Design

10 Things You Need to Know About UX and UI design

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The design process is a complex journey that doesn’t happen overnight. It gets even more complicated if you don’t understand the basics. Therefore, to ease your struggles, we have made a list of 10 things you need to know about UX and UI design.

 

1. UX and UI are not alike

Using the term User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) interchangeably is a common mistake. However, it’s important to distinguish the two. It might be a surprise to some but UI is actually a part of UX.

 

 

UX vs UI
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Adobe explains the terms well in What You Should Know About User Experience. Basically, User Experience design focuses on functionality, usability, simplicity and clarity of the product/service. In short, if users are able to solve a particular problem within the design and how easy/hard it is. User Interface, on the other hand, is about the visual experience of the product/service. It focuses on the look and feel of the product/service.

 

2. You are not the target audience

Designers, entrepreneurs and innovators often assume that the potential users of their product are like them. That’s a big mistake. The psychological term for this tendency is a false-consensus effect. Basically, people assume that others share the same beliefs and will behave similarly in a given context as they do. Avoid that, many others have done that before you and it didn’t end up well for them. Whatever product you are making there is a high chance that the future users are typically not like yourself. Most probably, they have different backgrounds, different mindsets, different mental models, and different goals.

 

3. UX should be a mindset, not a step in the procedure

The wheels need to keep turning and you have a deadline to meet. This is a common justification for why UX is not prioritized. It’s also a common way of spotting whether your organisation has understood what UX really is. User Experience design is not a process that your team has to adhere to, it’s a mindset. You should always keep a superior user experience in mind when you are designing and developing your product.

 

4. UI is like a joke – if you have to explain it, it’s not good enough

You remember the time you dropped a joke and nobody got it, so you had to explain it? Yeah, it wasn’t that funny after all. Same goes for UI, if you have to explain the design and the reasons why you made the choices that led to that design, then it’s not good enough.

 

 

deisgn
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5. All pages need to be accessible with a maximum of 3 clicks

Well, that’s just partially true. The idea that every distant corner of your product should be reachable within a few clicks is just plain wrong. Not all the information possible needs to be the first thing the users see. A great example is the “about company” button. For those interested in the history behind the company, they can dive into that and dig around. In a world where humans are scoring a record low on the attention span chart, you need to put all your focus into what brings value to your users, the vital information. 

 

6. Adjust design for short attention spans

Speaking of attention spans, you need to be crisp when serving your users, don’t overwhelm them with information. An attention span is defined as the amount of time someone concentrates on a task without becoming distracted. In 2015 Microsoft conducted a study that revealed that the average human attention span has declined from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. That’s some scary stuff, we basically have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Yes, a freaking goldfish. So when you are designing your product, ask yourself this: “Would a goldfish be able to use this?” If not, back to the drawing board.

 

7. Leave your ego at the door

We love this one. Especially founders, CEOs and chairmen have built careers by having strong opinions about virtually anything. By having strong opinions, most of which were correct, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to enjoy their level of success. This fact builds ego. But when it comes to creating an awesome experience for your users, ego has no place in that process. So before you walk into a work session or an individual testing session together with your colleagues, leave your ego at the door. That’s a very useful inspirational quote. It looks amazing if written in Helvetica, printed and framed, and hanged at the entry of office spaces that are genuinely collaborative.

 

 

quote
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8. Use real content when designing

Don’t use Lorem Ipsum and dummy placeholders all over the place when you demo a new design. It is hard to come by a product that is not based around original content, whether that’s text, images, or videos. It’s not far off to say that design is an enhancement to the content. Yet many make the mistake of putting Lorem Ipsum all over their design, not taking content into account during the design phase.

 

9. KISS – Keeping It Simple, Stupid

Simplicity is the king and consistency is the queen. In the context of digital products, simplicity means that’s it’s easy to understand and interact with your product. Your users shouldn’t need to read instructions to understand how to use the app or have a sitemap to be able to navigate through it. It’s part of your job to make things clear and subtly guide them from where they are to where they need to go.

 

10. Prototype

There is nothing worse than a design phase stuck in the basement, never to see the light of day until the big curtain unveil. The design phase for digital products should include a prototyping stage that includes users actually testing the product. Typically a lot of effort is put into creating something that we believe is great. So the longer you wait to test this greatness, the more stressful is the realization that the solution doesn’t work as expected once users get their hands on it.

 

Prototyping allows you to test your hypothesis before spending time with an engineering or development team building the actual product. Designers can use different design techniques for it. One useful technique is called rapid prototyping. It’s a popular way of quickly creating the future state of a product, be it a website or an app, and validating it with a group of users.

 

Conclusion

We hope that after reading this article you feel more confident about UX and UI design and you are ready to start designing your own app/website! In case you need help with anything digital, remember that we are always here for you, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

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