UX and UI Design is a term that you may be hearing a lot lately, but what does it actually mean?
When someone says “I’m a web designer,” this occupation title is something that most people will be familiar with, however, a lot has changed in a world where almost everyone owns a mobile phone, has a facebook profile and uses google instead of a phonebook to look up businesses. Now days, it’s not enough to just create a website, give it a somewhat good navigation that consists of around 5-10 pages and make it visually pleasing, now we expect more… much more.
Investments and stakes into company’s online presence and online information delivery is rising dramatically and the interaction with apps has become a customer expectation.
Where once a business may have drawn up an instruction manual to go out with their product, now they can:
- prepare an online training experience
- push out further engagement
- create online communities with other users of the product
- keep users informed of updates to products
- deliver surveys and gain feedback
- …the possibilities are endless.
So… what is the best way to keep customers engaged in your product or service?
Well first up, we need a good product! Ok, now we can get into the nitty-gritty… one of the biggest keys in delivering information is to make the user journey a joyful one and this is where a UX Designer and a UI Designer come into the mix.
The UX Research helps us understand what the user wants and needs, the UX Design interprets this information, draws up conclusions and wireframes and then the UI Designer translates this into something more visually detailed.
Let me break this down into four areas, bare in mind, these areas can be intertwined.
Any good project always starts with research, find out who the users are and what they need and want.
Obtain qualitative and quantitative data by conducting, user surveys, user interviews, google analytics, analysing the competition and gathering market data, then follow through with setting up user personas and A/B testing.
The objective is to create the ‘best’ user experience.
UX Design takes the UX Research and continues it through to the look and feel of the product, while also exploring different ways to solve a specific user problem and ensuring the product logically flows from one step to the next. Designs can be refined via wireframes, storyboards, card sorting, and sitemaps.
UX designers can often take on the role of also gathering UX research.
Now it’s up to the UI designer to take a closer look at the visual elements in the product.
…look at the layout and styling based on the path that the UX designer has laid out, while also considering the brand.
The UI designer will look at prototyping and design each screen or page with which a user interacts, they will look at styling buttons, dropdowns, accordions, tabs, sliders, control knobs, form functions, error messages (the list goes on) and ensure their design is intuitive to the user and is consistent to the styling.
The boundary between UI and UX designers is fairly blurred and it is not uncommon for companies to opt to combine these roles.
So… what’s a good design without anyone to develop it?
This is where the front-end developer comes in.