In this tech-connected world, User Experience (UX) is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it’s essential.
New research suggests that ensuring digital applications have an optimised user experience is a priority for Australian business leaders.
Geospatial apps designed for widespread use will need to engage non-GIS users seamlessly in order to gain traction and succeed in a crowded, competitive market.
UX is already embedded into digital design culture. Organisations not embracing a user-centred design approach risk being left behind.
But if you’re new to the concept and tasked with overseeing a UX project, getting a quick handle on what UX is can feel like you’re learning a new language.
So, to help you navigate your way through the jargon, I’ve pulled together a quick-read guide that gives you the basic low-down of some common UX terms.
It’s important to keep in mind… UX is a practice, it includes a fluid range of design activities which overlap and merge into others as the need dictates. Applying definitions which are accurate and complete can be a challenge on its own.
User Experience (UX)
UX is what connects the business to the customer (or "user") – and good UX will deliver an experience where the needs and expectations of the user are met, without frustration, ensuring customer satisfaction and a stronger brand reputation.
“User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interactions with the company, its services and its products.” The Definition of User Experience, Norman and Nielsen, May 2017.
This focuses on putting users at the heart of a solution. The term, and others like it (e.g. “human-centred”) are used to describe products and systems where the design is thoughtfully applied to consider how people will use them – and what they need to achieve.
Before you start creating apps or products for your users, you need to know who they are and what they need. User experience research applies investigative techniques that evaluate user behaviours, needs and motivations in order to define requirements for a product or service. This often leads to an ‘a-ha!’ moment, when insights blow assumptions out of the water.
This is the process by which pain points or user needs are identified, prototyped and validated - with the goal being to enhance user satisfaction and ensure you are providing relevant and meaningful experiences to users. This involves incorporating aspects of branding, design, usability and function into the solution.
UI (user interface) Design
This is the stage in the design process where prototypes are turned into polished application designs, with a focus on efficiency, responsiveness and aesthetics to foster a good user experience. This includes interpreting a brand’s visual assets and applying interactive elements to guide the user through a product’s interface.
Obviously, there are many more UX terms that are regularly used by design teams and app developers alike – but this quick snapshot will have you talking with authority in your next UX discussion.