The pace of technological progress nowadays has never been quicker. It’s not enough for a product to be just functional anymore. Users expect more – they want software that’s intuitive, easy to use, and visually appealing. According to AWS, 88% of users are unlikely to return to a website that offers a bad user experience.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the importance of UX/UI expert on your software development team. We’ll talk about what exactly that is, what’s its contribution to the product creation and an overview of my approach to the design process.
What is UI & UX Design?
UI(user interface) and UX(user experience) design refer to creating the user interface and experience of digital products – websites, applications, and software.
The two terms often go together. It’s not uncommon for a qualified designer to have both skill sets. And yet, there are some differences.
User Interface design refers to the visual aesthetic and layout of a product. This could include graphics, images, fonts, colour schemes etc. A UI designer aims to make your product pleasant and appealing to your users.
User Experience design, on the other hand is responsible for the way users interact with your product. Aspects such as ease of use, responsiveness, and intuitive navigation are all parts of UX. The goal here is to create a product that’s both functional and enjoyable to use.
A UI/UX designer combines both skill sets to create a user-friendly, visually appealing application. Let’s see what are the main ways a user experience professional can directly contribute to your product’s success.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”﹣Steve Jobs
Focus on the user
In the core of every product is the user that’s going to use it.
For example for eCommerce website, the user needs to purchase a product; for social media - to engage with other users; for entertainment, he wants to stream his favourite show, and so on.
Users expect to be able to do all those tasks quickly and easily. If they have difficulty performing those tasks, their experience diminishes, they become frustrated and leave. Once they leave due to a bad experience, they likely will not return, and this hurts your bottom line.
Often during product development process, the importance of researching user needs is overlooked or neglected. UX designers work to understand the user and then plan how to achieve the best experience for him.
Unfortunately, if there's no UX expert on the team, developers generally have neither the time nor expertise to undertake this large, complex, and time-consuming process.
The Design Process
At the beginning of every software design process is understanding the product and its uniqueness. As UX designers, some of the main questions we need to be answered are:
What is the purpose of the app?
Who will be using the app?
How will people use and access it?
What are the benefits of this app over its competitors’?
and the list goes on.
Based on the purpose of the app and the information it contains, we compose and organise the information architecture (IA) and navigation. It provides logic and structure so the content remains accessible and functional.
Sketches and wireframes
Considering the user requirements and the information architecture that we have investigated, we create low-fidelity wireframes for each screen the user is going to experience. Wireframes are meant to show the main flows in the app and the skeleton of the information organisation.
Usually on this step comes an important feedback from stakeholders and other people in the team, brainstorming is performed and changes made.
After the flows are ready and approved we proceed with creating the look and feel for the app using appropriate colour palettes, typography combined with iconography, grids, sample images (or actual images if available) so stakeholders and developers can see the product as it will appear to the users. If the product has existing brand identity, we follow its guidelines.
While this is mostly to benefit the stakeholders, it is also helpful for developers to have a visual representation for planning purposes.
Next step is the creation of a clickable prototype that simulates the user moving through each screen, allowing us to test all the flows and inspect for potential issues. Except helping developers with showing them how some items should behave - overlays and modals, drop-downs, sidebars, animations, etc, it comes handy for a way to test, evaluate, and validate your idea with users.
A short video of a clickable prototype for Fleet Manager web app
Regular reviews with stakeholders
It is crucial to schedule meetings with stakeholders after every stage of the design process to ensure that the process aligns with their expectations and vision for the product. If they are not, changes are made so the design meets all the user and business needs.
Final phase - design handoff for development
We create a design system or style guide document that shows developers all the details of the design including colours, fonts, icons, components, etc. This can be provided as a PDF or in the software used for mockups (Figma, Adobe XD, Sketch).
After all being said we can unite the
Benefits of having a good and thoughtful UX design
Providing first impression
UX and UI build your company's image in the eyes of potential customers, and first impressions are vital. A website with a poor design may scare users away, while excellent UI and UX create a positive first impression of your app, build trust with users, and shape how customers perceive your brand.
Creating a better solution
Running through all the research, brainstorming ideas and concepts, resolving problems with the best solutions, a UX designer does more than make your solution look good. We help you reach users' hearts and achieve great customer satisfaction.
Minimising development costs
There is a misconception that implementing UX design during product development causes projects to take longer and cost more. In reality it’s actually the opposite. Proper implementation of a good design saves you time and money. A skilled UX designer can enable you to quickly visualise and concretise your ideas for testing and improvement. This helps you avoid unexpected changes later in the software development process, where it will be far more expensive to fix. According to research, developers spend 50% of their time fixing issues, such as reworking existing UX design elements, which could have been avoided.
Increasing customer loyalty and retention
Satisfied users become brand ambassadors for your business, telling their friends and family about your amazing solution. Their satisfaction acts as a free advertisement, which is crucial for startup businesses trying to build an established brand.
Increasing product innovation and differentiation
According to a study by Forrester, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return. A UX designer brings new ideas and innovation to the product development, helping it to differentiate from the competition.
In conclusion, a UX/UI Designer is an essential part of any product development team. By having a UX/UI Designer on your team, you can speed up development, improve user feedback and testing, and bring innovation to your product.
If you're ready to share your business concept with us or you're still having doubts, just reach for us. We're here to help you and your idea.