A man looks at the user experience

UX Design: The User Experience at the heart of your projects

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UX Design you hear about it more and more often, but the concept remains quite vague.

“You’ve got to start with the consumer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around” – Steve Jobs

Indeed, do not always manage to identify the assets and challenges. User experience (or User eXperience) is an increasingly used term that needs to be explained. It is notably defined by Donald Norman in the 90s. UX corresponds to the feelings, the overall sensations felt by the user of an interface, whether digital or physical. This is therefore to be distinguished from the ergonomics of an interface. The latter brings together the tools and methods necessary for a good user experience.

UX design, a strategy to adapt to consumers

In recent years, companies have finally made a significant change in their marketing strategy. They are now the ones who adapt to the consumer and not the other way around. UX occupies a central place in this process. It aims to optimize the user experience. It will give him a maximum of positive emotions. The idea is that he can concretize his action in an intuitive, pleasant and reassuring environment. A product designed for a good user experience must therefore take into account the needs and expectations of the latter. More than a visual experience, more than a design, a product designed for the user involves a design based on its usability. The goal is to be able to provoke emotion. This emotion is precisely the one that we wanted to provoke. With UX Design it is necessary to master it as well as possible.

UX Design Heinz tomato sauce ketchup

Here, for example, we can clearly distinguish the difference between a purely visual design and a UX design. The first case suggests a delicate use. No one likes to be forced to shake their ketchup bottle for long seconds before getting a result. In addition, without having the possibility to dose what comes out of it.

The second was designed to resolve these disadvantages. Without losing aesthetics, its use will be simplified. It will thus make the difference at the time of a purchase decision. Thus this can cause a positive emotion to use.

A UX-oriented design thus represents an important added value within a project. Therefore, a better designed product, focused on the user experience, will allow a perfect match between supply and demand. This will promote the loyalty of your users by providing them with optimal sensations. Sensations, which they will simply not be able to do without in the long term. You will have created the need.

The variables of the user experience

The challenges of UX Design are multiple and are gaining in importance in a world with increasingly fierce competition. The same applies in any field. The figures concerning the influence of UX design are indeed quite eloquent. Indeed, 89% of users end all relationships with a brand after a bad user experience. Conversely, 49% say they are ready to recommend to those around them a product or site with a good user experience.

As an example, Amazon generated an additional $300 million in revenue in one year as a result of a simple button redesign.

Well-designed user interfaces therefore make it possible to stand out but not only. It will also avoid iterative correction processes that are extremely time-consuming. The latter can frequently intervene following the realization of your product. The idea here is to take the time to carry out a UX design study at the beginning of your project. The goal is to make sure you don’t have to come back to it later. It always starts with the precise definition of your target population. Then, it is necessary to consider the measurement of their current user experience through the collection of their opinions and habits. Finally, will come the precise determination of the expectations of your users, and a prototyping in line with them.

Your product will then be directly in line with the needs of your targets. This will save you valuable time in addition to positioning yourself clearly above competing proposals. Finally, it is important to note that a good UX helps to establish a climate of trust between your brand and your customers. It is also possible to apply these principles within your company. In particular, you can offer your employees work interfaces adapted to their expectations. With this solution you will allow them on the one hand to optimize their work. And on the other hand, you will build this climate of trust through a sense of mutual understanding.

Be careful though, UX Design is often confused with other terms such as UI (User Interface). However, the latter do not correspond at all to the same processes. The user experience is really about adapting an interface to its users (which can be multiple: a good definition of your targets is therefore necessary in order for the method to be effective). It seeks to provoke emotion, to maximize positive sensations in the user, to optimize its experience in front of the interface. The UI is about the visual aspect of the product, the appearance of the interface only. It usually intervenes downstream of the UX in order to finalize the interface. The two are definitely linked. Together they allow the realization of a suitable and attractive product. However, they do not concern the same areas of competence or the same methods.

The differences between the UX and the IU

UX can be applied to a variety of fields, from digital development to advertising to more specific areas such as video games, where the user experience has always been a central concern.

At a digital level and especially web, the challenge will be to create interfaces whose ergonomics automatically adapt to the user’s support (mobile, tablet, computer …). This is called “responsive” interfaces. All while remaining of course very attentive to the architecture of the information presented. It must allow a clear and intuitive interface to optimize the user’s navigation. The idea is to guide him without him consciously feeling it. For this, a good expert will rely on the golden rules of digital ergonomics, called 4C:

Clear: the user needs to know where he is, to find what he is looking for easily.

Concise: Gather information in the most efficient way possible.

Clever: Avoid thinking as much as possible.

Cooperative: help him in his journey by providing definitions, help with form filling out, etc. if necessary.

When it comes to advertising, however, the user experience will focus more on concepts such as storytelling. This technique consists of scripting the product, staging it. The objective is to demonstrate its strengths in a subtle way and by reaching its target population. These positive emotions guarantee an emotional attachment to the brand. They also guarantee better long-term memorization and greater customer loyalty. Many other methods inspired by cognitive science are emerging in advertising. Some are less scientific than others. This is why it is necessary to remain suspicious in this area with massive economic stakes.

In the field of video games, the relevance of UX will rather be in the hierarchy of the information displayed on the screen. Some must be very prominent, others less so and still others completely hidden from the player. The video game is generally very advanced in user research. Effer, the gaming experience being at the very heart of its interest. We also call “gamification” the process of making playful an experience that is not fun at first. This is a central notion when talking about serious-games. These are educational or learning games that are increasingly in vogue.

Serious game

Finally, another essential aspect of UX design too often set aside is “accessibility.” The idea is to adapt its interface to people with disabilities, i.e. people with disabilities but not only. There are also the elderly, those living under low network coverage or some minority communities often sidelined. This approach is called “inclusive design.” Understanding who is prone to using your interfaces, as they are and not as you may imagine them, is the heart of inclusive design.

As an example, we can mention Facebook. The social network has recently developed a “Lite” version of its application allowing it to be used in regions covered only by 2G. For its part, Apple has also completed its extensive range of emojis. It now includes all skin colors and other concepts absent (homoparental families, woman or man for each action represented, etc.).

All these processes and methods can thus prove to be very useful. Whether it is with regard to your communication but also the quality of your interfaces. Indeed they are the reflection of the quality of your services. A good UX significantly improves your sales and especially the loyalty of your customers. Indeed because of the trust and attachment they can have towards your brand. However, only 16% of companies really master it.

Our school itself, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Cognitique is still the only one in France to train Cognitive Engineers. These are the engineers of tomorrow’s world, able to design in a UX way by applying user-centric methods. A skill full of potential, certainly destined to become indispensable and which will surely deserve your greatest attention in the future.

Eva GUIHARD

Office Address: 109 Avenue Roul, 33400 Talence
Email: presidence@junior-i2c.com
Website: http://www.junior-i2c.com

Sources

User Experience Revolution, Paul Boag, Smashing Magazine Editions, 2017

The $300 Million Button, Jared M. Spool, UIE Article, 2009

The Consumer Experience Revolution, IBM Study, 2016

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