UX: 'U' is for Users in and beyond the digital realm
Global competition and the digital age have put severe importance on the user’s experience. It has become one of the ways a brand can stand out. Though, to a layman User Experience (UX) would equate to UX design for digital interferences and applications. In reality, UX principles can be used in various situations beyond the digital realm.
“Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works.”
User Experience is the overall experience of a person using your product or service, especially regarding its ease of use and engagement. It takes into account every possible interaction and touch point of a user. They are kept in mind when going through the 5 steps of a UX design process:
Strategy: Identify the problem to solve, considering both users' needs and the business goal.
Scope: Defines the function of the product
Structure: Defines the organization of the interactive experience
Skeleton: Presentation and arrangement
Surface: Look and Feel of the product.
User Experience begins with asking critical questions that address long-term timelines. It is a strategic approach to solving issues and making a seamless enjoyable experience for a customer. UX design requires you to think strategically about consumer behavior, desires, and touchpoints.
Businesses have to remember the User in UX. It is often seen that decision-makers tend to leave behind the users/customers while trying to highlight the product or service. Of course, the product is the end but the means to the end is your experience; and this should not be taken for granted as the interaction is what your customer/user remembers. The key is to remember the three essential checkpoints of a good UX design.
Depending on the subject, Simplicity could mean how clean the design is, how intuitive it is, or how many features are included in it.
Keeping designs simple is difficult and getting tougher especially when there is so much to add, highlight, consider, and integrate. The 3-click rule might be challenging and may be outdated, but it still leaves a lasting impression when the process is efficient and simple.
‘Usability’ and ‘User Experience’ are concepts mistaken for each other, but there is a crucial difference between them. Usability does not only measure ease of use but also if the user achieves their goal with the product. User Experience on the other hand is how the person feels before, during, and after using the product.
First impressions always matter. It takes only 50 milliseconds for a user to decide if they like your website, which may sound like a tough task but it is achievable. Here visual aesthetics play a huge role.
Research conducted by Kurosu and Kashimua indicates that users who encounter aesthetically pleasing designs experience a positive emotional response which in turn affects the usability of the designs. People tend to believe that designs that look better will work better.
The best example would be the Google Search Engine. It is so satisfying from a UX perspective and here's why
White Background for no distractions
The Logo for brand emphasis
The search bar
Easy to Navigate, Intuitive suggestions, clean aesthetics, and mobile friendly too.
“No business has ever succeeded without connecting, in a deep and meaningful way, with its customers.”
UX outside digital space
IKEA retail space
Ever entered IKEA and have been focused on their multiple products, curated displays, and little trinkets? No, because this is their winning recipe. The Gruen Effect is when you overwhelm the senses and thoughts of the customer as soon as they enter the store. This leads them to forget their purpose of visit and leads to more impulsive shopping.
IKEA’s fixed path design ensures that a visitor's stay is as long as possible, enriching the sensory experience with curated displays and providing small merchandise which subtly adds to the Gruen experience.
Airbnb service design
Airbnb is the obvious choice when it comes to service design. It provides temporary stays and various experiences stretching from wellness, food, and nature to art, design, and social impact.
They storyboarded 45 different realistic emotional moments for Airbnb hosts and curated various experiences for different target groups. Customizing experiences based on customer types and taking real-life feedback proved that good service design makes a brand more approachable and desirable.
Nintendo Switch Product design
Launched in 2017, Nintendo Switch is still considered a good purchase for gamers. Nintendo games are a personal favorite especially because of their cheerful colors, iconic and relatable characters, and engaging gameplay.
The Switch with its unique design offers three different ways to play on the console: Handled, Tabletop, and TV. This versatile design gives contributes to the immersive gaming experience in addition to the multitudes of games available for it. Other than that, the simple and easy interface in the games caters to gamers with minimum experience, making it universal and approachable. Nintendo did keep the user’s experience in mind, as it is still a loved product even with all its flaws.
These are just a few names that have implemented User Experience beyond the digital realm in different ways. The one thing that ties all of them together is that these designs are created with their customer in the center. Creating a user-centered design is a key ingredient when it comes to creating chemistry between brands and their customers, and a meaningful relationship between them.