BlogUX designUX – what it is and how to use it in a project

UX – what it is and how to use it in a project

Probably everyone gets discouraged when a product was supposed to be intuitive, but turns out to be difficult to use. It’s the same with websites – if we encounter difficulties in a particular place, we don’t want to return to it again. Slow-loading content, problems with bad redirection or even unreadable text can effectively scare away visitors. And that’s where the UX team comes in – programmers who specialize in user thinking. What is UX, what does their job entail and why are they essential in a good software house?

What is UX?

UX, and expanding on the acronym User Experience, is the totality of the experiences and sensations a consumer has when using a product. Although UX applies to a broad spectrum of industries – marketing, electronics, automotive – the term is most often spoken of in the context of IT. Here, in turn, UX is generally juxtaposed with desktop software and websites. The very idea of User Experience originated in the 1970s, with the production of the first personal computers. PC design engineers understood that it is the machine that has to be adapted to man, not man to machine – especially if the product is to reach the masses. Combining the discipline of engineering with cognitive psychology has resulted in a new branch: user experience design. Today it is a discipline present in almost every business niche. Interestingly, the concept of User Experience is described in ISO 9241 as “user perceptions and reactions resulting from actual or anticipated use of a system, product or service.”

User Experience in IT

For many people, the world of IT solutions is incomprehensible, quite mysterious and even a bit scary. Therefore, it is the IT industry that shows the greatest demand for UX simplicity and user-friendly solutions. At the very base of the project, it is necessary to think with the customer: whether the whole thing loads quickly, whether the site is visually appealing, whether the program is easy to use, whether the problem is possible to solve with a particular application. And while designers or developers may think the answer is “yes,” independent and reliable results will only be provided by the UX team. An integral part of User Experience research is to test a certain pool of solutions in a group of lay people, non-professionals. They are given several, sometimes more than a dozen variants of a single item and evaluate each trial from a given angle. An example would be, for example, the animation of sending messages – some will be more aesthetically pleasing, others will be more understandable, and still others will be neither aesthetically pleasing nor understandable.

The difference between UX and UI

An acronym often seen alongside UX is UI, from User Interface. The name itself does not fundamentally differentiate the two tasks, but the specifics of the job say a bit more. Well, the goal of UI designers is to create the interaction space in such a way that it is aesthetically pleasing, orderly and evokes a positive perception. UX designers, on the other hand, are tasked with dressing these aesthetics with the added value of usability and intuitiveness. This is, of course, a simplification, because in UI work you will find UX elements (e.g., optimization of site navigation tools), and in UX work the UI element is active. It is important for the UI employee to work with the UX to make the end result easy to use and nice to look at. It is important that the end result is not a collection of compromises, but the sum of synergies and attractively packaged simplicity. It is increasingly common practice in the IT industry to create mixed UX/UI teams and even hire people competent in both fields. In a good software house and with ambitious projects, there can be no lack of a person responsible for User Interface and UX Design.

What does the work of a UX Designer look like?

If you are curious about the work of a UX Designer or are considering this niche of IT, you need to know that it is largely a job for people. So you must demonstrate not only knowledge of aspects of information technology, but also empathy, sensitivity, out-of-the-box thinking and anticipation of human behavior. In the first stage, mock-ups and interaction diagrams are designed, i.e. how the website or application content should work and be displayed. You need to think about how you want the user to get to the content they are looking for and what categories the content will be divided into. There is no single right path – you need to find at least several different combinations, which will then be tested. The testing phase is the second stage, in which you present the solutions you have prepared to users. These, in turn, test them, evaluate the usability, simplicity and intuitiveness of the solution, and based on this, the feedback of the UX Designer’s work is created. Comments provided during testing can also influence a product’s promotion and distribution strategy, e.g., it will be found that the product is not only easy to use, but also solves a problem quickly. Finally, it’s time for the third stage, which is to implement the best solution in cooperation with the design team, graphic designers, UI team and developers. The details of the work may change, so a lot depends on the project currently being developed.

4B Systems Software House Śląsk | Gliwice | Katowice | Warszawa. Kodowanie aplikacji webowych i mobilnych na zlecenie.

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