Technology is an intricate part of our lives. Most of our lives are connected with technology right from the moment we wake up to the time we hit the bed. It allows us to do things that we would have never been able to do earlier. But it is not all easy peasy for everyone, especially so if you are handling a new piece of technology. The objective of the brains behind the technology is to make it easy to use and fun to interact with.
It is possible to do this by understanding how human beings interact with technology, what are the pain points for them, and being empathetic with them to make the experience smoother, better, and more useful.
This is where experience design comes in.
Why is experience design important?
When you are designing an experience for someone who is going to use a piece of technology, you are at the cusp of making their lives easier. User-centered goals are pivotal for businesses as their business ideology would be based on how the customer will feel.
If you are going to make it difficult for your customers to download your app from the play store or add items to the cart, they might even leave you for a competitor. Whether you accept it or not, your customer is going to have an experience with your brand. Every single piece of interaction is an experience.
When every interaction that a customer has with your brand is excellent, it means that your experience design is great. Every single touchpoint is pivotal.
Experience design does the following:
- Offers innovative ideas: By concentrating on experience design, you will not only end up meeting customers’ expectations, but you will also exceed them. When you have a series of conversations with your customers about their pain points and the kind of solution they are looking for, you will be able to come up with solutions that will ‘wow’ them.
- Results in lesser risks: While taking risks is not inherently bad when you invest in experience design, you will be able to minimize the uncertainty as a lot of the suggestions come directly from the customers. You can engage users with a variety of prototypes to test and refine concepts. The customer insights you gather from your experience design strategy is based on real-world experiments.
- Generate more revenue: When the design thinking thought shifts from what is good for the organization to what is great for the customer, the organization will end up making revenue-generating designs that will keep them in good stead.
Experience design strategies that can be implemented in your organization
Get talent buy-in
If you want an organization-wide buy-in, you need to get the smartest minds to rally around the importance of experience design. Ensure that the project involves talented developers, designers, and the right suite of tools to execute with perfection. It makes sense to have a diverse team that has varied expertise and background so that you can get the POV of different people.
Say no to silos
Do remember that experience design doesn’t just need the expertise of design teams, but you need to have everyone from the technology department to the business team get involved.
Educate and train your employees
For everyone to work together, you need to train everyone on your payroll with respect to design thinking. You can conduct workshops, webinars and focus groups to make this a part of your culture. Ensure that it is embedded with your product development methodologies. Employee experience design is also an aspect that you shouldn’t ignore.
Challenges in implementing experience design
Let us look at the roadblocks usually faced by organizations when they are on the verge of implementing experience design.
Lack of time
When you want to create a company-wide transformation, it will take time. But the problem is that most organizations keep postponing it. The process itself is a long one, and there is a lot of effort involved. If you expect results quickly, an experience design project is going to be a failure.
Business thinking vs design thinking
Most businesses are looking for changes that will immediately show in the bottom line. The leadership team needs to understand the importance of keeping the users delighted. For that to happen, experience design is immensely important.
Using the wrong metrics
Metrics don’t always give you the right perspective. If you want to understand what your customer goes through, you need to go deeper. Tools such as metrics do not help you empathize with the customer.
Things to remember when starting an experience design project
It is more than just good usability
A product’s usability helps us understand if the users can do the tasks efficiently. Without a good user experience, there won’t be good usability. While usability creates well-functioning products, just because a product is easy to use doesn’t mean that people will be open to using it.
It is all about people
To provide a great design experience, you need to focus on people’s experiences. Understand their needs and wants, and the context in which they are using the product. Being able to empathize with your customers is a pivotal aspect of a successful experience design strategy.
It is an ongoing process
If you want to provide a great experience for your customers, please note that you cannot make the changes in a day’s time. The goals of the users and that of the business should match, only then you will be able to come up with practical solutions.
UX Design examples
Let us look at a few examples of the world’s top brands that have been able to execute experience design to perfection.
Booking experience offered by Airbnb
Airbnb offers a great experience for travelers. Its homepage design offers everything that a traveler is looking for. Even if you don’t know where you want to travel, it offers a plethora of nearby destinations. It provides a mix of what people want: pet-friendly stays, homestays, entire homes, etc. The experience is simple, elegant, and hassle-free.
Headspace’s engagement strategy
One of the most popular meditation apps in the world, it is imperative that the user experience they offer be immaculate. Imagine visiting a meditation app, only to be peeved with its user experience- that’s ironic. It uses gamification to keep people hooked to the app. They have goals and ongoing streaks to push people to meditate every day. By introducing gamification, not only do they keep the customers engaged, but they also reduce and increase their retention rate.
Netflix’s autoplay feature
Whenever you finish watching a show or movie on Netflix, its autoplay feature goes to the next episode or another movie. It is a fantastic example of reducing the effort for the user. Another interesting autoplay feature that the world’s biggest streaming platform has is that it starts playing when you scroll their library, giving you a sneak peek into what each of the movies or shows entails.
Another website that is a great example of user experience and web design is Stripe. Its design drives the user’s attention toward specific content. Even though their web pages have a lot of space to scan content, the user wouldn’t find it empty as they add a lot of interesting design elements.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular sports apparel brands in the world, their website is a great example of how brands can present their content properly if information architecture is done properly. It offers visitors multiple ways to search for content by offering a number of filters such as new releases, gender, product line, etc.
These are some of the best experience design examples that both B2B and B2C companies can use effectively for their brand.
Experience Design Process
Here are the basic steps that you need to take for your user experience project:
Get to know your audience
You need to know who your users are. When we say get to know your audience, we are referring to understanding their motivations, behaviors, goals, aspirations, etc. It will help you design experiences that will relate to what they want. To begin with, you need to create user personas for your brand. A user persona is the ideal representation of your average customer. Every brand will have anywhere from four to eight user personas. By doing so, you will be able to create specific experiences for each persona.
You can interview your current and prospective customers to gain an understanding of what they think will be the best design to fulfill their needs. While user experience is subjective, understanding what is going through the users of your product opens a window.
A simple description of a product feature from the perspective of a customer who wants that feature. It will give ideas to the organization about what will construe as good design. They will also be able to make efficient changes to an already existing product.
Once you have gone through the job stories, the next step is to build functionality maps for the pages that you want to create. A functionality map shows the hierarchy of all the pages and subpages that exists within your product. When you create a functionality map, it becomes easier to visualize the user journey. By understanding the user journey, you will be able to figure out pain points, resolve them, and find areas to make your product much simpler.
A UX audit is a method to understand which are the areas that can be improved in the product. It is one of the most quintessential steps in the experience design process. By doing a UX audit, you will end up making it easy for your users to achieve what they intended to do on your app. The website audit includes a list of elements to verify based on what your app offers.
Here are a few things that your UX audit process should take care of:
- The users should always be able to figure out what is happening in the backend
- The app should use simple jargons that are easy for everyone to understand and follow
- The words, actions, and situations should mean the same thing
- Error messages should be expressed in simple language and they should also come with a solution
- The users should be able to access information with ease
- Page load time should be reasonable
- Readability should be at a level acceptable for everyone
If the gathering requirements process is wrong, then the end outcome will be completely different from what is expected. To get the right output, lots of research is imperative, and then the personnel should have a deep understanding of the kind of project that you want to come up with.
A wireframe organizes the content and flow of a website or application such that users can complete what they intended to do with extreme ease. It displays the order of the various elements on the screen and how it fits into the overall structure. When you have a wireframe in place, the chances of usability issues get reduced. By doing so, a lot of development time gets saved.
An essential experience design method is visual design which focuses on the aesthetics of the site. The visual design doesn’t just concentrate on how it looks or feels, but it is mostly about usability and functionality. By doing so, the business will be able to create delightful experiences. Designing delightful experiences includes planning a customer journey for the users. Visual design is usually referred to as user-centered design within the UX ecosystem.
Creating sketches that are similar to the final product is called prototyping. The intention is to get the prototype validated with the stakeholders so that the final product can be developed. When you do this quickly, it is called rapid prototyping. Of late, rapid prototyping has been adopted by development teams that are invested in UX design.
The goal of prototyping is to reduce the wastage of resources, including time and money. When proper prototyping and testing have been carried out, the chances of developing a faulty product become less.
The last step of the user experience involves testing the usability of the final product. The testing is done with the help of real users. It will help identify any roadblocks that the user will face when they are working on it.
What should your Experience Design research tools do?
When it comes to experience design, there is a lot that technology can do. From helping you gather data to turning that into insights, tools can do a world of good for businesses that are planning to kickstart their experience design project.
It is important that you gather data from both your existing and potential customers. The tool should be able to identify patterns and trends to understand customer behavior. When you have access to a set of people who are a part of your target market, and can also be interviewed for their input, you will be able to easily find the pain points of your customers.
Offer powerful analytics
When there are datasets from multiple sources, the opportunity to leverage them for insights is immense. But to use them to gain insights, you need to have a powerful analytics tool that will show you the right opportunities to go after. Since every industry that you think of is intensely competitive, it is imperative that the tool offer real-time insights. Only then is it even possible to stay ahead of your competitors or react quickly to market changes? If you use traditional market research methods, it will take you months to get any relevant insight.
Instant data sharing
If your product development and design team work in siloes, then it is not the right strategy. You cannot create a great experience for your customers if your organization works in siloes. Every team from your product to marketing to design to logistics team should have a process to work in siloes where there is constant sharing of information as well as ideas getting exchanged. Each department should be in the know regarding minor and major changes to the product so that their inputs can be added to the development of the product.
For your organization’s success, experience design is going to be a huge contributor. You need to put your customers’ needs at the core of your business. Strive to not only meet their expectations but also to exceed them every single time. When you keep doing that consistently, your customers will stay loyal to you, and it will directly impact your bottom line positively.
Experience design provides an opportunity for the business side to work in tandem with the design side. When both these departments work together, you will end up solving business problems, make the customer get better service, and you are likely to get more successful.
If you are looking for an online survey tool to gather information, SurveySparrow is one of the most powerful tools in the market. SurveySparrow has a suite of features and functionalities that make it one of the most sought-after online survey tools. For businesses that want to indulge in an experience design project, get in touch with us. We will show you how our tool can help us with experience design.