You have probably heard of the term User Experience before and how it might influence your business, improve customer retention and create a seamless experience for your users. Whether you are a beginner looking to get into UX or have experience to some degree, I believe it is something that is worth knowing and can apply anywhere you go. It’s a culture that needs to be adapted by companies that would like to improve the experience they are delivering to their customers.
Matt and Luke demonstrating how an interview should go
In case you missed it, here is a breakdown of what was covered in the workshop:
What is User Experience?
I’ll go with the definition the UX Mastery Pros used:
“User Experience is the what, where, when, why, and how someone uses a product, as well as who that person is. It’s everything that affects a user’s interaction with a product.”
The UX Iceberg
The UX Iceberg digs a whole lot deeper than just visual design. Visual design is the surface that we all see, but underneath it, lies an entire process and methodologies to ensure that the experience that users have with your product or brand is controlled and aligned with your business goals.
The 5 elements are:
- Surface – Visual Design
- Skeleton – UI, navigation and content requirements
- Structure – Interaction design and Information Architecture
- Scope – Functional Specs and Content Requirements
- Strategy – Site objectives and user needs
Knowing who your users are, and their objectives, plays a key role in your strategy and research. That is what UX is all about, getting to know your users and their behavior. Once you know that, it will be easier to pave the way to a seamless experience for your users.
The UX Lifecycle Phases
As you can probably tell by now, UX is about user research and feedback, understanding what your users goals are, strategizing on how to improve that experience through iterations and using a process that will help you reach your goals. Communication is key throughout this entire process.
It is one of the most important phases of the process. Getting to know your product, identifying your objectives, defining what success looks like and how to measure it.
It is the most insightful phase in the process. Conducting interviews and surveys among other things, you can get valuable data that will help you shape your project and make intelligent decisions in the next few steps of the UX lifecycle.
Like marketing, UX also makes use of personas to group users and goals. This phase is where all your research aligns and become clear. It validates any concerns and assumptions that you may have had instead of going blinded.
This phase involves collecting the data in the first few processes and creating the workflow, prototypes, wireframes and ideations. It’s the user interface sketching and a step forward to the actual interface for development and testing.
After data research, the developers and surface designers will get to work on development. This is also a phase where the beta is launched.
The best way to improve your user experience is by constantly testing. In this phase, we should be evaluating the experience and testing by repeating the process from research to design. This will lead to more feedback from users, better iterations and in the end, a great user experience.
Once the output meets requirements and metrics, it is now ready to be launched. It is still beneficial to keep on testing.
Attendees participating in activities
This is just the beginning of User Experience and what is involved in it. And it’s what makes things more interesting. It relies heavily on actual user feedback, interaction with your design and there are no hunches or assumptions. Each step you take needs to be backed up by pure data.
The workshop included several activities and processes that are used by User Experience designers. If you are interested in becoming a UX professional, I would suggest starting to read up on the following:
- Hunt Statement
- User Interviews
- Affinity Mapping
- Story Boards
- UI Flow
- Paper Prototyping
- Usability Testing
A few soft skill that you need to have to become a UX practitioner:
Another way to get started is by attending these workshops and conferences. It’s a great experience and not only will you learn from the experts, you get to build your network and ask questions directly to key people. So be sure to keep an eye out for other UXMNL events!
Overall, the event was a great experience to learn and meet industry professionals. It was followed by a social mixer at the Ill Ponticello, with an open bar and overflowing discussions with smart people!
L to R: Phil Smithson, Luke Chambers, Me (Marc), Russell Morgan and Matt Magain
Big thanks to Russell Morgan, Phil Smithson, Matt Magain, Luke Chambers and their teams for organizing this event. It was great meeting you guys and see you all at the next one!