The howls of frustration that we hear on many UX projects are often to do with how badly misunderstood the UX role is in business. Here are the main things that everyone should know about UX work:
01. UX is not (only) UI
Swapping UX with UI, as if the two are the same, is a common mistake. User Interface is the space where interactions between humans and a product occur, while User Experience is an emotional outcome after interactions with a product.
02. Know your audience
The Design is based upon an explicit understating of users, tasks, and environments. If you plan to design a product your users will love, you must have an idea of what your audience actually wants and needs. And this means user research should be an essential part of the UX design process.
The Usability Trinity
03. You are not the user
The design should be driven and refined by user-centered evaluation. But often, designers assume that people who will use their interfaces behave and react just like them. In psychology, it’s called the false-consensus, which is a tendency to assume that others share our beliefs and will behave similarly in a given context.
04. The UX process isn’t set in stone
Many people believe that there’s one universal UX process that can be applied to all projects. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all UX design. While it’s possible to define individual steps for each project, a precise UX process should always be selected based on project requirements.
05. Prototype before you build a real product
Prototyping is creating a model of a product so that it can be tested. Prototyping allows you to test your hypothesis before spending time with an engineering team building the actual product. Skipping prototyping and putting a lot of effort into building an actual product is another common and dangerous mistake.
06. Don’t try to solve everything at once
Design is an iterative process. It’s important to understand that UX design (UXD) is not a linear process. The phases of the process often overlaps, and usually, there’s a lot of back-and-forth. Don’t think that it’s possible to make your design perfect right after just one iteration. Instead, refine ideas to the point where you can test them with real users, collect valuable feedback, and iterate based on this feedback.
07. Preventing errors is better than fixing them
Errors often occur when people engage with user interfaces. Sometimes, they happen because users make mistakes, and other times they happen because an app fails. Whatever the cause, these errors and how they are handled have a huge impact on the user experience. Whenever possible, design the product to keep potential errors to a minimum.
08. UX design (UXD) is the result of team collaboration
The design team should include multidisciplinary skills and perspectives. Anyone who has worked in the field of user experience will know that there is a dizzying array of job titles. But it’s a fact that good design teams will have a range of skills: user researchers, information architects, interaction designers, content designers, and visual designers.