how and with what can we create easy-to-use and understand digital content?

Confessions of a UX designer

Let's start with the basics!

What does the acronym "UX" actually stand for? UX design stands for user experience design, which is a broad concept that includes everything that affects the user - the visitor - when using a website, interface, application or process. If the visitor feels that they can easily navigate the site, then the UX designer has done a good job. An entire industry has now been built around the design of these processes: not only new professions, but also new ways of working, processes and software to maximise the user experience.

Whereas – is is strange even to say -  in the last century a designer used almost exclusively the Adobe 'holy trinity' of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, these have been almost eclipsed and replaced by software that can now be used by an innovative design team to meet the challenges.

It cannot be stressed enough: it is essential that the experts in each workflow have a clear view of the whole development process, at every stage. This is so true that a thorough knowledge of the design tools described below is expected of the entire UX design team, at any point in the development process.

Key points of UX design:

Defining the product (Define)

"No wind is good for a man who does not know which port he is sailing into" - Quimby / Little man in a boat

Before we create a product, we need a product definition. This is helped by stakeholder interviews to create a value proposition: what the product is for, what problem it will solve, where it will be used and by whom.

In this way, an early wireframe mockup can be created with one of the following applications:

UXPIn / uxpin.com

UXPin dashboard / uxpin.com

Of course, the app is available on macOS and windows, and runs perfectly well in a standard browser. To the delight of the development team, it has GIT, or version control and Storybook integration. You can share the project within the team, comment on it, add suggestions to its elements via the dashboard.

Balsamiq / balsamiq.com

Balsamiq's simple but transparent interface / balsamiq.com

Perhaps the oldest, but still the easiest and therefore the fastest to use software. It's lightning fast to create transparent and to-the-point mockups.

Research

"I'm lost somewhere, I'm looking for you nowhere, I can't find you anywhere my life" - Quimby/ Nowhere to be found

It may be something logical and obvious to us or even to the whole team, but it may not be to the client. Direct user interviews and focus group discussions can tell us a lot, but in "live" situations, the user's active participation is the only way to get the full picture. There are great tools for this too:

Optimal Workshop / optimalworkshop.com

The Optimal Workshop cardsorting interface / optimalworkshop.com

Every market researcher's dream! The browser-based tool, which performs a very complex task, can help us with a wide range of issues:

  • Cardsorting:
    The user has to sort items (e.g. menu items) into groups, and finally give the group a name. The result is logical groupings and category names.
  • Tree testing
    It can be used to test information architecture. We can find out if a data set is transparent and organized for the client.
  • Online Survey
    Easy to create questionnaires that can be analysed immediately.

Maze / maze.co

Among other things, Maze also produces a heat map during testing / maze.co

Market-leading and professional solution not only for research but also for testing. It gives you ready-made templates that you can freely modify and adapt. It has integration with all the major design software: any interface can be taken over and used straight away.

Design

"In G major, the cicadas in the trees are humming, to see a miracle, see a thousand miracles, see a thousand miracles" - Quimby / Car on the serpentine

The information and knowledge that has been gathered so far is essential to ensure that the design, or the product, looks right. The pixel-perfect prototype must be both 'working', interactive and meaningful to the development team. The following complex applications can help in this:

Adobe XD / adobe.com

The Adobe solution, with the familiar Adobe interface

Covering the entire creative ecosystem, Adobe has of course also created its own UI design tool. Its advantage is its interoperability with other Adobe products: not only an Adobe Photoshop image, but also an Adobe Audition sound file can be inserted in place in a single stroke.

Figma / figma.com

The interface of a flower shop app in Figma / figma.com

What started as a garage company is now a real success story. The now inescapable app is available for all platforms and can be run in a browser. Its big advantage is that it is open to almost all applications in this field, thanks to the numerous plug-ins created by third-party developers.

Sketch / sketch.com

Sketch running exclusively on Apple products / sketch.com

Was among the first to be released. It's great for prototyping, whether it's an app or a webshop. Its disadvantage is that it runs exclusively on masOX, even though it has been around since 2010.

As we can see, UX design has never been and will never be a linear process, the other tool besides innovative tools is teamwork, where everyone knows a little bit about each other's work, where an idea or an opinion never disappears.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the story is that alongside these apps, new players in the design software market emerge extremely often, no app publisher, still considered a flagship today, can sit back and relax knowing that next year or even next month, the tool they develop will still be used by designers. However, this is definitely a benefit for both the users of the software (i.e. the UX designers) and the end users, as they all benefit from the impact of continuous development, improvement and innovation!

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