UX Design

Let’s Solve This Problem Together! Let’s Do This!

It all starts with research and whiteboarding!

As a UX Designer, whiteboarding and showing a journey map and task flows is extremely effective to solve a design problem. By standing in front of a whiteboard, leading a group of people, by talking, writing, and drawing through a specific goal and challenge, a designer can touch upon their design thinking by showing design process of how to achieve a successful outcome and best experience for the user by by considering all positive options and to strategize against any possible issues that may occur for a user.

The designer’s mindset must be to create a community in the whiteboard group setting, to be inclusive, collaborating to solve this problem together by taking command of the room, while quickly visualizing and drawing out key points, goals, and visions. How do I design collaboratively and take inputs from others, and to take into consideration any constraints? Team work can be very helpful.

It’s about focusing. What problem are we trying to solve, and for whom? Has user research already been done, and are there established user personas created yet? What’s the outcome or vision? Why should the user care about this product or feature? What problems does it solve? What are the user goals? Are there any assumptions? Are there metrics? How will user achieve their intended goals? All of these questions lead to a users story to help draw a most effective product or feature storyboard and task flow of possible paths. This design story addresses the actions a user can take and their behaviors.

Can you see the journey of how a user progresses through a task? Task flows inject the user into the process. Can you identify areas of potential problems? As a designer, you need to anticipate all possible outcomes of your user flows. Once you have the main flows, you need to begin to list out cases that are less common, but still occur. These are any alternate outcomes in a user flow that need to be considered or further resolved. All of these results show your visible progress with problem-solving skills. Recognizing problems such as, are there potential conflicts? System requirements? Usability issues? It’s very important to consult with technical team to help establish any technical constraints at this early stage too. Communication with your team is key!

Overall, problem solving is very challenging, but when approached by truly trying to conquer learning what’s best for the user, with a proper process and strategy, creative thinking, a top notch design, and smooth functionality, anything is possible.

Wishing you much success with your next Whiteboard Challenge!

Suki Soltysik

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Why is User Experience in Today’s Online World So Important?

In this booming technical world, we encounter so many online experiences while surfing websites, mobile applications, desktop software, and other web applications. The need to create a positive user experience becomes increasingly necessary to consider as all of these interfaces and interactions are being developed.

Why is UX Design so Important?
Although the look-and-feel and branding is of great importance, the UX Design process is of utmost importance to provide a positive user experience. Ultimately a positive experience means better business success. If the users’ experience is positive, then they are more likely to be satisfied and will return again as loyal customers. The goal is to impact behaviors to help users reach their goals by connecting users needs to solutions.

In my past experience, there has been so much emphasis solely on visual design when it comes to designing a new interface. Well, the times have changed, and the need to include a UX Design process is of utmost importance. Planning a technical project ahead is always a better approach.

It all starts with your users’  journey. You will need to establish who your user is!

Who is your user?
You need to understand who your evolving target audience is. A user persona captures your ideal customer profile from data such as demographics and goals, and then you need to predict scenarios of engagement. Once your personas are established, you can better serve your audience goals by catering to those specific users’ expectations.

User Research and Surveys
Another effective way to establish the success of your users’ experience is by observing and studying the interaction of your users during interviews. A successful user researcher can gain valuable insights to what works and doesn’t work for a layout and interaction.

User Journey Mapping and Flow Diagrams
The next step is to take the information that you gathered to create your user personas, and create flow charts that show how your user will travel through your new layout and interface. You can test these flow charts to see if your user agrees that the intended journey is a positive experience. If they have constructive criticism, then you can simply iterate the flow chart with better possible solutions.

Sitemaps and Wireframes
Organizing the hierarchy of your content is also key to a successful user experience. This sitemap hierarchy is a sample walk-through of your interfaces navigation, pages and sub pages, or layers. At this sitemap stage, establish if the organization makes sense and emphasizes the content appropriately, making sure that all content areas are included and addressed. Once the sitemap is tested and approved, wireframes can be created to establish the specific details and visual framework intended for your website, or application interface. Continue testing at this stage to optimize effective usability.

Prototypes and Design
After the wireframes are reviewed, tested, and approved, the design fun begins! Your designer can understand the overall scope of the projects goals by using the persona, journey mapping, sitemaps, wireframes, and branding, to confidently create appealing visual prototypes and mockups. These prototypes can also be further built out as interactive samples for review and testing, using special UX design tools such as InVision. All of these steps are absolutely necessary before handing off to the developers to create code.

A Collaborative Process for UX Designer to Work with Coder before Development Begins
Overall, UX Designers need to collaborate and communicate with developers early in the process to establish any technical constraints or opportunities at the planning stage. It is important that your project goals also fit into budgets, timeline and schedule. There is always project scope creep, so the more planning on paper and the more these UX Design processes are put into place, the more efficient and successful the results of your project outcome.

Is it time to revisit your application’s layout and usability? It’s an important step, and can be very effective to improve your ultimate goals. Think about how usability can be used to improve an experience for your users!

Suki Soltysik

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Have You Considered These Mobile UX Design Essentials for 2018?

Mobile technology is continuously evolving and mobile UX design is constantly adapting to these new demands and changes. Here are some of the mobile trends arising for 2018:

Minimal User Journey
The fastest and most direct interaction is key for measuring success for your design. The main goal is for your user to leave with a satisfied experience.

Prominent Content Easily Viewed
The importance of your design is not just to be aesthetic and attractive, but it is also important that the content needs to drive a lead or make a contact. The content needs to be concise and needs to influence user to make the interaction. Less is more.

Animation for Hidden Interactions
The mobile interface needs to optimize the screen space, so using animation can help user navigate and interact through hidden screens.

Color for Drawing Attention
Proper use of color can help indicate progress, status, and emphasis for your user to better understand any notifications or directions within their experience.

Expressing Emotions
Users are used to feeling and expressing their emotions with their online experience.
Integrating emotion based responses and interactions may appeal to your users.

Video, Video, Video!
Video immerses your user through visuals and audio messaging, which inherently, is easier for your audiences to remember.

Voice-Based Interactions
Having the ability to dictate actions through voice creates for a convenient way to interact, versus the otherwise graphical user interface.

Location Based Personalization
The key is relevance. By personalizing your mobile outreach based on location, you can reach the members of your audience in a particular place or region with relevant information.

Quick Payments
This trend is to make payment fast and seamless with little to no effort to making a financial transaction. But of course, designers will need to keep in mind making sure users are making informed and intended choices, and verified properly.

Inclusive Design for Accessibility and Impairments
It is very important to design and create a fully accessible and inclusive online experience for users with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive disabilities.

Stay tuned as I continue to follow more UX Design trends as they arise on the horizon!

Suki Soltysik

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