User Experience Design Principles, Best Practices and Tools

October 09, 2018 

User Experience Design Principles, Best Practices and Tools

What is User Experience (UX) or User Experience Design (UXD)?

UX Design focuses on user first way of designing products/services and their requirements and how much satisfactory the product for the users who are going to use it.

User experience design (UXD) is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users and enhancing user satisfaction/ experience with a product by improving the usability, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.

User experience design is a user-product interaction, and improve the product, and users experience by addressing all perspectives of a product by the user's feedback & requirements.

The UXD process involves the design of the entire process of research, prototyping and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, function and users feedback.

The primary purpose of the UX Design is to studying user behavior and understanding user requirements with the goal of design satisfactory user experiences of a product. Developing a better user experience & customer satisfaction product is not a single person or team’s responsibility, it is a vision of an organization.


How User Experience Design (UXD) Works?

User experience design is a continuous process of iteration which helps you continuously improve and polish your designs and improve the user experience.

Just like the communication process, we need the response or feedback from the listener, same way to design a product, it requires the user's feedback and then re-work on the requirement to improve the user experience.

UXD Process includes the following vital elements & stages -

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Visual Design
  • Implementation
  • Launch and Evaluation

Each stage it involves relevant stakeholders or team member of the organization that takes part in the process of evaluating your designs on each stage and make your products highly efficient & usable.

Research in User Experience Design

To solve a problem and provide a solution, you first need to understand the problem and analyze requirements.

This stage includes the process of understanding the problem, find out the solution for the challenge and gather the requirements for the solution from different sources including contextual and individual interviews, Conduct brainstorming sessions with clients, observing the users in the real environment, share existing products and idea with the clients to get their feedback.

Business Manager is the role in an organization that works directly with clients and gets requirements from them. The design team can work closely with the Business Manager to understand users and their needs.

Overview of Analysis Phase

Understand the problem and find out the best solution for the problem is the primary step to improve the design user experience.

“It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds” — Paula Scher.

As Paula Scher says, the same way, It takes lots of time to did research and understood the problem and get the best solution. But it takes less time to develop a better product.

Activities need to keep in mind to gather the information to research & Analysis on the problem for the next visual design stage.

  • Meet, talk, observe and understand users in their environment.
  • Analyze requirements to understand and clarify them.
  • Define user personas, User Stories, use-cases, and workflow.
  • Study of competitors’ approaches & Research on similar features in the world.
  • Be aware of the latest UI/UX trends, design principles, and guidelines.

As to improve and increase the user experience of product and service need to continue work on the design process iteration according to the user feedback and requirements.

Visual Designing in UXD

Visual design is the stage we are finalizing the thing and start defining and designing the wireframe, prototype, and workflow of the product.

Visual Design comes up with graphic design, user interface design, communication design, and visual communication, and define how exactly the user interface will be.

The purpose of visual design is to use visual elements like colors, images, fonts, icons, text, and graphics to convey a message to users and fulfill the product requirements.

Visual design is pre-step of the actual implementation of product and defines how the product is going to work and focus on look and feel.

Following are the activities we need to keep in mind with this stage -

  • Generate ideas and work on basic sketches, prototypes, wireframes, etc.
  • Brainstorming sessions with clients, stakeholders to get their feedback from the technical perspective.
  • Re-draw sketches prototypes, wireframes and re-test them with stakeholders & user.

How to Adopt User Experience Design?

This stage refers to the actual implementation of the product and there feature and include designing, developing and testing of the products.

After finalizing layout, prototype and flow the next step is to work on the final design and turn the product prototype and wireframes to great-looking products by applying the theme and styles.

Including the design team, the Development team is also part of this stage. Development team builds back-end functionality and connects it with the UI when they get the actual design artifacts.

Activities to be done with this stage -

  • Design the final product User Interface from the wireframes and prototypes.
  • Define the specs, and guidelines required for implementation back-end functionality and front interface.
  • Test the product with different phase to full fill the product requirements.
  • Share with the stakeholders and user to get their feedback from business and technical perspective.
  • Launch and Evaluation

When product features implemented, and UI integrated with the back-end functionality, the end product is evaluated based on few factors before the launching the final product to market.

  • Whether the product is usable and fulfilled the requirements?
  • Is it easy and efficient to use for the end user?
  • Is it flexible, fast and easy to change and add any new feature?
  • Does it provide the best solution to problems and complete the requirement?

After this last stage, the whole User Experience Design process may be iterate itself until the desired experience and customer satisfaction is not achieved and depend on the new requirement changes and actual users feedback.


Why User Experience Design Matters?

As the growing technology trend and more competition, business is more focusing on the user and customers, who are going to use their product.

The organization is now focused on user first way of work and focus on user satisfaction.

Same in term of design organization is more focusing on User Experience Design as a great user experience design not only highlights and promotes their product; it has become an essential part of the building and growing customer belief and helped the organization to achieve their business goals.

However, the primary feature of the Web design is user-centered design, usability, uniqueness, compatible and accessibility. Steve Jobs said the design is not like how it looks, the design is more about how it works, how it increases the usability and user experience.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs.

User experience is not only designing the product but to go beyond and understand user behavior. This way the problem users are facing can be tracked down to the core and resolved at the root cause level. The user experience matters in various fields for both organization and users.


Benefits of User Experience Design (UXD)

  • Reduce, Re-work & Reduce maintenance cost.
  • UX help to differentiate your brand & helps users to recognize your brand quickly.
  • Keeps your audience on your site longer and increase conversion rates.
  • UX brings the team out of the box & reduces company risks.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction & increase productivity.

Best Practises of User Experience Design

Before practicing design, we must have to know about some designing principles & best practices of the design system.

Here are the common fundamental principles -

Color

Choosing the right color for product design is one of the most critical aspects of UI design, and maintain Consistency between colors.

Balance

There should be a balanced layout for the product and must have Symmetry between each component with there placement and use. In web layout, a designer needs to place a logo, images, text, illustration and other components and create the relationship between the elements to produce an eye-catching design.

Contrast

Using contrast to organize information, A good Contrast help to organize information build hierarchy and create focus, make the text easy on the eyes, easy to scan and improve readability.

Typography

Keep Font & Icons Clear, and Legible will help you Choosing to make the text more readable and create the uniqueness.

Consistency

The design should reuse internal and external components and behaviors, maintain consistency between the whole website which will help the organization to recolonization easily.


Tools of User Experience Design (UXD)


Top Design Tools

  • Sketch - Sketch is a design toolkit & vector graphics editor for Apple's macOS to help you create your best work — from your earliest ideas, through to final artwork.
  • Figma - Figma is the collaborative interface design tool based in the browser, making it easier for teams to create software.
  • Adobe XD - The all-in-one UX solution for designing, Prototyping & wireframing Tool for websites, mobile apps, & more.
  • InVision Studio - Lightning-fast screen design, Rapid prototyping, animation, built-in design systems, and collaboration tool.
  • Canva - Canva is an amazingly simple graphic-design tool website.
  • Framer X - Interaction Design and UX design software tool to create interactive designs for any platform.

Key Prototype Tools

  • Marvel App - A collaborative Free mobile & web Wireframe, prototype, design platform.
  • Avocode - A open workspace to all designers and developers to automate your design hand-off workflow.
  • Zeplin - A ultimate collaboration tool between designers and developers.
  • Justinmind - Free UI prototyping tool to design hi-fi prototypes and wireframes for websites.
  • Flinto - Design your own interactive and animated transitions prototypes.