With customer needs and expectations constantly changing, it comes as no surprise that companies would invest more and more into ensuring their products are being designed for, and through a customer focused lense.
Take for instance, your last shopping or dining experience. How would you rate it? And under what criteria are you rating it? Were you greeted when you walked in? Offered assistance in a timely manner? How long was the wait for a table or to check out? Did your favorite waiter or shop owner remember your name?
Now think of your last online experience, how was the website designed? Was it easy to find the information that you need? Did you manage to check out efficiently? Or share your experience on social?
When you break down a transaction into steps such as these you are stepping into the mind of a User Experience (UX) Designer.
It’s all about finding the shortest route
The end consumer is constantly trying to find the shortest route. To work, to the grocery store, to solve a problem, to purchase an item; in this digital day and age, we have become increasingly impatient people.
It is widely regarded that Apple changed the game for user experience. They created a product that completely revolutionised the way people interact, consume, and live their everyday lives. By setting this benchmark, companies now must at least meet this level of sophistication with their digital products to stay in the game.
User Experience Design
But what does a UX Designer actually do? When speaking with one of IE’s UX team members, Robbie Turner, he explained that his job varies, “there is no one typical day”. When approaching a problem it’s important to think about where, what, when, why and how a product is interacted with and who is looking at that product. Robbie then dove into explaining the different phases of projects he’s worked on. From mapping out the customer journey to creating wireframes…
Woah woah, you’ve lost me (I admitted bashfully) and asked: what is a wire frame? “Think of a wireframe as the skeletal blueprint of a website, app, etc it’s usually shown through sketches,” he explained.
UX Designers, as Robbie described, work on customer personas, storyboards, value propositions and coordinating user testing (where actual potential customers are brought in to test the created prototype to get real time feedback).
Where companies go wrong and how UX can help
Companies often lose sight of their end user when they are caught up in solving problems for their managers and higher ups. It can take years to implement a new project, by which time the consumers’ wants and needs have most likely changed a few times over.
By synthesising psychology and design, UX’ers are able to create solutions through a customer focused lense. UX designers take the human mind, emotions, habits and thought processes into consideration when creating a product. By leveraging feedback from real and potential customers, you can fine tune the product to accommodate their needs.
UXer’s also help to determine if a product is worth investing in. They are responsible for hand selecting that sweet spot where the business and user needs overlap, by putting those needs at the centre of the product’s development cycles.
Future of User Experience Design
UX is no longer just about the design, it’s about the whole experience. As we all know, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, and responsibilities will expand as customers’ needs change.
It was through this kind of design thinking that FoyerLive was created. Imagine being able to reduce visual merchandising overheads by being able to display seasonal and weather appropriate content digitally in store.
Today’s shoppers have high expectations of their in-store experience, which directly relates to how they purchase online. Because of this, it’s crucial for businesses to reduce wait times in changing rooms and at the check-out. For example, you could take shoe shopping to the next level with digital integration that informs customers of a shoe’s availability and then allows them to request a pair to try on.
From interactions, to expectations UX designers will be pressed to craft designs that will stand the test of time. For me, the only way to do that is through adaptability. It’s time to envision advertisements that adjust to the weather or an app that can sense a drop in engagement and automatically alter its functions.
Adaptable user experience design recognises the ever changing playground and adjusts to meet the new kids on the block.