One of our goals at HP is to consistently deliver a superior experience by designing products and services with a focus on a quality user experience. I feel the infographic below does a great job of highlighting the design process and methodologies needed to create a successful user experience.
While it can be easy to get lost in the technology and business drivers, don’t forget the most important aspect – the user. The user should always be at the center of your design process.
First, what is user experience?
User experience, or UX, is how the user feels when they interface with a product or system. That system could be a website, an application or any form of human-product interaction. An effective UX that can transcend any industry is made up of several elements including tools, experience and function.
Those who work on UX study and evaluate how users feel about the system by considering the ease of use, efficiency when performing tasks, perception of the value of the system and more. While UX designers’ specific methods can vary depending on the status of the product or website, wireframing, prototyping applications, and interviewing users are popular UX design tasks.
How do you build UX into your process?
When your product has a user-centered design, the users are given attention at each stage of the process.
Take user capabilities for example. It’s important to start by identifying your target audience and where they are starting from with your solution. How familiar are they with your industry or product? Is there a language barrier? What are their environmental surroundings? Mindset when they are most likely to use your product? Once you answer those questions and have a deep understanding of your audience, you can determine their situation and cater to their specific needs.
Next up are user goals. The best-designed products are made with a deep understanding of the users’ needs. This is especially important with technology products. Users need to be at the top of a designer’s mind when they are designing a product. After all, users are in search of a solution, not a specific technology product.
I recently spoke to Iris Beneli, a UX Research Leader at HP, about this very solution. She told me about her experience when we embarked on a new navigation system design for HP.com in 2011. Iris and other HP team members tested each design iteration with customers by using traditional usability methods. They spent an hour with each study participant to collect their feedback. This dedication to provide the right solution for the users resulted in a 35% increase in consumer sales on HP.com. As Iris said, “Only confident customers pull out their credit cards. With customer confusion comes low user confidence, and a hit to the bottom line.” Collecting and making iterations based off the customer feedback we receive allows us to avoid this pitfall.
User involvement is another essential aspect of user-centered design. Listening to feedback and iterations are important elements of an effective process. When the user is observed using the product, participates in testing, and gives feedback, designers are given a first-hand look at how they can improve their product.
Why is UX important?
Creating intuitive products and user interfaces involves intricate and complex decisions. Hoa Loranger, director at Nielsen Norman Group, recently pointed out that some companies are focusing on the X when making those decisions, and not spending enough time on the U. In other words, there simply isn’t enough emphasis on the user input going into the UX development efforts.
It’s important to think about the user because customers who have a good user experience are more likely to become a repeat customer. Ultimately, you want to build lasting relationships with your customers, and providing a user experience can do just that.