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Introduction to User Experience

The principles of "user experience" may be traced back thousands of years to ancient China, when the practice of Fen Shui, or "feng shui," was developed. The terms "feng" and "shui" literally translate to "wind" and "water," respectively, and relate to the spatial arrangement of objects (such as furniture) in connection to the flow of energy (chi). Feng Shui is about arranging your environment in the most ideal, harmonious, or user-friendly way possible, whether it's a movie theatre, a bedroom, or a whole structure. Everything from the layout and framework to the materials and colors is considered.

A UX designer would apply similar ideas to producing a mobile app, just as an architect could design a house or building to make it easy for the occupant to explore the space. The end goal is the same: a product that is usable, egalitarian, pleasurable, and beneficial.

the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users and enhancing user satisfaction/ experience Click to explore about, What is User Experience Design, Tools and Principles

Donald Norman is a well-known author. When he joined the Apple team in the early 1990s as a User Experience Architect, he became the first to include UX in his job title. "User experience design" is a term he coined. He considered that the human interface and usability were too narrow. He wanted to include all aspects of interaction with technology, such as industrial design, graphics, and the interfacial environment.

What is User Experience?

The user experience (UX) refers to how a person feels when engaging with or using a product. A product could be goods, services, or features. It might be a physical product like a water bottle, laptop, mobile phone, watch, or products like websites, software, etc. For the user to have a positive experience, Usability, equity, enjoyment, and utility are all requirements for a product. It is improving something's usability or making it easier to use. This means that everyone understands the product's design, structure, and purpose.

Consider a ketchup bottle; originally, ketchup was only available in glass bottles. The user had to hit the bottom of the glass to make ketchup out of the bottle. Today, the bottle is redesigned into a squeezable plastic bottle which makes it easy to use & controls how much ketchup comes out. UX thinks about every person who uses the product. This might include people with disabilities or people who may find an app with a lot of text easy to use. On the other hand, a visually impaired might want different features like sound). People have different life experiences from yours, like older generations, people cannot use mobile phones as quickly as you use it).

A good user experience allows your customers to quickly and easily find information. Click to explore about, Comparing Customer Experience and User Experience

Who is the User, End-User of a product?

Any person who uses a product is referred to as a user.

  1. End-User: The target audience for which a UX designer makes something. Let's understand this with an example. End-users of Harry Potter films, for example, are children, but their parents may also see the film and thus be users. However, the film does not focus on their parents.
  2. Figma:  is software meant for UI & UX designers, but software engineers are also using it. Here UI & UX designers are end-users, and software engineers are users. Prioritizing the user is very important.

What are the FrameWorks of User Experience?

A framework is a structure that helps you focus on and solve the problem you're trying to address. Some of the Frameworks are:

User-Centered Design

User-centered design (UCD) is an iterative design method in which the user and their needs are prioritized and addressed at each stage of the design process. Multidisciplinary design teams, such as researchers, designers, engineers, marketers, and investors, are required at UCD. Direct engagement with users throughout the design process, using a variety of research, understanding, interaction, and the design techniques to create highly usable and accessible products for them and allowing them to evaluate, not only helps systems designers tailor products for people but also helps designers develop a deeper sense of empathy for them.

Empathy: In a scenario, the ability to understand another person's feelings or thoughts. UX designers need to understand users' feelings or thoughts while using the product. Interaction with users is very important in UCD.

"There is no alternative for observing and listening to actual people in person." - Larry Page.

It's a four-step iterative process:

  1. Understand: A thorough knowledge of the users, tasks, and environments;
  2. Specify: Identify the end user's usage context and requirements.
  3. Wireframes: Create wireframes
  4. Evaluate: Develop prototypes of minimum viable products and compare them to end-user requirements.
  5. Fact: We spend 41% of our time in front of a screen, i.e., 8000 days or 21 years !!!

Five Elements of User Experience

Let's see how we can turn an idea into a design.

  1. Strategy (bottom layer): Understand the business objectives and goals of the product.
  2. Structure: Once you are clear with business goals, we start focusing on how users interact with the product. We start thinking from a user point of view.
  3. Scope: Determine what we are building (features and content).
  4. Skeleton (layout): It is the product's structure, just like bones in the human body.
  5. Surface (top layer): It is the view of the product. How the product looks & feels is the interface.
TDD is a key practice for extreme programming; it suggests that the code is developed or changed exclusively by the unit testing. Click to explore about, Test Driven Development Tools and Agile Process

What are the types of User Experience designs?

The below highlighted are the types of User Experience designs:

Universal Design

Universal Design focuses on creating a product that can be used by the widest range of people(different races, ages, regions). Designers purpose one solution for everyone, therefore, loses effectiveness.

Maslow's hammer, popularly phrased as "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." The analogy of the hammer tool refers to use only a single method to solve a problem. The nail is the analogy for that problem. Various methods or tools are necessary to solve problems. Therefore this framework fails in many cases.

Inclusive Design

Design choices for meetings that consider human identifiers such as ability, race, . . economic status, language, age, and gender.

Accessibility(a11y)

The term "accessibility design" refers to creating products, gadgets, services, or locations that are accessible to individuals with disabilities. In the industry, this is referred to as a11y. A11y = accessibility

World Report on Disability
https://www.who.int › teams › noncommunicable-diseases
About 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-​4% experience significant difficulties in functioning.

Accessibility Categories

  1. Motor
  2. Cognitive
  3. Vision
  4. Deaf or hard of hearing

If we design products for people with disabilities, we also often make it a better experience for everybody.

Tools Used

  1. Keyboard Only accessibility: Your interface and content must be accessed and operated using only a keyboard. Some people can't use a mouse or use assistive gadgets that hinder them from hovering or clicking precisely.
  2. Screen Recorder (NVDA for Windows, VoiceOver for Mac built-in)
  3. Screen Magnifiers

Accessible in Web Development

Accessibility Guidelines for Web Content (WCAG)
The WCAG includes three levels of accessibility conformance that represent the importance of support: level 1, level 2, and level 3.

A: Essential

This is the most fundamental and necessary criterion. People may find it difficult to read, understand, or fully use the website or view if this is not satisfied.

AA: Ideal Support

This is a higher-level criterion that is beneficial and typically necessary for many government and public-sector websites.

AAA: Specialized Support

It's fantastic to have criteria that focus on unique audiences with a variety of abilities.

  • Accessible HTML:

Some elements have semantic value but aren't used in any way functionally. Examples:

<aside>, <footer>, <header>

Others provide functionality:

<button>, <input>, <textarea>

  • Aria: ARIA is a set of attributes that describe how to make web content and web applications (particularly those built with JavaScript) more accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Images: If you're using images, make sure they all have an alt attribute.
  • Headings: Heading elements (h1, h2, h3, and so on) help split the content of a page into relevant "chunks" of information. They're important for people who use assistive technology to understand the meaning of a website or a view. Only use one h1 per page.
  • Choosing Colors: For persons with low vision, high contrast makes the UI easy to perceive. Color contrast, similar to dark mode on a device, boost color contrast on the screen. Black text on a white background (background) or the other way around.
  • Instead of div, use the <button> tag.
  • Informs, labels should be used instead of p tags.
  • Screen recorders should not be able to read hidden HTML.

What are the tools to debugging a11y

  1. Lighthouse by google
  2. aXe by Deque
  3. WEBAIM Contrast Checker
  4. Chrome Color Contrast Debugge

Equity Focused Design

the difference between Equity and Equality is explained below:

  • Equality: The same level of opportunity and assistance
  • Equity: To reach a fair outcome, each person needs a distinct level of opportunity and support.
A designing process which focuses on creating engaging web Interfaces with logical thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Click to explore about, Interaction Design Principles, Methods and Best Practices

Software In Different Platforms

UX Designers need to keep different platforms top of mind to build user experience for desktop, mobile web, mobile apps, tablets, wearable devices, TV. Users want to feel the same for cross-platform (i.e, need consistency in your design)

  1. An average mobile user session 72 sec
  2. An average desktop user session 150 sec

Therefore, people use different devices in different ways:

  1. The majority of mobile users are goal-oriented and focused on finishing a single job.
  2. On mobile phones, gestures like tapping & swapping help users move around the screen.
  3. Mobile screens have slower processing speed & longer load times, which need to be in consideration.

Lets, talk about a few best practices when designing for mobile user experience.

  1. Action buttons should be placed in front & center, allowing users to complete the desired task quickly. E.g., adds items to the cart.
  2. The navigation menu should be brief and straightforward. We try to make the user experience as simple as possible.
  3. Menu options should only highlight the core function of the product.
  4. Use gestures that users are already familiar with, like tapping, swapping.
  5. Reduce visual clutter. Mobile phones have smaller screen sizes. So visual experience must be simple.
Java vs Kotlin
Our solutions cater to diverse industries with a focus on serving ever-changing marketing needs. Click to explore our Product Design and User Experience Solutions 

What are the types of User Experience Designers?

  • Graphic Designer: focuses on the physical appearance of a product.
  • UX Researchers: conduct research or interviews to learn more about how likely people are going to utilize a product.
  • UX Designer: focuses on how users interact with the product
  • UX Writers: To make the user experience more intuitive, the product's terminology is made explicit.
  • Product Designers: works as a link between designers and engineers, ensuring that the initial and final design are the same.
  • UX Program Manager: ensures excellent communication, resulting in a smooth construction process from start to finish.

Conclusion

UX is the most important building block in software development. Even its priority is higher than User Interface because until the user is not comfortable with your app, how good the app is doesn't matter, It is of no use. Moreover, user experience should be thought of to satisfy a variety of people until you are building for a specific use case or people. 

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