each of which has a specific and significant role in the success of a product.
The first step is to understand the requirements, this includes the requirements of a client, product and even the user who will be using that product.
Client requirements will help in understanding the product’s market and the goals which in turn helps in building a product design with a clear and definitive flow.
The product requirement helps in specific understanding of the functionalities and actions that are to be included in the product.
And last but the most important is to understand the end users’ requirements for which they will use this platform. This will help in building a product with the best UX, as it has been designed with the clear thought process having the User in the mind.
Once the data gathered from requirement analysis is clear and sorted, the next step is Research. There are conflicting opinions in the industry about having research done before or after the Requirements gathering. We believe that research needs to be done after the requirements are cleared so that the target for the research is also clear and it can be more focused.
Research not just includes the study of product requirements but also includes the studies based on the platform of the product, market analysis and the target demographic analysis.
Interviews or surveys can also be scheduled of a sample from target demographic to get the first-hand knowledge about their needs, behaviors and patterns.
These data eliminate the doubts or queries and enables a clear path for the next step, design.
The design process is an intrinsic process that will provide the actual result in a visual representation.
This outlines all the workflows for the product with logical groupings of related and relevant information. It also has considerations for the use case scenarios and working environment of product that were established in requirements and research.
The platform also makes a big difference in the user’s interaction with the system, and that is always to be considered while designing. The design should be in a way that it fits in perfectly within each of the platform’s ecosystem while still maintaining a cohesion that distinctly identifies the apps in its own ecosystem spanning through the different platforms as well.
Once the mockups are done and the system workflows are also approved, we can move onto the actual UI design.
The User Interface design takes care of interaction components, colors, element placements, text readability, fonts etc. This will show us exactly how the product will look and how the user will interact with it once developed.
This is considered to be the main aspect of the entire workflow. But it should be highly noted that without going through the initial steps of the process, UI design will be directionless; which could lead to a product with good design but a terrible user experience.
The design is done and ready, but it is very important to validate it before we move on to the implementation of a product. Following are the basic methods used for validating the UI and UX.
Quality Assurance testing is carried out by the QA Engineers to makes sure that there are no loopholes in the product that can lead away from the uniform experience we want for the user.
Acceptance testing and Usability testing analyzes if the product is actually based on the requirements and how well will the product be received in the market and with the user.
This testing is also done with a sample of target demographic to evaluate their interactions and get their feedback or review on the product.
Once each of the previous phases is completed and cleared the product moves onto the development and implementation phase.
It is essential to understand the importance of all the previous phases as without it the product implementation and development cycle suffers.
Focus on USER
No universal set of guidelines.
It is an iterative process.
Consider the real estate to work with.
Simplicity encompassing functionality.
Consistency and Attention to details.
Text eligibility and icon accessibility.
Meaningful logos and icons that clearly depict purpose.
Do not overwhelm the user with too many settings.
Breadcrumbs and Roadmap, never let the user feel lost.
The user must always receive feedback for his actions.
Transitions are important, never jump from one state to another.
Do the heavy lifting efficiently, Speed should never be compromised.
A proper search must be provided if the data is dense.
Do not give unnecessary notifications to the user.