User experience (UX) design is all about making something that gives users a meaningful and relevant experience. This includes research, branding, design, usability and function. User interface (UI) design is just a slice of the rather large UX pie, which means the two of them can often get confused.
An example of UX research in Sketch
UX Design is more than just the general usability of a product. It's also the joy, pleasure, fun, and efficiency! UI design is also an important part of this process, with a focus on making simple and enjoyable interfaces. Every product or service is unique, so the first step is to ask the crucial ‘Why’, ‘What,’ and ‘How’ questions.
Let’s start with the Why. Why does the user need to use the product, and what exactly are their motivations? Maybe the user is task-motivated (they need an easier way to file their tax return online) or motivated by their own values and views (owning the product self-confirms they are environmentally aware and making a positive impact to the planet). The What is the way the product functions. What can users do with it? And the How focuses on the design. Is it accessible and aesthetically pleasing? Answering these questions early on lets us create a product that users can shape meaningful experiences with.
An overview of the UX process
UX design covers the entire user journey from beginning to end! Essentially everything contributes in to user experience, from research and persona creating, right through to wireframes, prototyping, screen designs, and testing. Although these tasks can vary depending on the product, one thing is a constant: accessibility must be considered from the start.
Example of a typical template used in user research
Sadly not all universal design is universal. This often leads to products that cause frustration and difficulties for many users, or make it impossible for them to reach their end goal. You only have to take a look at app reviews to see how this affects users. So whether it's having intuitive interfaces, high contrasting adjustable text sizes or well-scaled touch areas, design with everyone in mind.
An example graph showing user drop-off rates during a badly designed sign-up process
Visual design is a bit of a balancing act between aesthetics and usability. There are so many elements to consider - colour, space, typography, iconography, layout, illustration, photography, and patterns. To achieve this balance, there's a variety of principles that must be followed - hierarchy, balance, similarity and contrast, scale and proportion, emphasis and unity.
Then let’s have an introductory chat. Feel free to take a look through a selection of my design work below and send me a message. I’ll brew the coffee if you bring the cake. This might just be the start of something awesome.